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As Turkey grapples with an unprecedented string of military scandals, a new book re-examines the legacy of the Armenian genocide, reports Maureen Freely
The British press paid intense attention to Orhan Pamuk when he was prosecuted in 2005 for insulting Turkishness, after publicly acknowledging that a million Armenians had been killed in Anatolia in the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Though it paid considerably less attention to Hrant Dink, the TurkishArmenian journalist who was prosecuted on similar charges by the same ultra-nationalist lawyer, there was ample coverage of Dink’s assassination outside the offices of Agos, his newspaper, in January 2007, and also of his funeral, attended by 100,000 mourners from all religions and backgrounds, many carrying placards declaring, ‘We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink.’
But when – just a few days after a mass vigil marking the first anniversary of Dink’s death – the government announced that it had arrested 33 members of an alleged state-sponsored terror organisation named Ergenekon (amongst them Kemal Kerinçsiz, the lawyer who initiated the prosecutions against Pamuk, Dink, and other prominent novelists, journalists, and democrats), the consensus on the foreign desk was that it was ‘not a story’. That, for the most part, is the position two years on. In Turkey, meanwhile, it’s called the story of the century, and it gets curiouser and curiouser every day.