European memory from the Bosphorus

By Capucine Goyet | 26 September 2011


Last June Nouvelle Europe followed in the tracks of the Orient-Express to Istanbul. From Europe to Turkey, from Paris to Istanbul, not only was the trip geographical, but it was also historical. To what extent have the successive EU enlargements reassessed European memory? Why speak of an “entangled history and memory between the EU and Turkey?” Nouvelle Europe co-organized a one-day conference with Professor Ayhan Kaya and his team from the European Institute of Bilgi University to discuss these two issues.

Today, Nouvelle Europe releases its new special report, which is dedicated to this one-day conference. Written from the proceedings, the articles deal with the role of Europeanization in Turkish modernity and with Turko-scepticism in Europe. Through culture, religion and history, they analyse what Turkey and the EU have in common.

The articles also deal with the impact of the last EU enlargement on the historical discourse upon EU memory and with the European public space for dialogue that has opened to discuss it. They wonder how the different levels of debate between intellectuals and institutions interact and how each of them stands in the debate.

Eventually, a more specific topic will be debated: that of the Armenian genocide. A short paper provides a brief biography of Armin T. Wegner and emphasizes his struggle to mobilize global public opinion against the Armenian Genocide, with the help of the pictures he took. The 20th century was both the era of the greatest mass killings in any period of human history and an era of new concepts used to understand these events : genocide, ethnocide, cultural genocide, mass killing, massacre, ethnic cleansing etc. This will lead us to the question of unpresentable memory between shame and guilt...

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