This paper makes use of the recent literature on sociology of intellectuals in order to take stock of the activism carried out by scholars, intellectuals and activists in Turkey for the recognition of the Armenia Genocide. The historical narrative of the Turkish state on the issue has been challenged by a group of revisionist Turkish historians since the beginning of 1990s. This scholarly challenge took an ‘intellectualist turn’ when a group of highly renowned intellectuals took up the cause to revise the hegemonic discourse in mid-2000s, in a series of events (such as the 2005 conference in İstanbul, the 2008 apology campaign, and the activism related to the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007) that were awarded immense coverage in the national media. By analyzing the discourses conveyed by the intellectuals over the print media throughout these events, the paper will demonstrate that in the Turkish case, the dependency of intellectuals to the national media and the mediatic capital has ended up with the transposition of their discourses into a pragmatic, quasi-nationalistic tone that presents the recognition of the Genocide and reconciliation with Armenians as, basically, beneficial. Co-existence of such practical discourses with more universalist and detached ones created an ambiguity in the content presented to the public, which has not been helpful in a setting in which the intellectuals have also failed to create new forms of appealing the public to by-pass their dependence to the media. All in all, the argument will be that the media is the answer to the question of why the scholars and intellectuals’ project to replace the state’s hegemonic discourse in Turkey remains a story of limited success. The media not only plays a significant role in the formation of the intellectual subject but also shapes, directs, and constrains the field within which the intellectual subject is formed and the historical knowledge is produced.
Dogan, Okan, "Two Decades of Genocide Recognition Activism in Turkey: Scholars, Intellectuals and the Media" (2015). International Graduate Students' Conference on Holocaust and Genocide Studies Papers. 33.