Con­fer­ence: World War I and the Non-Turk­ish Mi­nori­ties in the Ot­toman Em­pire: Ar­me­ni­ans, Assyr­i­ans and Greeks, City Univer­sity of New York

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - ÜMİT KURT

In May 2015, the Asia Mi­nor and Pon­tos Hel­lenic Re­search Cen­ter in con­junc­tion with the Zo­ryan In­sti­tute and the Middle East and Middle East­ern Amer­i­can Cen­ter (The Grad­u­ate Cen­ter, City Univer­sity of New York, CUNY) or­ga­nized a con­fer­ence on “World War I and the NonTurk­ish Mi­nori­ties in the Ot­toman Em­pire: Ar­me­ni­ans, Assyr­i­ans and Greeks.” The con­fer­ence was hosted by the Middle East and Middle East­ern Amer­i­can Cen­ter (MEMEAC) at the Grad­u­ate Cen­ter, CUNY.

This was a ma­jor schol­arly event, with pre­sen­ta­tions by US-based and in­ter­na­tional academics. The con­fer­ence was sup­ported by the Pan Pon­tian Fed­er­a­tion of USA and Canada.

The goal of the re­search cen­ter -- the only one of its kind -- is to raise aware­ness about what hap­pened to the Greek com­mu­ni­ties of the later Ot­toman Em­pire and cre­ate re­sources about the topic that can be made avail­able to larger au­di­ences in the English-speak­ing world. Al­though their main fo­cus is the study of Ot­toman Greeks, their per­spec­tive is broad.

The cen­ter seeks to de­velop a mul­ti­di­men­sional schol­arly com­mu­nity in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ar­me­nian, Assyr­ian, Jewish and Turk­ish schol­ars to gain bet­ter in­sight into the events of that time. The con­fer­ence or­ga­nized is part of this col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gram.

In ac­cor­dance with this per­spec­tive, schol­ars from around the world such as David Gaunt, Sabri At­man, Nora Cher­ishian Lesser­sohn, Alexandros Kas­tri­nakis, In­ger Marie Okken­haug, Steven Leonard Jacobs and other lead­ing academics have pre­sented orig­i­nal re­search on the Ot­toman Turk­ish geno­cides -- Ar­me­nian, Assyr­ian and Greek -- to yield new in­sight into the over­all strat­egy, plan­ning, ex­e­cu­tion and af­ter­math of the cam­paign to elim­i­nate the na­tive Chris­tian pop­u­la­tions of Asia Mi­nor.

This was the se­cond ma­jor in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence that the Asia Mi­nor and Pon­tos Hel­lenic Re­search Cen­ter has or­ga­nized in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Zo­ryan In­sti­tute ded­i­cated to the study of the Chris­tian geno­cides of the late Ot­toman Em­pire. The con­fer­ence also pro­vided in­no­va­tive analy­ses and in­sights from a broad range of dis­ci­plines and per­spec­tives.

This re­viewer ex­am­ined the fun­da­men­tal aspects of Turk­ish na­tion­al­ism with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on race and racist dis­courses within its con­tent. Nora Cher­ishian Lesser­sohn from Har­vard Univer­sity dis­cussed an in­ter­est­ing topic -- the ex­is­tence and role of Ar­me­ni­ans sol­diers in the Ot­toman army be­tween 1910 and 1914.

Lead­ing his­to­rian and scholar David Gaunt an­a­lyzed out­breaks of ex­treme vi­o­lence and the ex­e­cu­tion of mass purges of Ar­me­nian and Assyr­ian cit­i­zens of the Ot­toman Em­pire. Gaunt de­lin­eated the causes be­hind the whole­sale ex­ter­mi­na­tion of Ar­me­ni­ans and Assyr­i­ans by tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion his­tor­i­cal con­di­tions and the in­ter­na­tional con­text at that time.

Steven Leonard Jacobs’s pa­per demon­strated the fate of Ot­toman Jews and the sta­tus, political and liv­ing con­di­tion of the Jewish pop­u­la­tion of the Ot­toman Em­pire dur­ing Word War I vis-àvis other non-Mus­lim sub­jects of the Em­pire.

An­other ses­sion of the con­fer­ence fo­cused on fe­male


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