Time and location

Monday, 13 April 2015, 19:00 – 21:00
Aula des Uni Campus im Alten AKH
Hof 1, Spitalgasse 2-4, 1090 Vienna


Karin Karakaşlı
writer and co-editor of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper AGOS, Istanbul

Ilker Ataç
University of  Vienna, VIDC

Welcome: Michael Fanizadeh, VIDC

Language: German

Registration: fanizadeh@remove-this.vidc.org

Karin Karakaşlı: Contemplation on Taboo and Change in Armenia-Turkey Relations

© xtock/Shutterstock.com
© xtock/Shutterstock.com


On January 19, 2007, the former editor and journalist for AGOS, Hrant Dink, was shot upon leaving the newspaper’s headquarters in Istanbul. Hrant Dink fought for freedom of speech and the rewriting of the Turkish-Armenian history as well as for the reconciliation of Turks and Armenians, for which he was labeled a traitor by the government and was often threatened with death. The killer, the then-adolescent right-extremist Ögun Samast, has since been sentenced to 22 years in prison. After the sentencing more than 10,000 Turks took to the streets in protest in response to a slip by the judges indicating that an organization supported by state authorities could have been behind the attack. In January 2015 two Turkish policemen were arrested for the murder of Hrant Dink. They are the first civil servants to have been arrested for this crime.

Since the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago, the relationship between the two populations has been severely strained. In 1915 some 1.5 million Armenians lived within the borders of present-day Turkey, where today there are only 60,000. This genocide still goes unrecognized as such by the Turkish government. Yet something unprecedented happened in April 2014, when current President Erdoğan officially expressed his sympathy for the survivors. This posed the question for many in Armenia and Turkey, whether this could be an indication of an upcoming shift in the official stance of the Turkish government.
This topic is not bound by the Turkish border, but rather also has a foreign policy component in regards to the relationship with Armenia. The border between the two countries remains closed, but there have recently been efforts to normalize the relationship, as exemplified by the conference “The Sealed Gate: Prospects of the Turkey-Armenia Border,” put on by the Hrant Dink Foundation and the University of Ankara in November 2014.
Is it possible for the Armenians to live together with the other ethnicities in Turkey? What significance do the dialogue on and reviews of this history have for the democratization efforts? In her lecture, Karin Karakaşlı will delve into the real-life developments and debates, and describe the viewpoints of the Turkish Armenians, the Kurds, the Armenian diasporas in the USA and France, and the current population of Armenia.


Karin Karakaşlı

was born in Istanbul in 1972 and is a journalist and a writer. She studied Translation and Interpretive Studies and earned her Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature Studies. Today she is co-editor of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper AGOS. On top of that she works as a translation instructor at the Foreign Language University of Boğaziçi, as well as an Armenian and Literature teacher in an Armenian high school. Karakaşlı has authored countless literary works in Turkey, the most recent being the young adult novel Dört Kozalak (Four Pinecones, Günışığı Publishing, 2014) and the short story “Yetersiz Bakiye” (Insufficient Funds, Can Publishing, 2015). In 2009 she released a selection of articles by Hrant Dink under the title Bu Köşedeki Adam (The Man of the Column).

Ilker Ataç

studied Economics and Political Science in Vienna and earned his Doctorate from the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Frankfurt am Main. His main research topics are migration politics, social movements, and Turkish politics. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna and a member of the research group “Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion.” His most recent publications include “Ökonomische und politische Krisen in der Türkei. Die Neuformierung des peripheren Neoliberalismus“ (Economic and Political Crises in Turkey: The Recreation of the Peripheral Neoliberalism), “Politik der Inklusion und Exklusion (Mithrsg.)“ (Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion), and „Migration und Entwicklung: Neue Perspektiven (Mithrsg.)“ (Migration and Development: New Perspectives).