Gendering denial narratives of the decade of terror (1975-85): the case of Samiha Ayverdi/Neşide Kerem Demir and Hatun Sebilciyan/Sabiha Gökçen
Adak, Hülya (2015) Gendering denial narratives of the decade of terror (1975-85): the case of Samiha Ayverdi/Neşide Kerem Demir and Hatun Sebilciyan/Sabiha Gökçen. Journal of Genocide Research, 17 (3). pp. 327-343. ISSN 1462-3528 (Print) 1469-9494 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14623528.2015.1062286
In this article, I analyse the gendered and ethnicized nature of denial writing by women writers during the decade of terror (1975–85). The 1970s and 1980s can be characterized by two coup d’états (1971 and 1980) and a series of assassinations of Turkish diplomats by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCOAG), which resulted in the proliferation of denialist narratives on the Armenian Genocide. I explore the prominent Sufi woman mystic Sâmiha Ayverdi's Türkiye'nin Ermeni meselesi (1976) and its translation into English, The Armenian question in Turkey (1980), in the way the texts draw their Turkish and international readers into reifying racist and essentialist assumptions about Turkish victimhood and Armenian culpability. I will analyse the second work, Sabiha Gökçen's Atatürk’ün izinde bir ömür böyle geçti [A life passed in the path of Atatürk], published in 1982, through the gendered and ethnicized silences in the narrative performance of the eternally grateful and self-abnegating daughterhood of Sabiha Gökçen to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Sabiha Gökçen is renowned as the first female combat pilot in Turkey and in the world, and as one of the adopted daughters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The myths of nationalism and militarism propagated in her autobiography become further nuanced as we explore the text, taking into account her recently revealed identity as an Armenian, with the name of Hatun Sebilciyan, announced by the journalist Hrant Dink (1954–2007) shortly prior to his assassination in 2007. In the conclusion, I analyse the persistence of myths of nationalism and militarism that reinforce the contemporary culture of denial in Turkey.
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