CES: Minority Protection in Post-World War I Europe: The Case of Turkey and its Armenians


Thursday, December 4, 2014, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


Busch Hall, Cabot Room

Abstract:  "How did the newly established Republic of Turkey legislate its minorities in its formative years? How did minorities (defined legally as non-Muslim citizens of the Republic) respond to the new regime? Looking at state-minority relationships in the context of interwar Europe’s League of Nations-initiated “minority protection regime” and taking a longue durée approach to the question by incorporating a discussion of the legacy of the Ottoman millet system as well as the 19th century Great Power “interventions” into what Ottomans viewed as their “domestic affairs,” the talk will elucidate the paradoxical treatment that Christian and Jewish citizens received in Turkey in the 1920s and 30s. Focusing especially on the case of Armenians – survivors of a recent genocide who remained among unapologetic perpetrators— I will argue that the intersection of contemporary politics with history made the home-space one of the few safe sites in which Armenians could maintain assertions of their culture, such as language, tradition, memory, in Turkey."

Sponsors: New Directions in European History
Lerna Ekmekcioglu
, McMillan-Stewart Career Development Assistant Professor of History, MIT.
Contact: Carla Heelan, ces-new-directions@fas.harvard.edu