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The Armenian genocide and Armenian identity in modern Turkish novels

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Despite the official policy of genocide denial, the Armenian Genocide has been more widely discussed within Turkish society in the twenty-first century, particularly by the intelligentsia, than ever before. However, the more critical approach to the denial of genocide among many in the Turkish intelligentsia is not generally reflected in Turkish literary narratives. Literature is regarded by politicized and nationalist Turkish authors and historians as a discursive space in which to strengthen Turkish official discourse, the voice of denial. The official voice of the state can be clearly discerned in novels published in the period around 2015, due to the historical significance of the hundredth anniversary of the Genocide. However, there are some exceptions – narratives in which the writers seek to engage in cultural resistance, aiming to voice their own political criticism as a mode of social critique. Adopting a sociological approach and a theoretical framework based on historical criticism, this article explores the way Turkish novelistic discourse has responded to the discussion of the Armenian Genocide and Armenian Identity, and examines the representation of otherness (i.e. non-Muslims) in ten contemporary Turkish novels, most of which were published after 2000, when the Armenian issue became more controversial due to certain internal and external factors. .
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Keywords: Armenian genocide; Armenians in Turkey; Turkish literature; nationalist literature

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Marie Curie Fellow, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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