Book and article presentation: “Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide”

  • Date: Jan 14, 2021
  • Time: 10:00 - 11:30
  • Speaker: Marc David Baer (London School of Economics and Political Science)
  • Marc David Baer (PhD, History, University of Chicago) is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Location: Zoom Meeting
Book and article presentation: “Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide”

For more details please contact cziesielsky(at)mmg.mpg.de.

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What has compelled Jews in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and abroad to promote a positive image of Ottomans and Turks while they deny the Armenian genocide and the existence of antisemitism in Turkey? The dominant historical narrative is that Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 were embraced by the Ottoman Empire, and then later, protected from the Nazis during WWII. If we believe that Turks and Jews have lived in harmony for so long, then it is hard for us to accept that the Turks could have committed genocide against the Armenians.

In this lecture, the author confronts these convictions and circumstances to reflect on what moral responsibility the descendants of the victims of one genocide have to the descendants of victims of another. Baer delves into the history
of Muslim-Jewish relations in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey to tease out the origin of these many tangled truths. He aims to bring about reconciliation between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, not only to face inconvenient historical facts, but to confront it and come to terms with it. By looking at the complexities of interreligious relations, Holocaust denial, genocide
and ethnic cleansing, and confronting some long-standing historical stereotypes, the author sets out to tell a new history that goes against Turkish antisemitism and admits to the Armenian genocide.

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