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16-Jul-2019 21:27

There was no real reckoning for the perpetrators of the genocide; many of them helped build the modern Turkish republic, founded in 1923.The violence may have been over, but its animating ideology persisted.The church of Sourp Giragos, in old Diyarbakir, fell into ruins after 1915. “Our grandparents,” the mayor said, “committed wrongs, but we, their grandchildren, will not repeat them.”When I try to imagine my grandfather, the face that appears to me is a variation of a pencil drawing that hangs in my parents’ house.The drawing captures the earliest image of him that we have in our family.He emerged with a Bible, its cover torn away, and told her to take the book to where it might be safe. My sister took the Bible, of course, and kept it at her house.Shortly afterward, I visited Diyarbakir, too, and went looking for Uncle Anto, but people near Sourp Giragos said he had been hospitalized—in fact, he would never leave his bed again.This policy of erasure was called “Turkification,” and its reach extended to geography: my grandfather’s birthplace, known since the days of Timur as Jabakhchour (“diffuse water”), was renamed Bingöl (“a thousand lakes”).

He guided his family safely through the tumult, and he remained in the city long afterward, enduring the decades of subtler persecution that followed.My grandfather spent most of his life in Diyarbakir, a garrison town in southeastern Turkey.Magnificent old walls surround the city; built of black volcanic rock, they were begun by the Romans and then added to by Arabs and Ottomans.As İsmet İnönü, the President of Turkey from 1938 to 1950, said, “Our duty is to make Turks out of all the non-Turks within the Turkish country, no matter what.We will cut out and throw away any element that will oppose Turks and Turkishness.” The state cut away Armenians from its history.

He guided his family safely through the tumult, and he remained in the city long afterward, enduring the decades of subtler persecution that followed.My grandfather spent most of his life in Diyarbakir, a garrison town in southeastern Turkey.Magnificent old walls surround the city; built of black volcanic rock, they were begun by the Romans and then added to by Arabs and Ottomans.As İsmet İnönü, the President of Turkey from 1938 to 1950, said, “Our duty is to make Turks out of all the non-Turks within the Turkish country, no matter what.We will cut out and throw away any element that will oppose Turks and Turkishness.” The state cut away Armenians from its history.He died in 1959—the year that the first spacecraft reached the moon, Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, and Philip Roth published “Goodbye, Columbus,” though I suspect he would have known nothing of those things.