By Hambersom Aghbashian

Nilüfer Göle (born 1953) is a prominent Turkish French sociologist and a leading authority on the political movement of today’s educated, urbanized, religious Muslim women. From 1986 to 2001, she was a professor at the Boðaziçi University in Istanbul, and currently at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences Centre d’Analyse et d’Intervention Sociologiques (CADIS) in Paris. Through personal interviews, Göle has developed detailed case studies of young Turkish women who are turning to the tenets of fundamental Islamic gender codes. Her sociological approach has also produced a broader critique of Euro centrism (European exceptionalism) with regard to emerging Islamic identities at the close of the twentieth century. She has explored the specific topic of covering, as well as the complexities of living in a multicultural world. Göle has published many books, amongst them “Interpénétrations: L’Islam et l’Europe. (Paris: Galaade Editions, 2005)”, “Islamisme et féminisme en Turquie: regards croisés,” in Le foulard islamique en questions (Paris: Éditions Amsterdam, 2004)”, and others.(1)

Under the title “ Europe – an identity or a project?” Nilüfer Göle wrote on Dec.15, 2005, “…the Armenian question still remains a major taboo for Turkish nationalism. The official view of the past is based on the suppression and denial of the 1915 genocide that created a sort of short-memory and diffused amnesia about the past for the generations of the Republic. One question is how to remember the past and the second is to develop and express points of view that are independent of the official one. The choice of words to label the events, whether it is “deportation,” “ethnic cleansing,” “massacres,” or “genocide” is becoming a battle ground for the public debate that begins. The debate is initiated by few Turkish intellectuals, historians, including those of the Armenian community who challenged the ideological version of the events, defying the taboos of Turkish nationalism and exploring new ways of relating to the emotional trauma of Armenians and developing a new narrative on the historical past, albeit under the pressures of nationalist forces and juridical intimidation.” (2)

Nilüfer Göle was one of the Turkish intellectual who have signed a Petition Against Denialist Exhibition in Denmark, reminding the Denmark’s authorities that by giving the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit”, against the Genocide recognition, they support their policy of suppression and intimidation. And that their support constitutes an obstacle to democratization efforts in Turkey today.(3)

According to “”, Nilüfer Göle said, “Today we cannot talk about the Europeanism of Europe without historical consciousness of the Holocaust. We cannot be a citizen of Europe today without this memory, so it affects all citizens of all faiths, including immigrants who become European citizens or countries such as Turkey who want to join the European Union. This memory is part of Europe today and so it is imperative to make it one’s own as part of European historical consciousness. I feel concerned not only as a European citizen, but also due to my own experience as someone from Turkey, bringing to mind the events of 1915 and the issue of the Armenian genocide”.(4)

In her article entitled “A Libertarian and Unifying Movement” about Gazi protest in Turkey, Nilüfer Göle mentioned “when the taboo of the Armenian Genocide is lifted, then it becomes possible to make peace with Kurdish nationalists and when the army is withdrawn from public life, this movement announces the need for a new public culture based on recognition and bringing people together”.(5)

A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning the “open hatred and hostility” towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks, which were exposed by Agos and Taraf newspapers, who published reports on hateful remarks targeting Armenians in the textbooks used in history classes, according to Today’s Zaman. A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace. Nilüfer Göle was one of the academics who have participated in releasing the statement.(6)


6- Turkish Intellectuals Condemn Anti-Armenian Textbooks. 30th, 2014

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