Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks
Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide
Published by: Indiana University Press
What compels 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? Based on historical narrative, the 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 how can we believe that the Turks could have committed genocide against the Armenians? Marc David Baer 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 find 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. By looking at the complexities of interreligious relations, Holocaust denial, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and confronting some long-standing historical stereotypes, Baer sets out to tell a new history that goes against Turkish antisemitism and admits to the Armenian genocide.
Introduction: Friend and Enemy
1. Sultans as Saviors
2. The Empire of Tolerant Turks
3. Grateful Jews and Anti-Semitic Armenians and Greeks
4. Turkish Jews as Turkish Lobbyists
5. "Five Hundred Years of Friendship"
6. Whitewashing the Armenian Genocide with Holocaust Heroism
7. The Emergence of Critical Turkish Jewish Voices
8. Living in Peace and Harmony, or in Fear?
Conclusion: New Friends and Enemies
Marc Baer is a major scholar of Ottoman Jewish history, and in this manuscript he demonstrates not only his erudition and knowledge of the sources but his courage on confronting a major myth of Ottoman history and current Turkish politics: the tolerance and defense of Jews by the Ottoman and Turkish state." ~Ronald Grigor Suny, editor of A Question of Genocide
A very significant study regarding the origins of violence and its denial in Turkey through the empirical study of not only antisemitism, but also its connection to genocide denial." ~Fatma Müge Göçek, author of The Transformation of Turkey