Royal Library under fire for Armenian Genocide exhibition

But library director has brushed aside the criticism, saying that a Turkish version of the events will go ahead as planned

December 4th, 2012 5:12 pm| by admin

The Royal Library has attracted heavy criticism after agreeing to let Turkey co-arrange an alternative exhibition about the Armenian Genocide.

The library has complied with the wishes of the Turkish ambassador to Denmark to be involved with the exhibition, ‘The Armenian Genocide and the Scandinavian response’, which is currently on display at the University of Copenhagen.

The Turkish Embassy has been granted the opportunity to stage a Turkish version of the historical events in a move that has generated criticism from a number of circles, including politicians, historians, and the Armenian Embassy in Copenhagen.

“This is giving in to Turkish pressure and it won’t do. Without comparing the two events, it’s like asking neo-Nazis to arrange a Holocaust exhibition,” Søren Espersen, a spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti (DF), told Berlingske newspaper.

Turkey refuses to to use the 'genocide' to describe the deaths of over an estimated one million Armenians who died during the mass extermination carried out by the Ottoman Empire between the years of 1915-1923. Turkey counters that the deaths were a by-product of the First World War and that the issue should be left to historians.

But Matthias Bjørnlund, a historian and leading Danish expert on the Armenian Genocide, is perplexed over the Royal Library’s decision in the case.

“If you believe that all versions of history are equal, then you’ve undermined your role as a research institution,” Bjørnlund told Berlingske. “It was genocide and not all interpretations of this history are correct.”

The Armenian ambassador to Denmark, Hrachya Aghajanyan, who is a co-host of the original exhibition, is disappointed by the move.

“I hope that the Royal Library will reconsider their decision and not give in to the possible Turkish pressure,” Aghajanyan told Berlingske.

But Erland Kolding Nielsen, the director of the Royal Library, denied that the institution buckled under pressure from Turkey.

“One can’t pressure us, and we have not spoken about removing the Armenian exhibition. We have simply given them the opportunity to show their alternative exhibition,” Nielsen told Berlingske.

Currently, 24 nations – including France, Germany and Russia – officially consider the killings as genocide, but Denmark has yet to make that assertion.

Earlier this year, Turkey condemned the French senate's adoption of a law criminalising those who refuse to recognise the killing of Armenians in 1915 as genocide in France. The Turkish government froze political and military ties with France after the law passed in late January 2012, which would impose a fine of 335,000 kroner and a one-year jail sentence on those found guilty of denying that the deaths amounting to genocide.

It is not yet known when the Turkish exhibition version will debut, but the Turkish embassy said that preparations were underway.

Bohr, photographed in 1948 at Princeton University aged 63, saw out the latter years of his career in the US, promoting the peaceful application of atomic energy (photo: Princeton University/American Institute of Physics/Science Photo Library)
Atomic scientist’s quantum leap changed the world of physics forever
For such a tiny country, Denmark certainly punches above its weight, and th...
A tragedy in Copenhagen this afternoon (photo:PDP)
Mother of four stabbed to death in Copenhagen
A 51-year-old woman has been stabbed to death in an apartment in Nørrebro ...
German conductor Hartmut Haenchen warned against cuts from the Royal Orchestra (photo:  Riccardo Musacchio)
Musicians and maestros condemn cuts at the Royal Danish Theatre
The musicians at Det Kongelige Kapel, which is internationally known and ac...
Not rolling tomorrow (photo: Hochgeladen von Heb)
The postman may not ring at all in Copenhagen tomorrow
Some Copenhagen residents will see neither post nor packages tomorrow as ab...
Grejfreak has moved on from its original idea of selling military gear (photo: Bonzo)
Aarhus veteran cashing in on military gear
Kristian Juel Rasmussen came back from his deployment with the Danish milit...
Basking sharks are rare in Danish waters these days (photo: Anders Peter Schultz, Statens Naturhistoriske Museum)
Massive shark caught off Danish coast
A huge four-metre long shark was caught in Kattegat Strait off the coast o...