Reading this insightful interview with Taner Akcam, I was struck by the similarities between the overtly pervasiveness of genocide denial in Turkey, amongst both the government and the population at large; and the genocide denial that still occurs in the Americas over the genocide of the native populations from the time of the Conquistadors to the 20th Century forcible transfer of the Native American children from their tribal lands into institutions.
In both situations, the nation-state that arose is linked to the genocide of the minority population. The democratic Turkish republic was established by the same political party that oversaw the genocide. In the United States, "manifest destiny" which is synonymous with US physical expansion, as well as political and economic expansion, came at the expense of the Native American tribes living on the land; who were either killed; driven into exile or culturally annihilated by being forced to assimilate into the larger dominant Protestant-Anglo culture.
As an American, knowing that some officials in my government committed genocide (even if it was "my " government from decades, even centuries before my birth) is not easy; and I'm sure that there are probably many Americans (and perhaps Europeans as well) who contend, despite the evidence to the contrary that the native populations of the Americas were not subjected to a genocide. Just as there are many Turks who contend there was no genocide of the Armenians.
Nevertheless, denying these atrocities, or at the very least; not willing to study them, serves not only to victimize the victims all over again; but in the end, it hurts the entire society at large. Recognizing the genocide against the native populations in the United States, and the Americas at large does not make me "anti-American" nor, does recognition by someone in Turkey of the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians make him a "traitor" or "anti Turk." In fact, truth be told, that person probably is much more patriotic, in the purist sense of the word; that the nationalists who respond with denial in an attempt to "protect the country."
Furthermore, an important aspect of understanding the genocide is not only understanding the perpetrators and the victims; but those who stood up against the horrors. In Turkey, as Akcam explains in his interview, there were those who who tried to stand up against the government and protested the massacres of their Armenian friends and neighbors. Surely, they too deserve to be recognized; as it seems to me, that they embody a truer sense of patriotism than the thugs who violently attack those seeking to tell the truth ever could.