Journal Article

State Identity, Continuity, and Responsibility: The Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey and the Armenian Genocide

Vahagn Avedian

in European Journal of International Law

Published on behalf of The EJIL

Volume 23, issue 3, pages 797-820
Published in print August 2012 | ISSN: 0938-5428
Published online October 2012 | e-ISSN: 1464-3596 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chs056
State Identity, Continuity, and Responsibility: The Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey and the Armenian Genocide

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By studying the continuity between the Ottoman Empire and its succeeding Turkish Republic, this article aims to address one crucial aspect of the denial of the Armenian genocide by the Turkish state, namely the issue of state responsibility. There are psychological barriers in Turkey which have largely suppressed the memories of possible wrongdoings during World War I and the ensuing ‘Independence War’. However, the barrier that is created by the issue of state responsibility is identified here as the fundamental obstacle for genocide recognition by the Turkish state. This article aims to apply some of the existing legal principles and theories of international law in order to test their applicability to the two Turkish states and the issue of internationally wrongful acts committed during World War I and the ensuing years. In addition to the Turkish Republic bearing the identity of the Ottoman Empire, this article suggests that the Republic not only failed to stop doing the wrongful acts of its predecessor, but it also continued the very internationally wrongful acts committed by the Young Turk government. Thus, the insurgent National Movement, which later became the Republic, made itself responsible for not only its own wrongful acts but also those of its predecessor, including the act of genocide committed in 1915–1916. The issue of possible liability has ever since the creation of the Republic formed the denialist policy which is Turkey’s to this day.

Journal Article.  12353 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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