Accepted Paper:

Silenced memory for imagining the future: the museum of the Turkish military coup of 1980 beyond the challenge of official history   


Lorenzo D'orsi (University of Catania)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyzes the museum arranged by former revolutionarists about the Turkish military coup of 1980 and show how, although silenced, their memories are not only an opposition to official history, but are used to codify the present, establish alliances or identity boundaries and plan the future

Paper long abstract:

The coup occurred in Turkey in 1980 was a turning point in the history of the country that provoked conflicting interpretations. If in public discourse military are still often regarded as those who put an end to the political radicalism of the Seventies, the former leftist revolutionaries struggle to denounce the submitted violence and not being represented as terrorists. This paper, through the ethnographic analysis of the itinerant "museum-event" on the violence of the military coup arranged by former revolutionaries, shows how these memories, although marginal, cannot be reduced to memories opposing official history, but play a key-role in codifying the present establishing identity boundaries or new alliances and planning the future. The itinerant exposition, which exhibits personal belongings of murdered revolutionaries, provides the families a recomposing function of an often silenced memory. Moreover, its temporal narrative presents a chronology stretching into the present time and including events like Gezi park to denounce the no-end of the repression and to establish a sense of continuity with the current protests. It also includes other silenced memories to build a bond of solidarity between victims of episodes of violence distant in time but sharing the connivance of the state. At the same time the museum presents a discourse that marks an identity border. In fact, those organizing the museum still consider themselves as revolutionists and through the memory they stage a pattern of suffering and compassion as self-representation of the group and as an injunction to continue the revolution in the present.

Panel Heri014
Heritage of silenced memories