Assistant Professor of History Howard Eissenstat was quoted by the Washington Post on Friday, April 26. In a tweet about Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide, Eissenstat wrote, “The Armenian Genocide is too close to Turkey’s moment of conception and too intimately linked to the foundation of the Republic. Accepting it would require a fundamental rethinking of the narrative of creation at Turkish nationalism’s core.”
On Thursday, April 25, following President Biden’s formal recognition of the Armenian genocide, Eissenstat provided expert insight on the push for recognition to the independent news outlet, Haaretz, and was quoted by South Caucasus and Central Asia news outlet, Eurasianet. “I give the Turkish outrage cycle after Biden’s declaration three days, tops. Then it will be back to the same haggard, harried relationship we have all grown accustomed to,” said Eissenstat.
On Wednesday, April 24, Eissenstat weighed in on the implications for Turkish-U.S. relations following Biden’s statement in an article by Middle East Eye. “Turkish-U.S. relations are not particularly strong. I don’t think that this improves them. I don’t think that this fundamentally undermines them,” said Eissenstat. “In the end, Turkey and the U.S. are going to find places to cooperate, and they’re going to have lots of areas where they’re working at odds with each other. This is a presidential statement. It gives solace to the descendants of victims, particularly those in the United States, but outside of that, it doesn’t have any legal standing.”
Eissenstat’s research focuses on nationalism and Islam in the 19th-century Ottoman Empire as well as the history of the Turkish Republic. His recent work has focused increasingly on contemporary Turkish domestic and foreign policy, especially on issues of rule-of-law, minority rights, and the reshaping of political culture under the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In addition to traditional academic work, Eissenstat served for over a decade as a Turkey Country Specialist for Amnesty International-USA. He has lectured at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. military, and the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, as well as given testimony to the Canadian Senate and offered briefings to Congressional Committees.