International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

Bastard of Istanbul: Armenian Diaspora and the Problem of Identity
Dilek Tufekci Can

Elif Shafak’s novel “Bastard of Istanbul” tells readers something on the subject of Armenian Diaspora about historical memory. Indeed, “Bastard of Istanbul” touches upon the life and past times of an Armenian family with a Turkish family whose roots are connected into each other somewhere in the present time. Armanoush, being the youngest member of an Armenian family, has nostalgic recollections on massacre and wants to face the reality by visiting Turkey to appreciate how the Turks and the Armenians are but with a great astonishment her awareness turns upside down when she notices the familiarities rather than the differences between the two. Furthermore, Armanoush situation is even tried to be clarified by these words; “My father is Barsam Tchakhmakhchian, my great uncle is Dikran Stamboulian, his father is Varvant Stamboulian, my name is Armanoush Tchakhmakhchian, all my family tree has been Something Somethingian, and I am the grandchild of genocide survivors who lost all their relatives in the hands of Turkish butchers in 1915, but I myself have been brainwashed to deny the genocide because I was raised by some Turk named Mustafa!” Whereas the memories of Turkish characters are regarded as if they were the despised ones - because nearly none of the Turkish characters remember something about the massacre in the novel however the Armenians are the ones who live with the tracks of the alleged massacre - the Armenian characters’ memories are the ones which are regarded as their aim of proving the evidence is the real one. In conclusion, the dualities between the two nations in terms of individual memory and collective memory, prejudice and espousal, identity and belonging are analysed in terms of historical approach contextually.

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