Denmark’s Royal Library has attracted heavy criticism after agreeing to let Turkey co-arrange an alternative exhibition about the Armenian Genocide.
The library has complied with the wishes of the Turkish ambassador to Denmark to be involved with the exhibition, ‘The Armenian Genocide and the Scandinavian response’, which is currently on display at the University of Copenhagen.
The Turkish Embassy has been granted the opportunity to stage a Turkish version of the historical events in a move that has generated criticism from a number of circles, including politicians, historians, and the Armenian Embassy in Copenhagen.
“This is giving in to Turkish pressure and it won’t do. Without comparing the two events, it’s like asking neo-Nazis to arrange a Holocaust exhibition,” the Coenhagen post quottes Søren Espersen, a spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti (DF), as saying to Berlingske newspaper.
Matthias Bjørnlund, a historian and leading Danish expert on the Armenian Genocide, is perplexed over the Royal Library’s decision in the case.
“If you believe that all versions of history are equal, then you’ve undermined your role as a research institution,” Bjørnlund told Berlingske. “It was genocide and not all interpretations of this history are correct.”
The Armenian ambassador to Denmark, Hrachya Aghajanyan, who is a co-host of the original exhibition, is disappointed by the move.
“I hope that the Royal Library will reconsider their decision and not give in to the possible Turkish pressure,” Aghajanyan told Berlingske.
But Erland Kolding Nielsen, the director of the Royal Library, denied that the institution buckled under pressure from Turkey.
“One can’t pressure us, and we have not spoken about removing the Armenian exhibition. We have simply given them the opportunity to show their alternative exhibition,” Nielsen told Berlingske.
It is not yet known when the Turkish exhibition version will debut, but the Turkish embassy said that preparations were underway.