Hakan Tarhan received his PhD in Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage (AMCH) from IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca in 2022. In his PhD research he investigated the relationships between official heritage discourses and people’s perceptions of heritage by focusing on the Ottoman Heritage in Greece and the Byzantine Heritage in Turkey. After completing his PhD, he joined the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) as a postdoctoral fellow, where he continues his research on public perceptions of heritage and archaeology. During his studies, he has also been participating in cultural heritage management projects taking place in archaeological contexts, where he investigated local communities’ interactions with the material and immaterial remains of the past, their memories and personal stories associated with them.
(RE)NEGOTIATING THE ‘DISSONANCE’: CONTEMPORARY PERCEPTIONS OF THE OTTOMAN HERITAGE IN GREECE
Nineteenth-century nationalisms, within which the dominant heritage discourse (Authorized Heritage Discourse, AHD) was born, considered heritage as a representation of national identity and utilized it as a tool of nation-building. This process involved creating discourses that glorify a shared national heritage, and eventually brought together the exclusion of the pasts and heritages that are ’dissonant’ with the national historiography. Greece established its national identity on two core axes, namely, the Classical Antiquity and the Byzantium / Orthodox Christianity, by disregarding its Ottoman past and creating a linear story discourse of uniting modern Greek people and the state with the Ancient Greek Civilization.
This paper focuses on the Ottoman heritage in Greece and investigates the contemporary public (state and people) perceptions of this heritage. In terms of the official discourses, Greek cultural heritage regulations are discussed regarding their inclusiveness of the Ottoman heritage and the levels of protection they provide. In addition, the Greek state’s practical actions in the protection, promotion, and management of ‘the Ottoman heritage are investigated and exemplified. People’s perceptions of the Ottoman heritage were investigated through public opinion surveys conducted with the residents of two cities (Trikala, Thessaly and Serres, Macedonia), which aimed to evaluate the values attached and interest shown to these monuments by the local public, the people’s feelings of ownership regarding these monuments and feelings of responsibility in protecting them, and the inclusion of these monuments in the collective and personal histories and identities of the local community.