Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Turkish Intellectual Commemorates Armenian Genocide

On April 24, the guest speaker at the annual commemoration ceremony for the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide in the historic Paulskirche, in Frankfurt, Germany, was Turkish intellectual and author Dogan Akhanli. It was the first time that the Armenian community had invited someone of Turkish descent to hold the main address. Akhanli had been jailed in Turkey under the military regime, and later emigrated to Germany in 1992, where he lives. Over the years he has engaged in historical research on the Armenian genocide, the Nazi holocaust against the Jews, and other cases of ethnic and religious oppression. He has used the fruits of his research to educate the public, through forums, conferences, seminars, in Cologne, where he lives, and in the capital Berlin.

He is the author of several novels in Turkish, translated into Germans, one of which takes up the theme of the Armenian genocide, a topic forbidden by Turkish law. In August 2010, he returned to Turkey to visit his dying father, but was arrested at the airport and thrown into prison for four months. He was put on trial on hoked-up charges of participaton in an armed robbery and murder dating back decades. Although the testimony of witnesses had been procured under duress, and the same witnesses later withdrew their testimony, a farcical trial did take place. Thanks to a campaign in his defense, organized by civil rights activists and Turkish and German intellectuals, he managed to leave Turkey and return to Germany early this year. Articles reporting on Akhanli's case can be found under Publications on this website.
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