By Hambersom Aghbashian
Dr. Ömer Madra (born in 1945 in Istanbul ) is a Turkish author, academician, journalist, and radio programmer. He is the founder of the “Public Radio”. He graduated from “Robert College” in 1964, and from the Faculty of Political Science at Ankara University in 1968. He earned his PhD degree in 1977 and went on to research human rights in the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. His PhD theses was entitled “The European Convention of Human Rights and the Right of Individual Application”. His study “Migrant Workers and International Law” was published in English. In 1982, Dr. Madra resigned from his academic post and started to work as journalist for Milliyet newspaper for a period of two years, then he continued his career as a journalist, in different lines, and founded his own magazines. In addition, since the 1995/1996 academic year at Istanbul Bilgi University ‘in which he served as a lecturer in International Relations and International Law branch and retired in 2012. He currently works at Açık Radyo (Open Radio), a radio station that he co-founded in 1995 and has become one of Turkey’s top environmentalist media outlets. Dr. Madre, has been working for years in order to attract attention to the global warming and climate change issues. His book “Why cannot wait More Global Warming and Climate Crisis” has been published by Agora Library in 2007.
January 19, 2008, was the first anniversary of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s assassination. Many commemoration were organized and took place in Turkey, Germany, USA, and England. The main commemoration took place in front of the Armenian newspaper Agos in Istanbul where Dink was shot to death. One of the commemoration events which took place in Istanbul was bringing the work of late Hrant Dink to life with the voices of Memet Ali Alabora, Okan Bayulgen, Haluk Bilginer, Yetkin Dikinciler, Halil Ergun, Pakrat Estukyan, Arsen Gurzap, Banu Guven, Nejat Işler, Tuncel Kurtiz, Fikret Kuskan, Lale Mansur, Meral Okay, Dolunay Soysert, Nur Surer, Cetin Tekindor, Deniz Turkali, Serra Yilmaz and Ömer Madra.. (1)
The “I Apologize Campaign” is an initiative that was launched in December 2008 in Turkey by numerous journalists, politicians, and professors that calls for an apology for what they considered as the “Great Catastrophe that Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915”, through a form of a signature campaign. That which is an expression used to avoid using “Armenian Genocide” and the consequences of using it. The campaign stated “My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers. I apologize to them.” The campaign was signed by 30,000 signatories by January 2009. The campaign, which some interpreted as an indirect reference to the Armenian Genocide, created widespread outrage in Turkish society. Dr. Ömer Madra was one of the notable signatories. (2)
According to Today’s Zaman, September 26, 2014, “A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning in the harshest terms what they define as expressions that include ‘open hatred and hostility’ towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks. A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace. The statement said ‘The revolutions history and history textbooks should be collected immediately, with an apology issued to everyone and particularly to Armenian students.” The signees said textbooks in schools should seek to encourage feelings of peace, solidarity and living together over inciting hatred towards different religious and cultural groups. Dr. Ömer Madra was one of the many most respected Turkish politicians who signed it. (3)