By Hambersom Aghbashian
Yavuz Baydar (born 1956, Istanbul -Turkey), is a Turkish journalist, media critic, author of music and cinema. He completed his high school education in Eskiºehir -Turkey, in 1976, and his higher education in Stockholm, (Stockholm University – Faculty of Cybernetics and Informatics) . A journalist since 1979. He has been a radio reporter, news presenter, producer, TV host, foreign correspondent, debater , and in recent years, a news ombudsman for the daily Sabah. Baydar also contributes as a commentator for the BBC World, Swedish Radio-TV, NPR, Russian TV and Al Jazeera. He is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse. He is a former president of the World Organization of News Ombudsmen and a member of the World Editors Forum, the Committee of Concerned Journalists and the UNESCO National Committee of Communications.(1)(2)
According to “ www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/” (Apr. 25, 2013), Yavuz Baydar wrote that Turkey should get ahead of the 2015 centennial commemoration of the Armenian genocide by acknowledging it, which would be a game-changer in Turkish politics. (3).
Yavus Beayder was also one of the Turkish intellectual who signed a Petition Against Denialist Exhibition in Denmark , reminding the Denmark’s authorities that by giving the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit”, they support their policy of suppression and intimidation. And that their support constitutes an obstacle to democratization efforts in Turkey today. (4)
In his article “Turkey: Is Ankara Ready for April 24, 2015?” Yigal Schleifer wrote on April 24, 2013 “Today’s Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar , who suggests Turkey has had a kind of glasnost* when it comes to confronting some of the difficult issues of that past, offers his take on this dynamic: Turkey’s glasnost has been instrumental to defeat the taboo of the last century in Turkey. Today, on April 24, people will gather in Adana, Ýzmir, Ankara, Batman, Bodrum, Dersim, Diyarbekir and Ýstanbul. Every year, the number of participants has increased: from 700 in 2010 to 3,000 last year. But the question is whether Turkish glasnost, if successful in sorting out the Kurdish peace process, will also help lead to a proper apology from Ankara in 2015.(5)
Prof. Osheen Keshishian (Publisher – The Armenian Observer) mentioned in his editorial “Changes are coming Slowly”, June 9, 2013, “After almost a century of silence, some Turkish historians, writers and journalists have seen the light and have become much more vocal and have come out to correct Turkish history. Some cautiously and other more abrasively, starting a movement to write unwittingly the facts, the truth of their history, which was altered and disoriented, and to seek justice for the Armenians, the Kurds, and Assyrians. Many Turks are writing in Turkish without mincing words and spread the truth. Maybe their conscience bothered them for decades for not telling the truth. Obviously, times have changed and the internet, exchange of students and writers, twitter bloggers, and other modern devices, have made a dent in their minds and hearts.” Yavuz Baydar is one of those who were mentioned in Prof. Keshishian’s list of Turkish intellectuals.(6)
In his article “All the heroes deserve remembrance” in “The Independent-March 7, 2014”, Robert Fisk wrote ‘Many survivors of the Armenian genocide have told me of courageous Turks who saved the lives of their families’, and talking about a program on Turkish television (February 3, 2001, broadcast under the title “CevizKabugu”, Walnut Shell, a six-hour program of critical inquiry on the Armenian Genocide), he mentioned that “an extraordinary event took place. A Turkish writer and historian lectured his people on the facts – the reality – of the Armenian Holocaust of 1915. A brave man, Dr Akcam. So too,Yavuz Baydar, who in the same day’s Turkish Milliyet newspaper wrote that “he was always convinced of the necessity to show courage and reprove Talat and his company for their misdeeds… These men are our Pol Pots, Berias and Stalins, and the sooner we call these crimes to account, the better our chances of redeeming ourselves from this scourge of being accused of genocide.” (7)
*Glasnost: a Soviet policy permitting open discussion of political and social issues and freer dissemination of news and information.