By Hambersom Aghbashian
Fikret Adanýr (born Oct. 3, 1941 in Foca, Turkey) is a Turkish professor of history and philology. He studied English Philology at the University of Istanbul(1962-1964), worked as a Turkish Language Instructor in Vermont, USA(1964). During the years (1965 -1971), he studied English Philology, History and Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt am Main (M.A. in English Literature), then studied Slavic Languages (Russian and Bulgarian) (1971-73) and completed his post-graduate studies and research at University of Frankfurt am Main (PhD in History, 1973-77). He held many academic positions where he served as Research Assistant (East European History), University of Frankfurt am Main(1978-79), Assistant Lecturer (East European History), University of Giessen(1979-84), Assistant Lecturer (History Department), Free University of Berlin(1984-86), Professor for Southeast European History (with special focus on Ottoman-Turkish History), Ruhr University Bochum(1986 to Present), and visiting professor, Sabanci University, Istanbul (October 2002-February 2003). He is the author of many books and has a very long list of published books.(1)
Prof. Fikret Adanir participated in the Conference entitled The Armenians during the Collapse of the Ottoman Empire that was held at Istanbul’s Bogazici University in September 2005. In his speech, he said, “a Turkish government may have to accept genocide accusation one day due to impositions. This may please some circles. But, I don’t think a concession made as a result of such impositions will be beneficial for the future of Turkish-Armenian relations.” Adanir also said that he was using the expression ‘Armenian Genocide’ in his academic works, and added, “the dimension of the 1915-16 relocation is far beyond than mass killings. A whole nation, regardless of whether they were women, men, elderly or children, were relocated and died on the roads. Their properties were seized, while those who survived this incident were not allowed to return.” (2)
The Danish Royal Library has, together with the Armenian embassy, held an exhibition on “The Armenian genocide and the Scandinavian reaction”. Due to protests from the Turkish embassy, the library’s director, Erland Kolding Nielsen, has agreed to hold an alternative exhibition titled, “The so-called Armenian genocide.” This decision has caused widespread debate and 37 Turkish intellectuals, including Fikrat Adanýr, Taner Akçam, Cengiz Aktar, Murat Belge, Baskýn Oran and Ýpek and Oral Çalýþlar, have in an open letter in Dec.2012 in Denmark’s leading daily Berlingske, called on the library’s director to reconsider his decision. They mentioned in their letter “By giving the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit”, you support their policy of suppression and intimidation. The support that you are extending to a regime that has made opposition to confronting history and denial of the truth a fundamental principle is equivalent to supporting a regime of apartheid. We want to remind you that your support constitutes an obstacle to democratization efforts in Turkey today.”(3)
In his research “The Reality and Relevance of the Armenian Genocide”, 1999, Prof Richard Hovannisian (UCLA), mentioned that “Fikret Adanir explains the lack of readiness in Turkish society to face the truth of the Armenian Genocide as being in large measure is the result of the “official history” taught and propagated in the Republic of Turkey. He offers an overview of Turkish nationalist historiography and how it shapes public opinion.”(4)
According to ESI (European Stability Institute), Turkish historian Halil Berktay, a professor at the prestigious Sabanci University in Istanbul told ESI in early 2009, “Every country has foundation myths. Turkey’s, however, thanks largely to the perseverance of Kemalist dogma, has been virtually uncontested – at least till the 2000s. Turkey was a late nation state. The hegemony of state Kemalism allowed foundation myths to survive longer than in most nation states. He added “ A few Turkish intellectuals, such as Taner Akcam or Fikret Adanýr, addressed the Armenian issue in the 1990s. But they were isolated from Turks in Turkey. The press did not cover their views. Marginal journals or printing houses printed 1500 copies of one of their books, for example.(5)
According to www.newworldencyclopedia.org, (Oct 16, 2006), “Some Turkish intellectuals also support the genocide thesis despite opposition from Turkish nationalists; these include Ragip Zarakolu, Ali Ertem, Taner Akçam, Halil Berktay, Fatma Muge Gocek and Fikret Adanir.The reasons are: First, they cite the fact that the organization members were criminals, and that those criminals were specifically sent to escort the Armenians. This is regarded as sufficient evidence of the government’s criminal intent. Second, the fact that Armenians living outside the war zone were also removed. Thirdly, it is argued that the thesis of simple relocation is flawed due to the absence of the preparations which resettlement would require. Fikret Adanir suggested that over a million lost their lives during the events.(6)
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, which were recently exposed by the newspapers Agos and Taraf. The two newspapers recently published reports on hateful remarks targeting Armenians in the textbooks used in history classes, according to Today’s Zaman.
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. Prof. Fikret Adanir was one of the academics who have participated in releasing the statement.(7)
3- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/a-controversial genocide.aspx? pageID=238&nID= 37144 &News CatID =396
7- Turkish Intellectuals Condemn Anti-Armenian Textbooks. Asbarez.com.Sept. 30th, 2014
I commend these Turkish intellectuals who at risk of their lives condemn their government for not admitting the truth about their country’s past and present horrific acts.