By Hambersom Aghbashian

Dr. Dilek Kurban received her bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Bogazici University, Istanbul. She received her master’s in international affairs in human rights from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and her Jurist Doctor degree from Columbia Law School. Between 1999 and 2001, she worked as an associate political affairs officer at the Security Council Affairs Division of the UN Dept. of Political Affairs in NY. Currently, she is the program officer for the (TESEV)*, and an adjunct professor of law at the Political Science Department of Bogazici University. She is an editor for Agos, a Turkish-Armenian bilingual weekly and a founding member of the Diyarbakir Institute for Political and Social Research. She has published in the areas of minority and human rights in Turkey, international displacement in Turkey, and on European minority and human rights law.(1)

According to “”, Dilek Kurban is one of the Turkish intellectuals who have recognized the Armenian genocide.(2)

Dilek Kurban was criticized by “” an Anti-Genocide recognition source, which categorized her as one of the most prominent turncoats, because of her recognition of the Armenian Genocide.(3)

Talia Jebejian wrote on April 25, 2001, “Approximately 140 people, primarily of Armenian and Turkish descent, gathered to participate in A Psycho-spiritual and Educational Dialogue Between People of Armenian and Turkish Descent, sponsored by the Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress and Genocide (AASSSG) and co-sponsored by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) NY Chapter, The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and Fordham University. This open dialogue was held in commemoration of the 86th Anniversary of the Ottoman Turkish Genocide of the Armenians and was met with overwhelming success. Rational and intellectual dialogue was presented and exchanged between the panelists and audience members, resulting in a positive step toward reconciliation between Turkish citizens and Armenians.” She added a list of The facilitators of the program and The panelists participating in it. Dilek Kurban was mentioned as one of the participants.(4)

“”, wrote under “Background, Situation Analysis”: Turkey and its historic and legal predecessors have a longstanding track record of human rights violations…, Just in the last 100 years, widespread violations were committed in several different periods… The most notable ones were the Armenian genocide of 1915. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed or deported from the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917. The Republic of Turkey, even though it is a legal successor of the Ottoman Empire, never acknowledged the campaign of persecution of Armenians as genocide. In Dilek Kurban’s book “Reparations and Displacement in Turkey, Lessons Learned from the Compensation Law, Int. Center for Transitional Justice and LSE – Brookings, July 2012“, it is stated that “Although it can be noted that countries that have the responsibility for massive abuses effectively take on a huge financial and administrative burden by a formal recognition, this cannot be used as an argument to avoid such responsibility.”(5)

Under the title “JUDICIARY AND STATE BEHIND ALIENATION OF NON-MUSLIMS”, Today’s Zaman wrote on March 16 2009, “Turkey’s non-Muslim communities have been alienated, and it was done by the state and judiciary, said the writers of a new report revealing the facts behind the real estate ownership problems of non-Muslim foundations dating from the Ottoman period.” Zaman quoted Kezban Hatemi, the co-author of the report, titled “The Story of an Alien(ation): Real Estate Ownership Problems of Non-Muslim Foundations and Communities in Turkey,” saying “In the 1930s, it became evident that pushing or directly forcing the few non-Muslims left in Turkey to abandon the country was an explicit state policy,” the report was released as part of the (TESEV)*program. Dilek Kurban, co-author of the report, said that when Turkey became a candidate for European Union membership, it became evident that it was not possible to sustain this state policy toward non-Muslim communities. Kurban started filing lawsuits with the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting avenues within the Turkish legal system.”It was no longer easy for the bureaucracy to take over the assets of non-Muslim foundations, and the government was expected to take legal action to return or pay indemnity for seized assets,” Kurban said.(6)


*TESEV : Democratization Program of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation

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