By Hambersom Aghbashian
Hüseyin Ali Nesin (born in 1957 in Istanbul) is a Turkish mathematician. After graduating from Saint Joseph Lisesi (Junior high school) in 1973, he completed his high school study at College Champittet, Lausanne – Switzerland where he finished in 1977. Then he gained his degree in mathematics at Universite Paris 7, in 1981, and earned his PhD degree in Mathematics from Yale University, New Haven, USA in 1985. He was a visiting Assistant Professor at Notre Dame University(1987-1988), and Assistant Professor at University of California at Irvine (1988-1991), and then Associate Professor (1991-1996). Since 1996, he is a Professor, Chair of Mathematics Department at Istanbul Bilgi University. Professor Nesin has published many Academic Books and Monographs, Undergraduate and Graduate Level Mathematics Books and others. Also has published many research articles. He is the editor in chief of (Matematik Dünyasi -The World of Mathematics), Director of the Corporation of the Turkish Mathematical Society , Founder of the Nesin Mathematics Village at Sirince*, Member of the advisory board of the Hrant Dink Foundation and many others.(1)
Under the title “Intellectuals Solidarize with Hrant Dink”, http://www.bianet.org” wrote, “A number of leading Turkish intellectuals have launched a new civil disobedience action declaring themselves accomplices of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink whose most recent prosecution in a series launched by Turkish courts is based on opinions he expressed in an interview with the Reuters news agency. The action comes in the wake of an Amnesty International (AI) statement on Dink that said the human rights watchdog organization was dismayed at recent reports that yet another case had been opened against Dink on charges of “denigrating Turkishness” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The AI warned that if Dink was arrested on any of the charges leveled against him, he would be declared a ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ on the international arena.” Professor Ali Nesin was one of the intellectuals who signed the civil disobedience action. Dink has been shot dead (January 19, 2007) in front of the offices of Agos newspaper which he founded.(2)
In December 2008, two hundred prominent Turkish intellectuals released an apology for the “great catastrophe of 1915”. This was a clear reference to the Armenian Genocide, a term still too sensitive to use so openly. The signatories also announced a website related to this apology, and called on others to visit the site and sign the apology as well. The complete, brief text of the apology says “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 and sisters. I apologize to them.” Ali Nesin was one of the Turkish professors who has signed the petition. (3)
On September 26, 2014, Today’s Zaman wrote “A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning 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. 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. Ali Nesin was one of the intellectuals who signed it.(4)
* The Nesin Mathematics Village is a small village of about 13,5 acres. It is owned by the Nesin Foundation and is a place where young and old learn, teach, and think about mathematics in peaceful remoteness. Unpretentious and unostentatious, the houses made out of rock, straw and clay give off a simple welcoming air.