By Hambersom Aghbashian
Ipek Çalislar (born in 1947 in Istanbul), is a Turkish prominent journalist and writer. After finishing her high school (Üsküdar American High School), she received her education at Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences. She lived in Hamburg-Germany, 1990-1992, where she researched about ‘Homosexuality’ and ‘women and Islam ‘ issues. In 2003 she visited Iran with her husband where they met Iranian intellectuals and wrote their book “Iran: A Man Dictatorship” in 2004. Ipek Çalislar has worked at the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily for 12 years and served at the Association for Education and Supporting Women Candidates (KA-DER), which defends equal representation of women and men in all fields of life, also at PEN Turkey. Her first literary book “Latife Hanim” has been translated into 11 languages, including Bulgarian, Arabic, German and Albanian. She wrote also “Halide Edip: Biography of Sigma Women (2008).” (1)(2).
Ipek Çalislar was tried for her bestselling biography of Atatürk’s first wife, Latife Hanim, under Article 5816 of the Penal Code for a passage that described the founder of the Turkish Republic escaping a life threatening situation in the guise of a woman and she was acquitted.(3)
A group of Turkish intellectuals signed a petition against a Denialist Exhibit in Denmark, an exhibition which was planned by the Turkish embassy to support their point of view concerning the Armenian Genocide. “Don’t Stand Against Turkey’s Democratization and Confrontation with its History! ” was the message to the Royal Library of Denmark who has given the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit” in response to the Armenian Genocide exhibition. Ipek Çalislar was one of the Turkish intellectuals who signed the petition.(4)
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.” Ipek Çalisla was one of the intellectual who signed the petition which in few days was signed by over 13,000 signatories.(5)
According to http://setasarmenian.blogspot.com, under the title “24 April, the anniversary of the 1915s events, will be remembered this year in Turkey, too.”, Taraf Newspaper of 20th April 2010 wrote ” A group of intellectuals, among them Ali Bayramoğlu, Ferhat Kentel, Neşe Düzel, Perihan Mağden and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, for the first time in Turkey, will commemorate this year on 24 April as the anniversary of the events of 1915, under the leader-ship of “Say Stop!” group. The commemoration will start in front of the tram station in Taksim Square. The group will be dressing in black and carry photos of massacred Armenian intellectuals who were deported from that station.” the following abstracts are from the text of the commemoration activity, “This pain is OUR pain. This mourning is for ALL of US. In 1915, when our population was just 13 million, 1,5 to 2 million Armenians were living in these lands…. In April 24, 1915 it was started “to send them”. We lost them. They are no longer available. They have not even graves. But the “Great Pain” of the “Great Disaster”, with its utmost gravity EXISTS in our pain”. The text was signed also by Ipek Çalislar.(6)
2- http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipek Çalislar