By Hambersom Aghbashian

 Şanar  Yurdatapan was born in Susurluk in Turkey in 1941. He became famous as a composer and song writer during the 1970’s. In addition to his contribution to popular music, Şanar  has written music for films and plays. Following the military coup in 1980, he left Turkey and lived in exile in Germany for 12 years. The Turkish Military regime stripped him from his citizenship in 1983. He returned to Turkey in December 1991 and got his citizenship back in 1992.  Şanar  has been the spokesperson of the ‘Initiative for Freedom of Expression’, leading a civil disobedience action, since 1995.(1)

“Sari Aghjik”- translated into Turkish  “Sari Gelin” is an Armenian song which was spread in Armenian populated Turkish provinces in 19th century. The offspring of Armenian Genocide survivors sing the song in different countries of the world. The structure of the melody, base, and lads are Armenian. The word syllables correspond to the structure of the melody only in the Armenian version, whereas there is a mismatch in the Turkish and Azerbaijani translations. The Turks as usual are trying to wipe off this piece from the Armenian heritage in Turkey by depicting it as a part of Turkish culture. In 2004 – Turkish composer Şanar Yurdatapan, defending the cultural rights of the Armenians in Turkey said “The song ‘Sari Gelin,’ which is popular in Turkey, is Armenian.” (2)

According to ,On Dec.26,2006, A number of leading Turkish intellectuals have launched a new civil disobedience action declaring themselves accomplices of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink whose last prosecution in a series launched by Turkish courts was based on opinions he expressed in an interview with the Reuters news agency. Among those who originally signed the “301 times No! No Limits on Freedom of Thought” campaign, hosted at the website, are Prof. Dr. Ali Nesin, Prof. Dr. Gülay Toksöz, Prof. Dr. Kadir Erdin, Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı, Prof. Dr. Baskın Oran, Doç. Dr. Mithat Sancar, journalist and writer Şeyhmus Diken, journalists Sinan Kara, Adnan Gerger,  Bahattin Arı, authors Nihat Ziyalan and Ayşe Günaysu  and musician and free speech activist Şanar Yurdatapan. Many other prominent academics, writers, journalists, and human rights activists have signed onto the campaign. Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007 in front of the offices of Agos newspaper which he founded. (3)

In response to official statements that the Royal Library of Denmark has agreed “to balance” an Armenian Genocide exhibition by allowing the Turkish government to mount its own “alternative” exhibit, a group of Turkish citizens-including academics, writers, Artists, former MPs, and mayors-have signed an open letter to the Royal Library, asking them not to Stand Against Turkey’s Democratization and Confrontation with its History! Şanar Yurdatapan was one of the signatories.(4)

According to “Today’s Zaman”, September 26, 2014, “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. 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. Şanar Yurdatapan was one of the many most respected Turkish Human Rights activists who signed it.(5)

According to, 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 as Ali Bayramoğlu, Ferhat Kentel, Neşe Düzel, Perihan Mağden, 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”. ?anar Yurdatapan, was one of the Turkish intellectuals who signed the text.(6)



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