By Hambersom Aghbashian

Murat Paker (born in 1962), is a Turkish Psychotherapist, Clinical Psychologist (Ph.D.-1999) and a Medical doctor (M.D.- 1992). Currently he is Assistant Professor at the Psychology Department of Istanbul, Bilgi University on a full-time basis, the director of the graduate program in clinical psychology at the same university; also a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor on a part-time basis.(1)(2)

In December 2008, 200 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 brief text of the apology is “ 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.” Murat Paker was one of the Signatories.(3)

According to a press release by the “Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress and Genocide” (AASSSG), “…. Approximately 140 people, primarily of Armenian and Turkish descent, gathered to participate in A Psychospiritual and Educational Dialogue Between People of Armenian and Turkish Descent, sponsored by (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. The facilitators were Dr. Anie Kalayjian, a Psychology Professor at Fordham University, NY, and Dr. Murat Paker, a Clinical Psychologist practicing in NY. Dr. Murat Paker reminded the audience that no one on the panel was a noted historian or established scholar on the issue in question; rather they were all “concerned individuals” seeking reconciliation, friendship, solidarity and reparation for what happened in 1915 and afterward. Dr. Paker added that unlike other massacres, this was pre-designed, whole scale destruction campaign, determined by a government. Ottoman government was first-degree responsible of this deliberate mass destruction of its Armenian citizens. On all accounts, this act of destruction is totally indefensible and inexcusable. And it should be recognized as such.” (4)

According to “www.tallarmeniantale.com”, Murat Paker and many other Turkish intellectuals, historians, scholars, Human Rights activists, writers, physicians, etc. where criticized for being friendly to the Armenians Genocide issue and recognizing it, and as Turkish scholars they agree with the Armenians that what happened in 1915 to the Armenian is a Genocide. (5)

Under the title “Recognition of the Armenian Genocide”, “aghet1915.wordpress.com” wrote the following “The fact of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman government has been documented, recognized, and affirmed in the form of media and eyewitness reports, laws, resolutions, and statements by many historians, states and international organizations.” It listed the names of the Turkish intellectuals (historians, academicians, writers, journalists, human rights activists) and others who have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Halil Berktay , Taner Akçam, Murat Belge, Ahmet Insel, Ercin Kursat Ahler, Ali Ertem, Engin Akarli, Koray Caliskan, Dilek Kurban, Yunus Tuncel, Ugur Ümit Üngör, Murat Paker and many others are mentioned in the list. (6)

Dr. Paker has been writing (psycho-political) columns for a leading web-based newspaper, T24, for a year now. The title of his article published on April 19, 2005 was “Why is it difficult, but important, to confront Armenian Genocide?” (7)

On May 14, 2015, a large academic panel titled “Talking about the Armenian Genocide in its centennial anniversary” was organized at Istanbul Bilgi University by a group of Turkish intellectual including Dr. Murat Paker. Dr. Paker was the moderator and one of the 12 presenters in the panel. (8)

__________________

Thanks to Dr. Murat Paker for reviewing this article. (H.A.)

1- http://www.muratpaker.com/hello.htm
2- www.bilgi.edu.tr/site_media/uploads/staff/murat-paker/
3- http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=200_prominent_Turks_apologize_for_great_
4- http://www.atour.com/~aahgn/news/20010425aa.html
5- http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/TURKISH-SCHOLARS.htm
6- https://aghet1915.wordpress.com/recognition/
7- http://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/murat-paker/1915-ermeni-soykirimi-ile-yuzlesmek-neden-zor-ama-onemli,11709
8- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU-ZCbuDa5E&feature=youtu.be

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