By Hambersom Aghbashian
Dr. Nedim Gürsel (born April 5, 1951, in Gaziantep) is a Turkish writer. After graduating from Galatasaray High School in 1970, he studied at the Sorbonne. In 1974, he graduated from the Sorbonne’s Department of Modern French Literature. In 1979, he received his doctorate in comparative literature after completing his dissertation on Louis Aragon and Nazim Hikmet. He returned to Turkey but the unrest there in 1980 persuaded him to go back to France. In 1976, Gürsel published “A Summer without End”, a collection of stories. For that received the Prize of the Turkish Language Academy. After the 1980 Turkish coup d’état, a military tribunal charged that Gürsel’s collection had slandered the Turkish army. In 1983, the Turkish military censored Gürsel’s novel “The First Woman”. Both books were unavailable in Turkey for several years. In 2008, Gürsel published “The Daughters of Allah”. The book prompted the Turkish authorities to charge him with insulting religion. In June 2009, a court in Istanbul acquitted him of the charge. Dr.Gürsel is a founding member of the International Parliament of Writers. Today, a citizen of France, he teaches contemporary Turkish literature at the Sorbonne, and works as the research director on Turkish Literature at the International French Science Research Center (CNRS). He published a long list of books, most of them available on Amazon. 50 of his books are on Goodreads with 766 ratings, and his most popular book is Allah’in Kizlari. Dr.Gürsel received many awards.
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. This is the complete, brief text of the apology: 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. Dr. Gürsel was one of the Turkish intellectuals who signed the apology. (1)
On May 24, 2009, Armenian Genocide Resource Center published Dr. Nedim Gürsel’s interview with Euronews, where he made a very important statement concerning the recognition of the Armenian genocide saying that “I think that Turkey should make a real work of memory. As regards the petition which I signed, I think it’s a good thing, the Armenian issue remains taboo in the collective memory of Turks.” Also according to “rehmat1.com” during the same interview Dr. Nedim Gürsel “suggested to over 99% Turkish Muslim population to forget their Islamic past and accept their past mistakes, such as, the Armenian genocide,….. (2)
Thanks to Dr. Nedim Gürsel for reviewing this article.