By Hambersom Aghbashian
Fikret Baskaya, is a Professor of Economic Development and International Relations and the founder and chairman of the “Turkey and Middle East Forum Foundation”. He is the author of several books and articles on development economics. He also wrote a regular newspaper opinion column. Dr. Baskaya was imprisoned from March 1994 to July 1995 under Article 8 of Turkey´s Anti-Terror Law for writing a book titled “The Bankruptcy of [the] Paradigm”.
On June 1, 1999, Prof. Fikret Baskaya published an article entitled “A Question of History?” in the daily newspaper Özgür Bakis, in which he questioned the viability of the Turkish state’s approach towards the Kurdish problem following the arrest of Abdullah Öcalan.
As a result, he was indicted under the same article of the Anti-Terror Law for “disseminating separatist propaganda through the press”, and was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment and a fine on 13 June 2000. He was released from prison in June 2002 after serving one year. He was finally acquitted in 2005. (1)
A day after journalist Hrant Dink’s murder on 19 January 2007, writer Temel Demirer read a press statement in central Ankara, saying that the journalist had not only been killed for being Armenian, but also because he had spoken of an “Armenian genocide.” He continued saying “There is a genocide in our history, it is called the Armenian genocide……”. The statement was signed by Fikret Başkaya, İsmail Beşikçi, Yüksel Akkaya, Mehmet Özer, Necmettin Salaz, Ahmet Telli and more than forty other Turkish intellectuals. (2)
Writer Dr. Fikret Baskaya, journalists Barcin Yinanc, Ahmet Altan of Radikal Newspaper, Ali Bayramoglu of Yeni Safak newspaper, Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Mustafa Aykol, Cengiz Candar, Ismail Besickci, Baskin Oran, Yavuz Baydar, Ayse Gunaysu, Zeunep Tozduman, and many others , criticized the government for not dealing with the Armenian Genocide. (3)
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. The text of the apology was “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.” Fikret Baskaya was one of the prominent Turkish intellectuals who signed the apology. (4)
According to “http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com”, On April 24, 2010, as genocide commemoration events were being held one after the other in different locations in Istanbul, a groundbreaking two-day symposium on the Armenian Genocide began at the Princess Hotel in Ankara. The conference did not simply deal with the historical aspect of 1915; for the first time in Turkey, a substantial part of the proceedings was dedicated to topics such as confiscated Armenian property, reparations, and the challenges of moving forward and confronting the past in Turkey, etc.. Sait Cetinoglu, Mahmut Konuk, Fikret Baskaya, Baskin Oran, Ismail Besikci, Ragip Zarakolu and many others participated and had expressed their ideas.(5)
According to “The Armenian Observer” editorial, “As We See It”, June 9, 2013, by Prof. Osheen Keshishian, “After almost a century of silence, dying the past few decades, some Turkish historians, writers and journalists have seen the light and have become much more vocal and have come out to correct Turkish history, some cautiously and other more abrasively, starting a movement to write unwittingly the facts, the truth of their history, which was altered and disoriented, and to seek justice for the Armenians, the Kurds, and Assyrians.” Fikret Baskaya is listed as one those intellectuals who had the courage to write about those issues. (6)
3- www.thearmenianobserver.com, 9 June 2013