By Hambersom Aghbashian
Metin Arditi (born February 2, 1945 in Ankara, Turkey) is a French-speaking Swiss writer of Turkish origin. He left Turkey at an early age and after spending eleven years in a Swiss boarding school in Lausanne, he studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in physics and a postgraduate degree in nuclear engineering. He continued his studies at Stanford Business School, where he got an MBA. Metin Arditi is a citizen of Switzerland and Turkey and lives in Geneva, where he is involved in the cultural and artistic life, and was the Chairman of the “Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (O.S.R.),” from 2000 to 2013. Arditi is a member of the Strategic Council of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where he taught physics, economics, management and creative writing. In 1988, he created the Arditi Foundation which awards fifteen annual prizes to graduates of the University of Geneva and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The Arditi Foundation has purchased and offered to the University of Geneva a landmark theater and Auditorium. Metin Arditi is also the founder of “The Instruments of Peace Foundation“ and he is a member of the Foundation Board of the Music Conservatory of Geneva. In December 2012, he was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and in June 2014, UNESCO appointed him a Special Envoy. In September 2014, he created the Arditi Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue. Metin Arditi is a writer of intimacy. All his books deal with the same themes: the difficulty of parenthood, loneliness and exile. He has published a long list a books and received many literary awards.
On November 2, 2015, at the initiative of Yerevan State University (YSU) International Cooperation Office, famous Swiss writer Metin Arditi delivered a lecture headed “The style of the writer as a means to understand the interlocutor.” Mr Metin Arditi presented a project created last year. This project is aimed at the establishment of a dialogue between Jews and Arabs and the fiction literature was chosen as the best way for the communication. The reason for his interest to the subject, as he said, is that he was born into a Jewish family. And being born in Turkey, the relations between Armenia and Turkey are also in the center of his interest. Concerning the Armenian genocide, Mr. Arditi said “My mother was born and raised in the region, where Armenians and Jews lived together. My grandmother told me what had happened in 1915. When people ask me what happened then, I do not need to scroll through a history book: my family has told me everything, and the region where my mother was born, exists no more today”.(1)
According to Turkey’s oppositional Cumhuriyet periodical, November 16, 2016 issue, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and writer Metin Arditi has addressed a letter to President of Turkey Recep Tayyib Erdogan, calling on him to normalize Turkey’s relations with Armenia. Metin Arditi’s letter has been posted in French and Turkish in L’Hebdo magazine, which is a Swiss magazine with the largest readership. The Goodwill Ambassador stresses the fact that the absence of diplomatic relations with Armenia, the closed borders, the suspended Protocols signed in Zurich and, most importantly, the denial of the Armenian Genocide are causing great harm to Turkey’s international reputation, and this is especially the reason why the doors to the European Union (EU) remain closed for Turkey. According to Aditi, Turkey can move towards normalization of relations by taking small steps, opening the borders, passing the Protocols, establishing a commission and waiting for the results of their studies, “But the most daring step that Turkey can take today is to recognize the genocide. That decision will bring you great glory and honor,” writes the Goodwill Ambassador.(2)
Thanks to Prof. Osheen Keshishian, (Publisher – The Armenian Observer), for adding writer Metin Arditi to his previously refereed and recommended list of Turkish intellectuals. (H.A.)