By Hambersom Aghbashian
Orhan Miroğlu (born in Midyat, Mardin, Turkey) is a Turkish politician of Kurdish descent, a journalist and author, and a columnist for the Taraf daily newspaper as well as Today’s Zaman. Miroðlu spent his youth in Batman and Diyarbakir, where he was involved in the democratic youth movement in the years 1970-1980. He graduated from Diyarbakir Institute of Education, Department of Literature ( Turkish language and literature) in 1980, and served as a teacher for a short time. After September 1980 military coup in Turkey, he was arrested and was sentences to 15 years imprisonment for being a member of Turkey’s Kurdistan Socialist party, but was released in 1988, and was banned from politics, many times, for almost 20 years. Nevertheless, he had a long-term policies in various Kurdish parties. Miroğlu survived the 1992 assassination of Musa Anter, which he says was carried out by the Turkish Gendarmerie’s JITEM, (Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism). Orhan Miroğlu published many books including “Çapraz Ateşte İki Halk: Türkler ve Kürtler – Yeni Jeopolitika ve Nasyonalizm (Beybûn, 2005),” “ Dıjwar – Onlara Dair Her Şey (Avesta Yayınları, 2004),” and many others. Miroğlu also serves as the collective memory of history and coordinator of the Institute of Strategic Thinking, and received many death threats.
Under the title “Kurds Challenge Turkish Nation-State,” www.armeniapedia.org mentioned about Kurdish intellectuals who have recognized the Armenian Genocide, where it said “One of them is Orhan Miroğlu, a Kurdish intellectual and another victim of the Diyarbakir Prison who was shot and seriously wounded during the assassination of the legendary Kurdish writer, poet, and activist Musa Anter in Diyarbakir in 1992. In an interview with a journalist from the daily Birgun, in response to what he thought of the ‘Armenian Genocide allegations,’ Miroğlu said: The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation. It is a fact even acknowledged by the Turkish Republic’s founding ideology of Kemalism [in the past]. Even Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was quoted in General Harbord’s report on the Armenian Question to have said ‘we guarantee that no other Turkish atrocity will take place against Armenians.’ The CUP (Committee of Union and Progress) planned a genocide targeting Armenians. Kurds were the accomplices of this genocide. Kurds should apologize to Armenians for the genocide in the name of friendship and peace. I, as a Kurdish intellectual, apologize to Armenians. In order to come to terms with our past we have to apologize [to Armenians].” (1)
According to www.mirak-weissbach.de , “Orhan Miroğlu, a journalist of the left-liberal newspaper Taraf, who comes from Mardin, wrote an article entitled, ‘1915, Denial and the Kurds’, on the anniversary of the genocide in 2011. In it, he went into the reasons for the establishment of the Hamidian Regiments and mentioned their participation on the 1894-1896 massacres of the Armenians. Miroğlu then comes to his actual subject, the genocide against the Armenians and Assyrians as well as the role of the Kurds: ‘In 1915 Kurds played an important role in the massacres of Armenians and Assyrians. It is obvious that there was not a role of ordinary hired killers. The Ittihadists hadn’t even a deliberate plan for Assyrians.’ Miroglu critizes the position of Kurdish intellectuals because they deny the Kurds‘ complicity: ‘We cannot say that Kurdish intellectuals displayed a good performance as regards recognition of their complicity in the crime. Our intellectuals attributed the massacres by the [Kurdish] tribes to their being provoked by the Ittihadists. This is however not correct: The massacres directly committed by Kurds cannot be accounted for by simply saying that they were obeying orders. Miroğlu criticizes that the Kurds evaded the genocide issue for a long time: Therefore Kurdish intellectuals and politicians, until very recently, instead of facing the truth about the mass extermination of Armenians and Assyrians living in Kurdistan, found it more convenient to stick to stories of Armenians and Assyrians ‘saved’ [by Kurds].”(2)
According to Today’s Zaman, Armenians who lost their lives in the Armenian displacement that took place in 1915, during the final days of the Ottoman Empire, will be commemorated through a variety of events for a second time this year (2011). The first commemoration ceremony held in 2010, 95 years after the incident, lingered on a message that this was a hurt that belonged to both to Turks and Armenians. This year’s commemoration ceremonies will be held in İstanbul’s Taksim Square, Ankara, İzmir, Diyarbakır and Bodrum. Victims of the displacement will be remembered in silence with carnations and candles. During the ceremonies the “duduk,” an Armenian musical instrument, will be played during a reading of the names of victims. The ceremonies are being organized by the Say Stop to Racism and Nationalism! (Dur De!) initiative. Spokesman Cengiz Algan said what took place in 1915 is “a hurt we all share.” “We need to confront the realities that have been hidden by the official ideology for 100 years,” he said. A statement with the headline, “This pain is ours,” has been opened up for signatures. More than 100 people including intellectuals, writers and journalists including Ahmet İnsel, Ali Bayramoğlu, Alper Görmüş, Bekir Berat Özipek, Cafer Solgun, Ferhat Kentel, Gülten Kaya, Leyla İpekçi, Mehmet Bekaroğlu, Oral Çalışlar, Orhan Miroğlu, Oya Baydar, Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ümit Kardaş have already signed the statement.(3)