By Hambersom Aghbashian

Perihan Mağden  (born in 1960 in Istanbul) is a Turkish writer. After graduating from Robert College of Istanbul, she studied psychology at Boğaziçi University. She is One of the most famous writers in young Turkish literature. Perihan Mağden  was a columnist for Taraf and in addition to writing editorial columns for Turkish newspapers (including Radikal, 2001 – 2008), she has also published fictional novels and a collection of poetry. Her novels have been translated into 19 languages including English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek and Russian. Mağden is one of several journalists and writers charged for “threatening Turkey’s unity or the integrity of the state. She was tried and acquitted for calling for opening the possibility of conscientious objection to mandatory military service in Turkey, and after the assassination of Hrant Dink, she was offered security protection. (1)

According to armeniapedia.org, “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 brief 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.” Perihan Mağden was one of the Turkish intellectuals who signed the apology. (2)

Taraf Newspaper of 20th April 2010 wrote “…. the anniversary of the 1915s events, this year will be remembered in Turkey, too. The commemoration organized by the “Say Stop!” Group, will start and held at Taksim tram stop. A group of intellectuals, which will be joined also by intellectuals as Ali Bayramoğlu, Ferhat Kentel, Neşe Düzel, Perihan Mağden and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, for the first time in Turkey will commemorate this year on 24 April as the anniversary of the events of 1915.” “This pain is OUR pain. This mourning is for ALL of US.” was part of the groups campaign.(3)

According to Today’s Zaman daily, a group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning in the harshest terms what they define as expressions that include “open hatred and hostility” towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks, which were recently exposed by the newspapers Agos and Taraf. A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace. The signees said textbooks in schools should seek to encourage feelings of peace, solidarity and living together over inciting hatred towards different religious and cultural groups, Akçam said. He further wrote: “Standing with integrity in the face of history is the prerequisite for establishing the future on the foundations of friendship and peace. Perihan Mağden was one of the Turkish intellectuals who signed the statement.(4)

The high- profile trials of in 2006 of Elif Shafak, Perihan Mağden and Orhan Pamuk for “Insulting Turkishness” by discussing the Armenian genocide, under Article 301 in the Turkish code, drew worldwide attention to the Turkish attitude of silencing critics on the issue.(5)
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1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perihan_Ma%C4%9Fden
2- http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=200_prominent_Turks_apologize_for_great_
3- http://setasarmenian.blogspot.com/2010/04/good-thoughtful-and-ugly-from-turks-on.html
4- http://asbarez.com/127448/turkish-intellectuals-condemn-anti-armenian-textbooks
5- Guardian Unlimited, online, Aug. 3, 2006

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