By Hambersom Aghbashian

Turgut Tarhanlı (born in 1956 in Istanbul) is a Turkish professor of International law. He graduated from Istanbul University – Faculty of Law in 1979, and earned his Ph.D. degree in Public Law from the same University in 1990. In 1996 was awarded the title of Associate Professor of Public Law at Istanbul University Faculty of Law and was appointed to the staff. Since the 1999-2000 academic year he moved to Bilgi University, where he became a professor of International law in 2002 and remains there as a faculty member in the same area, and as a lecturer and Head of the Human Rights Research Center serves. His Research interests are, International law, human rights law, the relationship between international law and domestic law, protection through international mechanisms of human rights procedures, international treaties law, human rights activism, international peace and security law, the legal regime of transit and transportation through the straits.Tarhanli has published many books in Turkish and English, also has published studies as articles in newspaper and has book reviews.

According to, on Dec. 26, 2006, a number of leading Turkish intellectuals have launched a new civil disobedience action declaring themselves accomplices of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink whose last prosecution in a series launched by Turkish courts was based on opinions he expressed in an interview with the Reuters news agency. Among those who originally signed the “301 times No! No Limits on Freedom of Thought” campaign, are Prof. Dr. Ali Nesin, Prof. Dr. Gülay Toksöz, Prof. Dr. Kadir Erdin, Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı, Prof. Dr. Baskın Oran, Doç. Dr. Mithat Sancar, journalist and writer Şeyhmus Diken, journalists Sinan Kara, Adnan Gerger,  Bahattin Arı, authors Nihat Ziyalan and Ayşe Günaysu  and musician and free speech activist Şanar Yurdatapan. Many other prominent academics, writers, journalists, and human rights activists have signed onto the campaign. Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007 in front of the offices of Agos newspaper which he founded. (1)

The Danish Royal Library, together with the Armenian embassy, held an exhibition on “The Armenian genocide and the Scandinavian reaction” though due to protests from the Turkish embassy, the library had agreed to hold an “alternative exhibition” in response to the Armenian Genocide exhibition. This decision caused widespread debate and 37 Turkish intellectuals, including Fikret Adanır (professor of history), Taner Akçam (professor of history), Ayhan Aktar (professor of sociology), Cengiz Aktar (professor of political science), Cengiz Algan (The DurDe civic initiative), Ahmet Altan (Chief Editor Taraf Newspaper), Murat Belge  (professor of litterature), Halil Berktay (professor of history), Fatma Müge Göçek (professor of sociology), Nilüfer Göle (professor of sociology), Turgut Tarhanlı (professor of international law), Ufuk Uras (Former MP), in an open letter in Denmark’s leading daily Berlingske called on the library’s director to reconsider his decision. In their view, “the Turkish government has followed a policy of denial for more than 90 years, culminating in the murder of Hrant Dink in 2007. To allow the Turkish government to arrange an alternative exhibition will only support this policy. Don’t Stand Before Turkey’s Democratization and Confrontation with its History!” The mentioned stated. They added, “Over one million Ottoman Armenian citizens were forced out of their homes and annihilated in furtherance of an intentional state policy. What exists today is nothing other than the blatant denial of this reality by the Turkish government”. (2)

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