By Hambersom Aghbashian

Hamit Bozarslan (born in 1958, in Lice – district of  Diyarbakir Province in Turkey), is a Turkish Historian and political analyst specializing in the Middle East and the Kurdish problem in particular. Hamit Bozarslan has studied history and earned PhD from EHESS* (The currents of thought in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918, under the direction of François Ferret, 1992) and Political Science (States and minorities in the Middle East. The regionalization of the Kurdish Question directed by Rémy Leveau, IEP Paris**, 1994). He was elected as a lecturer at EHESS in 1998, then in 2006, director of studies at the same institution. He co-directed with Daniel Rivet and Jean-Philippe Bras, the IISMM (Studies Institute Islam and Companies of the Muslim world) between 2002 and 2008. Hamit Bozarslan was research fellow at Marc Bloch Centre, Berlin (1995-1997) and “visiting fellow” at Princeton University (1998). Hamit Bozarslan is working currently on violence and minority nationalism in Turkey and the Middle East.

A three-day academic conference titled “The Genocide of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in the Great War” kicked off on March 25, 2015,  at the Great Amphitheater of La Sorbonne. Historians, researchers, political analysts, and journalists gathered to share their work and reflections on 100 years of research on the Armenian Genocide. The conference was organized by the International Scientific Council (CSI), with the support of “Mission 2015” of the Council of Armenian organizations of France (CCAF) and the Regional Council of Paris and surrounding areas. At the beginning of  her speech, France’s Minister of Education and Research Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said “One hundred years ago, one of the most horrifying episodes in the history of Europe and the world was being crafted. The political project of the Committee of Union and Progress, which was aimed at the total extermination of the Armenian people, was about to be put into execution, activating a mass murder, genocide—the first contemporary genocide.” Hamit Bozarslan, who was among other experts from around the world, who participated in the conference said “25 years ago Turkish history could be discussed without even mentioning the genocide of the Armenians. Historians who started to talk about it were marginalized. Turkish national history was not questioned until the 1980’s, he said, and explained the important role Turkish historians could play in Armenian Genocide research.(1)

On July 5, 2012, blogactiv.eu published an article about the Armenian Genocide issue and Turkish foreign policy where it mentioned: “Some prominent Turkish scholars support openly the idea that a genocide against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire indeed took place; among them, Taner Akşam and Hamit Bozarslan can be mentioned; however, this is not the mainstream approach of this issue in Turkey; in spite of the efforts made by more progressive segments of Turkish society, the Armenian genocide remains still more or less a taboo issue. This approach influences also the Turkish foreign policy, when it comes to the official recognition of the genocide; Turkish governments have displayed most of the times a very bitter reaction against countries or international organizations willing to recognize the genocide.(2)

Hamit Bozarslan was among 37 prominent Turkish intellectuals who have in an open letter in Denmark’s leading daily Berlingske called on the Danish Royal library’s director to reconsider his decision allowing the Turkish embassy to hold an alternative exhibition in response to the Armenian Genocide exhibition which was held by the Danish Royal library and the Armenian Genocide. In their letter they said “Don’t Stand Before Turkey’s Democratization and Confrontation with its History!” and 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.”

Hamit Bozarslan is one of the Co- writer’s of  “Bir Zamanlar Ermeniler Vardi”, “Once upon a time there were Armenians” book.

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*EHESS- École des hautes études en sciences sociales- Paris, France,  “The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences” is a leading French institution for research and higher education in the social sciences.

**IEP Paris- The Paris Institute of Political Studies (French: Institut d’études politiques de Paris, simply referred to as Sciences Po, is an elite public research and higher education institution in Paris, France. Sciences Po maintains faculties in political science as well as in economics, history, sociology, law, finance, business, communication, social and urban policy, management and journalism. It is ranked 5th in the world for Politics and International Studies in 2015 (1st on Continental Europe).

1- http://armenianweekly.com/2015/03/28/paris-conference/

2- https://blogactiv.eu/blog/2012/07/05/pantelis-touloumakos-skeletons-in-the-closet-the-armenian-genocide-issue-and-turkish-foreign policy

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