By Hambersom Aghbashian
Dr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu ( born in 1965 in Isparta province.- Turkey) is a Turkish physician and human rights activist. He completed his primary and secondary education in Bursa, then graduated from (Bursa Anatolian Imam University)’s Medical School in 1990. He worked at Bursa Orhaneli State Hospital , then in 1995 started a training program and passed the TUS exam*and worked as Chest Diseases and Tuberculosis specialist. Since 2000 he is working as a specialist at “Izmit Seka” State Hospital . As a human rights activist and a prominent member of of “MAZLUMDER” ( oppressed) Association, he was elected in 2003 as a president of the association’s – Kocaeli branch, which is a local branch of the Association which defends the right to life, freedom of expression and women’s rights. In 2007 he was appointed to the post by presidency of the General Assembly of “MAZLUMDER” unanimously. He participated in the legal proceedings and explanations of many laws and non-democratic practices. also participated, domestically and abroad, in many conferences, panel discussions and symposiums concerning the human rights and lead a field study concerning “Religious and ethnic discrimination in Turkey”. Gergerlioğlu left his position as the president of “MAZLUMDER” Association in 2009 voluntarily. In 2013, he formed with different NGOs “Istanbul Peace Platform Emissary”, and followed closely the political situation in Turkey. since 2007 he is writing weekly columns on politics in Turkey and the world.
In his article “Türkiye soykırımı inkârla nereye varır?” about the official denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish Government, published in t24.com.tr – April 18, 2015, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu suggests that Turkey can show no progress, but only save the day with populist policies, unless it ends its denial of the Armenian Genocide. (1)
According to The Gurdian, Dec. 7, 2008, Academics and writers in Turkey have risked a fierce official backlash by issuing a public apology which reads: “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. I apologize to them.” Breaking one of Turkish society’s biggest taboos, the apology comes in an open letter that invites Turks to sign an online petition supporting its sentiments. The contents expose its authors – three scholars, Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran and Cengiz Aktar, and a journalist, Ali Bayramoglu – to the wrath of the Turkish state, which has prosecuted writers, including the Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, for supporting Armenian genocide claims. (2) The apology for the “great catastrophe of 1915”, was a clear reference to the Armenian Genocide, a term still too sensitive to use so openly. Dr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was one of the Turkish intellectuals who signed the petition.
According to Today’s Zaman, September 26, 2014, “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.. 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 statement said ‘The revolutions history and history textbooks should be collected immediately, with an apology issued to everyone and particularly to Armenian students.” 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. Dr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioðlu was one of the many most respected Turkish intellectuals who signed it. (3)
- TUS exam is a medical specialization exam in Turkey