By Hambersom Aghbashian
İhsan Duran Dağ (born in January 29, 1964, in Kilis – Turkey) is a Turkish academician, writer and columnist. He is a graduate of Gazi University, Department of Public Administration, Economics and Science Faculty in 1985. He received his master’s degree in 1989 from the University of Lancaster in England, and his Ph.D degree in 1993. Since 2004, he has been a professor at the Faculty of International Relations at the Middle East Technical University, and is a columnist in Zaman and Today’s Zaman newspapers.
İhsan Dağ is the author or co-author of many books in Turkish, among them are “Identity Discourse and Politics / The Origin of the Welfare Party in the East-West Context”, “Islam and Politics in the Middle East”, “Tradition and Change in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Turkey’s Foreign Policy Agenda / Identity, Democracy, Security”, “Human Rights Global Politics and Turkey”, “Fear of Westernization / European Union, Democracy, Human Rights”, and has published a book in english titled “Turkey: Between Democracy and Militarism Post Kemalist Perspectives”. İhsan Dağ is married to Zeynep Dağı, a member of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara and has two children.
Ihsan Dagi is one of the Turkish intellectuals who have signed the “I Apologize Campaign” which was an initiative launched in December 2008 in Turkey by numerous journalists, writers, politicians and professors and called through a form of a signature campaign for an apology for what they considered as the “Great Catastrophe that Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915”. This was a clear reference to the Armenian Genocide, a term still too sensitive to use so openly. The campaign was done mostly online. The message shown on the website which people had to sign stated “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.” The campaign was signed by 5,000 people in the first 24 hours of its publication and 30,000 signatories by January 2009. The campaign, which some interpreted as indirect reference to the Armenian Genocide, created widespread outrage in Turkish society.
On Dec. 20, 2008, Today’s Zaman daily published a long article under the title (Joint committee of historians on Armenian debate) where it mentioned among other facts, the “apology” campaign, which has gathered support from many respected intellectuals, and the reactions to it have shown that there are disagreements not only between Turks and Armenians, but also among Turks concerning the incidents of 1915. There are distinguished figures both in the supporters and opponents of this campaign. If we have a sneak preview of more than 10,000 supporters notable intellectuals like Ali Bayramoglu, Ihsan Dagi, Cengiz Candar, Atilla Eralp, Enis Batur, Omer Laciner, Omer Marda, Leyla Ipekci, Huseyin Hatemi, Oral Calislar, Hasan Cemal and thousands are within the list of the supporters. So many people cannot be just labeled as traitors or terrorists and ignored. A number of columnists who criticize the campaign’s wording or timing refrain from being disrespectful towards these people. (1)
Under the title “The Armenian question, Turkey and the US”, Ihsan Dagi wrote on Monday, April 27, 2009, “Can you imagine a foreign policy strategy in which a particular issue turns into a constant source of problems that cannot be resolved permanently? It appears that Turkish foreign policy has been taken hostage by the genocide issue and as if Turkey is prepared to do anything to make the word “genocide” be forgotten or prevent it from being spelled out. (2)