By Hambersom Aghbashian
Mahir Günşiray (born August 10, 1960, in Istanbul) is a Turkish Artist. He is a cinema and theater actor and director. He graduated from Hacettepe University – Faculty of Fine Arts, State Conservatory, Theater department and gained his Master’s degree from Leeds University in London- at The Workshop Theater, and his Art proficiency doctorate from Mimar Sinan University. Currently he is a professor at Mimar Sinan University, Faculty of Fine Arts – Department of Stage and Visual Arts. Mahir Günşiray started acting in 1986 at Bursa State Theater, he then worked in Istanbul State Theater, Theater Studio , Theatre Van der Ruhr (Germany), TI Theatre and Playhouse Theater. In 1966 he founded the Oyunevi theater with his friends and in the next year he resigned from the State theater. Mahir Günşiray appeared in many motion pictures and serials. He has a long lists of films, serials and theater performances. Since 1987, he is involved as instructor at various universities and private educational institutions.
January 19, 2008, was the first anniversary of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s assassination. The main commemoration took place in front of the Armenian newspaper Agos in Istanbul where Dink was shot to death. Many other commemorations took place in Istanbul, Berlin, Frankfurt, Koln, Paris, California, Ottawa, and London. “Remembering Hrant ” was one of the events in Istanbul where many of Hrant Dink’s friends participated to remember him with different activities, reciting, singing, playing misic etc.. Mahir Günşiray was one of the participants. (1)
On 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, a term still too sensitive to use so openly. The signatories also announced a website related to this apology, and called on others to visit the site and sign the apology as well.
This is the brief text of the apology: “ 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. Mahir Günşiray is one of the intellectuals who signed the statement. (2)
According to Today’s Zaman, lawyers for the co-plaintiffs in the trial over the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink requested on October 12, 2009 documents found during the searches of homes and offices of suspects from the prosecutor investigating Ergenekon, a clandestine organization whose alleged members are currently standing trial in two separate court cases. The 11th hearing of Hrant Dink’s murder suspects’ trial was heard on October 12, 2016 with suspects Ogun Samast. Lawyer Fethiye Cetin demanded that the court request documents seized during the Ergenekon probe relating to the organization’s Psychological Action Plan against minorities in Turkey. Cetin stated that Dink’s killing, along with the 2006 killing of an Italian priest and the 2007 killing of three Christians in Malatya, was part of an operation in the works being carried out by Ergenekon. In addition to the suspects, a large number of high-profile spectators including Dink’s wife, Rakel Dink, and other family members; Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputy Sebahat Tuncel; Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy and head of the Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, Zafer Uskul; co-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission, Helene Flautre; Ali Yurttagül, a political adviser for the Greens in the European Parliament; and Vincent Niore and Alexandre Couyoumdjian, representing the Bar Associations of Brussels and Paris, also attended the hearing. Meanwhile, a group gathering at the Beşiktaş Barbaros Square, not far from the courthouse, protested the Hrant Dink murder by unrolling posters that read, “For Hrant, for Justice.” Actor Mahir Gunsiray, in a statement on behalf of the group, claimed there were attempts to cover up the real culprits behind the murder. (3)