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News..Turkish human rights defender receives medal in Armenia
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 17 Feb 2011 Thu 02:17 pm


The founder of the Turkish Human Rights Association, publisher and journalist Ragıp Zarakolu has received a Lifetime Honorary Medal in Armenia, becoming the first Turk to take home the prestigious honor. ‘Receiving this award is an honor for me. I might be the first, but I believe more Turkish intellectuals will win this medal,’ says Zarakolu
Ragıp Zarakolu (R) receives his medal at a ceremony held in Yerevan on Tuesday.

Ragıp Zarakolu (R) receives his medal at a ceremony held in Yerevan on Tuesday.

Turkish intellectual Ragıp Zarakolu has been awarded the Hakob Megapart Lifetime Honorary Medal by the Armenian National Library, becoming the first Turk to win the honor.

Founder of the Turkish Human Rights Association and owner of International Belge Publishing House, activist Zarakolu was presented his award Tuesday at a ceremony held in the capital Yerevan.

Zarakolu said the award had great moral significance for him as he was the first Turk to take home the honor, although he said he believed more Turks would soon also win the honor.

“There are many intellectuals like me in Turkey who do not fear expressing the pains in the country and take human rights as the basic criteria. Moreover, these people do not hesitate to use the word ‘genocide,’” he said.

Zarakolu, who is also the Turkish Publishers Association’s Freedom for Publishing Committee chairman, is the holder of many national and international awards for freedom of expression. He has also received an award from the Sarajevo-based International Association of Genocide Scholars, or IAGS, and freedom of expression awards from the Norwegian Writers’ Union and the Turkish Journalists’ Association.

Attacked and imprisoned

Zarakolu founded the International Belge Publishing House in 1977 with his wife, Ayşenur Zarakolu, who died in 2002. His wife was also one of the founding figures in the Turkish Human Rights Association, which put the Armenian and Kurdish problem on the Turkish agenda in the 1970s. The International Belge Publishing House has also printed many books on the Kurdish issue.

“It was a painful process. This is why our publishing house was attacked,” Zarakolu said. “We were imprisoned because of the books we published. We defended the truth, stood behind the truth.

“Many Turkish intellectuals who describe themselves as liberals hesitate to talk about the pains. They say they are liberal, but they have never used the word ‘genocide.’ It is through sharing all these pains that we will solve all the problems,” he said.

Support for petition campaigns

As a human rights defender, Zarakolu said he also protested violations in Armenia just like in Turkey and supported human rights petition campaigns. Many Turkish intellectuals have come to support the human rights campaigns he has initiated, he said.

“Armenia is a young republic with the burden of a painful history on its shoulders,” he said. “The Turkish Republic was founded 88 years ago, but we have yet to overcome many of our problems, including those of human rights and democracy. Armenia is a republic of 19 years; it experienced the Soviet Union. This is why this [slow] process is very normal.”

Bridging closed borders

The 1993 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed areas of Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in Turkey closing its eastern border with Armenia and the end of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Yerevan. In 2008, however, Turkish President Abdullah Gül went to Yerevan for a Turkish-Armenian football match, launching what became known as “football diplomacy.” After year of intense dialogue, protocols were signed in October 2009 to normalize relations, but the process has since stalled.

“No one is taking sincere steps to normalize relations,” Zarakolu said. “Turkey tells the world that everything is normal, but actually there is no progress because the steps taken are not sincere.”

He said relations between the two countries had become more complicated because of this attitude. “People’s expectations have increased but damage also increases when there is no follow through.”

Zarakolu also spoke about the closed border gates between Turkey and Armenia. “If people really want to establish a bridge of dialogue between both publics, it is necessary to take positive steps forward,” he said.

Its good to see the this sort of news..He is a brave man..




thehandsom liked this message
2.       jolanaze
220 posts
 20 Mar 2012 Tue 01:20 pm

but what is happening with him right now?????

Abla liked this message
3.       tunci
7149 posts
 20 Mar 2012 Tue 03:13 pm


Quoting jolanaze

but what is happening with him right now?????



4.       jolanaze
220 posts
 20 Mar 2012 Tue 03:27 pm

it seems it is blocked for me....there is an error...


I have heard that has been held on pre-trial detention for over 135 days in a high-security prison. He is accused of being a member of an illegal organisation under Turkish anti-terror legislation. It seems to me a bit weird.....


we are trying to support him through our publishing association...

Abla and thehandsom liked this message
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