By Hambersom Aghbashian
Neşe Düzel (born in Aydin-Turkey) is a Turkish writer and journalist, very well known for her interviews with outstanding intellectuals and political activists. Neşe Düzel is a graduate of Izmir’s Ege University and started to work in journalism in 1979 . She was a reporter and writer for Milliyet and Hurriyet newspapers and for Taraf. On 14 December 2012, she followed the founding editor-in-chief of daily Taraf Ahmet Altan, his assistant editor Yasemin Çongar, columnists Murat Belge, and stepped down from her post at the newspaper*. Taraf patron Başar Arslan appointed the former managing editor Markar Esayan “temporarily” to take over its editorial chair. On February 1, 2013, Oral Çalışlar was appointed as editor-in-Chief, but he also resigned and Neşe Düzel became the new editor-in- chief . Neşe Düzel published many books among them “Deleted to a desired memory Pursuit” (sells Books/2012), where she compiled her interviews, “Fearless History” (Alkim Publications/2011) and “Turkey’s Hidden Face” (Communication Publications/2002).
According to Radikal newspaper, (Istanbul, June 30, 2000), Neşe Düzel interviewed Professor Halil Berktay, a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Turkey, who has taught at Birmingham University (UK), Harvard, Middle East Technical University (Ankara), and Bogazici University (Istanbul), and currently is a member of the faculty at Sabanci University (Istanbul). Neşe Düzel, through her questions about the Armenian genocide, the history of it, the reasons, the execution, the consequences and many other aspects, could reveal lot of facts concerning the Armenian Genocide, an issue which was a taboo in Turkey at that time, but professor Berktay explained, analyzed and unfolded the files of 1915 Armenian Genocide. (1)
Neşe Düzel interviewed late Hrant Dink, (Radikal, 23 May 2005), where she reminded him asking in an interview before years “What happened to the civilization, the wealth, created by thousands of years old society, i.e. the Armenians? And asked him to whom did it go? Dink explained whom did it go and continued “….Because a law called ‘Abounded Properties’ was issued, a dead line was given to the Armenians. It was said ‘let them come; we will give them their goods’. The goods of Armenians who didn’t come within the prescribed period of time went to the Treasury.” Hrant Dink was assassinated on January 19, 2007, and after 10 years from the interview, in 2015, Taner Akcam and Umit Kurt published a book titled “The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide”, they said” We only cracked the door open slightly with the hope of making small contribution to the shock and transformation, which was awaited, predicted, and hoped for…” (2)
The “I Apologize Campaign” is an initiative that was launched in December 2008 in Turkey by numerous journalists, politicians, and professors that calls for an apology for what they considered as the “Great Catastrophe that Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915”, through a form of a signature campaign. That which is an expression used to avoid using “Armenian Genocide” and the consequences of using it. The 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 30,000 signatories by January 2009. The campaign, which some interpreted as in direct reference to the Armenian Genocide, created widespread outrage in Turkish society. Neşe Düzel was one of the notable signatories. (3)
Taraf Newspaper wrote on 20th April 2010 “A group of intellectuals, among them Ali Bayramoğlu, Ferhat Kentel, Neşe Düzel, Perihan Mağden and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, for the first time in Turkey, will commemorate this year on 24 April as the anniversary of the events of 1915, under the leader-ship of “Say Stop!” group. The commemoration will start in front of the tram station in Taksim Square. The following abstracts are from the text of the commemoration activity, “This pain is OUR pain. This mourning is for ALL of US. In 1915, when our population was just 13 million, 1,5 to 2 million Armenians were living in these lands…. In April 24, 1915 they started “to send them”. We lost them. They are no longer available. They have not even graves. But the “Great Pain” of the “Great Disaster”, with its utmost gravity EXISTS in our pain”. Neşe Düzel was one of the intellectuals who signed the text. (4)
* Daily Taraf, was the source of the many agenda-setting reports in recent Turkish history, and it also became the first Turkish partner of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, joining internationally known publications in signing a contract to publish the site’s leaked documents firsthand. The daily published a series of highly controversial stories that revealed the involvement of the Turkish military in daily political affairs. In his well-honed daily columns, Altan attacked Erdogan as a “hollow bully,” ready to adopt ultranationalist policies to further his own ambitions. The prime minister won a libel suit against Altan for calling him “arrogant, uninformed, and uninterested.”