Taner Akçam

Taner Akçam

Altuğ Taner Akçam (born October 23 1953) is a Turkish historian and sociologist. He is one of the first Turkish academics to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide. [cite web
url=http://www.zoryaninstitute.org/Announcements/announcement_Taner_NewBook.htm
accessdate=2008-07-01
title=Turkish Scholar Taner Akçam Lectures on New Book
publisher=Zoryan Institute
date=2004-05-22
quote=Dr. Akçam is one of the first Turkish academics to acknowledge and discuss openly the genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government in 1915.
]

Biography

Akçam was born in Ardahan, Turkey to Dursun and Perihan Akçam. [Şişli State Head Prosecutor, [http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/turkishArmenian/suspectStatement.pdf Suspect’s Statement Form] . Investigation № 2006/49047.] He studied economics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and graduated in 1976. Later that year, while a graduate student at the same department, he received a nine-year prison sentence for his involvement in producing a student journal that focused on the treatment of Turkey’s Kurdish minority.cite journal
url=http://www.montrealmirror.com/2007/021507/news2.html
first=Stefan
last=Christoff
accessdate=2008-05-16
journal=Montreal Mirror
date=2007-02-22
volume=22
issue=34
title=No shame in slaughter
] This resulted in Amnesty International adopting him in 1976 as a prisoner of conscience. After one year he escaped and was granted political asylum in Germany. [cite news
title=Author Argues That Armenian Genocide Happened
url=http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=517714
first=Jonathan Q
last=Macmillan
date=2007-03-15
accessdate=2008-05-15
publisher=The Harvard Crimson
] In August 1988 Akçam began work as a research scientist at the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture. [ [http://www.his-online.de/cms.asp?IDN=266&ModeMA=4&Plugin=12&ID=74&sprache=de Taner Akçam, Dr. phil.] , Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture de icon] [cite web
url=http://www.his-online.de/cms.asp?IDN=381&H=%27167%27&Sprache=en
accessdate=2008-07-10
work=Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture
month=March
year=2000
title=The process of state formation in Turkey
first=Taner
last=Akçam
] He received his PhD from the University of Hanover with a dissertation titled, "Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide: On the Background of the Military Tribunals in Istanbul between 1919 and 1922".cite web
url=http://www.clarku.edu/departments/holocaust/faculty/facultybio.cfm?id=722&progid=5&
accessdate=2008-05-16
title=Faculty: Taner Akcam , Ph.D.
work=Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
publisher=Clark University
] Akçam is a former student of fellow genocide scholar, Vahakn Dadrian. [cite web|url=http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~armo/pages/article049106.html
accessdate=2008-08-19
title=Dadrian and Taner Akcam come to Harvard to Discuss Future of Turkey-Armenia Relations
publisher=Harvard Armenian Society
first=Nina
last=Kouyoumdjian
date=2006-04-30
quote=Professor Akcam, one of Dadrian’s former students...
] In 1997, a Dutch documentary titled " [http://www.omroep.nl/human/tv/muur/home.htm Een Muur van Stilte] " ( [http://www.omroep.nl/human/tv/muur/W_O_S/home.htm A Wall of Silence] ), written and directed by Dorothée Forma of the Humanist Broadcasting Foundation ( _nl. Humanistische Omroep Foundation), [cite journal|url=http://www.omroep.nl/human/tv/muur/W_O_S/interview.htm
accessdate=2008-08-19
title=A Dutch Filmmaker
first=Salpi Haroutinian
last=Ghazarian
journal=Armenian International Magazine
month=March
year=1999
] was made about their "academic relationship." [cite web|url=http://www.omroep.nl/human/tv/muur/W_O_S/turk.htm
accessdate=2008-08-19
title=Bir Ziyaretin Dusundurdukleri
date=2000-04-11
quote= [Filmin] konusu, doktora tezimin yazimi sirasinda ... Amerika’da yasayan Ermeni asilli Prof. Dadrian ile kurdugum 'akademik iliski' idi.
language=Turkish
] [cite web
archiveurl=http://www.azad-hye.net/article/article_view.asp?re=621ssf41
archivedate=2006-12-24
accessdate=2008-08-21
date=2006-12-21
title=Impressive lecture by Akcam in Amsterdam
url=http://www.abovian.nl/blog/archive/2006/12/23/2173.aspx
first=Inge
last=Drost
publisher=Abovian Armenian Cultural Association
location=Den Haag, Netherlands
quote=This documentary film parallels the personal and professional lives of Armenian scholar Vahakn Dadrian and Turkish researcher Taner Akcam and their call for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
]

Akçam was Visiting Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, United States before joining Clark University's [http://www.clarku.edu/departments/holocaust/faculty/ Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies] . [cite press release|url=http://www.clarku.edu/offices/publicaffairs/news/press/articles/akcam2008.cfm
accessdate=2008-07-02
publisher=Office of University Communications, Clark University
date=2008-06-17
title=Taner Akçam - scholar, author, ex-political prisoner, and courageous champion of civil liberties - joins the Strassler Center
quote=Clark University has appointed prominent historian Taner Akçam to occupy the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marion Mugar Professorship in Armenian Genocide Studies
]

Legal disputes

Akçam's political bent was evident during his university years. He was arrested in 1974 for participating in student protests of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. [cite news|url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article2277131.ece
accessdate=2008-08-18
title=History that dares to speak its name review
section=Non-fiction book reviews
work=Times Online
date=2007-08-18
first=Giles
last=Whittell
quote=...a 1974 arrest for protesting at Turkey’s invasion of northern Cyprus...
] In 1975 he was arrested for distributing leaflets and placing posters around the city. (Akçam counters that "one had to obtain permission from what is now called the Security General Directorate’s Special Inspection Branch Directorate for the Associations, and that even with a special permit in hand, one could be arbitrarily arrested and apprehended at police headquarters for 3-5 days."cite web|url=http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/turkishArmenian/holdwater.doc|format=DOC|first=Taner|last=Akçam|title=Holdwater: 'Murad Gümen: The Mysterious American Who Drives the Armenians Mad'|editor=Nazım Dikbaş Originally published in Agos as "Holdwater: The Mysterious American who Drives Armenians Mad," May 18, 2007, and “Holdwater: The Golden Rule,” May 25, 2007, by Ali Murat Güven.] ) On March 9, 1976, soon after graduating from university, he was arrested for contributing to "Devrimci Gençlik" ("Revolutionary Youth"), [cite journal
url=http://www.devrimcigenclik.org/include/yazigoster_dergi.php?no=806
title=Taner Akçam'a Özgurluk
journal=Devrimci Gençlik
language=Turkish
year=1976
month=September
quote=Dergimiz Sorumlu Yazı İşleri müdürü Taner Akçam...
( _en. Our magazine's managing editor Taner Akçam...)
] [cite web|url=https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/30156/4/Taner%20Ackem%201-11-06.pdf|work=Mershon Center|publisher=Ohio State University Knowledge Bank|date=2006-01-11|accessdate=2008-08-18|title=The Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Sources] [cite web|url=http://armenianstudies.csufresno.edu/events/070121.htm
date=2007-01-21
accessdate=2008-08-18
title=A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility
work=Armenian Studies Program
publisher=California State University, Fresno
quote=As the editor in chief of a student political journal
] [cite web|url=http://www.stthom.edu/Publications/2007_Releases/NR%20-%20Taner%20Akcam.pdf|title=ST Center for International Studies Presents Taner Akcam, author of “A Shameful Act”|publisher=University of St. Thomas|date=2007-02-19|accessdate=2008-08-18|quote=In the mid-1970s, Akçam became a leading member of the militant group Dev Yol (Devrimci Yol-Revolutionary Path) and the editor of its periodical Devrimci Genclik Dergisi (Revolutionary Youth Magazine).] the journal of a radical leftist organization aligned with Abdullah Ocalan, [cite web
url=http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/pkk.cfm
accessdate=2008-07-12
title=Terrorism - PKK (a.k.a KADEK): Kurdish Worker’s Party (a.k.a Kurdish Freedom and Democracy Congress)
date=2002-05-21
first=Mark
last=Burgess
work=Terrorism Project
publisher=Center for Defense Information
] [cite book|url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ai8YAAAAIAAJ&q=%22Abdullah+Ocalan%22+%22Revolutionary+Youth%22&dq=%22Abdullah+Ocalan%22+%22Revolutionary+Youth%22&client=firefox-a&pgis=1
title=A World Record of Major Conflict Areas
date=2008-07-12
author=David Munro, Alan John Day
isbn=1558620664
year=1990
page=143
publisher=St. James Press
] [cite book
url=http://books.google.com/books?id=DosRqg0ZCM4C&pg=PA200&lpg=PA200&dq=%22revolutionary+path%22+ocalan&source=web&ots=Un8s_vXtuh&sig=mtgmT8X_RuDhQpia7dRb6kTpXmU&hl=en#PPT107,M1
first=Ali Kemal
last=Özcan
publisher=Routledge
isbn=0415366879
page=200
year=2006
title=Turkey's Kurds: A Theoretical Analysis of the PKK and Abdullah Öcalan
] called "Devrimci Yol" ("Revolutionary Path").cite book
last = Karpat
first = Kemal H.
year = 1975
isbn = 9004043233
page = 131
title = Turkey's Foreign Policy in Transition: 1950-1974
chapter = Turkish and Arab-Israeli Relations
url = http://books.google.com/books?id=vp83AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA131&dq=%22radical+leftist%22&ei=Sel4SOnAFIS8jgGuj_T1Aw&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U3zpIOgd5l4yoXyXOtQl_mKKLZ-kw#PPA131,M1
publisher = Brill Archive
] Akçam explained that he accepted the editorship position, aged 22, since none of his peers stepped up to the plate, knowing that it could land him in jail.cite news|url=http://www.milliyet.com.tr/2002/01/09/guncel/gun00.html
accessdate=2008-08-26
title=Bir rüya gördü hapisten kaçtı
work=Milliyet
first=Can
last=Dundar
date=2002-01-08
quote=Çıkaracağımız Devrimci Gençlik dergisinin sorumlu yazı işleri müdürünün kim olacağını tartışıyorduk. Herkes birbirinin gözünün içine bakıyordu. Bu görevi üstlenecek olan, geleceğini tehlikeye atmayı, en azından hapse düşmeyi kabul etmiş olacaktı. Beklemekten nefret ederim. Dayanamadım, 'Ben olurum' dedim.
language=Turkish
] His fears materialized when he received a nine year sentence in early 1977, which he served for a year before escaping from Ankara Central Prison in March 12, 1977cite web|url=http://www.iletisim.com.tr/iletisim/person.aspx?pid=517
accessdate=2008-05-20
title=Taner Akçam: Biography
work=İletişim Yayınları
language=Turkish
] using the leg of an iron stove to dig a hole. [cite news|url=http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/11/06/061106crbo_books2
accessdate=2008-09-02
title=Dead Reckoning
work=New Yorker
date=2006-11-06
first=Elizabeth
last=Kolbert
quote=Using a stove leg to dig a tunnel...
] He received asylum from Germany in 1978, where he obtained citizenship and resided until obtaining his doctorate degree in 1995.cite web|url=http://www.lawandpolitics.com/minnesota/Is-It-Still-Genocide-if-Your-Allies-Did-It/cef7381e-fe46-102a-aeb9-000e0c6dcf76.html
accessdate=2008-05-16
work=Law & Politics
first=Peter
last=Schilling
month=December/January
year=2008
volume=167
title=Is It Still Genocide if Your Allies Did It?
] cite news|url=http://articles.latimes.com/1999/apr/26/local/me-31217
accessdate=2008-09-09
title=Turkish Writer Breaks Ranks on Genocide
work=Los Angeles Times
date=1999-04-26
first=Joe
last=Mozingo
quote=Akcam, once a student dissident who tunneled out of a Turkish prison with the leg of an iron stove...had his own run-ins with the Turkish government in the 1970s. He was jailed for printing Marxist articles and eventually escaped from a primitive prison converted from an old stable, he said. Turkish authorities confirmed his arrest and escape, and said he was linked to a pro-Soviet revolutionary group.
]

In January 2007, the government officially launched an investigation against Akçam regarding an October 6, 2006, newspaper column in the Turkish-Armenian journal "Agos". [cite news
accessdate=2008-07-12
work=Agos
date=2006-10-06
first=Taner
last=Akçam
title=Hrant Dink, 301 ve bir suç duyurusu
title
( [http://www.aga-online.org/downloads/de/news/attachments/TanerAkcam_HrantDink_301_Criminal_Complaint.pdf Hrant Dink, 301, and a criminal complaint] )
] In it Akçam criticized the prosecution of "Agos" managing editor Hrant Dink for using the term "genocide", regarding the Armenian Genocide. The use of the term was construed by the prosecutor's office as the criminal offense of "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of Turkey's penal code. [cite web|url=http://chronicle.com/news/index.php?id=2774
first=Aisha
last=Labi
accessdate=2008-05-16
title=Turkish Scholar Sues to Overturn Law on 'Denigrating Turkishness'
work=Chronicle of Higher Education
date=2008-05-16
] Highlighting the term "genocide", Akçam declared himself an accessory to the charges against Hrant Dink, and urged readers to join in Dink's support. Later in January of 2007 an Istanbul court decided not to pursue the charges against Akçam. [cite news
title=Turkish historian cleared of charges for declaring 'genocide'
author=
url=http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-25027.html
date=2007-04-02
archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070503015749/http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-25027.html
archivedate=2008-05-15
work=New Anatolian
]

More recently, Akçam faced harassment after discovering the identity behind the creator of the Web site "Tall Armenian Tale", [cite news
url=http://eski.bianet.org/2006/11/01_eng/news100839.htm
accessdate=2008-07-01
first=Emine
last=Ozcan
title=Akçam: I Have Never Been So Scared
date=2007-09-04
work=bianet
] which called Akçam a "turncoat" and posted his personal information. [cite web|url=http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/TURKISH-SCHOLARS.htm
accessdate=2008-09-03
title=Turkish Scholars
work=Tall Armenian Tale
quote=It makes sense, then, to understand why Turncoat Turks like Taner Akcam...
] Fearing reprisals à la Hrant Dink, Akçam entreated the Coordination Council of Armenian Organisations in France and president Sarkozy to pressure Ankara to protect him. [cite web|url=http://arsiv.sabah.com.tr/2007/07/28/haber,F2F1D8785325420EB3A514D0FB7611F4.html
accessdate=2008-09-03
title='Akçam, Hrant Dink olmasın' kampanyası
date=2007-07-27
work=Sabah
language=Turkish
]

On February 16, 2007 Akçam was detained at the Canadian border for nearly four hours. He was due to give a lecture at the invitation of the McGill University Faculty of Law and Concordia University. In explaining his detention, Taner Akçam says that Canadian authorities referred to an inaccurate, vandalized version of his biography on Wikipedia from around December 24, 2006, which called him a terrorist. [cite web
url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/wikipedia2.html
accessdate=2008-05-16
work=CBC News
series=In Depth: Technology
date=2007-06-22
title=A question of authority
first=Paul
last=Jay
] The statements have since been deleted and the offending user account blocked from editing Wikipedia. [cite web
author=Ral315
authorlink=User:Ral315
url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2007-04-23/Wikidetainment
work=Wikipedia Signpost
accessdate=2008-07-12
title=Historian detained after his Wikipedia article is vandalized
date=2007-04-23
]

On February 18, 2007 he was also detained at the US border and has been so far unable to find out the reason for his being detained there.cite news
title=Caught in the deadly web of the Internet
first=Robert
last=Fisk
url=http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article2469270.ece
date=2007-04-21
accessdate=2008-05-16
publisher=The Independent
] While on a lecture tour in 2007 he faced further harassment by various persons turning up and disrupting his various speaking engagements.cite web
url=http://www.juancole.com/2007/04/detained-in-two-worlds-taner-akam-story.html
title=Detained in Two Worlds: The Taner Akçam Story
accessdate=2008-05-16
work=Informed Comment
first=Juan
last=Cole
date=2007-04-14
Contains Akçam's essay, " [http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/1761 The Circle Closes In: A shameful campaign] ", dated March 17, 2007.]

Bibliography

*cite book|first=Taner |last=Akçam|url=http://www.iletisim.com.tr/iletisim/book.aspx?bid=1359
title=Ermeni Meselesi Hallolunmuştur|publisher=İletişim|month=January|year=2008|isbn=9789750505621|language=Turkish
(The Armenian Issue is Resolved) [cite news
url=http://www.radikal.com.tr/ek_haber.php?ek=ktp&haberno=7260
accessdate=2008-07-12
work=Radikal
title=Amaç Ermenileri yok etmekti
date=2008-01-25
first=Efnan
last=Atmaca
language=Turkish
(English translation in "The Armenian Reporter": [http://www.reporter.am/pdfs/A0216.pdf The objective was to get rid of all Armenians] , page A3, February 16, 2008. Accessed July 12, 2008.)
]
*" [http://us.macmillan.com/ashamefulact A Shameful Act : The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility] ", Metropolitan Books, May 16, 2006, ISBN 0805079327 (received the 2007 Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction. [cite web
url=http://www.thefriends.org/mnbookawards.html
publisher=Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library
accessdate=2008-05-16
title=Minnesota Book Awards
] )
*"From Empire to Republic : Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide", Zed Books, September 4, 2004, ISBN 1842775278
*" [http://www.zoryaninstitute.org/Books/book_dialogue.htm Dialogue across an international divide: Essays towards a Turkish-Armenian dialogue] ", Zoryan Institute, 2001, ISBN 1895485037
*tr icon "İnsan hakları ve Ermeni sorunu: İttihat ve Terakki'den Kurtuluş Savaşı'na", İmge Kitabevi, 1. edition, 1999, ISBN 9755332464
*"Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey", Publications on the Near East, University of Washington, Sibel Bozdogan (Editor), University of Washington Press, July, 1997, ISBN 0295975970
*de icon "Armenien und der Völkermord: Die Istanbuler Prozesse und die türkische Nationalbewegung", Hamburger Edition, 1. edition, 1996, ISBN 3930908263
*tr icon "Siyasi kültürümüzde zulüm ve işkence (Araştırma-inceleme dizisi)", İletişim Yayıncılık, 1. edition, 1992, ISBN 9754702497

References


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