By: Hambersom Aghbashian
Ahmet Abakay was born in Sivas Province on April 3, 1950, in the village of Divriği. He received his early education from a high school in Erzincan, then continued his education at Ankara University where he ultimately graduated. He was a correspondent to many Turkish newspapers including İsta Haber, Vatan, Anka, and Özgür Gündem. Ahmet Abakay then became involved in the establishment of the Progressive Journalists’ Association of Turkey. The association was established in 23 February 1978 and whose founding member was Alaatin Orhan. Ahmet Abakay became the chairman in 1982 until 1989. By the end of his chairmanship in 1989, the organization had 1,100 members throughout the country. He then became an advisor to the Minister of the Press in 1992–2002. Abakay became the chairman once again in 2005 and continues to serve the position till today. As a critic of the treatment of journalists in Turkish society, he has stated that “Those who are not close to the government can’t survive in the media. Media members are living in fear.” He is also the author of many other books.
Under the title “How Turkey Marked the 96th Anniversary of the Genocide”, it was mentioned ” … a conference was organized on April 19, 2011, by the Surp Khach School and titled “They were journalists, too,” dedicated to the Armenian journalists who were killed in 1915. The chief editor of Agos newspaper, Rober Koptas, along with journalist Bullent Tellan, publisher Ragip Zarakolu, and Bayramoglu were among the speakers who demanded adding the names of those journalists killed in 1915 to the list of “Killed Journalists” in Turkey. The president of the Modern Journalists Association of Turkey, Ahmet Abakay, said they were very late to organize such an event because they were unaware and ignorant of the facts. He said he hoped this would serve as an example for other professional associations.(1)
According to “Hürriyet Daily News”, March 8, 2011, “Ten journalists of Armenian origin who were killed in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire will be added to a list of slain journalists in Turkey by the Ankara-based Contemporary Journalists Association. The newly added names include Krikor Zohrab, a lawyer, author and three-time deputy in the Ottoman Parliament; Taniel Varujan, a renowned Armenian writer; Rupen Zartaryan, Siamento (Atom Yarjanian) and six others, all also pioneers of western Armenian literature. Association head Ahmet Abakay said: “I wish we had the information before and has taken this radical step earlier. He added ” It is a crime to hide from the people those names that have made contributions to the Turkish press. They are all people of this country.”(2)
This was a good step toward the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and unveiling the victims, specially the first group of intellectuals, but those victims were intellectuals more than being journalist as Hürriyet mentioned and were killed to pave the way for the next step, the whole Genocide. http://asbarez.com/ responded to above and wrote ” To bundle these first victims of the Genocide, along with other journalists who were killed as part of Turkey’s intolerant attitude toward journalists is an affront to their legacy. They were not killed for being “journalists,” but rather were part of the first wave of murders of intellectuals, writers and leaders, which was part of the systematic plan to eliminate the Armenians’ leaders in order to gain easy access to the rest of the Armenian population and carry out Genocide.”
Ahmet Abakay wrote a book in 2013 entitled “The Last Words of Hoşana” (Turkish: Hoşana’nın Son Sözü) which describes the life of his mother who was named Hoşana. In the book, Abakay revealed that his mother had told him of her Armenian identity weeks before her death. She had kept her identity a secret for 82 years, which Abakay believes was because “she lived in fear.” Abakay was told by his mother not to tell the secret to anybody. Abakay states his mother was saved from the Armenian Genocide because she was dropped off in front of a door of an Alevi Turk. Due to his revelations, Abakay received threats from his family and particularly his uncle’s children who said, “how dare you call our aunt Armenian and insult our family’s honor. You will remove the Armenian part from your book, otherwise we will pull it off the shelves.”
On October 12, 2013, “www.panarmenian.net” wrote, ” The head of a journalists’ association in Turkey (Ahmet Abakay), has revealed that his mother was an Armenian, who was left in front of an Alevi family’s door by Armenians during the 1915 Armenian Genocide in his recently published book, Hürriyet Daily News reported.” He added “My mother told me about her story 13 years ago and soon after, she died. I could write this only 10 years later, because I hesitated. My mother made me promise not to tell her story to my wife, daughter or her sisters, as long as she was alive. I told this issue to my inner circle after I lost my mother, to learn whether there are other secrets that we are not told. But my sister told me not to reveal this on the grounds that I am a journalist and she recalled what happened to Hrant Dink [Armenian-Turkish journalist murdered by a gunman in broad daylight in 2007 in Istanbul]. A majority of my relatives could not accept their [new] identity. Some relatives denied the story, while others claimed that she was too old to be aware of what she was saying.”