YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey will raise its dignity, rather than humiliate it, said Turkish human rights activist Ragib Zarakolu Tuesday. He was honored by the National Library for his contribution to condemning the Armenian Genocide and crimes against humanity, reported ArmRadio.
“The Armenian Genocide fits into the term ‘genocide’ mentioned in all international documents. It is beyond question,” Zarakolu told reporters in Yerevan.
Armenian National Library director Davit Sargsyan honored the Turkish author by presenting the “Hakob Meghapart” medal for his contributions.
“We are talking about an individual committed to the ideas of humanism,” Sargsian said at a ceremony in Yerevan. “Unfortunately, he is not a desirable figure in modern-day Turkey because of his activities, principles and thinking,” reported RFE/RL.
“This is the most important award of my life,” Zarakolu said in a short speech.
Zarakolu rose to prominence in the 1970s as a newspaper columnist and editor highlighting human rights abuses committed in Turkey. He was twice imprisoned by military governments in Ankara before founding, together with other prominent Turks, the Human Rights Association of Turkey in 1986.
Around that time, Belge began publishing books on taboo subjects such as the World War One-era mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. It has since translated into Turkish more than a dozen books by Diaspora Armenian authors challenging the official Turkish version of those events.
At least two of those translations landed Zarakolu in court. A Turkish court ruled in June 2008 that the publication of one of those books, written by the British-Armenian author George Jerjian, insulted “the institutions of the Turkish Republic.” The publisher received a suspended five-month prison sentence.