Hasan Cemal in Yerevan on December 11, 2014

Hasan Cemal

Djemal Pasha was an Ottoman military leader and one-third of the military triumvirate known as the Three Pashas that ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I , and one of the top three Turkish government organizers of the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrian genocide.

A military court in Turkey accused Djemal of persecuting Arab subjects of the Empire, and sentenced him to death in absentia; despite this, the courts were considered a travesty of justice by the Allied Powers. Later, Djemal went to Central Asia, where he worked on modernisation of the Afghan army.

Due to the success of the Bolshevik Revolution, Djemal travelled to Tbilisi where he was assassinated, together with his secretary, on 21 July 1922 by Stepan Dzaghigian, Artashes Gevorgyan, and Petros Ter Poghosyan, Armenians, as part of Operation Nemesis, in retribution for his role in the Armenian Genocide and the First World War. Ahmed Djemal’s remains were brought to Erzurum and buried there.

Hasan Cemal (born 1944 in Istanbul, Turkey), the grandson of Djemal Pasha, will on December 11, 2014, present his new book “1915: The Armenian Genocide” in Yerevan. In his book he highlighted his personal experience of going from denial to the full recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

A prominent Turkish journalist and writer, Cemal began working for the weekly Hakkı Devrim in 1969 and soon thereafter, he became an Ankara representative of the Cumhuriyet newspaper.

Between the years 1981 and 1992, he was the chief editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper. He resigned in January 1992 in a dispute over editorial policy: “I tried to widen the spectrum, to keep the balance. But they (old-guard intellectuals) always resisted, calling us plotters, tools of big business and the United States”. He became the editor of the Sabah newspaper in May 1992, remaining in the position until 1998. From 1998 he worked for Milliyet.

He has extensively covered the Kurdish issue and has been criticized by the Turkish government for his publications. During the heightened tensions between the PKK and the Turkish government, Cemal would be noted for conducting interviews with notable PKK leaders such as Abdullah Öcalan and Murat Karayilan.

In 2013 the Milliyet newspaper he wrote for suspended him for two weeks after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had criticised his article supporting Milliyets publication of minutes of a parliamentary visit to Öcalan. When Milliyet then refused to publish his returning column, he resigned.

Cemal was initially a denier of the Armenian Genocide, but later, after he traveled to Armenia and visited the Armenian Genocide memorial, he become known for acknowledging and apologizing for the Armenian Genocide, a crime which was perpetrated in part by his grandfather and his colleagues. He also has insisted that the Turkish government should also apologize to the Armenians for the Armenian Genocide.

His 2012 book on the subject (written in response to the 2007 assassination of his friend Hrant Dink) is titled 1915: Ermeni Soykırımı (English: 1915: Armenian Genocide). The book became a bestseller in Turkey. He remarked in his book: “To deny the Genocide would mean to be an accomplice in this crime against humanity.”

The book highlights his “personal transformation” and his experiences in Armenia. While he was in Armenia, he had an opportunity to meet and have lunch with Armen Gevorkyan, the grandson of Artashes Gevorgyan, the man who assassinated his grandfather Djemal Pasha in 1922.

In 2008, after a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Cemal left a note in the commemorative book, stating that the denial of the 1915 Armenian Genocide by the present Turkish government and all those that do, indicates complicity in this ultimate crime against humanity.

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