by Alisa Gevorgyan
YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—The Turkish-language version of Verzhine Svazlian’s book, Armenian Genocide: Testimonies of Eye-Witness Survivors, has been published by Begle publishing house, headed by Ragip Zarakolu. The Turkish publisher was in Yerevan Tuesday to participate in the book’s Turkish-language release.
The Armenian and English publications of the book were released earlier. The book includes at least 700 testimonies of eye-witness survivors and historic songs.
Starting in 1955, Verzhine Svazlian has been writing down, recording and publishing the testimonies of genocide survivors from Armenia and the diaspora from more than 150 settlements of historic Armenia. She has dedicated 55 years to save the tragic and heroic excerpts in the history of the Armenian people.
Zarakolu was the first to decide to break the wall of denial in Turkey. He founded his own Begle publishing house in Istanbul in 1976, where he published a number of books on the harassment against national minorities in Turkey, as well as the Armenian Genocide.
Zarakolu has often been persecuted in Turkey for his activity, but it has not prevented him from publishing Verzhine Svazlian’s book. Asked whether he’s not afraid to return to Turkey, the publisher said: “I cannot go against my conscience. At the same time I don’t think the Turkish authorities will launch a criminal case against me this time. Experience has shown that these attempts never succeed.”
“Verzhine Svazlian’s name is known to many in Turkey as a ‘pedestal of irrefutable truth.’ This book could become the statue standing on that pedestal. In Turkey the ice is starting to melt and the number of people seeking truth is increasing,” Ragip Zarakolu said.
Director of the Oriental Studies Institute Ruben Safrastyan is confident that Verzhine Svazlian’s book will have a great influence on Turkish society.