Zarakolu given top Prize of Armenia

Zarakolu given top Prize of Armenia

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Zarakolu given top Prize of Armenia

Publisher and activist Ragıp Zarakolu (L) is seen together with Armenian President Serge Sarkisyan (R) after he was given the Presidency Prize of Armenia.

Prominent publisher Ragıp Zarakolu yesterday received the Presidency Prize of Armenia in Yerevan, becoming the second person from Turkey to have received this prize. Before Zarakolu, Turkish journalist of Armenian descent Hrant Dink, (editor in chief of Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, who was shot dead in front of his office building in Istanbul in 2007), received the same award.

Acknowledment of Armenian culture
“I am honored to be here to receive Presidency Prize of Armenia. It is an extraordinary felling to be here, in independent Armenia. Mr. President, I thank you and the institutions that awarded me this prize for my modest contribution toward the acknowledgement of Armenia’s historical and cultural heritage,” Zarakolu said during his speech.

Zarakolu also commented on the contributions of Armenians to Turkish culture.

“We can’t talk about Seljuk and Ottoman Cultural heritage without mentioning the Armenian contributions. Unfortunately Turkey prefers to deny its cultural heritage, rather than face the truth ... Anatolia misses her disappeared children. After you, Anatolia lost her aura, what remains are scared lands and ruined towns,” Zarakolu said.

Zarakolu was arrested in November on terrorism charges as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). He was held in prison for six months before being released in April. The justification for the release was explained as the “duration of the imprisonment time, the possibility of a change to the classification of the offence, and evidence.”

The first hearing of the case will be held on July 2 in Silivri.