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Murat Belge

Murat Belge
Born (1943-03-16) 16 March 1943 (age 81)
Spouse(s)Taciser Ulaş (div. 1997)
(m. 2006)
ParentBurhan Asaf Belge (father)
RelativesYakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu (uncle)

Murat Belge (born 16 March 1943) is a Turkish academic, translator, literary critic, columnist, civil rights activist, and occasional tour guide.



Belge was a member of the organizing committee for a two-day academic conference that started on 24 September 2005, held at Istanbul Bilgi University in Istanbul, titled "Ottoman Armenians During the Decline of the Empire: Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy".[1] The conference offered an open dispute of the official Turkish account of the Armenian genocide, and was denounced by nationalists as treacherous.[1][2]

This is a fight of 'can we discuss this thing, or can we not discuss this thing?'…This is something that's directly related to the question of what kind of country Turkey is going to be.

— Belge, during the conference opening.[1]

Belge's remarks led to his facing a ten-year jail sentence for criticizing the judicial ban; he was acquitted.[3] He also commented, "We have a very unhealthy relation with our history … It's basically a collection of lies."[4]

A leaked Turkish military memo, dated November 2006 (reported by Nokta in March 2007, prior to being shut down[5]), lists journalist deemed "trustworthy" and "untrustworthy" by the Turkish Armed Forces.[6] Murat Belge was listed as "untrustworthy."[7]

Since 1996 he has been a professor of comparative literature at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Personal life and education


He is the son of political journalist Burhan Asaf Belge (who was married to Hungarian-American socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor from May 1935[8] to December 1941), nephew of Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, and the grandson of a former governor of Bursa. He received his Ph.D. from Istanbul University in 1969 on leftist criticism in English literature.[9] From his student years in the 1960s, until the early 1980s, he had been an active participant of a close-knit left-wing group of scholars at Istanbul University's Department of English Language and Literature; he used to be a Marxist himself.[10] His fellow scholars of those years included Berna Moran [tr], Mîna Urgan, Cevat Çapan [tr], Akşit Göktürk [tr] and Vahit Turhan [tr]. After the military coups of 1971 and 1980, he was compelled to leave academic life and began publishing left-wing classics with İletişim Press in Istanbul.

Since the early 1980s, he has been guiding tours of Istanbul's yalılar (waterfront mansions).[11][12]

He is married to actress Hale Soygazi.[citation needed]



Belge is one of the founders of Birikim, a leftist cultural magazine.[9] In 1984 he also established another publication, Yeni Gündem.[13] For several years he wrote columns for the daily Radikal, before shifting to Taraf in June 2008. On 14 December 2012, Belge stepped down from his post at Taraf together with editor-in-chief Ahmet Altan, assistant editor Yasemin Çongar and columnist Neşe Tüzel,[14] and he has written occasionally for openDemocracy since 2001.[citation needed]

Belge has translated works of James Joyce, Charles Dickens, D. H. Lawrence, William Faulkner and John Berger into Turkish. He is an active member of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Harvey, Benjamin (24 September 2005). "Turks debate painful past, permitting discussion over whether ancestors committed genocide". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  2. ^ Mahoney, Robert (16 March 2006). "Turkey: Nationalism and the Press". Committee to Protect Journalists.
  3. ^ Court acquits fifth journalist who criticised conference ban, IFEX. 9 July 2006.
  4. ^ Cheterian, Vicken (2015). Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks and a Century of Genocide. Hurst. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-84904-458-5.
  5. ^ Belli, Onur Burçak (21 April 2007). "Nokta Weekly to be shut down". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 2 February 2008.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Şık, Ahmet (8 March 2007). "İki Tür Gazeteci Vardır: TSK Karşıtları, TSK Yandaşları". Nokta (in Turkish).
  7. ^ E. Baris Altintas, Ercan Yavuz (9 March 2007). "New military media scandal exposed". Zaman. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  8. ^ Marriage entry, 17 May 1935 Budapest 11th district, 172/1935
  9. ^ a b Academic profile Archived 9 August 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Istanbul Bilgi University
  10. ^ Alçı, Nagehan (3 September 2007). "İkinci Cumhuriyet için sol şart". Akşam. Archived from the original on 20 June 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2008. We, as old Marxists, are closer to AKP
  11. ^ Tavernise, Sabrina (25 October 2008). "On the Bosporus, a Scholar Tells of Sultans, Washerwomen and Snakes". New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  12. ^ Altfuldisch, Christian (October 2008). "Murat Belge". Return to Europe. European Stability Initiative. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
  13. ^ Eylem Akdeniz (2011). The Democrat as a Social Type: the Case of Turkey in the 1990s (PhD thesis). Bilkent University. p. 112. ISBN 979-8-209-95486-6. ProQuest 2652596120.
  14. ^ "Taraf'ta istifa depremi". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 15 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
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Murat Belge
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