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080724|Zaman|TTK President Halaçoglu removed from office
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24 July 2008 | Today's Zaman | Istanbul

TTK President Halaçoglu removed from office

Professor Yusuf Halaçoglu, who has served as the president of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK) since 1993, has been removed from office by Cabinet decision and is to return to his post of professor at Gazi University in Ankara.

The decision to relieve Halaçoglu of his office was published in the Official Gazette yesterday. Halaçoglu will serve as a professor at Gazi University as he did prior to his nomination as TTK president.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Halaçoglu said he did not know why he was being removed from office. "I see this duty [serving as the president of the TTK] as a relay race. I hope a good and successful friend will be nominated to the position," he noted.

He stated that he didn’t have prior information that he would be removed from office and returned to his position at Gazi University. "I read it in the newspaper. I was not warned in advance. Nevertheless, it was no surprise to me. I don’t consider anything in my life a surprise," he said.

Halaçoglu, emphasizing that it is normal to be nominated to a new post or to be removed from a position, said he will continue serving in any position offered him. "As a seyhülislam [the chief religious official in the Ottoman Empire] said, we are ready to leave our positions at any time and be commissioned with another duty when necessary. One day you are given a duty by the state and the next, you continue your position as a scientist. This is pretty normal," he remarked.

He also said he will not seek legal redress against his removal from office. "I am not the kind of man who resorts to such means. You cannot continue serving in a post by force. I am a scientist," he stated.

Halaçoglu is a strong denier of allegations that Armenians were subjected to genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I.

In conferences and panel discussions organized by his organization, Halaçoglu asserted that claims of genocide were completely false and the TTK has 100,000 pages of archived documents that serve as proof, refuting allegations that Armenians faced genocide in 1915.

"A historical committee should be established to investigate the issue. The TTK has been collecting documents and information on the issue from several countries, and it currently has thousands of pages that positively refute Armenian claims of genocide," Halaçoglu had said.

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