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Murat Belge
Murat Belge

"This is a society that specializes in forgetting rather than remembering."

Murat Belge is one of Turkey's most outspoken liberal intellectuals. Since 1996 he has been teaching literature at Istanbul's Bilgi University. He has translated James Joyce, Charles Dickens and D. H. Lawrence. He has been a long-time contributor to the daily Radikal; since June 2008 he is a columnist for the daily Taraf.

Belge is the son of a political journalist and the grandson of a former governor of Bursa. After the military coup in 1970 he was sent to prison. After the coup in 1980 he had to leave academia. Belge co-founded a publishing house for left-wing classics and became one of the founders of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly in Turkey.

Belge's deep interest in Istanbul's hidden multiethnic past grew out of his personal experience. As he wrote in a city guide published in 1993:

"Just imagine, the houses where I was born, where I spent my childhood, where I was during university, where I lived during my first marriage, where the children were born, where two children grew up

August 2009

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