Belge was a member of the organizing committee for a two-day academic conference that started on September 24, 2005, held at Bilgi University in Istanbul, titled "Ottoman Armenians During the Decline of the Empire: Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy". The conference offered an open dispute of the official Turkish account of the Armenian Genocide, and was denounced by nationalists as treacherous.
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.
Belge's remarks led to his facing a ten-year jail sentence for criticizing the judicial ban; he was acquitted.
A leaked Turkish military memo, dated November 2006 (reported by Nokta in March 2007, prior to being shut down), lists journalist deemed "trustworthy" and "untrustworthy" by the Turkish Armed Forces. Murat Belge was listed as "untrustworthy."
He is the son of political journalist Burhan Asaf Belge, nephew of Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, and the grandson of a former governor of Bursa. He received his PhD from Istanbul University in 1969 on leftist criticism in English literature. 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. His fellow scholars of those years included Berna Moran, Mina Urgan, Cevat Capan, Aksit Gokturk and Vahit Turhan. After the military coups of 1971 and 1980, he was compelled to leave academic life and began publishing left-wing classics with Iletisim Press in Istanbul.
He is married to actress Hale Soygazi.
For several years he wrote columns for the daily Radikal, before shifting to Taraf in June 2008. On December 14, 2012, Belge stepped down from his post at Taraf together with editor-in-chief Ahmet Altan, assistant editor Yasemin Çongar and columnist Neşe Tüzel.
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