Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   22 January

Sevan Nişanyan is a political prisoner: HRW

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 4, ARMENPRESS. Human Rights Watch published a report regarding Turkey titled “Regress in Human Rights and Suggestions for Reforms”, which reflected upon the issue of Armenian linguist Sevan Nişanyan as well. As reports “Armenpress” citing Turkish Demokrathaber.net, Human Rights Watch stated that Sevan Nişanyan is a political prisoner.

Among other things, Human Rights Watch noted that the article of Turkish criminal code according to which Sevan Nişanyan was arrested and put to prison, resembles the infamous article 301 on insulting “Turkishness”, which is still in force.

Of Armenian extraction, Nişanyan was born in Istanbul in 1956, the son of architect Vagarş Nisanyan. After graduating from the Private Armenian School of Pangaltı he attended Robert College, then studied philosophy at Yale University, concentrating on Kant, Hegel and Thomas Aquinas. He did graduate studies in political science at Columbia University, where he worked under Giovanni Sartori, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Seweryn Bialer and Douglas Chalmers. His PhD thesis (unfinished) concerned competitive strategies of political parties in unstable South American regimes.

During his university years Nişanyan became fluent in several languages, including Latin, Arabic and Classical Armenian.               

In 1985 Nisanyan returned to his native Turkey to complete his compulsory military service. He spent the next two decades as a professional travel writer and guidebook editor in both English and Turkish language media. With journalist Thomas Goltz, he published a series of guidebooks on Turkey's regions. He wrote the American Express Guides to Athens, Prague, and Vienna & Budapest.

In 1998, with his wife Müjde, he brought out the first annual edition of The Little Hotel Book, a guidebook in Turkish and English to Turkey’s small and characterful hotels. The guide was immensely successful, topping national bestseller lists for ten consecutive years, and developing into a cultural icon of the ‘00s. It ceased to publish after the couple's highly publicised divorce in 2008.

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