ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—Istanbul-based bilingual Armenian weekly newspaper AGOS was recently targeted by Goksel Gulbey, the head of the Turkish ASIMDER group (Uluslararası Asılsız Ermeni İddialarıyla Mücadele Derneği/“Association that Struggles Against International Baseless Armenian Lies”), for publishing an advertisement with Birthright Armenia’s logo on its website. Gulbey claimed that Agos “serves the occupying Armenian mentality” by publishing the ad.
“On the logo of the Armenian-lobby-sponsored organization named Birthright Armenia published in the newspaper Agos, the occupied Azerbaijani territory of Karabagh (Nagorno-Karabagh Republic/NKR/Artsakh) is shown as Armenian land,” said Gulbey in his comments to Istanbul-based Turkish newspaper Milliyet
Gulbey went on to say that Agos indirectly serves the Armenian diaspora with their advertisements of such organizations and the columns they write.
Founded in 2003, Birthright Armenia’s mission is to strengthen ties between the homeland and Diasporan youth, by affording them an opportunity to be a part of Armenia’s daily life and to contribute to Armenia’s development through work, study and volunteer experiences, while developing life-long personal ties and a renewed sense of Armenian identity.
“Trying to play its Armenian lobby card, Europe has set its game on ruining Turkey-Azerbaijan relations. The newspaper Agos, which is known for its proximity to the Turkish Armenian community and which was established by Armenians from Turkey, has knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this game,” Gulbey added in his comments to Milliyet.
The head of ASIMDER went on to claim that because of the logo of an Armenian organization published on a minority newspaper in Turkey, Turkish government’s relations with Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria could be destroyed.
“Just as they harmed our relations with Azerbaijan when Azerbaijani flags were collected during the soccer match between the Turkish and Armenian National Teams in Bursa, they are now trying to cause problems stemming from the Karabagh issue, which Azerbaijan is sensitive about. By offending Azerbaijan, they are trying to accomplish what they have not been able to accomplish through terrorism. If Azerbaijan withdraws from negotiations, the negotiations among Turkey, Russia, and Iran will be brought to a standstill. This also means that our policies in Syria and Iraq will come to a deadlock. We as ASIMDER want the newspaper Agos to be warned and this logo to be removed from their website,” said Gulbey, who said he will file an official complaint to the Turkish President, the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Interior.
Ever since it was founded in 2012, ASIMDER has dedicated itself not only to “struggling against international baseless Armenian lies” as its name openly declares, but also to targeting Armenians in Turkey and to condemning all kinds of developments relating to Armenia or the Armenian people.
In November 2012, Gulbey posted the names and contact information of the Armenian schools, churches, and foundations in Turkey on his personal Twitter account. One day before that, he had also posted the names of the persons who he claimed were “hidden Armenians.” In 2013, Gulbey posted a video on his personal YouTube page, publicly burning a copy of Agos (below).
The Armenian-related incidents that ASIMDER has strongly condemned include, but are not limited to, the German parliament’s official recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the concert by the Yerevan state chamber choir and Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Tamasyan in Ani in 2015, and the construction of a monument in a village in the eastern province of Dersim (Tunceli) in commemoration of the slain Armenian socialist activist Armenak Bakirciyan, the slain Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and the victims of the Armenian Genocide.