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UCLA Armenian Students’ Association Demonstrates Against the Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian

 LOS ANGELES, Calif.—On May 22, the UCLA Armenian Students’ Association held a demonstration  against the Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian, who was invited to speak at an event called POLITIFEST organized by the Bruin Political Union and Campus Events Commission.

The Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian

The event featured several groups including Bruin Democrats, Bruins Elect, Bruin Libertarians, Bruin Republicans, CALPIRG, Young Progressives Demanding Action, and the USAC External Vice President’s Office.

“As one of the largest ethnic student groups on campus, we are outraged that no consideration was taken into account when bringing a member of The Young Turks to campus,” read a part of the statement released by the student group.
The Young Turks, an online commentary outlet, holds the name of the Turkish political movement that perpetrated the Armenian Genocide. Although The Young Turks deny any linkage to the names historical significance, it should go unsaid that keeping such a name is nothing but offensive to members of the Armenian community.

In 1908, the Young Turks came to power in the Ottoman Empire after overthrowing Sultan Abdul Hamid. Armenians living in the region were hopeful because the Young Turks stood on a progressive platform. However, this was not the case as the Young Turks began a nationalistic Turkification campaign leading up to the events of the Armenian Genocide.

The Young Turks organized killing squads, which began the liquidation of the Armenian people. The Young Turks initiated a process that left Armenians drowned in rivers, crucified, and burnt alive. The main figures of the Young Turk movement, Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Ismail Enver Pasha, and Ahmed Djemal Pasha spearheaded a Genocide that resulted in the deaths of over 1.5 million Armenians.

“It should go unsaid that any name affiliation with the “Young Turks” is highly offensive. In allowing Ana Kasparian, a member of The Young Turks, the Bruin Political Union and Campus Events Commission have shown that they are either not familiar with the offensive nature of the name of the organization Mrs. Kasparian represents or that they just do not care,” read a part of the statement.

“UCLA Armenian Students’ Association is outraged by the deliberate censorship of this event. Many of the members, Armenians, submitted questions but were deliberately not chosen. For an event whose sole purpose is to discuss censorship, free speech, and the political climate on college campuses we feel that our questions were deliberately rejected,” the statement continued.

A freshmen Armenian Students’ Association member Ara Mandjikian asked the following question during the event: “In the U.S., there have been many instances of censorship. But, in the past as well there have also been incidents where a minority voice was silenced due to popular appeal such as the Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire. Don’t you think naming a news organization after fascists who committed genocide compromises your ability to comment on censorship and social justice in general?”

Kasparian had a generic response that would please audience members that were not familiar with the nuance of naming an organization The Young Turks. ”Our members were eager to approach her during the meet and greet after she preached about the necessity for open dialogue but Mrs. Kasparian left right when the event ended. How can someone speak so sincerely about progressivism and the need for freedom of speech but not be able to confront issues such as these?” the statement continued.

The Young Turks is a media outlet that has had a cloudy history of refraining to touch upon the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Although the company’s founders have denied any linkage to the name’s historical significance, Cenk Uygur had published a college article denying the Armenian genocide. As a co-founder of The Young Turks, Uygur created the company during a time when he publicly denied the Armenian Genocide. “How can an organization such as The Young Turks be committed to social justice and progressive issues but not understand the highly offensive nature of their name? The answer is simple, The Young Turks do not care about offending Armenians,” the student group said.

The Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA said that it is disappointed that organizations on campus do not consider all details when hosting events such as these on campus. The Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA is one of the most active cultural organizations on campus and they have a long history as an organization. The organization hosts several educational workshops each and every year on the Armenian Genocide. These events are always open to the public and serve to educate all members of the community.

“The organization will continue to fight discrimination and genocide denial as members of the Armenian Diaspora,” said the statement.

7 Comments on UCLA Armenian Students’ Association Demonstrates Against the Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian

  1. [Keep the pressure on] – If Atheist & Northridge native Anahit Misak Kasparian Lopez wants to defend her decision to make public appearances and perform her glorified podcast…as YOUNG TURK for the next 50 years…opponents of the “n” word and the Alt-Reich and the YOUNG TURKS…must [keep the pressure on].

  2. I remember when Ana Gasparian made overtly disparaging comments about the Armenian community in Glendale, CA. After much backlash, she apologized for offending and promised that every message sent to here at TYT regarding the incident would be answered. Although my message to her was reasonably civil, I am still awaiting her promised reply after many years. Clearly, for such a self-serving individual, one can guess who the right of “free speech” applies to, and in what circumstances. Well, I suppose every oppressed ethnic group has members who will prostitute themselves at the expense of an entire people for a little money or fame. Even so, I stand amazed at how she can have no shame.

  3. avatar Marjorie K. Nanian, J.D. // May 24, 2017 at 11:55 am // Reply

    Isn’t Ana Kasparian Armenian? She has an Armenian surname and looks it.
    Last year I sent an e-mail to the CEO of Sirius XM Radio, Inc., James E. Meyer, regarding his company’s broadcast of “The Young Turks” program. I received no response, so here it is:
    Dear Mr. Meyer:
    Is Sirius satellite Radio encouraging another genocide in this country by airing a program called, “The Young Turks?”
    In 1915, the Young Turks were the ruling political party in the Ottoman Empire that masterminded the Armenian Genocide. As a grandchild of survivors of that ethnic cleansing, I am deeply offended by the implications of such a title, and its subliminal messages.

  4. avatar Hamasdegh // May 25, 2017 at 1:10 am // Reply

    The more attention we pay, the more publicity they will get.

  5. avatar Peter Mikaelian // May 25, 2017 at 10:21 am // Reply

    First time I heard the name of this group “Young Turks” , I was surprised and dismayed that such a progressive group should have such a unacceptable name that especially Armenians are so disgusted with.
    It is true that for a certain period in early twentieth century some progressive movements around the world were publicized as “young Turks” because they had raised against the despot Ottoman Sultan. But it was dropped after many realized the truth about The Genocide perpetuated by this same “young Turks” .
    Why do this group at the present time choose such a savage and fascist name is beyond my understanding. They should either change the name of the group or they will face protests by esprcially Young Armenians everywhere. And how is it that Ana Kasparian does not feel embarrassed puzzles me.

  6. Crusade. Inquisition. Witch-hunt.

    These terms have all evolved in meaning compared to their origins.

    “Young Turks” has evolved as well.

    Anahit is Armenian and a warrior in the battle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Those who attack her hurt this cause.

    When you whitewash the article by eliminating any mention of the slurs and curses thrown by Armenians in the audience, you are complicit.

  7. avatar James Durning // May 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm // Reply

    Interesting hit piece with numerous inaccuracies. I agree the name is poor and should be changed, but it’s about the money. I’m glad their leader Uygur has since said that the genocide happened. It seems counter-productive to go against an organization like The Young Turks for their name compared to their policies, when it’s undoubtedly a nationalistic thing for Uygur about the general pride of the Turkish nation. Is it easier to go after some internet show than work against the real violence occurring against Armenians now?

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