Boyajian: Turkey’s Henchmen: Mass Media Butcher the Armenian Genocide

Most reporters and other journalists in the mass media failed to do due diligence and misled their audiences regarding last month’s U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee vote in favor of Resolution 252, which would reaffirm the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23.

Nearly all media, prior to and after the vote, falsely said or implied that the House and the federal government had never before recognized the Armenian Genocide.

The full House, in fact, passed resolutions in 1975 and 1984 that acknowledged the Armenian Genocide as “genocide.” Proclamation 4838 by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 also affirmed the veracity of the genocide. In 1996, the House limited economic aid to Turkey until it recognized the genocide.

In a brief filed with the International Court of Justice (World Court) at The Hague in 1951, the U.S. government cited just two genocides in modern times: the one committed by Turkey against Armenians and that committed by Nazi Germany.

Even when told of these earlier Armenian Genocide acknowledgments, few media reported them. Significantly, after each such genocide reaffirmation, Ankara’s threats of retaliation against Washington amounted to nothing and were quickly forgotten. No reporter, it appears, has ever bothered to mention this fact.

For Turkey to complain obsessively about the House committee’s vote reaffirming the Armenian Genocide makes little sense considering that the U.S. has already recognized that genocide at least five times. Incredibly, it appears that no mainstream journalist has ever asked Turkish leaders for an explanation, not that they could provide a coherent one.

At the same time, the media obligingly volunteered their ideas about how Turkey could (or is it should?) retaliate, such as shutting down a NATO airbase or preventing American troops exiting Iraq to transit Turkey. Nonsensically, journalists implicitly portrayed America as having no leverage against Turkey and as being at its mercy.

Just the opposite is true. Ankara depends heavily on Washington for advanced weaponry, investments and economic aid by U.S.-backed institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, political support to join the European Union, and more.

Following the recent House committee vote, former British ambassador to Armenia David Miller accurately observed that Turkey, like a “bully,” will “bluster [and] threaten and in the end nothing will happen.”

Nearly all media also “forgot” to mention that Turkey’s threats had fallen flat against the nearly 20 countries whose legislative bodies had already acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. Indeed, insofar as is known, Turkey’s trade with such countries went up substantially, not down, after genocide recognition.

Among the many genocide acknowledgers that the media nearly always “forget” to mention are Canada, France, Lebanon, Switzerland, and Uruguay, as well as a UN sub-commission, World Council of Churches, the Vatican, and the European Union Parliament.

Most reporters have also long preferred to depict the genocide issue as a mere he-said-she-said quarrel between Armenians and Turkey. Yet the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), the foremost organization of its kind, has recognized the Armenian Genocide several times and roundly criticized Turkey. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish scholar who authored the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 and who coined the word “genocide,” once declared on national television: “I became interested in genocide because it happened to the Armenians.” Most journalists choose to “forget” these facts.

The media also dutifully reported Turkey’s opinion that academia, not the U.S. Congress, is the proper place to discuss and recognize genocides. They “forgot” that one or both houses of Congress have recognized the Holocaust, and the Bosnian, Cambodian, Darfurian, and Ukrainian genocides. Thus, the public is unfairly led to believe that Armenian Americans are asking Congress to do something unusual. Somehow the media also “forgot” to report that over 50 American human rights, ethnic, and religious organizations support Congressional acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.

In short, most mass media have done an abysmal, unprofessional job.

If the House, a U.S. president, and a federal filing with the World Court have already affirmed and reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide, does Congress really need to pass the present genocide resolution? The current resolution, which is non-binding, describes the genocide’s history and America’s traditional support of Armenia in more detail than previously approved ones.

Congressional reaffirmation will help to counter Turkey’s unending, immoral denial campaigns and send a necessary signal to the U.S. State Department that genocide denial harms American interests in the region.

For two decades, stability in the oil and gas-rich Caucasus/Caspian region—undoubtedly the major flashpoint between the U.S. and Russia—has been one of Washington’s most cherished goals.

Stability is impossible, however, as long as Turkey refuses to face up to its crimes against Armenians and continues to needlessly blockade Armenia. Turkey, 25 times larger and more populous than Armenia and with 50 times the GDP, truly is a “bully.”

The U.S. and other countries recently forced a set of “protocols” onto Armenia that would allegedly “reconcile” it and Turkey. Contrary to Turkish claims, Armenia quite rightfully maintains that it will not let the protocols’ proposed joint Turkish-Armenian “historical commission” question the veracity of the genocide. The genocide issue cannot be wished away by sham U.S.-backed protocols, which, in any case, Turkey presently refuses to ratify.

Without an unequivocal acknowledgment by Turkey of its hyper-violence against Armenians, the region cannot be stabilized—with serious geopolitical consequences for Washington and its allies.

The media, and the Obama Administration, can help to avert this simply by telling the American people the truth about the Armenian Genocide. The whole truth.

3 Comments

  1. Boyajian’s thought and opinions are always riveting and well worth the read. He can teach the mass media about informed reporting and how to be fair and objective. It is regrettable they remark about important events of which they have little knowledge.

  2. Hye, on Saturday, Turks were demonstrating for  their nation, on Massachusetts Avenue,  denying the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation 1915-1923 – even into 2010, defiling the memory of all those who had been slaughtered, raped, burned alive, tortured and worse…
    I joined the Armenians who come to the Turkish Embassy each year in memorium for all those lost to us.  To address the Turkish representatives each year for the need for the Turk to admit their guilt – the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation – now recognized the world over – but Turks deny.
    This year, as was begun last year, the Turks had arranged for their ‘representatives’ to be their youths… and a few elderly.  As I watched and read the signs which they’d prepared and were displaying were a disgrace to any civilized society.  One sign read:  “60,000 Turks, Jews and Turks were killed by the Armenians”; another read how pleased they were with Obama’s stance…so  many signs with lies blatantly displayed… these ‘kids’ were so pleased to be there – it was an ‘outing’ for them.   Worse, at some point music was
    heard and then these ‘representatives of their violent nation’ were dancing to the music – a line dance, if you please, and laughing and having fun.  Genocide has not any meaning for these youngsters who are educated to believe the Armenians are enemies of the Turks – no mention of the Armenians having been the victims of the Genocide perpetrated by their own predessors!
    I stood there looking at these misdirected, misinformed young people, their elders just went along…  I pointed to each of their convoluted signs and called to them LIARS, LIARS and then the vile acts began.  Grinning like monkeys in a zoo, they all used their fingers to display where their violent mentality excells. 
    Obama, has defiled the Genocides issue to be  an  issue of no consequence – to be ignored. 
    Genocides!!  Man’s inhumanity to man – of no consequence!
    Genocides, still in effect in Darfur these seven/eight years is now being denied by the Sudanese – of course, and why not?  If the Obama can ignore the Darfurian Genocide, if the Turk can lie and deny for all these years their Genocides of the Armenians, Greeks, Syrians, Assyrians, and more… today the Sudanese choose to also deny slaughtering, raping, and worse the Darfurians.  Obama, incapable of speaking  for the Armenians Genocide, is also incapable of speaking up for the Genocide of the Darfurians!
    Thus these, merry, prepared young  Turks came to the Turkish Embassy in order to have a   joyous and fun time for the Turks to ridicule the serious issue of Genocides –  OR, I wonder, did they know what they had been prepped to do?

    Humanity, regrettably, you have been relegated to the depths as only  Turks can devise, can display without any compunctions – bully! 
    Manooshag

  3. P.S. please correct, in the second paragraph, wherein I mistakenly listed the
    60,000 Turks, Jews and (to be) KURDS… by the absurdity of their ‘sign’… Thanks.  Manooshag

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