Sassounian: Turkish Foreign Ministry Should Remove Lies from Website and Issue Apology

Turkish officials have been misrepresenting the facts of the Armenian Genocide for years. Even though this is saddening and even sickening, it is not surprising. Wrongdoers usually cover up their guilt and proclaim their innocence.

What is truly surprising is that the descendants of victims of the Armenian Genocide, having been accustomed to such Turkish distortions, no longer see the need to put up a vigorous fight against denialist “historians,” politicians, diplomats, and reporters.

Why is it that descendants of the Jewish Holocaust go to great lengths to counter denialist historians, neo-Nazis, and other revisionists, while Armenians seem to be oblivious to those who distort their own tragedy? Is it because they are simply tired of hearing the same old Turkish lies year after year, or do they feel powerless to put an end to these distortions?

Earlier this year, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a resolution on the Armenian Genocide by a slim 23-22 majority. Regardless of what excuses the 22 Members came up with for voting against this resolution, the fact is that when the time came to stand up and acknowledge the truth, they did not have the moral fortitude to be counted among the righteous. Instead they chose to side with the liars, deniers, and mass murderers.

And what has been the Armenian reaction to the despicable behavior of these 22 Members of Congress? No outrage was expressed by Armenians. Not a single Armenian official condemned these scoundrels in Congress. Where is the organized effort by Armenian Americans to target for defeat the Congressmen who voted against the Armenian Genocide Resolution and are running for re-election on Nov. 2?

Imagine what would have happened if a single member of Congress had voted against a resolution on the Holocaust! Would Israel’s leaders and Jewish-Americans have remained silent? They would have rightly done everything in their power to ensure that such a member of Congress is not reelected!

The question is not whether the Armenian American community is as influential or powerful as the Jewish-American community. Regardless of its actual political prowess, the Armenian community must mount a vigorous campaign to defeat its political opponents. Once word spreads in Congress that anyone who votes against the Armenian Genocide will be targeted for defeat, those immoral and spineless Members of Congress will quickly conclude that denying the genocide for a fistful of Turkish liras is not in their own best interest.

Here is another blatant example of genocide denial that has gone unnoticed and unchallenged by Armenians and the international community: The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s website includes countless distorted statements on the Armenian Genocide. The website provides deceptive responses to innocently worded questions, such as: What happened in 1915? What is the total number of the Armenian deportees? Did all the Armenian deportees die? Is it a crime to describe the events of 1915 as “genocide” in Turkey and are the ones whom (sic) argue this exposed to legal investigation?

On its website, the Turkish Foreign Ministry goes to absurd lengths in a vain attempt to make Turkey look good by claiming that “Turkey is the only country where the events of 1915 can be discussed in a free manner.”

The website also makes the false claim that “there is no one in Turkey now who has been tried or prosecuted due to the reason that he/she described the events of 1915 as ‘genocide.’” The Turkish Foreign Ministry conveniently forgets that Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was tried and found guilty for using the word “genocide” in an interview. He met a worse fate than serving a jail term. He was shot and killed!

Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk was also charged under the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (“insulting Turkishness”) for stating in an interview that one million Armenians were killed. After intense international pressure, however, the charges against Pamuk were dropped, and subsequently reinstated! Many other Turkish journalists and writers have been taken to court for writing about the Armenian Genocide.

There should be a concerted effort by Armenian officials, Diaspora Armenians, and the international community demanding that the Turkish government immediately remove those insulting lies from the Foreign Ministry’s website and issue an apology to Armenians.

Until then, no Armenian official should have any contact or meetings with Turkish leaders. Just imagine if the German Foreign Ministry’s website stated that the Holocaust never happened. Would Israel’s leaders carry on business as usual with Germany?

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

17 Comments

  1. genocide is a lucrative industry. diaspora makes money out of it. when it comes to bilateral discussion of what really happened in 1915, diaspora panics. if you are 100% sure your claim is right, prove it in the committee of historians as proposed in the protocols.
    otherwise, everyone will realize that you have been biased and afraid to discuss it.

  2. Ahmet,

    how exactly is it possible make money out of genocide? Maybe you can explain it to us?
    I think what you mean is Turkey made tons of money out of genocide by stealing all Armenian properties. Am I right? 

    • Well said Gena…!
      They charge who enters Aya Sofia cathedral…Hajia Sofia: $12
      What I heard from Arabs and
      They confiscated Prophet Muhammad’s
      Hair and swards from Makka …
      Also they charge everyone who enters…!
      How about our lands and golds in their banks all gone …!
      Still there is no shame to say…sorry…Real thefts…
      They kill you and walk on you…with out little regret…!

      SP

  3. Turkey also coerces scholars in the US.  They forced the resignation of Prof. Donald Quataert, the Chairman of the Board for the Institute for Turkish Studies based in Georgetown, because he acknowledged the Genocide: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/04/AR2008070402408.html
    The Middle East Studies Association wrote a letter of protest, saying “A clear message is sent to those who would apply for ITS funds or participate in ITS activities that the board does not stand behind the principle of academic freedom, and that politics can vitiate professional standards.”
    http://www.mesa.arizona.edu/caf/letters_turkey.html#May27Turkey
     
    But the Turkish Ambassador replied that Turkey has no intention of stopping what they’re doing.  They want to send that message.
    US Congressmen have written to Georgetown about potential influence of Saudi money.
    http://wolf.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=34&sectiontree=6,34&itemid=1056
    http://www.weiner.house.gov/news_display.aspx?id=698
    They should also write about actual influence of Turkish money.
     

  4. Harut Sassounian is right. We must go after one congressman each election cycle. But, we must be united in purpose.
    There have been some efforts in the past, but nothing all-encompassing, that included all of the Armenian-American Community targeting just one Member of Congress.
    Dan Burton of Indiana would have been the perfect target this year, in his GOP Primary. Burton had several good challengers, who split the vote. Burton only garnered 30 percent of the vote, with his nearest opponent coming within two percentage points. An Armenian-American infusion of money, for one of the top candidates, might have made the difference.
    I was at Burton’s election-night victory party at an Irish pub in Indianapolis, videotaping the night away, for a 2011 documentary called, “Turkey’s Tools in the Heartland.” I was hoping to capture the defeat of one of the Armenian Genocide Resolution’s biggest opponents. It was not to be.
    Others to be featured in the documentary, Jean Schmidt of Ohio and Steve Cohen of Memphis, will also survive the 2010 election cycle.
    Perhaps we should make 2012 turn out differently for one vulnerable member of the Turkish Caucus.
    Peter Musurlian
     
     

  5. Ousting Dan Burton would certainly have been a service to the republic.  The man is a complete idiot.  If you followed the Roger Clemens steroid hearings in Congress, you would know that the Turkish Government isn’t the only pathetic liar he’s buddies with.  His defense of Clemens (one blog called it a “Man Crush”) made him a laughingstock around the country.  Below is the Top Ten List of Comments
    about Dan Burton gleaned from the internet:

    10.) “The most ridiculous of grandstanders was Clemens backer Dan Burton, R-Ind”
    Mike Wise, The Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021303722_2.html
    9.) “Boy, that Dan Burton is a grandstanding fool, isn’t he?”
    Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News
    http://www.mercextra.com/blogs/kawakami/2008/02/13/can-we-guess-which-congressman-got-clemens-autograph-hello-dan-burton/
    8.) “…and no, I’m not talking about Rep. Dan Burton’s showstopping rant at the baseball hearings, although I’d say it reflected about as badly on Indiana as a voting populace as the other news did on IU.”
    Brandon Moore, Indiana Journal Review
    http://www.journalreview.com/articles/2008/02/13/sports/04moore.txt

    7.) “But that wasn’t enough for some clowns, especially Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana.”
    TownNews.com, IL
    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19306494&BRD=1380&PAG=461&dept_id=157532&rfi=6
    6.) “Rep. Dan Burton, the disgusting, kid-with-his-mistress congressman who lectured Brian McNamee about lying, is Clay Davis.”
    Jason Whitlock, McClatchy Newspapers
    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080215/SPORTS02/80215002/1050/SPORTS01

    5.) “Dan Burton is either the dumbest man in Congress or the biggest Clemens fan in politics.”
    Jason Whitlock from Fox Sports
    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7794774/Clemens-hearing-showed-inefficiency-of-politics

    4.) “The line that sums up the day for the Republicans came, not surprisingly, from the unspeakably arrogant Dan Burton (R-Indiana) who at one point said to McNamee, ‘What if all your lies turn out to not be true?’  If Burton wasn’t such a lout, that Yogi Berra-ism would be funny.”
    John Feinstein, Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/18/AR2008021801514.html
    3.) “…even talk about the truly frightening idea that enough people in Indiana thought that a dim bulb like Dan Burton belongs in the House of Representatives.”
    Mike Lupica, NY Daily News
    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/02/14/2008-02-14_maryland_rep_elijah_cummings_holds_roger.html
    2.) “Under the department of any blowhard can get elected to U.S. Congress, we give you Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, whose performance in the baseball hearing earlier in the week certainly was not enhanced by anything intelligent ”
    STEVE SIMMONS, London (Ontario) Free Press
    http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Sports/OtherSports/2008/02/17/4853513-sun.html

    And the Number 1 Top Ten Comment about Dan Burton:
    1.) “Rep. Dan Burton apparently has invested in a lot of Clemens paraphernalia that he needs to sell on eBay, and doesn’t want it losing any value.”
    Brian Kamenetzky , SportsHubLA.com
    http://www.sportshubla.com/2008/02/14/10-things-i-learned-from-the-clemensmcnamee-hearings/

     

  6. Now, this is a strategy and approach that is smart and well worthwhile. Going to the source of the lies and propaganda and demanding that they be revised or removed from the website would be a truly great start to improving our relations w/ Turkey. Perhaps Pres. Sarkisyan can send a formal request?  Ultimately, that – coupled with an apology to its former citizens and their descendants – would benefit Turkey in a big way, by changing its appearance from a country that sweeps key elements of history under the rug, to one that supports truths well-known to the rest of the world, and actually owns up to them, warts and all.   It would be another big step in the right direction towards healing the larger situation with Armenians.

  7. Great article. You forgot to mention however the Zionist run state department that also goes counter to any Armenian Genocide recognition.
     
    As for Ahmet, your comment is about as stupid as you get. The reason the Turks killed the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians was to steal the land and their wealth. The Armenian Genocide is the second most studied Genocide ever with all genocide historian,s most all official archives and documents which all conclude the same event, same actors, same result. In fact, the ICTJ was just asked by both Turks and Armenians to conclude on the events of 1915 in which they deemed it as “GENOCIDE”. The Turks however just ignored it. In fact the only ones who deny the Armenian genocide are Turks and a hand full of “paid” historians. THAT IS ALL!

  8. @Ahmet
    Armenia and Turkey went through the whole scenario of bilateral discussions and judgement by a third party in 2001 under TARC. Turkey did not like the outcome and left TARC altogether. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
     

  9. Ahmet,

    I will add the following to what Joseph said about TARC.

    As reported back in 2001, Ozdem Sanberk, one of the Turkish members of TARC, had blurted out the following admission in a moment of weakness or inattention: “The basic goal of our commission is to impede the initiatives put forth every year in the U.S. Congress and parliaments of Western countries on ‘the genocide issue’…. The key goal is to prevent ‘the genocide’ issue from being regularly brought onto the agenda in Western countries…. The significant matter for us is that ‘the genocide’ issue is not discussed by the American Congress anymore. As long as we continue the dialogue, the issue won’t be brought to the congressional agenda. If it is not discussed in Congress, we, meaning Turkey, will gain from that. The US Congress will see that there is a channel of dialogue between Turks and Armenians and decide that ‘there is no necessity for the Congress to take such a decision while such a channel exists.”
    I think it is clear who panics every time the issue of genocide is brought up.

  10. The other part of this ‘debate’, also twists the truth of history. According to Turkish denialists and apologists, the Ottoman Empire and the Armenians were equals. Nothing could be further from reality….the Armenians, while the largest Christian minority, were nothing compared to the might of the Ottoman state, particularly one that had been hijacked by a bunch of nationalist fanatics. In truth, it was that state which launched a war against its own citizens. Yes, some of those citizens might have been a bit rebellious and agitating for reforms, but they were a tiny subset of a minority…who largely supported the empire. It was the Armenians fellow citizens who turned on them during a period when multiple wars had bankrupted the empire. Stealing Armenian wealth and land was seen as legitimate. The question is, where did all that wealth go? Who benefited? Let’s get specific here and follow the money. Only then can blame for the genocide be exposed once and for all.

  11. Ahmet… i have to apologize because i did not include your name with the names of other Turkish regulars here on our forum with another fellow Anti-ARmenian, closed minded and laughable Turk on another forum whose comment was as hillarious as yours… Turkey must have school of comedy to produce such clowns and comedians with such funny comments..that is absolutely amazing….wow..

    Oh Guener Lewy? The Genocide Deniar? oh of course.. he is one of Turkey’s favorites.. it seems most deniars and apologists know his name.. We always know his name AHMENT and he is another clown.. trust me…….

    Karekin- did you really ask who benefited from the GEnocide and where did all that wealth go? seriously???? you mean to tell me you don’t know already and it is not obvious???

    Peter- you have a great idea.. we should definintely work on getting that accomplished..

  12. Garzooma
    I agree that this idea of Sassounian is very good. You expose those who deny and belittle the genocide, but please do it with arguments. A strategy of calling the deviant ciongressmenn clowns hardly will bring the wanted results

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