Turkish Group Appeals Court Ruling over ‘Unreliable Websites’

The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) has appealed a Federal Court’s March 30decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought forth by the TCA against the University of Minnesota for having included the TCA’s website on a list of “unreliable websites” due to the latter’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.

The TCA is appealing the decision with support from the Rutherford Institute as a 'friend of the court, claiming that Cingilli’s rights to academic freedom, protected by the First Amendment, were violated.

Last fall, the TCA, together with first-year university student Sinan Cingilli, originally from Turkey, sued the University of Minnesota, its then-president Robert Bruininks, and Prof. Bruno Chaouat, the director of the university’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS), for posting a list of “unreliable websites” on the CHGS website. The list of websites deemed unreliable to the study of genocide—because they promoted genocide denial—included that of the TCA. The complaint was dismissed (“with prejudice”) on the grounds of academic freedom.

The TCA is appealing the decision with support from the Rutherford Institute as a “friend of the court,” claiming that Cingilli’s rights to academic freedom, protected by the First Amendment, were violated.

The university filed a reply on Aug. 15, arguing that in order to deliberate on the case, the court would have to decide which viewpoint on the Armenian Genocide was correct. “Such issues of scholarly opinion and debate are not appropriately resolved through the courts,” explained the university.

The university also argued that Prof. Chaouat and the CHGS were protected by the principle of academic freedom, and therefore could deem certain sources of information unreliable.

“Universities and their faculty members have the right to express their views on academic matters. They have the right to provide recommendations and advice to students and others regarding the reliability of sources of information, including websites, and whether the sources should be used for scholarly research and writing,” it stated.

The university added that the TCA had not established a “cognizable injury,” that neither the TCA nor Cingilli were prohibited from expressing their viewpoints, and that no one was restricted from accessing the TCA’s website.

“Cingilli has no right to avoid receiving recommendations and advice from university professors, especially when he affirmatively seeks them out,” stated the university in its reply.

The university also cited the Massachusetts case of Griswold v. Driscoll, where the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), along with two state teachers and a student, had sued the Massachusetts Department of Education over Armenian Genocide education in Massachusetts schools. They had claimed that “contra genocide” viewpoints had to be included in school curricula as a First Amendment right. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, writing for the circuit court, denied that appeal.


  1. Let them continue suing, but most importantly, let’s hope this brings the needed publicity for the ongoing battle for Genocide Regonition. Sometimes, controversy pays.

  2. This only shows how important it is for the Armenian diaspora to have a common, unified and vigorous strategy not soley to defend its position on the issue of the recognition of the Genocide, but developing a master plan capable of taking the recognition effort to its next level and stage before 2015. Unfortunately, in spite of our successes , we are operating much , much below our potential . This struggle requires brain power, organization and money . Pooling our resources for this important task is critical and there seems to be too little of each at this moment devoted to this uniquely important mission.
    Furthermore, this also shows how short sighted were some people both in Armenia and the diaspora who joined the Turkish-Armenian protocol band wagon thinking that what suits them suits the nation. While we fought off that trap, beware of the others to follow. The Turkish Coalition of America (and its likes) want to hit hard all those who sustain the Armenian Genocide claim by any means they can, hoping that repeated strategic attacks would in the long run undermine the effort and the commitment of those who champion the Armenian cause . We do not need to defend the genocide claim, but to amplify the claim by constant research, publicity , studies,publications and grass roots campaign both among Armenians and non-Armenians so that this human rights issue remains relevant until all the attendant evils of the Armenian Genocide are corrected.    

  3. Many a case which was once thought to have been won has later been reversed in an appelate court. What the University did was indee unfair, prejudiced and possibly even racist-oriented. These will be heavily examined in the appelate courts, and if reversed, can have a domino-effect on other cases varying from the Griswold v. Mass to those at the University of Michigan and even major Armenian strongholds such as UCLA, as these cases are also re-examined and may also then be reversed. The more amicus briefs that are submitted on behalf of TCA, the stronger the probability of a reversal. People are becoming much more sensitive to issues such as censorship and overt prejudice. Do not be surprised if the JDL and the NAACP join together to support TCA and ATAA in this regard! This is long from being over and becoming a “done deal”. We’ll see if the worm has finally turned and if the people are beginning to see the light. 

  4. I cannot agree more with you, Hamasdegh.  I have been working on such a master plan for several years already. The only issue stopping me to go forward is standing. I am hoping to mobilize several thousands Armenians to file  a class action against Turkey and et al. The USA’s national law and international law are on our side. Money is not an issue. However, I am afraid that our traditional political parties as well as the Republic of Armenia might create problems. Already. I have a core list of Armenians who are willing to join me to work on my plan. If you want to join us, you can ask Armenian Weekly to send your email to me. I will update you about our plan.

    By the way, I am looking to get hold on copy of “French Armenian Agreement” signed in 1916. If any one of you can help me on this, I would apretiate a lot. I know its terms and conditions and names of parties. I need a complete copy of the said agreement.  Thank you.


  5. I am so glad that the courts are shutting these losers down.. seriously, these petty lawsuite about issues that they perculated in their messed up heads is getting really old.. I wish the courts will throw them out before even going into trial.. that would solve alot of time, money and headache…

    The court should SUE these losers for taking up their valuable time away from more important matters such… one could be: locking people like Cingilli away for disturbing court’s officials with such a stupid lawsuite…


  6.   With the Massachusetts ruling and now the case in Minnesota, eventually the denialist Turkish machine will turn its pitiful direction elsewhere. Dream on Robert!. I do agree with you on one point…. eventually the truth prevails. It has as in the scholastic and historical fact of the Armenian genocide. When I meet Turks who have embraced their past, I have hope for the future of not simply Armenian -Turkish relations , but also for your republic. Unfortunately, denying only neutralizes the good because it reflects the unfortunate reality of that mentality…unable to accept the truth…therefore unable to understand their own past and therefore unable to move forward. the truth will set you free. Do it for the good of your own people.

  7. Robert:
    It is obvious you are confused as to what the issues are and what is happening.Perhaps your confused statement is reflective of your wishes to see the Armenian cause disappear.It is a wishful thinking! Turkey is vainly trying to fight off any and all issues related the Armenian Genocide, hoping to avoid the day of reckoning.And this is not new. Instead of resolving the legitimate political demands of Armenians in the 19th century, they organized the 1915 massacres and Genocide. Instead of meeting the legitimate political needs of the Kurdish people, they are bombarding nowadays their villages. Instead of understanding the needs of their Greek, Syriac and Alevi minorities , they create artificial hurdles to make their life miserable. They make it necessary for Church authorities to apply for a permit to say a mass in buildings that belong to the Christian heritage in modern Turkey. To shut off discussions of the Armenian Genocide they are using their agents left and right to sue various authorities and institutions to silence them. So there attitude is either my way or the highway.Is this the modern Turkey that wants to join the European Union ?My dad born in Adana used to repeat a Turkish saying to describe the situation:” Eski tass, eski hamam” meaning that nothing has changed, if you get the drift of my point.I hope that open discussions, sincere efforts to understand the issues and the past,  resolve to see justice done will serve the interests of all concerned. In the meantime we can only hope that education and better understanding of history will help remove the mental block of those who dig themselves deeper in denialist attitudes rather than freeing themselves from the intellectual shackles of the past recognizing the deed and making amends, rather than disgracing themselves further by bringing ridiculous court cases. It takes a while for people to change but I am hopeful that Turks and Turkey will finally realize that denial, brute force and stubborn positions do not resolve their national problems.         

  8. It is disturbing to me that this case still has life in it. I thought that universities were supposed to be centers of research, evaluation and interpretation. Since when does a university or professor not have the right to issue its opinions regarding the things it evaluates and interprets. Isn’t this the basis of higher education. The free flow of thought. The University of Minnesota in this case, isn’t limiting Cingilli’s right to read or visit any site; it merely shared its opinion regarding the reliability of the TCA site. Cingilli and any other student who is interested, is free to visit it and disregard the caveat from the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

  9. Nutty Turks and their nutty friends seem to like to post on Armenian websites.

    There is basically something wrong in the head with them.

    I would suggest they go to a doctor and get on anti-psychotic meds. 

  10. HovsepM,

    You’re wrong in your assumption about me. I’ve already written that I wish to provide positive input for all parties, so that an amicable solution can be reached and agreed to by all. I have a lot of very recent personal pain to deal with, which has given me a new insight. Although I have not given up on my beliefs of historical facts (as backed up by my grandfamilies documentations and verbal accounts of that era), I also believe that all sides suffered, due mainly to Russian, French and British manipulation and interference to futher their own imperialistic goals. This is why a historical commission is so important (comprised of both Armenian, Turkish and neutral scholars), to review all archives and hopefully get to the truth of what truly occurred. I don’t believe that only Turks should be portrayed as being evil (when you know as well as I do that crimes were committed by all), and thus be solely expected to provide an apology (what about an apology from the Armenian side for their actions/roles?). As I had written earlier, I won’t be making any more unadult “smartass” comments. We nee to rectify all of this at some point and get back to a normalcy once more, being friends and neighbors just as we had been for over five centuries. The hard-core agitators and instigators have their own agenda with their unrealistic demands (this is plainly very obvious) to keep us seperated, hating and fighting! We can and must avoid these people and reconcile our differences ourselves, without interference. I believe that at the very least, we must try! I’ve had the opportunity to have met and spoken with several Armenians and Turks living in Turkey (as well as three Armenians living in Armenia). Everyone of them echo’s the same thing…the Turks and Armenians living outside (e.g. Europe and America) don’t have a full grasp of what they feel in Turkey and Armenia. This is a major factor that constantly creates problems. They say that they’re happy and “wish that those living outside would stop causing trouble”. This goes for both sides! I for one feel that they’re correct. We who live here in the US need not stick our noses into their lives over there. Let them settle their issues! Perhaps then the NK situation and any other problem can thus be settled, with new freindship treaties between Turkey, Armenia and Azebaijan signed, creating cooperation in many areas (economical, scientific, cultural, etc.), with mutual advancement and peace in the region.          

  11. Robert, friendship treaties with those who won’t admit they stole over 80% of your homeland and killed 3/4 of your nation.  Or friendship treaties with those who refuse to recognize your right to self-determination, and responds with massacres instead.  Now that’s a hard sell, but you never know. 
    You are doing a good job trying to be “more positive’ but your motive of trying to divert the diaspora away from the Turkish-Armenian conflict is obvious.

  12. the poster by the handle Robert has indeed posted comments recently  @AW indicating remorse. His posts are at the comments section (at the end) of this article: http://armenianweekly.com/2011/08/11/gunaysu-denial/
    There are  at least 4 ‘Robert’ comments with different icons/avatars, so it is not clear if all are the same Robert.
    Previously, I have pointed out Robert’s – let’s say “unpleasant” – posts relentlessly over a long period of time on multiple occasions.  
    So it is only fair that I also point out his most recent posts where he appears to express regret about his previous unpleasant comments. Whether the remorse is genuine or not, only Robert and his God know.
    Nevertheless, for me personally, there are no shades of gray when it comes to AG: its all B&W –  always will be. 

  13. “…being friends and neighbors just as we had been for over five centuries.”

    Robert, could you point out when Armenians were treated equally with Ottomans? 

  14. I have been monitoring posted comments on Armenian Genocide and Armenian issues on many websites  for the past 18 months as part of a research paper I am working on. It is obvious that there is an ongoing effort   (organized? ) from various centers both in Europe, USA and Turkey to present some times in sugar coated terms …pills that are difficult to swallow not only for an Armenian but for any objective historian , the sole objective of these comments being to distort history and offer alternative narratives hoping that by dint of repetition they become adopted version of history . The story of this historical commission keeps resurfacing  and Turkish official quarters, and those who parrot them, have not given up on their efforts to sell it as a reasonable solution. Do I want a dialogue with Turkey and Turks? Of course yes, but not through gimmicks and smoke screens. There are courageous people in Turkey (journalists, writers, academicians) who are willing and ready to face the past but we are still very far from the day when they can influence the attitude of the Turkish government and the mainstream Turkish public. In the meantime, do we want to waste time talking to people who appear to have a different interest than being honest discussants?   

  15. It is obvious that Robert and Avery are agents provocateurs. All you have to do is to read their postings to find out it is useless to debate THESE people who have nothing to say except fish in troubled water !!!

  16. Treated equally?  What a strange expectation from a 600 yr old Empire!  Can someone point out to a contemprary of Ottoman state which treated all of its subject or citizens absolutely equally?  Which one of them had a modern civil rights code?  Czarist Russia, colonial powers Britain, France?  Slave owner founding fathers of USA? 

    A menaingful question would have been if there was a time Ottomans treated their millets decently and justly and recogized their basic rights.  This has been answered by many here already.  Was it all fun times?  Absolutley not, like any other state and world power they dealt with dissent, riots, rebellions, civil wars, and many other troubles in their long history.  What is the point?

  17. Murat writes:
    “… like any other state and world power they dealt with dissent, riots, rebellions, civil wars, and many other troubles in their long history.  What is the point?”
    How the Ottoman empire ultimately dealt with “dissent, riots, rebellion, civil wars”, is the point.  

  18. ‘It is obvious that Robert and Avery are agents provocateurs.’

     Jerry, it is obvious you have not read my posts and have no idea who I am.

  19. Papken Hartunian –  please tell us more about your “plan.” also, what do you mean when you write “The only issue stopping me to go forward is standing.”

  20. Robert,

    You want a historical commission to find the truth? You think we Armenians do not know what happened? Most Armenians you can talk to, including me, lost family in the genocide. We know what happened. We were targetted by the Ottoman authorities.

    Turkey chose to bury it’s head in the sand for decades, make any discussion of 1915 and Armenian history in general a taboo subject, and force an official story through the classrooms. Turkey chose not to reach out to the survivors in the Armenian diaspora and treat the remaining Armenian and other minorities in the Turkish Republic as potential threat. Note the confiscation of minority properties: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-255244-govt-gives-go-ahead-for-return-of-seized-property-to-non-muslim-foundations.html

    It took decades for Armenians to start speaking up internationally about the genocide. By that time the Turkish government established a story where no Armenians were killed and Armenian history in today’s eastern Turkey was minimial at best. This started to change as we spoke up and the Turkish governtment could no longer hide Armenian history. Turkey had to be dragged kicking and screaming to start facing its history.

    The reason I’m bringing these up is that decades of such attitudes have left a legacy that is still there, despite the noted changes in Turkey over the past decade. This will make any reconciliation a long process. It is politically and psychologically difficult for Turkey to come to the table of a commision or reconciliation.

    Also, Turkey still has the most important archives closed for outside research. And we’re assuming that incriminating material have not been destroyed or at best hidden elsewhere.

  21. The Rutherford Institute is quite a nasty little organization, led by a right wing evangelist Christian who denies the Jewish holocaust, calls for death to homosexuals and basically wants to create a Christian theocracy in the US. Really interesting that that’s who the Turkish deniers are in bed with. Actually not a surprise. Probably a connection with arms dealers and neo cons: Here is a link to an expose about them: http://exiledonline.com/rightwing-rutherford-institute-co-founded-by-a-racist-holocaust-denier-and-a-bloodthirsty-theologian-homophobe-attacks-the-exiled/

    And my advice to everyone on this site is don’t bother even responding to trolls like “Robert”. It is a huge waste of time– there are so many posts like his on various websites, and they are all so uniform in their insanity, I am never sure if there is really a human there or if it’s a computer robot created by the Turkish deep state.  Just laugh at them. In Turkish one would say, “Yaziklar olsun”. They’re just pathetic. 

  22. Robert:
    “I don’t believe that only Turks should be portrayed as being evil”.
    This isn’t about portraying Turks as evil. I think this is a psychological barrier amongst many Turks. It’s personal even though they were not alive then and it was done under the Ottoman leadership. Turkish identity includes Ottoman history despite the assertions of separation between the Turkish Republic and the Ottoman Empire. It seems that heinous crimes committed by the Young Turks is seen as an attack on themselves by many Turks.
    I’m no psychologist, but that’s how I read your sentence. I think the world is sophisticated and smart enough to differentiate between Turks today and those who committed the genocide and even those who didn’t take part in it in 1915.
    Robert, I don’t think you understand the extent of what happened in 1915.

  23. kelly,
    Wow, Whitehead, the guy who found the Rutherford inst was influenced by the nutjob Rushdoony? Rushdoony was Armenian.

  24. Great link  kelly. eXiled is a good site. Off main-stream, and not for the squeamish language-wise, but a good investigative team.
    I didn’t know R J Rushdoony was one of the founders of Rutherford.
    This is getting more and more bizarre: Rushdoony is Armenian, Genocide survivor. But at some point in his life he went off the rails and never got back on.
    There was an interesting book review @Arbarez by  LEVON KIRAKOSIAN: http://asbarez.com/96354/republican-gomorrah-inside-the-movement-that-shattered-the-party/  where Rushdoony’s saga was touched on.
    Regarding ‘Robert’: a group of us had detected several months ago at least 2, possibly up to 4,  ‘signatures’ (and I don’t mean the icon/avatar) in the posts by Robert-the-Turk. Our conclusion was that it was a team of Turks posting under one name. Their icons/avatars were changed a few times, but the signatures could not be changed. At one time there was ‘Karma’, then a cuddly  ‘puppy’ appeared, and then the latest story was about a brother, heart disease, loss…being a changed man….
    In any case, I understand your position about ignoring them. However, my take is that we are involved in info-wars with these guys.
    Unchallenged assertions gel into pseudo ‘truths’ over time,  that are much harder to dislodge later. So,  it’s cheaper to shoot them down right out the chute.
    We are not trying to convince them, and certainly not preaching to our Armenian choir.
    The theater is for the neutral, un-involved  3rd parties’ enjoyment – and appreciation of, and hopefully joining our side.

  25. Random, as long as the Turks of today are still teaching/educating their students to believe that the Turks did not commit the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians…to the 
    contrary… Turkish students are taught that the Armenians are the killers and worse of Turks… Obviously, Turk leaders of today give another ‘appearance’ to the world… but they are still maintaining their “education” of their youth – with their ongoing/unending lies!! 

  26. Agree with Avery… I am also someone who knows Robert and have been in  word wars with “Robert the Turk” for a long time now.

    I have gotten to know his signature as well and I can tell to some extent if it is him or not no matter how many times his avatar changes.. His A-MO remains the same..but his recent “finding” of himself raised some eyebrows…

    Even though he claims to be a different man because the recent loss of his brother, I am still skeptical of the revelation..the New Robert…it should take a loss of a brother to change him into a better man..soooo. 

    Even though his posts are more politically correct and humane, there is still a hint of his denialism in the posts.. examples are from his recent post:

    Although I have not given up on my beliefs of historical facts (as backed up by my grandfamilies documentations and verbal accounts of that era
    historical facts remain as such: Ottomans Turks carried out a Genocide against Armenians… I truly feel that any group who is threatened to be eliminated from the face of the earth will fight back with full force… Robert’s grandfamilies documentations as he states may or may not have anything that can convince the whole world that Armenians carried out Genocide against the Ottoman EMPIRE…Armenian Fedayis were formed.. OF COURSE..no question about that.. why would not they?? no one wants to sit and do nothing when an entire genetic pool is being wiped out by barbarians and of course casualties were unavoidable..

    This is why a historical commission is so important (comprised of both Armenian, Turkish and neutral scholars), to review all archives and hopefully get to the truth of what truly occurred. I don’t believe that only Turks should be portrayed as being evil (when you know as well as I do that crimes were committed by all), and thus be solely expected to provide an apology (what about an apology from the Armenian side for their actions/roles?). 

    Well historical commission is not to decide whether or not Genocide happened.. We know it happened…To have Turks on the commission board will not solve anything… we already know how they willl respond… having a neutral scholars even can be dangarous knowing how Turkish govt is and to what extent they will go to bride and buy those scholars…)

    Robert- crime was not committed by all.. THE ORIGINAL CRIME was committed by the OTTOMANS and Ottomans only… whether or not Armenians fought back should not be considered a crime even though there were people who died..but it is not a crime… it is called self defense from being mass murdered.. hope you appreciate the difference.. stop lumping what Ottomans did and what Armenians had to do into one pot.. this is how your govt loves to portray what happened in 1915 to create confusion and doubt but there is no DOUBT.. the crime against humanity happened and was carried out solely by the hands of the Ottomans.. period…

    I am sorry but why should Armenians apologize?? for what??? for being decent and civilized citizens of the Ottoman Empire? For working and producing the wealth you and your people are enjoying now? For creating everything Turkey is now claiming theirs?? For trying to get recognition as true citizens yet murdered like animals?? I am sorry.. I must have missed something somewhere because I believe it is the Turkish govt and those denialists who continue to distort, misdirect and lie to everyone who need to provide an apology…

    being friends and neighbors just as we had been for over five centuries:

    Really??? I did not know we were treated like any Turk in those days.. Hmmm.. another piece of information i missed down the road.. if nothing else, Armenians were people without any chaos, without any major complaints any disturbance, any problems and any complications .. all they wanted is to be left alone and be treated like human beings… but then again, of course the greedy, blood thirsty and bankrupt Ottoman Empire could not help itself…guess old habbits die hard.. they wanted to go all the way..it is not enough they started to get rid of my ancestors in, 1894-1896 and 1909 but they had to finish the job;  HENCE, 1915 and continue till today..(White Genocide)

  27. Murat- you said
    What is the point?

    Well the point is that what you are a one pure denialist. the point is that you will never have a chance to bring your messed up thoughts and information and feel comfortable that they will just sit there without challenged..Fabrications, lies, made up stories and twisting the truth will always have an end result..that is the point…..

    Oh .. oh…. and another point is.. you denialists will not win..

  28. Jerry wrote:
    “It is obvious that Robert and Avery are agents provocateurs”.

    Are you kidding me?  Robert is a full fledged Turkophile; while Avery is a full fledged Armenian intellectual who has character and is loved by all of us in here.  There is absolutely no comparison between them whatsoever.

  29. thanks Seervart. It’s OK. Jerry is apparently not familiar with most of the posts/posters and reached a fantastic conclusion based on a single post. Doesn’t bother me. 

  30. No problem Avery jan, you’re my brother.  I just couldn’t keep quiet about it, I had to set the record straight!!

  31. I bet what Jerry meant was to say Robert and Murat… Not Robert and Avery because these two individuals have absolutely NO comparison.. …   

    We will let Jerry confirm… hopefully giving confirmation on what I stated above… otherwise he is lumping one extremely intelligent and patriotric Armenian individual that we all know and love with someone who is a Turk with Neo— mentality and absolutely without an ounce of intelligence… night and day.. oil and water…

  32. Trying to keep perspective here of the forest and not get lost in the trees…
    The relevant discussion is not whether Armenians lived well or not under the Ottomans compared to other contemporary states.  What common man living in those days of pestilence, poverty and undemocratic government really lived well?  Only the rulers and their nobility.  As Murat said above, what’s the point?
    Thanks Murat!   The  relevant discussion is how nearly two million people died, who was responsible and what should be done about it today.    This measly 1% return of property is a show put on to appease critics, but amounts to a drop in the bucket.   Who feels appeased by this?

  33. The genocide continues. That is why It is every Armenians duty to ignore any “friendship” from Turks and work tirelessly to bring their nation and their descendents of the mass murder and theft and destruction of the Armenian people to light and ultimate justice.

  34. Query… where/when has anyone read in American medias of the Turks providing the American Congresswoman Schmidt with ONE HALF MILLION DOLLARS ($500,000) which, now, having been discovered, she is in denials – Turkish style.
    She claims these monies were ‘offered’ to her attorneys.  She claims, and this is the cherry on top… she claims that any such monies SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE TURKS.  It boggles the mind… Turks spend monies to invade the halls of the USA Congress… this woman elected to serve the people of her state… speaks up… NOW WITH THE INTENT, UNBELIEVABLY, YES, TO RETURN THIS $500,000 BACK TO THE TURKS WHO WERE SEEKING ENTRE IN THE HALLS OF THE USA CONGRESS!!  Seems the Turks can do no wrong!!  Turks never committed any Genocides, and now, Turks shall be regaining  back their OBVIOUS bribery via Congresswoman Schmidt. Does this mean that Congresswoman is innocent??

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