ANCA Desk: Combatting the Gulen Movement in Lancaster

This week, I would like to highlight the efforts of a dear friend to the Armenian cause, Rev. Susan Minasian, the interfaith chaplain of the Franklin & Marshall College who was instrumental in fighting a proposal to open a Gulen charter school in Lancaster, Pa.


Gulen schools were first introduced and are currently run by the Academy of Business and Entrepreneurship Charter School (ABECS), a group that follows the teachings of Turkish Islamist Fethullah Gulen, also known as the Gulen movement. The Gulen movement is a form of Turkish propaganda that has implemented its policies across the United States. Gulen, who has been self-exiled in the Poconos region since 1998, is the ideological head of the movement.

The first Gulen school opened in 1999. U.S. officials were made aware of the movement’s involvement in charter schools in 2006, when they noticed a large number of Turkish men seeking visas to work at the schools. Board members of the Gulen charter schools are primarily Turkish, and the schools’ curriculum focuses on math, science, and technology, and largely ignores or neglects world history and current events.

The schools have been criticized for importing teachers and for not providing a comprehensive view of history, which includes education on the Armenian Genocide and Armenian history in general.

Unfortunately, ABECS has been successful in establishing Turkish-themed charter schools in many of the states, and public money received from those schools is used to open more charters that push the Gulen agenda. As of last year, 135 schools are reportedly in operation within 26 states.

When the proposal to build the school in Lancaster was made, Minasian challenged the values of the charter school by speaking out to the local Lancaster media and making statements at all of the hearings held earlier this year.

She noted that the opposition to the charter school was not about ethnic bias, but about serious concerns regarding those who deny genocide and waste taxpayer dollars to incorrectly shape young minds. “Just as we would not want Holocaust deniers leading our schools, we would not want genocide deniers shaping or leading our educational institutions,” she said at one meeting.

“It doesn’t matter where you live, you can be an advocate for justice,” she told me. “One voice can teach many people. I don’t worry that there are only 15 other Armenians around me in Lancaster, and I don’t use that as an excuse in my spiritual journey toward justice.”

The School District of Lancaster ultimately rejected the proposal last month. The 8-0 vote, with 1 abstention, ended the months-long debate over the merits of the school, which would have opened this fall. In addition, several letters of support from legislators have been rescinded, in most cases because they were signed by low-level staff and executives who didn’t know they were officially backing the ABECS proposal.

Minasian is extremely humble and insisted she didn’t do this on her own. She emphasized the importance of her network in Lancaster, who defended justice by calling out the charter school’s curriculum. She credits fellow Lancaster residents and colleagues for taking a stand against the ABECS proposal. Minasian works consistently to find allies who care about Armenian Genocide recognition.

Her story is inspiring not because it’s unusual, but because she is so motivated to create change even with just one voice.

People like Minasian who stand up for what’s right embody what grassroots activism is all about. I believe Minasian’s attitude is one we should seek to duplicate all over the ANCA Eastern Region On behalf of the ANCA-ER and Armenians everywhere, I want to thank her for being entrenched in a lengthy battle to fight the Gulen movement from taking root in Lancaster.

With more positive outcomes like this, the sky’s the limit on what we can collectively or individually achieve. Each victory is a victory for all Armenians.

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian is the chairwoman of AYF-YOARF Central Executive. She has served as the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region.


  1. I don’t think this fight is appropriate.
    She is the interfaith chaplain and fighting against them! We were expecting apposite from her.
    Time to come together find a way to solve problems. We need to know and realize that Gulen Movement is only influential group in Turkey trying to find permanent peaceful solution for Armenian Turkish relationship.

    • Yes it is.
      In October 2011 Pacifica Institute in California, a Gulen front, organized a march Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA by the Ottoman Military Band.

      Those that do not know the area, Hollywood Blvd is stones throw away from Little Armenia: 100s of thousands of Armenians, including descendants of the AG survivors, live there and surrounding areas. A 100 years ago the Ottoman military bands marched ‘victoriously’ through devastated Armenian populated towns and villages after their inhabitants were exterminated.
      This was a deliberate act by the ‘peaceful’ Gulen organization to intimidate and terrorize the descendants of the AG.
      After AYF organized a massive countermarch, and announced that 10s of thousands of Armenian-Americans would meet the Band on Hollywood Blvd, the fascist cowards beat a hasty retreat and disappeared.
      The same Pacifica Institute organizes something called Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival, in Costa Mesa, CA, where all the stolen Armenian and other indigenous culture is presented as ‘Turkish’.
      Not a single mention is made of anything Armenian in the mythical Anatolian Culture: continuing white Genocide of Armenians.
      Yeah, Gulen movement is really trying to find a peaceful solution: their final solution is white Genocide of Armenians.
      And there is no such thing as ‘Armenian Turkish relationship’: Turks murdered 2 million Armenians (1895-1923).
      We don’t need nor want a ‘relationship’.
      We want them to return what’s ours.
      Kudos to Rev. Susan Minasian: an inspiration.
      One person _can_ make a difference.

    • The Ottoman military is present in most Turkish festivals in the US, even in Atlanta, where there isnt really a huge Turkish or Armenian community. I wouldn’t read too much into that but I never trust a religious organization that meddles into political issues. The Turkish-Armenian issue is really pretty simple. If Turkey accepts the AG and agrees to reparations then there can be dialogue and process can begin. If Turkey does not accept the genocide then there is nothing further to discuss. You can’t have peace while not even addressing, let alone resolving the main issue that causes the lack of peace. Pretty simple really.

  2. Say no to the Gulen Wahhabi Movement and Armenian Extremeism. Viva Secular Turkish Patriotism.

    • 100+ years ago we rejected Turkish Wahabbism because they massacred Armenians, and trusted “Secular Turkish Patriotism” instead, only to find out it was worse. Much worse. We found out “Secular Turkish Patriotism” puts the most extreme of Wahabbi terrorists to shame.

    • what do you mean by “Armenian extremism,” exactly, bub? Not groveling to the descendants of our ancestors’ murderers, the thieves of their property, the en-slavers of our grandmothers and a state that still murders us every chance it gets? If so, we are all pretty much extremists.

    • Gulen Movement in the USA has over 160 front groups layered around the schools.
      They ARE and HAVE been the biggest PRO Azerbaijani lobbying group and make it be known that “600 Azeribaijani civilians were brutally killed in Kholjaly by Armenians” they commemorate this so called “massacre” every February with some of Washington’s lawmakers that they have also paid for trips to Azerbaijan.
      One fact you are all missing is the Gulen Movement started their schools in Azerbaijan over 20 years ago so they are onto their 3-4 generation of students who have infiltrated Aliyev’s government and the oil SOCOR is Gulenists.

  3. Say no to Turkish National and Fascism- taught by the Islamic Gulenists and the Ataturk Worshipers.

  4. “She noted that the opposition to the charter school was not about ethnic bias”
    Yeah, such a convincing statement

  5. Are Turks chanting ‘Allah Wa Akbar’ from Swedish Mosques to kill more Armenians…and destroying our churches every day in our ancient land (Armenia)…
    Is this accepted by Swedish Parliament…????????????????
    I feel our end is coming in Europe as well…
    If we remain silent…As we did before
    Till they ended 1.5 million and more…!!!
    They will enjoy ending as …as they planned one Armenian
    to stay as wax man in a museum of Madame Tusue,.
    My Arab friend asks, are the Turks Muslims…Islam will never allow to destroy churches…neither to kill women and children…Then why they did all the genocide on the christian now on Muslim sunni Kurds …if they were real muslims they destroyed 2600…Churches, Monasteries, schools…I repeat 2600…and now they are building mosques in Sweden…They “turkified” 2 million Armenians who are living in Turkey…Can the Swedish MP’s ask the Turks living there in Sweden and having christian nationality…how they were able to destroy so may churches…and turkify Armenian ..I repeat 2 million…and transfer some Churches to Mosques… which is not accepted by muslim religion at all…!!! are they true muslims …??? Even the real muslim Arabs are confused…!!!

    • First of all, Turkey is battling Kurdish seperatist supremacists and actually if Turkey is supressing Kurdish rights, then why was a Kurd the president of Turkey (TURGUT OZAL). Yep, Turgut Ozal was a Kurd. Also, Kemal Kilicdaorglu is a Kurd and heads the party (CHP) which was built by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ismet Inonu was a Kurd. I have Kurdish in-laws as well too. There is even an Armenian-Assyrian named Edward Tashji who supports Turkey to the core and there are also non-Muslims from Turkey who support their country and motherland.

  6. First open your Gulen Schools in Turkey and theach them about relationship between People and Nations and than about HISTORY.

  7. հույս
    ” … Time to come together find a way to solve problems …. to find permanent peaceful solution for Armenian Turkish relationship”.
    Sounds great. Only you seek the solution with quite the wrong people, knowingly or unknowingly. Fortunately, there are now growing number of Turks and Kurds who see and call things as they are. With these courageous men Armenians have no problems to solve. But, to gain a better glimpse of this new charlatan, you might have a look here.
    We have also experienced what your “Secular Turkish Patriotism” means under Ataturk’s Turkey, it’s military campaign against Armenia even after becoming a socialist state, the Dersim massacres, the recurrent dictatorships of generals, the deep state etc. Turkey has to get himself rid of the legacy of Ataturk if it is not going to fall prey into other types of fascism (the most likely one, religious fascism).

    • Calling Ataturk’s ideas faschistic is totally wrong. That is like saying that the American Revolutionaries who fought the British were faschists. Why is the head of the CHP party an Alevi Kurd (Kemal Kilicdaroglu)? Why was Ataturk’s best ally Ismet Inonu a Kurd?

    • In the Fall of 1920 Mustafa Kemal ordered General Karabekir to “politically and physically eliminate Armenia”. Armenia was internationally recognized in the Summer of 1920. About half of Democratic Republic of Armenian territories was gobbled up by Kemalist Turks.
      An estimated 250,000 Armenians were massacred 1919-1922 by Kemalist Turks (Walker, Armenia). If that is not Fascist, what is ?
      And you got it backwards: American Revolutionaries were trying to throw off the shackles of a foreign tyrannical King. Mustafa Kemal was attempting to exterminate the remainder of Armenian and other indigenous populations, and physically eliminate a country that was no threat to Turkey, and nearly succeeded. Because he was a racist, fascist, mass-murderer. Millions of Germans, super majority in fact, admired and adored Hitler and Nazis, until he brought death and destruction upon them.

    • Mustafa Kemal Ataturk actually made this statement : “These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse, from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule.” Which prooves that he condemed the crimes against humanity against Christian subjects.
      Here is a link to proove my statements:
      Go to the 1st Paragraph and u will see what I mean.

    • Rifat:

      I am aware of that statement: not disputing it. Actually it was RVDV that posted a long version of that about a year ago in one of the AW threads we were discussing. According to his post Mustafa Kemal made that statement after an assassination attempt on him by remaining members of the CUP in 1926.
      1. It is a very revealing statement made in anger: he must have been furious, lost his cool, and spilled the beans, so to speak; the demigod of Turks himself independently confirming the Genocide of Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks. (according to RVDV, that statement never appears in any Turkish history books).
      2. It changes nothing: it is a historical fact that Mustafa Kemal did issue his infamous order to Gen Karabekir, and it is a historical fact that Kemalist Turkey massacred an estimated 250,000 Armenians (1919-1922), invaded DRA in the Fall of 1920, and gobbled up about 50% of its territory.
      3. Kemal also ordered the massacre of Alevi Kurds at Dersim: an estimated 70,000 (some say up to 90,000) were massacred. There were hidden Armenians in that number also (survivors of the AG who were hiding under Kurdish identity): their number is not known, but the overwhelming percentage of the victims were ethnic Kurds.
      Who do you think came up with the idea of “Turkification” ? Who came up with the idea of calling Kurds “Mountain Turks” ?
      4. In early 1930s Kemal commissioned racial measuring experiments (e.g skull) to supposedly find the “perfect, racially pure Turk archetype”: “the tall, white, thin-nosed, proper-lipped, often blue-eyed Alpin race”. He even ordered his adopted daughter, Afet İnan, to research the important topic.
      I am sure you know who else did measuring experiments to find some kind of pure super race in 1930s.
      So, there you have it Rifat: I stand by my statement: Kemal was a racist, fascist, proto-Nazi, Anti-Christian, Anti-Armenian mass murderer.

    • “Why was Ataturk’s best ally Ismet Inonu a Kurd?” –Because both were crypto-Jews (Sabbatean Jews).

    • Avery@

      I don’t want to repeat myself, but, let me say this. Why has Turkey let an ethnic Kurd be President of Turkey (Turgut Ozal) who was also open about his Kurdish ethnicity?

      Another thing is do you have backup and sources to support your claims about the 1st sentence concerning about “In the Fall Of 1920 concerning Kazim Karabekir” or not?

      Also, speaking about the Dersim incidents, those were secretarian incidents where Radical Sunnis attacked Alevis. Just like how Protestants and Catholics sometimes clash in Ireland usually. Another thing do you know that the current head of the CHP party who is working on defeating the AKP for good (which I hope he does) is an Alevi Kurd from Dersim (Kemal Kilicdaroglu)?

      Also, in your second post, can you post sources to back up your claims in the 1st through 4th sentences?


      This claim of Ataturk being Jewish is just a wacky conspiracy theory. He was most likely Macedonian or Albanian. Plus if you are going to use that logic, you should maybe claim that Hosni Mubarak is Jewish or Nicholas Sarkozy is Jewish, because of how he had Jewish grandparents.

    • Rifat:

      Whether you want to repeat yourself or not is utterly irrelevant: you are a non-Armenian guest at ArmenianWeekly.
      Myself and most of the posters here are Armenian. When I post at Turkish sites, I go as a humble guest and behave as a guest.
      If you want to have an attitude, too bad: nobody forces you to post @AW; you do so on you own volition.
      So don’t give me any attitude: I don’t give a rat’s patootie whether you want to do or don’t want to do jack.
      If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
      Now, regarding 1 thru 4:
      Usually I extend an abundance of courtesy to our Turkish, Turk, AzeriTatarTurk, and Turcophile guests – assuming they are not AG Denialists.
      I cheerfully back up my assertions with an abundance of sources, if requested.
      However, you are on record as being caught falsely accusing one of our own on the pages of @AW.
      You also morally equated assassinations of Turkish diplomats by ASALA to the AG: two strikes against you.
      I will therefore not extend the usual courtesy.
      But will give you the Turkish source for #4.
      After you have verified what I state to be true, do come back and admit to the readers of AW that Mustafa Kemal was a proto-Nazi.
      Here is the source:
      [Turkish racism: an unpleasant story]
      [HDN | 7/13/2010 12:00:00 AM | Mustafa AKYOL]

    • Avery@

      I would like to have non-Armenian and non-Turkish sources. Also, this commentary is from an avid leftist and he does not have any sources to back up his claims whether if M.K.A has stated these comments or not. Many Leftist/Socialist writers in Turkey like to distort and exxagerate things. Another thing, I believe the Grey Wolves are a bunch of boneheads. I laugh at them and think they are comical. They are a big joke. They are unrealistic in promoting this ideaology of “Turan” if you ask me. I could personally care less about “Turan”. But if you want to read some of my viewpoints of many issues Turkey-related, I will list:

      1) Cyprus: There needs to be a reunification for the people of Cyprus. I believe there needs to be a reunification plan between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots (excluding mainlanders from Turkey and Greece, as well as settlers from Turkey). I also think that all peoples should return to their homes and lands, whether G/C or T/C. Meaning if there were G/C’s living in the North before 74, they should recover their property and if there were T/C’s living in the South before 74, they should recover their properties and assets as well.

      2) Armenian issue: I don’t want to deny, minimize, or act like the suffering of Armenians never happened. I believe that there was unarmed Armenian suffering and also there was Muslim unarmed suffering via the civil war pretext. You may think that I am going to say that since I have this perspective of the “shared suffering” thesis, you will assume I think that Armenians have no right to reparations. I think Turkey should cede a tiny bit of territory, give it to Armenia, and Armenia, as well as the Armenian diaspora can purchase the territory from Turkey (which will be settled pretty much like the Louisiana Purchase). But I think from then on, Armenia should give up further demands after Turkey hypothetically gives a small chunk to Turkey, because despite all the painful history between Turkey and Armenia, Turkey and Armenia needs to normalize ties and relations and live as neighbors, so the Middle East/Caucasus region can become a region where economical and political prosperity can once again greatly flourish in the region.
      The endless wars, death, destruction, and human rights abuses in every country in the Middle East/Caucasus is harming the peace process in our region.

      3) Kurds: I believe at the most, Kurds should practice political autonomy in the Southeast of Turkey. Kurdish language, culture, and lifestyle cannot be repressed in Turkey. Moderate Kurdish groups (besides the extremeist PKK) need to work with non-extremeist leaders in Turkey to have more cultural rights. The little stunt recently pulled off by Tayyip Erdogan is a little political stunt and a ploy to please other powers, because the only think AKP loves to do is selling Turkey’s soverignty to other powers.

      4) The EU bid: I think it will probably be the most stupidest idea for the inept leaders in Ankara to push for an EU bid. Because ever since Brussels was formed. The 30 member nations of the EU have been enslaved with skyrocketing debt, high unemployment rates (over 20%+), endless bailouts, the destruction of free-market enterprise via merging the economies of 20-30 countries into one economy, as well as the failed concept of quasi-Socialist economics. I do not believe Turkey should have a quasi-socialist economy like the EU, or Canada. I believe Turkey should be an independent nation with free market economics.

      5) Turkey and the Syrian crisis: I believe that the AKP should not have armed Jihadi extremeists to destroy one of the very few Arab countries where religious minorities are protected with utmost strength. I believe the AKP should have brokered a deal with moderate opposition forces and the current ruling parties in Syria, instead of using the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi backed Jihadis.

      6) Non-Muslim citizens of Turkey: I believe non-Muslim citizens of Turkey are a part of the Turkish nation and should be able to practice their religion with any fear of persecution or discrimination. They should be a part of the Turkish nation where they have no fear of discrimination, persecution or hate crimes.

      I look forward to a 2015 where Turkey-Armenia can pull of landmark normalization of ties, and where extremeists, Turkish or Armenian, stay clear from the normalization of Turkey-Armenia ties process. Believe it or not.

    • Another thing I would like to add:

      7) Nagorno Karabagh: What needs to happen is that Nagorno Karabagh has a right to self determination. The Khojaly massacre should be recognized, but that should not be a tool to crush/squash the self determination of the Nagorno Karabagh region. All displaced people from the NKR war should move back to their homes again. Part of the Azeri minority which once lived in NKR should move back to NKR and the other part should move back to Baku, to set up a scenario for both sides concerning NKR.

    • Rifat:

      Of course, Turks would love to denounce Ataturk’s Dönmeh origin as a “wacky conspiracy theory”. I understand. After all, it must be hard to accept that the founder of the modern Turkish state wasn’t Turk at all. But, then, who is Turk? Mongoloid Seljuk nomads or amalgamation of native inhabitants of Asia Minor and the Balkans that Turks, in a typically savage manner, came to gang rape, abduct to harems, and forcibly convert to Islam? Or both?

      Several credible contemporaries, such as Itamar Ben-Avi and Harold C. Armstrong, testify to the fact that, whether you Turks call it wacky or shmacky, Mustafa Kemal was a Dönmeh, a Sabbatean Jew. So was İsmet İnönü.

    • Berj@

      I would like you to look at this: Go to the family life part and it will specifically state that he was part Kurdish in the Family and Early Life section of the Wikipedia article. Another thing is the “Donmeh” claims are just supported by people who want to Turkey into another Saudi Arabia, which they have sadly done successfully.

      Look at the last paragraph about his real ethnic origins (Albanian and Central Anatolian).

      Everyone else: What do you guys think about my views about NKR settlement, Cyprus, the Armenian massacre claims, Kurdish issues and so on?

    • No, thanks, Rifat:

      I don’t want to waste my time visiting Wikipedia, the most unreliable source of information since anyone can edit or alter it. Besides, inviting to look into Wikipedia in order to check on peculiarities of someone’s ethnic and/or religious origin is the dumbest thing to do.

      I have enough books at home on the Dönmeh subject, including the reprints of the primary accounts by Itamar Ben-Avi and Harold C. Armstrong, to know that Mustafa Kemal was, almost certainly, a crypto-Sabbatean Jew. So were İsmet İnönü and Celâl Bayar. Not to mention many Young Turks in the top echelons of the murderous and genocidal İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti.

      Again, I understand it is hard to admit that the founder of your Turkish Republic, built on the blood and bones of the indigenous Christian inhabitants of Asia Minor—Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians, was not a Turk. And, please, don’t bring up Wikipedia next time if you don’t want to be a subject of public ridicule.

    • Rifat:

      {“.., this commentary is from an avid leftist and he does not have any sources to back up his claims whether if M.K.A has stated these comments or not.”}:
      Mustafa Akyol is a well known Islamist, not a leftist.
      HurriyetDailyNews is a Turkish nationalist newspaper: they do not have leftist columnists.
      The article he wrote about Mustafa Kemal and the assertions he made therein were sourced from a book:
      [“Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography by M. Sükrü Hanioglu.”]. By a historian. A meticulously researched and referenced book.
      Buy it and read it: you will find that your object of admiration was a flawed, evil man.
      A racist, fascist, proto-Nazi, Anti-Christian, Anti-Armenian mass murderer.
      Regarding your 1)..7) views: I vaguely sensed you are an AG Denialist before, but wasn’t sure.
      You finally furnished the proof in this thread:
      {“Everyone else: What do you guys think about my views about NKR settlement, Cyprus, the Armenian massacre claims, Kurdish issues and so on?”}
      “…the Armenian massacre claim” ? Massacre ? Claim ?
      {“ I believe that there was unarmed Armenian suffering and also there was Muslim unarmed suffering via the civil war pretext.”}
      Well, No: there was no, quote, “unarmed Armenian suffering”: there was a Genocide of unarmed, defenseless Armenian civilians, including women, children and babies. And Armenians had nothing to do with the suffering of Turks as a result of war that Ottoman Turkey initiated against the Allies in 1914.
      And since you are an AG Denialist, Rifat, you will be henceforth treated accordingly.
      btw: regarding NKR; the last people we need advice from about our lands – as in our Armenian lands – is a Denialist Turk (or Arab: if I recall correctly, you said you are an Arab some time ago).
      Armenians have never denied the Khojali tragedy: it was no massacre; there was no premeditation; Armenian troops did not gather civilians, took them out onto a field and mow them down. Azerbaijani civilians were killed in a war zone, caught in a cross fire.
      Armenian troops opened fire on Azerbaijani civilians because Azerbaijani OMON troops hiding behind their own civilians were firing on Armenians during an ongoing firefight.
      And a number of those civilians killed were killed by Azerbaijani military: either by accident or on purpose.
      On the other hand, Baku doesn’t even talk about the premeditated massacre of Armenian civilians in: Sumgait (1988), Kirovabad (1988), Baku (1990); long before the war. They pretend it never happened. SOP for denialist Turks and AzeriTatarTurks.
      And keep you denialist noses out of NKR.
      Don’t mess with Mountain warriors of Artsakh: they won’t listen to either Moscow or Yerevan this time, if they get cornered.
      They will put the whole region to the torch, if they feel they are going down.
      Nothing will be left of Baku except oil slicks.

    • Avery@ 1/2 of my roots are from Hatay, Turkey hence possible Arabic background. Another thing is why are you treating me the same way as people like Yusuf Halacoglu when I believe I think Turkey should hand over a small peace of land to Armenia. I repeat, I think Turkey should hand over a small piece of land to Armenia.

      I am just trying to discuss a fair way to settle many issues concerning many things, including the Armenian massacres, Cyprus, the Kurdish issue and whatnot. I think Turkey-Armenia normalization should come to a common agreement actually. I was trying to be fair and actually be more compromising concerning Turkey related issues, but I was totally wrong.

      Do you think my ideas of selling a small chunk of territory to Armenia is good? What about my plans for NKR settlement? Cyprus, Kurdish issue. I want straight answers.

      I also think it is unfair to treat me like a fanatical extremeist when I believe that Turkey needs to normalize all of ties with all their neighbors. I am trying to shift my views for the sake of peace, but I guess people like you, as well as Berj are feeding extremeists in Turkey.


      Let’s just agree to disagree on everything concerning Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, period.

    • Avery@ 1/2 of my roots are from Hatay, Turkey hence possible Arabic background. Another thing is why are you treating me the same way as people like Yusuf Halacoglu when I believe I think Turkey should hand over a small peace of land to Armenia. I repeat, I think Turkey should hand over a small piece of land to Armenia.

      I am just trying to discuss a fair way to settle many issues concerning many things, including the Armenian massacres, Cyprus, the Kurdish issue and whatnot. I think Turkey-Armenia normalization should come to a common agreement actually. I was trying to be fair and actually be more compromising concerning Turkey related issues, but I was totally wrong.

      Do you think my ideas of selling a small chunk of territory to Armenia is good? What about my plans for NKR settlement? Cyprus, Kurdish issue. I want straight answers.

      I also think it is unfair to treat me like a fanatical extremeist when I believe that Turkey needs to normalize all of ties with all their neighbors. I am trying to shift my views for the sake of peace, but I guess people like you, as well as Berj are feeding extremeists in Turkey.


      Let’s just agree to disagree on everything concerning Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, period.

  8. It is a shame how hot-headed people continue to lead our organizations. I have met with some Gulen movement people, and got to know them. Actually among Turks they are the ones that look at AG in the most appropriate way among Turks. I am not sure whether this school is connected to Gulen movement. But if that is true I cannot understand why we should be against them.
    Dear Avery. Every story has two sides of it. You claim that people at Pacifica organized a march with Ottoman band in Hollywood CA to provoke us.
    Do you really think that the world turns around you (us)? From what I have seen this is a commone theme of their festivals. After all there is a history of more than 600 years, that it might have some pages that are pretty bad, but we cannot claim and expect them to be ashamed of their whole history. It is quite normal that they will be proud of that history, and willingly or unwillingly ignore some days of shame. Most turks (and everybody else) take pride in the past of their nation. Therefore they will keep organizing Ottoman parades. You should be looking at their reaction after you protested. If they really wanted to provoke us, they would have still organized the march.
    And the other comment about culture and food is really ridiculous. Try going to a Greek festival or some other Mediterranean festival, you will find that they do not mention Armenian culture, also. Do you suggest we should fight them also?
    It kills me how the calm voices in our community are stopped by hot headed people who think that anything turks do is against us. We should grow up now as Armenian Diaspora and not follow these extremists.

    • Dear Ohannes:
      these are the people you are siding with:
      {The Turkish counter-demonstrators began shouting slogans and cursing in Turkish at the protestors as Turkish Consul General Fatih Yildiz looked on. At one point, the Turkish group began shouting, “You deserved it! You deserved it!” and “Talat was right!” referencing genocide-mastermind Talat Pasha and essentially admitting to Turkey’s culpability in the genocides of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks during and after World War I.}

      How long before you join them, shouting “we deserved it, we deserved it” ?
      Go AYF.

    • Ohannes,

      I am not an AYF person, but I was raised by loyal Americans who were also patriotic Armenians.
      I will feel a lot better about Turks, such as the Gulens, when they openly and without reservation affirm the Genocide, affirm the justice of our cause for land and reparation, as well as that of the other Christian nations, and condemn the official Diaspora voices of hatred, such as ATAA and Kirlikovali.
      I think the Turks have assumed a bad cop, worse cop approach: some like Kirlikovali are Nazi class haters, others, seem good in comparison. What did the Gulen members you met say to you that made them seem ok to you?
      Their Ottoman band marching through Armenian areas is just like the Nazis who marched through the Jewish areas of Skokie. They didn’t do it because they would have been blocked and beaten.
      They want us dead, our culture eradicated, history destroyed. They want for there never to be anyone named Ohannes walking the earth 100 years from now.

  9. You are being far too fair to Turks here to generate any favorable responses Ohannes. ” It is quite normal that they will be proud of that history, and willingly or unwillingly ignore some days of shame”
    Genocide denial is of course very different and deplorable than other types of historical denial or revision, but denial or distortion of aspects of your nation’s history is widespread, I’d go as far as saying normal. Who hasn’t engaged in negationism? Some are starting to come to terms with their true history, and good for them, but Turkey isn’t the only country with its head in the sand (even though we’re really stuck deep in there).
    “but we cannot claim and expect them to be ashamed of their whole history”
    Of course you can’t. But I have seen several here who refuse to believe that Turks have ANY culture that has not been stolen, they refuse to believe that Turks have never been anything but savages and barbarians, and refuse to believe that Turks have contributed ANYTHING positive to the world. Merely an observation, not playing the victim of Armenian racism here, which I have been accused of. I often digress into pointless debates and I realize I get overly defensive at times. I am an international affairs and history student who wants to become a genocide scholar, and my primary reason is because of the Armenian genocide. I do care. I AM trying my best to be completely on your side. And I first came to this site to educate myself on some of these issues, and I find myself now in petty arguments about random, unrelated eras of history. For those who have had actual debates and and fair exchanges with me (Avery, in particular) I thank you, to those hard line anti-Turks: hate is what fueled your ancestor’s murderers, perhaps you shouldn’t harbor so much of it. Later.

  10. Dear Ohannes:

    Regarding the Ottoman band march on Hollywood blvd. There is a lot more to the story, but I cannot write an article here describing every twist and turn. Like I said, they were in no position to continue the march: you can figure out what that means.
    There was no other reason to do the march in Hollywood other than to stick it to Armenians. Gulen people are no dummies. They know quite well Hollywood has a dense presence of Armenians. They could have had the march anywhere else in SoCal: Orange County in particular, where there is a presence of Turkish-Americans. (that is why the Anatolian festival is held there).
    Regarding ‘extremism’, ‘hot heads’, all that baloney: I don’t know how much you know about Armenian history, but about 20 years ago, if it weren’t for the same ‘hot heads’ and ‘extremists’ in Armenia, NKR, and Armenian Diaspora there would be no NKR today. Clear ?
    {I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!}(Barry Goldwater)
    Regarding culture and food: no it is not ridiculous. At Greek and other Mediterranean festivals they can say this is ‘Greek’, that is ‘Greek’ all day long: doesn’t bother me a bit. Do you know why ? Because Greeks did not murder 2 million Armenians. Greek did not erase millennial long Armenian presence from their ancestral homeland. When Greeks claim ‘dolma’ or ‘sarma’ is Greek, I have no problem, because they too are sedentary people and could very well have developed it (grape leaves, grain cultivation, got it ?). But when Turks, an originally Asiatic nomadic people claim it is ‘Turkish’ with no mention at all of its Armenian, or Assyrian, or Greek origin, I have a problem.
    I have a problem, because it is a well orchestrated plan to erase all traces of the presence of indigenous peoples from Asia Minor.
    And you can figure out why they are doing it: you seem to be a well educated and intelligent man.
    Everything is colored by the fact that Turks (with some Kurdish help) committed the Armenian Genocide and continue proactively denying it.
    Not only that, but the entire Turkish State apparatus has a worldwide campaign of pressuring and intimidating other countries that want to adopt anything related to AG. To wit: recently they even sent a Turkish embassy official to pressure the City of Pasadena, CA: you know why ? To stop the development of an AG monument to be placed in a Pasadena park. Got that ? They even interfere in our completely peaceful effort to erect an AG monument in our own back yard.
    So if you still want to be ‘non extremist’ or ‘non hot head’, go ahead: let denialist Turks walk all over you.
    But please don’t interfere with our work: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
    As our fair Turkish guest RVDV wrote above: until the State of Turkey accepts the AG, and starts on a good faith road fulfilling their obligations, there will be no letup from ‘extremists’ like me: every corner denialist Turks turn, we will be there confronting them.
    And try to write the names of nationalities in capital letters: it is a cheap trick to belittle others. When you write ‘Greek, Armenian, turk, turk..’, you lower the discourse. We have nothing against Turks at large: only denialists and their agents.

  11. Sylva-MD-Poetry, Thank you so much, with your Arab friend, you clearly show us many Arabs even don’t know Turks very well.

    We need to know people from Gulen Movement in person before doing any action, than criticize later. How many of us know these people in person? If you met with them in person, you’ll find and community they are more friendly to Armenians. We were just thinking anything advertising Turkey mean is opposite to Armenia, frankly, this is not true.
    Instead of accepting them as an enemy, we suppose to communicate and not to miss that kind a community. They are maybe only powerful and influential community in Turks and ready to be with us as friend. I saw people who are ready to make dialogue with us. Unfortunately, without any connection with Turks, we are hoping other countries’ help us. We need to solve our problem with dialogue, and I think we can do, if we use these good chances and not to miss them.
    Thanks you all.

  12. A better approach would be terms for dialogue with the Gulen movement, before conflict is allowed to erupt. The problem is that Gulen cannot operate outside the confines of Turkish law, even when here. Gulen himself does not feel safe enough to return to Turkey. A better approach would be to offer to talk to under under the following conditions:

    1) The total and complete absence of any agenda to isolate Armenians from their natural allies in the United States through moves like inter-religious dialogue with NCC members.

    2) The absence of Turkish historiography in his schools.

    3) His refrain from any negative pronouncements towards the Armenian diaspora or any other segment of the Armenian community.

    4) A complete disavowal of recent statements by Yusuf Al Qardawi on the AG.

    Finally, Gulen should be told that the sole objective of talking to him to get rid of the blockade, which means that there will be a measurable goal that must be achieved in a reasonable time frame. All other objectives on either side must be pre-conditioned on the achievement of that goal. Gulen is both admired and feared by Erdogan. The approach to him must be sophisticated and multi-faceted, but there must never be the appearance that he is being put under siege.

  13. I agree with Ohannes. Some of our organizations (actually, I think we are talking one or two really loud and prominent ones) are led by people who make rush decisions and harm the credibility of the community. It is almost as if they still operate in the Ottoman Empire-era war-mentality. Case in point. As I posted elsewhere, just before the 2013 Glendale elections, an Armenian candidate was accused of posting obscene comments (I mean, really vile and disgusting). He claimed a conspiracy, and many in the community, including a major Armenian organization, jumped on his bandwagon. Later he admitted to lying, making much of the community, including the organization mentioned above, look stupid: This kind of knee-jerk reaction by some of our organizations harms the community in general and alienates us from other nationalities.
    I want to stress that the problem is not the entire or even the majority of Armenians, but one or two organizations who like to keep a monopoly over the Armenian matters, in some cases through intimidation (the infamous “traitor” technique). Most Armenians are open minded individuals who refuse to have a tiny minority impose its dogmas on them. This was observed by one of my favorite British historians on Armenia, Christopher Walker, who said regarding early 20th century Armenian politics:
“Some educated Armenians, however, were critical of Dashnak methods of secrecy and propaganda, and of their tendency to form close alliances with other political groups. This opposition was represented by the Populist, or Zhoghovrdakan, party, made up partly of liberal-minded teachers and doctors.”
    On the same link, Walker called ACIA a “bellicose” organization and questioned its effectiveness:
“The Sovietisation of Azerbaijan was hardly noticed in … America, and yet its impact on Armenia was greater than any number of petitions to Congress, or the utterances of the bellicose and chauvinistic organisation, the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA).”
Guess what became of ACIA later:
    The solution is that we regular Armenians express our opinions freely and loudly to discipline the shortsighted and counter-productive tactics of some of our organizations.

  14. Great job! More and more Americans are waking up and saying NO to the Turkish Islamic Gülen charter schools under the guise of “science academies”, which are replacing American values with Turkish nationalism. Everyday, the Gülen deception is exposed and concerned parents are waking up.

    One of the many famous Gülen quotes: “You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers…You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it…”

  15. We congratulate Rev. Susan Minasian defeating the Gulen Charter School in Pennsylvania that the Turks were trying to open up. Many states have opened these Charter Schools and our Armenian Organizations have failed to investigate and to make sure that the schools do not teach Anti-Armenian issues such as the well documented Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 by the then Turkish Government of which the Turkish Government still does not recognize this issue. Again, congratulations to the Rev. for winning out on this important issuse.

  16. I highly admire and applaud Minasian for standing up to this movement disguised under goodwill and benevolence. The Gulen Movement must be eradicated. Anything that has a Turkish theme with an Islamic touch can not be good for the Armenians.

    According to the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, a big supporter of this movement, Muslims don’t commit genocide. Well, if Muslims don’t commit genocide then the Turks must not be Muslims because they were the ones who committed genocide on the Armenians. But we know very well in 1915 you could not be a Turk and not be a Muslim. After all, the Ottoman Empire was dubbed as the “Center of Islam” and interestingly many Turkish invasions into Christian lands were dictated to their Sultans by Allah, such as the invasion of Constantinople.

    Erdogan is also the man who put in place the Article 301 of Turkish criminal code, better known as “insulting Turkishness”, that led to the murder of the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Erdogan was also the man who proposed the formation of a so-called genocide committee to study the Armenian Genocide and on his first visit around that time to the United States when asked about the Armenian Genocide by Charlie Rose of the Public TV he said, without a pause and hesitation, that it was a lie.

    I really feel sorry for those “soft-minded” and delusional Armenians who think Turks can even remotely have the welfare of the Armenians in mind. News Flash! They don’t and they never will. I agree with and back up 100% the ideas expressed by each and every “hot-headed” Armenian in this forum. Those “hot-headed” Armenians are realists and have visions and can see through the minds of cunning Turks, wolves in sheeps clothing, and react accordingly. When it comes to the denialist and genocidal Turks, to all those “soft-minded” and gullible Armenians I say: Lead, Follow or Get the hell out of the way!

    • Ararat, have you also noticed this… the vast majority of Turks who recognize the Armenian Genocide and ‘apologize’ do not for one second give any thought to the accountability of ‘their country’ for the crime. Their idea is for Armenians to accept the apology and move on, without incident. That is probably worse than being a denier.

    • Hagop D,

      You are absolutely right and I am going to try to put things in context to validate your point.

      The Turks over the years have given a dozen different accounts of what happened to the 1,500,000 murdered Armenian women, children and the elderly. They are master manipulators and insincere opportunists and liars because they believe they can get away with it. The truth is told once but lies have to be fabricated and told time and time again to suit the genocide perpetrators’ narcissistic intent.

      Under direct orders and as representatives of the fascist and genocidal Turkish government, the racist Turkish ambassadors, who by the way today are rotting in hell, used to indirectly and cunningly defend their murderous acts by insulting our murdered kin, denying their existence, and even claiming that it was the Armenians who committed genocide on the Turks. Then they realized these lies don’t work because there were too many western government official eye-witness accounts and countless foreign documentation contrary to their lies confirming the Armenian Genocide so they had to reinvent their lies and start playing different tunes.
      They started to soften things up by playing with words so as to portray the Turkish murderers of the defenseless Armenians as humanitarians by calling the pre-meditated, state-sponsored and forced deportations as “relocations” away from the war zones into “safer” zones. The safer zones being the exhausting and harsh mountainous terrain and the desert of Syria where death was guaranteed. Anyone with common sense would clearly know the “safer” zones were the plains of Central Anatolia and not the desert of Syria. That did not seem to work either.

      So they started circulating new lies and calling the Armenian murders as casualties of a Civil War and blamed the killings on other ethnic groups, the Kurds in particular, after using them to accomplish their perpetual genocidal designs on the Armenians and whom they had recently and conveniently renamed as “Mountain Turks” in order to deny them their rights, ironically. Of course, some Kurdish tribes did play a role in the Armenian killings but mostly in the 1890s and 25 years prior to the Armenian Genocide in 1915 during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit II, who formed the Hamidieh cavalry made up of both Turks and Kurds, specifically designed for exterminating the Armenians. He tricked the Kurds into joining the cavalry by promising them Armenian lands and properties. Even that did not seem to work either.

      They desperately had yet to come up with fresher lies. That happened when AKP government of Gul, Erdogan and Davutoglu came to power in 2002. The members of this new government tried to play the good cop and the bad cop roles to father deny the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, playing the role of the bad cop, announced that Muslims don’t commit genocide and that the Armenian Genocide is a lie while, against the entire united world community, defending the butcher and the mass murderer of Sudan who murdered hundreds of thousands only a few years back and aligned himself with the terrorist organization Hamas against his former ally Israel over the Mavi Marmara insurgency into Gaza in 2009.

      The Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, playing the role of the good cop, softened the anti-Armenian Turkish tone by introducing and carefully and cunningly crafting the empty phrase of “shared memory and pain” to further water down the Armenian Genocide claims in attempts to make the Turkish perpetrators of the genocide look like victims themselves.

      In conclusion, the Turks have come full circle and have realized they can’t get away with this crime and have to face their criminal past sooner or later. Today they are very reluctantly working towards that end but only on their own terms. What are their terms? Well, realizing their backs are against the wall, they are trying to take the route of the least consequence. They are trying to come up with a scheme to superficially and artificially not apologize but “redeem” themselves and to move on, as you said Hagop, without any consequence as they did a few years back when they admitted to the Dersim massacres of 1938 in which nearly 40,000 people died. I say they want to “redeem” themselves and not apologize because an apology is an admittance and confirmation of guilt with accountability and consequences but redemption is more like paying off a ransom by abandoning guilt.

      They admitted to this particular crime in Dersim because they figured they could treat it as an internal event and sweep it under the rug eventually. Not so with the Armenian Genocide because genocide is not an internal “event” to sweep under the rug but a crime against humanity and will be prosecuted in International Criminal Courts with severe consequences for Turkey. Consequences such as, an official apology, financial reparations in billions, right of Armenians to return to their homelands in Western Armenia, and the return of illegally-confiscated Armenian provinces in today’s eastern Turkey. After all, the Armenian Genocide was perpetrated by the genocidal Turks to accomplish and do all of which the International Criminal Courts will mandate Turkey to undo.

  17. I really do not have time to indulge mysself in debating Armeno Turkish conflict/Genocide issues.Whether it is Jemal pashas grandson or akcam or any such as above mentioned…
    Please Ohannes.Please asl these nice Turks to go teaach rest of 50 million turks that their ancestors committed Genocide.Then come and try to appease us.
    Your kind of approach should be directed to the Turkish public,like Hrant Dink tried and got shot….

  18. I am very familiar with Gulen having researched him for over 8 years. Ohanessian above is more than likely a member of hizmet or cemaat( Gulen movement). Frequently the members will us Hispanic, Anglo or Jewish names on comment boards.. This cult knows no limitations for one thing..increasing share of Turkish power and spreading Turkish nationalism. They do this worldwide, but 5 th grade educated Gulen is exiled to America where some CIA members like Graham Fuller wrote letters of endorsement to USHomeland security. If graham sounds familiar, he is the ex father in law of Boston Bomber Uncle Ruslan. There is a connection here, Gulen movement is the Turkish lobbying in the USA using American tax money via their gazillions foundatios, institutes and dialogue groups layered around each school. Gulen from Erezoum likely has Armenian or Kurdish DNA is now supporter or any minority group but appears as such if needed to promote the love, peace, tolerance fake guise the cult uses to get favors. Here is a web site written by an ex employee of their Ohio schools Horizon Science Academies that actually married one of the Gulencis

  19. Gulen charters are dangerous for our country and our children. They have a hidden agenda. They are mysterious about their aim and their money circulation. and thats our tax money. they open new charter schools with our tax money. i live in chicago. there is one here called concept schools. when you check there, you can find nothing. just lies. and in chicago, they have an organization called niagara foundation. its honorary president is gulen. they say that. check:
    they contact with the senators and use their network for lobbying in charter schools area. they gave an award to arne duncan: he was the head of chicago public schools at that time. we dont want you gulenist here in US. go back to turkey

  20. @ ANCA Desk,

    To begin with, perhaps you should tell your membership (including “leftist” Dashnaks on both coasts) to end their nonsense against President Serj Sargsyan’s government in Armenia and concentrate their obsessive/hysterical abilities on important matters such as the one you are addressing here.

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