Turkish PM’s Armenian Advisor Steps Down following ‘Genocide’ Remarks

ANKARA (Agence France Presse)—Etyen Mahcupyan, the first ever member of Turkey’s Armenian community to hold the post of senior advisor to the Turkish prime minister, has retired, an official told AFP Thursday, after Mahcupyan described the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as “genocide.”

The official, who asked not to be named, denied any link between Mahcupyan’s departure and the looming 100th anniversary on April 24 of the start of the 1915 killings of Armenians.

Etyen Mahcupyan during an interview with CNN Turk on April 10 (Photo: a screenshot from the interview)
Etyen Mahcupyan during an interview with CNN Turk on April 10 (Photo: a screenshot from the interview)

Mahcupyan, 65, “has retired on the grounds of age,” the official said, noting that 65 is the age limit for all Turkish civil servants.

Mahcupyan was appointed last year as senior advisor to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and infuriated some within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) this week when he qualified the mass killings of Armenians as “genocide.”

“If accepting that what happened in Bosnia and Africa were genocides, it is impossible not to call what happened to Armenians in 1915 genocide too,” Mahcupyan said in an interview published this week.

Turkey, which has always rejected the term genocide, has taken a defiant line amid growing tensions over the characterization of the tragedy ahead of the 100th anniversary.

The European Parliament on April 15 urged Turkey to use the Centenary of the Ottoman-era massacres to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to help promote reconciliation between the two peoples.

The use of the word by Pope Francis on Sun., April 12, infuriated Ankara and prompted Davutoglu to accuse the pontiff of “blackmail” against Turkey.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. All Armenians in Turkey are under stress due to unjust oppression. Shaky deep state Turkey pose threat to entire Armenians living in Turkey, just like during Genocide times, and Mr. Etyen Mahcupyan is not an exceptionally immune Armenian.

    Foxy Davood Oghloo was hoping that Mr. Mahcupyan will join with Turkey’s AG denialist propaganda machine, after choosing him as an “advisor servant”!

  2. Yes, very bright and very brave. Now I understand why he took the job, so that he would have a major platform and have a major impact when he came out so to speak. Now let us see if Obama is as brave.

  3. Not surprised. His courage and beliefs in truth and justice were too much for the denial is “modern” turk PM.

  4. The problem is: How you can teach history for 100 years in a 80 million “all-Turk” country in the denialist mode and ultra-nationalist spirit… and then overnight recognize that it was all a big lie!!! How can a Republic survive, stand un-shaken, when recognition will refute all that was written and taught, and “Ne Mutulu Turk Um Diyene” was nothing but a big lie!!! People, please understand the dilemma Turks are in. As Taner Akcam puts it, this mere recognition will do away with the foundations of this Turkish Republic: Its mere existence is nothing but a lie, which is so necessary to keep it alive !!!!

  5. Paul Bardizbanian, no “bright and brave man” would have ever willingly associated himself with AKP. That highly visible association damaged the reputation of the Armenian community in Turkey in the eyes of those inside Turkey desiring democracy and the rule of law. It also damaged attempts at placing pressure on Turkey to face up to its past crimes against Armenians: Erdogan could claim that everything was just fine as it is because even Armenians desire to work for his party.

    • Yes, it is hard to lift the veil of self-denial after a century of lies. But just like the people of the world finally accepted that the earth was not flat and was not the center of the universe, it is time for the good people of Turkey who KNOW the truth to stand up to their leaders and say enough is enough, no more lies, recognize the Armenian Genocide NOW!

  6. Armenia is not the first country ever to experience a genocide and certainly wasn’t the last. So Turkey, what is your problem? Recognize it and reconcile. The Ottoman Empire has been done for a LONG time. Get over it.

  7. That’s odd, he is appointed in October 2014 only to retire 5 months later? There is some monkey business in this whole affair. Now he says he is retired but still advising while the Prime Ministry officials say his duties have ceased due to his retirement. To add to the confusion, Turkey’s European Union Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkır criticized Mahcupyan for his remarks, saying it was unsuitable for a prime minister’s adviser. I thought he was retired?

    So which is it and why so much confusion? Someone’s head is going to roll, but first we’ll have to put up with more lies and deceitful comments.

  8. I am extremely surprised at the use of the word “tragedy” in your sentence from the article:
    “Turkey, which has always rejected the term genocide, has taken a defiant line amid growing tensions over the characterization of the tragedy ahead of the 100th anniversary.” The appropriate wording should have been “the deliberate murder of 1,500,000 Armenians” instead of the word “tragedy”.

  9. Maybe the fact is, they enforced him to resign after said the truth which the Turkish government don’t like.

  10. Thank you for standing up strong and speaking the truth, may God bless you. You are brave and are a good role model to rest of us. I know that sooner or later the people defending the criminals will realize that they are on wrong pathway and will correct themselves by asking for forgiveness, first from God and then from the Armenian people.

  11. Just as soon as he used the forbidden word “Genocide” he realized he reached the age limit to retire!!! What a coincidence??? Thank you Etyen for calling it what it is!!!! And we all know there was no pressure from above for you to step down!!! Yeah, right…..

  12. I love how davotuglo mentions the word ‘Blackmail’. I wonder what word could he use when turkey makes the same blackmail remarks to the senate in america, the uk, australia and all those other countries who have unfortunately not recognised the genocide for political reasons? The man obviously has a memory lapse. Stop trying to attempt to hide the TRUTH. I KNOW THE TRUTH OFTEN HURTS BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED ‘GENOCIDE’ AND GOOD ON THOSE WHO SPEAK THE TRUTH. THEY AT LEAST HAVE THE GUTS AND THE CONVICTION AND SHAME ON THOSE WHO USE POLITICAL REASONING TO DENY AND ARE AFRAID TO USE THE WORD ‘GENOCIDE’ FOR FEAR OF REPRISALS IN OTHER WORDS ‘BLACKMAIL’. OVER TO YOU davotuglo.

  13. I agree with [Steve] above. (Steve // April 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm // )

    Whatever Turkish-Armenians do or say, I consider it being done under duress. And the life of any Armenian in Turkey is not worth a plugged kuruş.

    Still, Mr. Mahcupyan has done and said some strange things.
    I have been reading TodaysZaman for quite some time, and his articles there have always been wishy-washy.
    Two Turks writing @TZ have been far more forthright and brave when it comes to AG: Messrs. Orhan Kemal Cengiz and Cengiz Aktar.

    Here is one recent strange item re Mr. Mahcupyan:

    And the baloney about his ‘retiring’ is the standard denialist Turkish BS.
    When they gave him the post, they knew how old he was and how old he would be in April 2015.
    He was given the post to tell the Western world “…see, we are friends with Armenians. No problems for Armenians in Turkey. Why, we even appointed an Armenian as Senior adviser to our PM….No need to make a big fuss about the 100th of those, you know, ‘events’…..”

    Mr. Mahcupyan was no doubt told by PM Davutoglu what to say and what to do when appointed.
    But things went off the rails for some reason: maybe Mr. Mahcupyan was asked to go too far by denialist Turks…and couldn’t take it anymore.
    Or maybe he had a sudden pang of conscience.
    So Mr. Mahcupyan was ‘retired’.
    Creating even more publicity for the 100th.
    Even Turkish press scoffs at the alleged ‘retirement’.

    Another ‘clever’ denialist scheme blew up in the denialist Turks’ face.

  14. What was surprising to me is that given Mahcupyan’s courageous writings on Armenian issues before his “appointment” as an adviser, did not alert the Turkish government that he could not be bought,

  15. The truth hurts; the Turkish cowards cannot face the facts. However their pain pales in comparison to what my family and ancestors experienced at the hands of the Red Sultan, the Ottoman Turks, and the Republic of Turkey.

  16. Turkey should not only recognize that Killing 1,500,000 Armenian men,women and children was GENOCIDE,should also apologize to the Armenian People and to the
    People of Whole World for lying ,and politically pressuring other countries to not recognize and use the word G E N O C I D E !!!!!
    Bravo E. Mahcuryan . OK You can tell that You’re Retiring, we all
    know exactly what it is.


    Etyen, is Honest Armenian… 
    Help him not to be gunned down 
    Like Hrant Dink… 

    Look at Mahcupyan Eyes…
    Very unlucky man… 
    He looks sick, tired, depressed
    See the fear…yet rageness on his face.
    He was silent for a while …
    Suddenly… could not close his mouth…
    Denying his genocided race …
    He felt he must say something …

They gave a job to shut his “vocal-pen”
    He felt chained and wanted to be free 
    To say what his inner conscience wants to say …
    From his Cardiocytes … Astrocytes … Dendrites … 

His “Brave- Heroic Gene”… rised
    He is now at risk… like Hrant Dink …
    Let any site take him away
    Before Turks slay his tongue …

    Help him and take him any where …
    This Earth belongs to everyone…
    He can earn his bread … by his talent …
    He knows many Languages…

    He will never starve
    He survived and will survive
    Help him … My dear Armenian friends
    Fly him away from that savage place. 

    If he is slayed … We all will lacrimate…
    For… not helping him…!

    Plan to help this unlucky chained, silent guy …
    The honest son of Armenians.

    Dr. Sylva Portoian
    Written Instantly after looking at Mahcupyan’s sad eyes
    April 16, 2015
    Mahcup: is an Arabic word, never Turkish, means suppressed or oppressed
    Added ‘yan’ because he is Armenian…to prove his surname.

    • ETYEN MAHCUPYAN has beatuful Armenian eyes and lion heart.
      Bravo Etyen Mahcupyan!

  18. As most have guessed I am sure that Mr. Mahcupyan was forced to retire after all if Turkey’s Goverment has the audacity to question Pope Francis and they have the US Goverment on a leash for years and are keeping the United States from recognizing the Genocide what is a mere Armenian in Turkey who does not really have a voice!
    How can Turkey still Deny that the Genocide did not happen when almost every Armenian I know has some direct history involving, parents, grandparents, and great grandparents in the Systamstic Massacre of our people!!!

  19. “Mahcupyan, 65, “has retired on the grounds of age,” the official said, noting 65 is the age limit for all Turkish civil servants.”

    End of story. He’s spoken out about the Armenian genocide before with no repercussions.

  20. He is the man who said ” yes, theft and bribery and corruption has taken place under AKP rule on a large scale, but they are also working hard so people forgive them”, he has also claimed “Turkey does not have democracy”, and many other gems. One would think these alone would be good reasons for leaving the scene.

  21. MR. MAHCUPYAN, Thank you for your sincere humanity. The Turkish government has been made up of cowards that refuse to take responsibility for the past. They not only owe an apology to the Armenians for killing 1.5 million of them but they owe all my ancestors a Thank you for taking their gold from the treasury. WHEN TURKEY WAS LOSING THEIR POWER DURING THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE, THE TURKS TOOK THE GOLD AND KILLED INNOCENT MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN. Most Turks are cowards because they know that would have to pay back the money to the living Armenians that live all over the world. Your Prime Minister is an evil man and will rot in hell for his lies about my people.

  22. Guys, with all due respect – Etyen Mahcupyan was a passionate intellectual opposing the current government and advocating for justice for Armenians however after he was offered a very high-paying job by the government, he quit his job at Zaman newspaper (biggest newspaper opposing Erdogan) he changed his views and became a passionate supporter of the Erdogan Government. It was obvious he was hired to support Erdogan’s propaganda and was used as a PR tool to cushion the international criticism with regards to recognition of Armenian Genocide by Turkish government. So don’t get too excited in praising him.

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