Turkish Group Sponsors Genocide Denial Ads, Prompts Outrage

NEW YORK, N.Y. (A.W.)—Nearly two weeks after a controversial billboard in Boston’s North End—a few blocks from Armenian Heritage Park—was removed following public disapproval, several advertisements featuring the same graphics used on the billboard appeared in various newspapers across the United States, including the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Turkic Platform’s ad on the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News online platform (Photo: screenshot)

The graphic, which lists the address for a website called “Fact Check Armenia” and the words “Truth = Peace,” features a hand—with the Turkish flag—making a peace sign, and two other hands with crossed fingers draped in the colors of the Armenian and Russian flags.

On April 21, several news outlets reported on a plane flying over Manhattan, writing slogans in Turkish and English (Photo: Anadolu)

On April 21, several news outlets reported on a plane flying over Manhattan, writing slogans in Turkish and English including, “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk” in Turkish, a phrase coined by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; “Turkey = Truth”; and several slogans denying the Armenian Genocide. The plane also wrote out the URL for the “Fact Check Armenia” website.

One of the online ads being used by the Turkic Platform

According to that website, the group is “dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information to the world about the events that led up to and during 1915. It provides historical data on the Armenian uprisings that gave way to the Ottoman Turks’ actions and counters Armenian misinformation.”

In an article titled, “GEICO-Sponsored Company Put a Sky Message Above NYC Denying Turkey’s Genocide of Armenians,” Vice News reported that the company responsible for writing the sky messages was GEICO Skytypers, an air show team sponsored by the insurance company GEICO, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway—the holding company for Warren Buffett.

A young dance group donning T-shirts of the Turkish flag and the phrase “Truth = Peace” and hired by the U.S.-based Turkish Institute for Progress performed at a Turkish festival in Brooklyn while the plane wrote the messages in the sky, reported the Daily Mail.

A young dance group donning T-shirts of the Turkish flag and the phrase ‘Truth = Peace’ performing in Brooklyn (Photo: Anadolu)

Several news outlets across the United States and abroad have reported on the anger the recent genocide denial campaign by the Turkish groups has engendered among Armenian communities worldwide.

In a Facebook post on April 20, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) shared an image of one of the newspaper ads with the following caption: “This Armenian Genocide denial ad—published in newspapers nationwide—is ‘Proudly Paid for by Turkic Platform, Istanbul,’ a foreign interest seeking to export Turkey’s hateful anti-Armenian/Christian campaign to hometowns across America—via billboards, newspapers, and online ads.”

The ANCA urged the greater Armenian community to reach out to local newspapers that have included the ad and call for their removal. “Our activism stopped these billboards in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Do your part: 1) Check to see if this ad is in your local newspapers. If it is, e-mail then call your newspaper and say: ‘Stop profiting from genocide denial,’” read the ANCA Facebook post.

20 Comments on Turkish Group Sponsors Genocide Denial Ads, Prompts Outrage

  1. A digital billboard with the same denialist ad was displayed in the Bay Area, near the entrance to the Bay Bridge and a full-page ad was published in the San Jose Mercury News.

  2. No success in Artsakh – that makes them trying to be successful in the States ! I think US-Citizen either know the truth about Genocide denial or
    they are not interested what happens outside the US .

  3. Unfortunately, the Turks do not want to come to terms with their history. Time for the truth to be put out there. Many people are ignorant of how world events have evolved.

  4. Once upon a time the free press meant something in America. I’m referring back to a gutsy article in the Berkeley Daily Planet, Weekend Edition, November 23-26, 2007. The article written by Conn Hallinan, under the heading Dispatches From the Edge was “Fly on a Wall, Annals of Shame.” Hallinan described the machinations of Bush and Rice in their successful efforts to block the Armenian Genocide from coming to a vote in the House. Then Hallinan continued with how Shimon Peres downplayed the events of 1915. Finally, Hallinan really let loose with the facts of the Genocide from Talat Pasha’s cable to a prefect in Aleppo and concluded his article with an except about Rudolf Hoess who served in the Turkish Army during the massacres of 1915 and later was commandant of Aushwitz. What we have now instead of a forthright reporter like Hallinan is Sharon Ryan, President and Publisher of the San Jose Mercury News: 408 920-5576. She accepted money from the Turks Platform in Istanbul for a full page ad in her newspaper denying the Genocide.
    In Unity,
    Ellen Sarkisian Chesnut

  5. avatar Yerevanian // April 23, 2016 at 4:55 am // Reply

    The desperation of the Turkish nation in covering up and hiding its massive criminal history is indeed growing on a yearly basis. By having a plane fly in the sky to write slogans denying the Armenian Genocide along with the URL for their denialist website, clearly shows all of us that the Turkish nation’s level of desperation to erase the Armenian Genocide from history, has indeed become sky-high.

    Out of curiosity, how much money is GEICO being paid to sponsor all of this? As usual, another typical sleazy business organization from the United States that’s being used by Turkey to promote its Armenian Genocide denialism campaign. And, out of curiosity, those young people from that dance group, wearing Turkish flag t-shirts, have been hired to perform at those Turkish festivals for what amount of money?

  6. So after years of bribing pseudo-historians, they decided to do this kind of ridiculous stuff which mostly backfired. I was reading a few articles about this and they were all criticizing WSJ and the rest of the newspapers for accepting this sort of money. Having said that, I think we shouldn’t stay silent and we need to react. There are a few things we can do.
    1. launch a petition condemning WSJ and asking for apology. It is the largest one after all and even if they don’t apologize we will at least make our voice heard.
    2. Run similar ads. I will be more than happy to contribute to this cause. But instead of desecrating the issue of the Armenian Genocide we can target Turkish links to ISIS and tourism in Turkey. Imagine Turkish and ISIS flags next to each other on a full page WSJ ad saying “Thinking about vacationing in Turkey? Your money may end up in ISIS pockets!”
    3. Create a website which focuses on Turkish-ISIS connections and promoting it. Tourism is one of those things that will really hurt them.
    Again, we might need to set up a special fund for this purpose and run similar ads all year round.

    • {I will be more than happy to contribute to this cause.}

      If you got money to spare, send it to Artsakh.
      Or ARS ‘Fund for Artsakh’.

      {….need to set up a special fund for this purpose and run similar ads all year round.}

      Wasted money: Turks and Azerbaijan spend $ millions annually on lies and disinformation, with very little to show for it.
      Armenian diaspora doesn’t have money to throw away.
      Again: anyone who has spare cash send it to ARS ‘Artsakh Fund’: it is for the families of KIA heroes of the 4-day-Turk-invasion.

      If you want to spend your money blunting Turk and Azerbaijani propaganda here in the US, donate to ANCA. With very little funding and skeleton paid stuff vs $ millions spend by the twin Turkic states, ANCA has an outstanding ‘wins’ record.
      To wit: ANCA has shut down every attempt by Azerbaijan past several years to pass anti-NKR legislation at State capitols by buying legislators.

      And honestly: why pay good money to pro-Genocide* mouthpieces like WSJ? How many people will actually change their minds re the AG after seeing an ad like that?

      * I saw this new word at another site: great word. Has more bite than ‘denialist’. and makes sense: denial of Genocide is continuation of Genocide, so in fact, they are pro-Genocide.

    • Avery
      I made it clear that what Turks did was stupid and pointless since no one is going to change his mind regarding this issue by these ads or even visiting their websites. Those who are interested will google “Armenian genocide” or “Armenian massacre” and one of the first things that will come up is the genocide page on wiki which clearly and unequivocally says it was a genocide. Nevertheless, tourism in Turkey is a different issue. Millions of Americans visit that country as tourists and many are unaware of Turkish-ISIS links and the fact that the money they spend their may eventually end up in ISIS pockets is something which will resonate with many Americans even those who don’t care about what happened a century ago.
      I agree with you that ANCA and the rest of Armenian organizations in US are underfunded and we need to do more but you really cannot blame Armenian Americans for that. Again, it is the Armenian government which is incompetent. If they have the money to pay thousands of dollars to Nune and Tata for shows celebrating Yerevan’s birthday then they should have the money to spend in Washington on lobbying just like any other government does. Georgia is not much wealthier than us but even they spend a few millions on this every year. There is this misconception in Armenia that it is diaspora’s obligation to do lobbying for us, to build embassies for us, to organize events for us… Again we go back to square one, the fact that the root of 99% of our problems is the inefficiency and incompetency of our leadership in Armenia. These people are so incompetent that more than 20 years after independence, they haven’t yet come up with a effective mechanism to halt that portion of the Turkish goods import to Armenia that we can produce locally! There are even Armenians who spend their vacation in Antalya!! Is it really that difficult to find an excuse to stop Yerevan-Antalya flights and instead increase the number of flights to Egypt or Greece? Is it really that difficult to find some health concern and halt Turkish tomato import to Armenia? Is it that difficult to have a selective approach to what we should and what we shouldn’t import from Turkey? I know Armenians who spend twice the money they can spend on a vacation in Cancun to go all the way to Armenia and spend their money there only to see that Armenians are boarding the plane to Antalya!! Eventually, you just get tired of all this mess. Sorry for digressing but these things are all connected to each other.

  7. avatar Random Armenian // April 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm // Reply

    Who are those dancers?! Do they know that they’re doing? Were they hired dancers? there is a chubby looking guy in the background so I’m guessing no,

  8. An Armenian organization needs to step up and launch a counter-offensive to these charlatans. It starts like this: start an information drive across the entire USA for Armenians (and non-Armenians alike) so that we would break any business ties to ALL that are involved which made these shameful acts of cowardice possible, and which made a mockery out of the suffering of at least one million American citizens of Armenian descent and all victims of genocide in history.

    All Armenians, cancel you Wall Street Journal subscriptions immediately and inform your acquaintances to do the same, not that you should have been a subscriber to that ridiculous neocon propaganda outlet in the first place. Cut any deals and business ties with GEICO and its related insurance affiliates and all companies connected to Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet. Start a website and start collecting NAMES of all people involved, and place them on a PERMANENT TARGET LIST so that they will never be able to infest any public activity and opinion for the rest of their miserable days, we need such an organized database desperately. Such a site needs to be maintained to also list all businesses to boycott, and next start getting other communities involved in the USA to cooperate, such the Greek and Assyrian communities. This is the only way, when the serpent rears its ugly head, smash it to pieces.

  9. I dissent. The billboards and the skywriting are a sign of the enemy’s arrogance and incompetence. But it is also a reflection of how limited their response must be – images of painted fingers and racist words (not) to live by re Turkish superiority.

    This is how stupid they are in this respect. Ad campaigns usually look at several rival images and themes. This means that the final incomprehensible images were the best ones they had.

    The enemy has been trying to distract the world from the Armenian Genocide with phony holidays and counter-rallies including the infamous Genocide dance party at their Embassy.

    Why do they use these strange indirect means? I think it’s because they are hemmed in by the language of denial. They are acutely aware that they can’t say “we deny the Armenian Genocide because…”. To do so further engraves the word “Genocide” next to the word “Armenian.”

  10. I am seriously going to cancel my policy with Geico. I am so annoyed. How can they be so stupid and not do their due diligence. Or maybe they do not care and they do want to sponsor these messages. Anyone have a press release or any word from them and what they said regarding this matter?

  11. avatar Sassoon Kosian // April 24, 2016 at 9:57 pm // Reply

    I called the WSJ/Dow Jones the next day to cancel my subscription. The lady who answered me asked the reason, which I had to repeat a few times as she didn’t quite understand what I was talking about. Then she started paging the paper to find the ad without luck, and she kept apologizing for hurting my feelings and saying that they don’t necessarily agree with the contents of the ads they print. So I asked if they would print ads denying the Jewish Holocaust? She was like oh no no no, we would never ever do that! So I asked why are you then printing ads denying the Armenian Genocide? She didn’t have an answer, but she almost wanted to cry and kept apologizing. She offered free subscription which I refused…so, goodbye WSJ !!! I will subscribe to NYT, a much better newspaper.

  12. Please, please, PLEASE, STOP blaming and shaming an ENTIRE company of THOUSANDS of DECENT, HARDWORKING employees that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with ONE persons ignorant mistake, ONE persons BAD JUDGEMENT. BY ALL MEANS, voice your frutration, but hold THE INDIVIDUAL responsible for THEIR INDIVIDUAL mistake! Stop the hate and sweeping generalizations. The pilot who accepted the request should have questioned the content, absolutely. HOWEVER – no is addressing the FACT that the content came from a 3rd party SALES AGENCY who ALSO should have investigated the content BEFORE passing it on!! It’s THEIR JOB to review content and make sure the REQUEST is LEGIT.

  13. I’m canceled my insurance

  14. avatar Yerevanian // April 27, 2016 at 7:08 am // Reply

    Once again, how horribly shameful of the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer (along with various other U.S. newspapers), as well as the GEICO organization for all participating in, and promoting Turkish denialism against the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide. Once again, genocide denial perpetuates genocide.

  15. “No voice is too small when raised in unison with others who speak out for what is morally right.” hm, Is it morally right to send threats of voilence to innocent GEICO employees regarding this issue? I really don’t think so…verbally attacking people who had nothing to do with the event is absurd. Would you like to be blamed for your lousy coworkers actions? your bosses mistakes? please. It’s not going to further anyones cause. You knew who was responsible for the writing over Brooklyn, the pilot admitted his mistake, made a formal apology …people complained, their voices were heard. Let these skywriters change their policies, they’ve been educated…Leave the rest of GEICO alone. And for the record,they don’t even tow flags. So whoever you all saw over LA – wasn’t anyone sponsored by GEICO…they type messages on the east coast only… They were not involved in any of the activities on the western coast of the U.S. that took place on April 23-24. Hold individuals responsible for their individual actions and let them make amends. The ad agency that approached GEICO to do the message and the pilot that accepted the job should have realized the material was controversial…no doubt…100%…but he’s ONE guy and GEICO is company of thousands…you’re taking it out on the wrong people. GEICO is only one of several companies to sponsor this air team…they don’t even work for GEICO

  16. avatar Yerevanian // May 2, 2016 at 6:15 am // Reply

    And exactly how are you speaking out for what is morally right by desperately attempting to vindicate GEICO from its participation in helping to promote Turkish denialism against the Armenian Genocide? Is it morally right to deny GEICO’s guilt in all of this?

    “Is it morally right to send threats of violence to innocent GEICO employees regarding this issue?”

    Your reading comprehension is obviously very poor. In which post, have I sent threats of violence to GEICO employees? Show me!

    “GEICO is only one of several companies to sponsor this air team.”

    Well, by making this statement in which you actually agree that GEICO did sponsor the air team which wrote those Armenian Genocide denialist sky messages, you are therefore contradicting yourself in your failed attempt to clear GEICO of its guilt in all of this.

    As stated in the article above, “The company (as opposed to ‘several companies’) responsible for writing the sky messages was GEICO Skytypers, an air show team sponsored by the insurance company, GEICO.”

    • avatar Yerevanian // May 3, 2016 at 3:59 am //

      There are a few more things which I’d like to add to my post from yesterday.

      In terms of the “formal apology” given by your company in regard to the skywritings, that was certainly not much of an apology. Their explanation in all of this is absolutely absurd: “We clearly did not understand what we were promoting.” Yeah right! How horribly stupid can GEICO possibly be that they did not understand that they were promoting denialism against the Armenian Genocide? Your company actually expects the Armenian-American community to believe these absurdities? Hey, we all know the reason why GEICO assisted in promoting the Armenian Genocide denialism skywriting over New York City. The answer, obviously, is Turkish denialists offered them a big pile of money to promote their denialism of the Armenian Genocide, and they (your company) assumed that it would easily get away with all this, without any noise being made by the Armenian-American community. As you can see, your company’s assumptions ended up being totally false.

      In regard to your fellow employees at GEICO, I did not accuse them of anything. It’s the directors of GEICO, whom I’m rightfully accusing. They’re the ones, who are guilty in this particular matter. They’re the ones, who shamed your company’s name by allowing themselves to accept money from Turkish denialists in exchange for helping to promote denialism against the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide. Hey, there’s absolutely nothing you can possibly do to cover up your company’s guilt in all of this. GEICO screwed up, and they are guilty!

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