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 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 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org then call your newspaper and say: ‘Stop profiting from genocide denial,’” read the ANCA Facebook post.