A Case of Turkish Genetic Appropriation

By Aris Govjian

Special for the Armenian Weekly

On May 30, major news and entertainment outlets across the internet began sharing a revelation in the scientific community—the genetic material of ancient Egyptians being found to belong to the original peoples of Asia Minor and Europe.

Nearly every source which shared these research findings performed a bizarre sleight-of-hand.  While it accurately reported the newly identified DNA as belonging to the native populations of Asia Minor; they then went onto erroneously and sloppily describing it as Turkish ancestry.

On May 30, major news and entertainment outlets across the internet began sharing a revelation in the scientific community—the genetic material of ancient Egyptians being found to belong to the original peoples of Asia Minor and Europe.

By eliding the fact the region was populated by civilizations with a direct line to modern day Greeks and Armenians of Asia Minor, these reports erase thousands of years of history in the cradle of civilization by way of convoluted, racist appropriation of the core of any human being: DNA.

Rather than simply referring to the native populations of modern day Anatolia in their articles, the careless reporting unwittingly supports an agenda by a corrupt Turkish political majority who openly deny—and at times glorify—the disturbing violent actions perpetrated against the natives of Turkey.

The disturbing act of blatantly appropriating the ancestral DNA of peoples belonging to a region and attributing it to their colonizers is beyond insulting—it is inhumane.  Doing so obscures history and pollutes scientific inquiry.

When publications such as the Washington Post employ lazy or politically circumspect journalism, more sensationalist sources perpetuate overt misuse of scientific data. When journalists allow themselves to play crooked reporters, they aid criminals robbing the land, culture, and now the DNA of a victim.


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. It’s the same lazy and ignorant mentality which also calls St. Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus) a Turkish bishop because Turks conquered Myra. Perhaps St. Gregory the Illuminator is also a Turk…also Medzn Dikran, Kachn Vartan, et al.

  2. I agree.

    And the authors of misleading articles which do not correctly state that Turkey and Turks are of recent vintage and have nothing to do with the indigenous people of Asia Minor need to hear from us. Such articles need to be clear that Turks are not indigenous.

    May I suggest that Weekly articles such as this give readers the email address of the author(s) and/or publication(s) so that people can protest?

  3. The Washington Post article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/05/30/dna-from-ancient-egyptian-mummies-reveals-their-ancestry/?utm_term=.e31ae6d08da8) is considerably less sinister than Govjian presents it. It says that “Ancient Egyptians were closely related to people who lived along the eastern Mediterranean, the analysis showed. They also shared genetic material with residents of the Turkish peninsula at the time and Europe.” Saying “The Turkish peninsula at the time” is poor, but it is far from saying “Turkish ancestry.”

    On the other hand, the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4555292/Study-mummies-reveals-Turkish-European.html) tells us that “First ever genome study of mummies reveals they were more Turkish and European than African,” which is ridiculous, but the Daily Mail is a ridiculous paper. Unfortunately it is not the only one to use this kind of wording.

    The actual scientific article that these news pieces are drawing on is written by what I would take to be non-stupid people, and doesn’t say that ancient Egyptians have any DNA connection with Turks. It says “Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times.”

    But it also doesn’t say what Govjian seem to think it says, that “the genetic material of ancient Egyptians being found to belong to the original peoples of Asia Minor and Europe.” Nor does it describe the ancient Egyptian DNA as “belonging to the native populations of Asia Minor.” That’s because it “belongs” to the ancient Egyptians.

    • Thank you for adding to the discussion Stan. To add clarification, when initially featured, the Washington Post article appeared to have a different and misleading title. It is possible they received backlash and changed it. Which I’m happy to see :) so thank you for sharing.

      Unfortunately there were many other media outlets which were repurposing the same misleading title, so it seemed appropriate to point it out.

  4. Hey, according to Bible every one and every living creature is from Turkey, they all descended from Mountain from Turkey. so yeah whole World is Turkish

    • The territory wasn’t called Turkey until modern times to reflect the name of the country. That country didn’t exist until modern times. The Turks are not native to the Middle East.

  5. This is a serious problem, and very damaging to the heritage of Armenians, Greeks, Pontic Greeks, and Assyrians. Those whom reported this improperly should apologize and be held accountable. Everyone with Armenian ancestry has a birthright from the legacy of their DNA genetic ancestral legacy; however, we must battle historians and reporters, as well as the shills, Turks and Azeris (whom are visibly engaged in an information war).

  6. Please don’t use Turkey,
    Use Armenian Highland
    Let everyone find where is that place …

    See how Seljuk-Turks arrived and which year so-called Asia minor. From very well known
    Arab historian Sibt ibn AlGazi (Wikipedia 2009)

    *In 1064 a large Seljuk Turkish army, headed by Sultan Alp Arslan, with the help of the Caucasian Georgians headed by King Bagrat, attacked Ani and after a siege of 25 days they captured the city and slaughtered its population. An account of the sack and massacres in Ani is given by the Arab historian Sibt ibn al-Gawzi, who quotes an eyewitness saying:
    “The army entered the city, massacred its inhabitants, pillaged and burned it, leaving it in ruins and taking prisoner all those who remained alive . . . The dead bodies were so many that they blocked the streets; one could not go anywhere without stepping on them and the number of prisoners was not less than 50,000 souls. I was determined to enter the city and see the destruction with my own eyes. I tried to find a street in which I would not have to walk over the corpses, but that was impossible.”

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