TYT Takes Belated Baby Step

Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur in a discussion while hosting The Young Turks live streaming show on June 23, 2015. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, tytvault)

This is one of those good/bad news situations.

The online talk show (formerly a radio program) named “The Young Turks” (henceforth TYT to save ink and pixels) hosted by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian has belatedly come clean regarding the Armenian Genocide. You can hear it yourself on a May 13 YouTube posting. The program is ideologically left wing.

The main host, Uygur, had been on the record as a denialist since at least his college days when he published his views. As recently as February 2012, he was still on the same track avoiding a straightforward recognition of the Genocide when he spoke at the California Democratic Party convention.

Based on the comments made by Kasparian on the YouTube video clip, this was not the first time that TYT had recognized the Genocide. If this is so, I’m disappointed not to have learned of it sooner. But then, I was certainly not going to watch, and thus support, a show hosted by a Turk who was a denialist and an Armenian who willingly worked beside and with that Turkish denialist.

So far, so good, right? It’s great that a somewhat popular media personality, and a Turk at that, stopped his denial of the Genocide. But it’s not that straightforward. First, he introduced the topic of properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide. But it was only a teaser. He wanted to debunk rumors spreading online about TYT that he described as “wildly inaccurate” – and I have to say they are! Supposedly, TYT is controlled by Qatar (stemming from an advertising deal they had a few years ago); that TYT is owned by George Soros (stemming from TYT belonging to a grouping of media outlets, some others of which had gotten Soros funding), and that Uygur was secretly a Republican (because he had gotten a loan, since repaid, from Buddy Roemer, a Louisiana governor who switched parties from Democratic to Republican). Remember, TYT is a left-wing program!

Why is all this relevant? Notice what Uygur did. He pushed a hot issue on which he has been excoriably wrong, to the back burner. Sure, his acceptance of the reality of the Genocide was emphatic, citing seven (if I didn’t miscount) examples of ridiculous lines of Turkish denial and other aspects of utterly false Turkish “history” he had been taught. His explanation of why he had been a denier (basically, his Turkish upbringing and childhood schooling) even makes a lot of sense. But it wasn’t front-and-center.

After Uygur is done, Kasparian chimes in with a sob-story of how right wingers have used her ascribed denial of the Genocide for political gain. Then she complains that this has led to serious threats against her and her family, given that she lives in Los Angeles. While that’s not a pleasant position to be put in, her assertion that it is ridiculous to be labeled a denier when she is an Armenian rings hollow. The old saying – “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas” comes to mind.

For years she worked with an unrepentant Genocide denier. Isn’t it reasonable for people to associate the same vileness with her?

All of which brings us to the most important point. Great, a denialist Turk has come around. Maybe the up-to-now-Quisling Armenian even helped make that happen. Also nice. But what about the name of the program? The Young Turks. If Uygur and Kasparian expect to be taken seriously, if they expect us to really believe that this isn’t a sham, that the pressure from progressive circles finally became too much, then THE NAME OF THE PROGRAM HAS TO CHANGE!

It is utterly unacceptable to continue to sanitize a group of Genocide perpetrators, the Young Turks of the 19 and 20th centuries. The excuse is, you might recall, that initially, since the Young Turks were trying to reform the Ottoman Empire, their name became a synonym for people trying to make positive changes. Well, we saw how that turned out. History has spoken and the use of “Young Turk” in a positive sense can only mean one thing, a whitewash.

So let’s flood Uygur and Kasparian with e-mail, tweets, Facebook messages, old-time letters and any other means you can think of calling upon them to dump that disgusting name into the incinerator (not just the dustbin) of history!

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Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
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