After a century, bankrupt Turkey wasting huge sums to deny Armenian Genocide

The Turkish government’s denial of the Armenian Genocide is as futile as a man who repeatedly hits his head against the wall, hoping the wall will give way.

For more than a century, successive Turkish governments have done everything in their power to cover up the heinous crime of the Armenian Genocide committed by their predecessors. No Turkish leader has had the courage and honesty to admit the truth. Instead, Turkey has wasted huge sums of money to deny the undeniable. It has bribed questionable scholars and crooked politicians around the world to distort the historical facts. Ankara has published hundreds of deceptive books and made several trashy movies to cover up its crimes. Over several decades, Turkey has spent tens of millions of dollars to hire American lobbying firms to pressure the US Congress not to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. All of these efforts failed miserably. The US House of Representatives recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 2019. The US Senate unanimously recognized it in 2019. Moreover, two US Presidents acknowledged it: Pres. Ronald Reagan in a Presidential Proclamation in 1981 and Pres. Joe Biden in his commemorative statements on April 24, 2021 and 2022. The most authoritative American acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide took place on May 28, 1951, when the US government submitted an official report to the World Court, stating that the Armenian Genocide was one of the “outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”

Despite all Turkish pressures, threats and bribes, over 30 countries have formally acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. This is in addition to acknowledgments by the United Nations War Crimes Commission in 1948, the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in 1985 and the European Parliament repeatedly since 1987.

Most of these acknowledgments took place at a time when the Republic of Armenia did not exist as an independent state. The Armenian Diaspora, in a David versus Goliath battle, was able to counter the denials of the powerful Turkish government, supported by its NATO allies and scores of Islamic states.

All of these denialist efforts are based on the simple misconception that should the Turkish government acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, it would then be obligated to pay restitution to surviving Armenians. Regrettably, many Armenians have the same misconception. The fact is that the Turkish government is liable to pay reparations and return confiscated Armenian properties and territories, regardless of whether Turkish leaders acknowledge their guilt or not. Political statements by government leaders are of no value in a court of law. Courts deal with facts and documents. No matter how many times Turkey denies the Genocide, the Republic of Armenia has the right to take its demands for restitution and return of territories to the International Court of Justice (World Court), where only governments have such jurisdiction.

After an entire century of denial, the Turkish government announced last week its latest desperate attempt to counter the facts of the Armenian Genocide by forming the TEKAR Foundation (Turkish Armenian Issue Research Foundation). This is a coalition of three Turkish groups: Educational Friends Foundation, Baskent (Capital City) Strategic Research Center, and Center for Countering Fanatic Armenian Lies. The new Foundation held its inaugural assembly on June 25.

TEKAR plans to republish a Turkish denialist book written by Esat Uras (1882-1957) titled: “The Armenians in history and the Armenian question.” As a member of the Committee of Union and Progress (Young Turks), Uras played a key role in planning and executing the Armenian Genocide. His book is replete with gross misrepresentations.

The Turkish Foundation also stated that it will “print Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s views, thoughts and statements on Armenians, Armenian activities and Armenian relations.” I hope the Foundation will not forget to quote from Ataturk’s interview published by the Los Angeles Examiner on August 1, 1926, in which he said: “These leftovers from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the lives of millions of our Christian subjects, who were ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred… They have hitherto lived on plunder, robbery and bribery.”

The TEKAR Foundation has 23 members on its board of trustees. The chairman of the board is Mehmet Arif Demirer, a chemical engineer, not a historian! Incomprehensibly, the board is composed of six military officers, three engineers, two economists, one gastronomist, one student and several others of miscellaneous backgrounds. It looks like the real purpose of the TEKAR Foundation is to provide jobs to Pres. Erdogan’s circle of friends. While it is a good thing that these Turks want to study the Armenian Genocide, their intention is not seeking the truth!

Turkish denialists have never understood that the more they deny the Armenian Genocide and the longer they talk about it, the more the world becomes aware of the Armenian Genocide. In other words, Turkey foolishly keeps publicizing the Armenian Genocide to new generations while trying to deny it.

Additionally, Turkish leaders have never understood that the sooner they acknowledge the crimes of their predecessors, the sooner they will gain the respect of international public opinion. When a Turkish leader eventually acknowledges the truth, he will be praised worldwide and may even be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. By their denials, Turkish leaders are doing a major disservice to their own reputations, not to mention the huge sums of money they are wasting at a time when the Turkish economy is bankrupt!

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

5 Comments

  1. The Armenian genocide is the cornerstone of the formation of Modern Turkey.Turkey’s identity is built on the “Big Lie” of a country inhabited only by Turks and therefore continues its cultural genocide against Armenian monuments and sites, for example Ani. If Turkey accepts the genocide, then it would have to change its identity, education curriculum and transform its society, just as Germany did after WW2. Reparations would follow naturally. But I don’t expect any of this to happen as long as Turkey continues as a fascist state.

  2. If political statements have “no value” and the AG is purely a legal question to be dealt with in a court of law, how are the following issues reconciled?:
    1) Can international laws be applied retrospectively, noting the Genocide Convention was only codified by the UN in 1948? and
    2) Who is the accused/defendant, noting that the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923? Assuming this threshold overcome, what about the dilemma that if Turkey can be litigated as a successor state for the past offenses of its former empire, it also opens up the possibility of it reclaiming its former territories and assets?

  3. Mr. Sassounian, its deeper then that. The actual concoctors of the genocide were Zionist Jews. The CUP was a “Jewish movement”, so said Sir Gerard Lowther British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire who witnessed the Sultan being removed and the CUP implanted. He wrote those words himself in 1908. And when oil was found in 1905 in Baku, that sealed the fate of the Armenians as Zionist banking decided it was time to remove the Sultan and install the CUP. And more so, it was to remove the Armenians off their ancient homelands to make a more homogenous race of Asian invading Turks so as to more easily control the trade and oil transit routes with out “Armenian disruption”. Ataturk himself, the supposed founder of modern Turkey, was a Sephardic Jew. Lets start there as most Turks don’t even know that much. So this cover up runs deep. Its not just the compensation factor. Its the actual actors that must be hidden at all cost. But like a rotten smell you cant cover it up. Just look at who today denies and actually works against the acknowledgement of the AG: Israel and England. This speaks volumes.

    • Conspiracy theories only pacify Armenians to believe that they have no agency about their future. There is little evidence for these fantastical theories. The opposite is actually true! Armenians, get to work and build up Armenia and your communities.

  4. Yes, sir! You are indeed correct on this and it will continue because Turkey never sees the penalty for its crimes just the same as Azerbaijan.

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