854) Your censorship here is worse than an imperfect due process over there

To: letters@latimes.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 1:36 PM
Subject: Your censorship here is worse than an imperfect due process over there

Your censorship here is worse than an imperfect due process over there

I am deeply saddened by your editorial , "Armenian Genocide: Speak No Evil?", (LA Times, July 16, 2006) where your anti-Turkish bias clearly colored your judgment. What is even more troubling is the ominous trend that seems to have taken hold at LA Times editorial board where the Armenian official propaganda is arrogantly advanced as settled history, while systematically censoring Turkish views.

I am not going to go into details of why your use of the term genocide to describe the Turkish-Armenian conflict in Anatolia during WWI is both racist and dishonest. You will probably ignore even censor my views, just like your predecessors ignored the 2.5 million Muslim dead during WWI, mostly Turkish, 523,000 of whom met their tragic end at the hands of blood-thirsty Armenian nationalists. And just like you ignore Ottoman-Armenian propaganda, agitation, terrorism, armed revolts, and treason, in that order, which caused that tremendous Turkish suffering and loss between 1890-1923. Luckily, historical controversies are not settled in the editorial boards.

On the issue of Elif Shafak, one of the several "Christian Ward"s of Turkey, I would like to say this: at least, she will get her day in court to present her side of the story. How bad can it be? This due process, with all its real and/or imagined shortcomings, is still a lot more than what the LA Times and, indeed, most of the Western media, accorded Turkey over the Armenian issue in the last 90+ years, namely "conviction without prosecution" and systematic censorship.

Jewish Holocaust is a fact not because of newspaper editorials, books, Hollywood films, Senate resolutions, diplomats' utterances, memorials, observances, or other such lay efforts, but because of the verdict at the Nuremberg Tribunals. The accuser and the accused were properly represented, had equal access to laws, made their cases, cross examined each other's evidence, before reaching that guilty verdict for the German Nazis. This "due process" thus removed all doubts, hearsay, fiction, and propaganda, revealing the guilty party beyond a shadow of doubt. There was no such due process for the Turkish side; no "competent tribunal" ever convicted Turkey of any wrong-doing.

In fact, the opposite is true: The British, victors of the WWI and occupiers of Istanbul, the Ottoman Capital, were so embarrassed by the kangaroo courts of occupied Istanbul, that they had asked the Royal Courts to take over. The resulting Malta Tribunal (1919-1921) could not even get started due to lack of "proper evidence" and the British had to let 141 Turkish leaders, incarcerated on the island for 2 years, go without filing a single charge. And the very existence of the Ottoman courts of 1915-1916 , punishing those Ottoman citizens and officials who abused the orders of temporary resettlement of treasonous Ottoman-Armenians clearly show that the Ottoman leadership had no intention of harming the Ottoman-Armenians., but merely taking a wartime measure to defend the country against a very serious and proven internal threat.

Recently 127 NGOs in Turkey urged Armenia to take Turkey to International Court of Justice at the Hague. If Armenia truly believes that what took place was genocide and that it has plenty of evidence, then they should have no problem getting Turkey convicted. At least during the trials, however many years, we would get a much needed break from those bigoted and militant editors who would have to tone down their racist rhetoric.

Until Turkey is accorded due process and Armenia still manages to secure a conviction after that, I shall continue to kindly remind the press to use the qualifier "alleged", before the term genocide, if that is the term they choose to describe the Turkish-Armenian conflict of WWI. I am sure the press would agree with me on that. That is, if concepts like journalistic objectivity, balance, fairness, ethics, truth are still revered by the press.

My grandfather's family and his entire village of Kirlikova were annihilated during the Balkan Wars (hence my last name) just before the WWI and I'll be damned if I let a bunch of bigots in an editorial "lynch mob" tell me my pain and loss do not count and that my predecessors must have been at fault for defending their country.


Ergun Kirlikovali

3029 South Harbor Blvd.,
Santa Ana, CA 92704-6448


From the Los Angeles Times
Armenian Genocide: Speak No Evil?

The White House’s cowardly and secretive refusal to call Turkey’s genocide of Armenians by its proper name.

July 16, 2006

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU refer to Turkey's 1915-1923 genocide of Armenians, accurately, as "genocide"? In Turkey, you face a possible three-year jail term, even if it wasn't you using the term but a character in your novel. In the United States, you just lose your job as ambassador to Armenia.

The novelist is Elif Shafak, who learned last week she will go on trial for defamation of the Turkish Republic. The former ambassador is John M. Evans, who was recalled from Yerevan in May after referring to the "Armenian genocide" in a speech before a group of Armenian Americans in February 2005. As one State Department bigwig told an Armenian newspaper: "Ambassadors serve the president, and they are obliged to follow his policy. President Bush's policy as regards the mass killings of Armenians is precise."

Precisely what purpose this policy serves is clear: avoid using the most truthful word in the English language to describe an eight-decade-old atrocity for fear of offending a crucial NATO ally. As Bush's proposed replacement for Evans, Richard Hoagland, put it last month during his confirmation hearing, "Instead of getting stuck in the past and vocabulary, I would like to see what we can do to bring different sides together."

Vocabulary may not be the president's best subject — Bush himself has poked fun at his frequent malapropisms — but he's shown he knows the meaning of the word "genocide." Campaigning for the White House in 2000, Bush told Armenian American groups that "the 20th century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide" and that "history records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties … If elected president, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."

It's one of the more blatant of Bush's broken campaign promises. Luckily, the Senate is showing signs of giving this rhetorical appeasement the rebuke it deserves. Half of the senators on the Foreign Relations Committee have demanded that the State Department give an official explanation for Evans' premature recall, and some have hinted that Hoagland's appointment could hang in the balance. They should block the nomination altogether until the ambassador-to-be dares to utter the g-word.

And the Bush administration should have the courage of its lack of conviction and explain forthrightly — not just to Armenian Americans but to all Americans who believe in calling evil by its proper name — why U.S. policy is being dictated by Ankara nationalists.


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