01 September 2006

972) Groundless Building, Neglected Palace

One of the most significant tools, used by the Armenian Diaspora to announce the so-called Armenian genocide allegations to the world, is visual and printed press. Having understood that they could not reach this aim via terrorist activities, Armenians quickly changed strategy and began to bring their allegations to international political agenda through media. . . . It can be said that, in this effort, they have been quite successful; because Armenian Diaspora became more and more embedded in the media sector. Therefore, they have been able to influence the public opinion of the countries that they were living, in accordance with their own thesis. Contrarily, unfortunately, due to lack of enough resources Turks living abroad have been bothered by the broadcasting and publications of pro-Armenian media in their respective countries and they have tried to struggle with these kinds of assaults.

One of the recent examples of such kind of struggles has been managed by the Turkish community of Australia. Everything was started with the decision of Australian SBS Channel regarding the airing of a one-sided documentary entitled 'As It Happened: The Armenian Genocide'. The documentary was announced with an introductory note accusing the Ottoman Empire of perpetrating the crime of genocide against the Armenians. As a reaction to this decision, Ataman Atlas, a Turkish-origin Australian citizen living in Perth sent a fax to the channel stipulating that this documentary consisted one-sided evaluations, that its airing would insult the Turkish community of Australia, and that if it was to be aired, then at least the views of the Turkish side should be added. What is more, he brought seven Turkish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) together and tried to prevent airing of this documentary. He also mentioned that this would be against the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act.

In responding these faxes, SBS wrote that the airing of this documentary should not be perceived as a defamation against the Turkish community living in Australia and it would not be against the aforementioned act since it would be aired with 'good faith'.

Having understood that mutual correspondence would not produce an effective result, Ataman Atlas and Turkish NGOs decided to bring this issue to the court and they applied to the Federal Court. In his affidavit delivered on August 15, Ataman Atlas mentioned his objections to the one-sided nature of SBS's decision and demanded prevention of its airing as it was.

While all these developments were taking place Western Australian newspaper published an article entitled 'Angry Turks target SBS'. In this article, while criticizing Turkish reaction to the documentary with a cynical style, Turkish community was equated with the Holocaust deniers. Indeed, this tactic was a cliché, used by the supporters of the so-called Armenian genocide, who have tried to benefit from the undisputed reality of the Holocaust. Now, Western Australian newspaper was making the same fault.

Ataman Atlas did not hesitate to point this fault. In a fax that he sent to the editor of the newspaper, Luke Morfesse, he stipulated the errors in the article and mentioned that the issue had been brought to the court. Nowadays, proceedings of this court still continue in Perth.

After reflecting all these developments, two points would further be mentioned. First of all, recently, many one-sided, pro-Armenian programs have begun to be aired throughout the world. A few months ago, same documentary was decided to be aired in the United States by the PBS Channel. This program was aired despite strong reactions from the Turkish community living there, however, its subjective nature was tried to be softened by a subsequent panel, in which Turkish thesis was also brought up. All these developments reflect the international effectiveness of the Armenian Diaspora.

The second point was the lack of interest from Turkish press to this legal struggle in Australia. Ataman Atlas wrote that he had sent many e-mails to Turkish newspapers depicting these developments; however, none responded. This affirms the basic criticism that we mentioned in one of our recent articles entitled 'The Winner of Media Battles: Armenia and Armenian Diaspora', which is the negligence of Turkish press regarding the Armenian question except some periods of a year.

In sum, while attempting to show their realities (!) to international public opinion, Armenian Diaspora builds a groundless but adorned building. Whereas, by not emphasizing one of the most significant foreign policy issues of Turkey, Turkish press is satisfied with watching a ruined palace that has been built on two strong pillars, namely history and law, but has been decaying as a result of neglect.

Comment: M.Serdar PALABIYIK
01 September 2006


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