2517) Is Turkey Muzzling U.S. Scholars? by Scott Jaschik

Scholars of the Armenian genocide have long accused Turkey of using its financial support to promote the idea that a genocide didn’t take place or that the jury is still out — views that have little credibility among historians of . . genocide.

An incident in 2006, only recently being talked about publicly, has some scholars concerned that Turkey and its supporters may be interfering in American scholarship. The chair of the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies, which is based at Georgetown University, resigned at the end of 2006, and he says he was given a choice by Turkish officials of either quitting or seeing the funding for the institute go away.

At least one scholarly group that has investigated the matter recently issued a report backing the ousted chair, and at least one other board member has resigned while another has called for more discussion of the accusations. The executive director of the institute, while flatly saying that the ousted chair is wrong, confirmed that he was asked by Turkish Embassy officials to have the scholar talk with the Turkish ambassador to the United States about an article where he used the word “genocide” in reference to what happened to the Armenians. It was after that talk that the chair — Donald Quataert — quit.

The fact that Quataert is at the center of the controversy is significant. A historian at the State University of New York at Binghamton, Quataert is an expert on the Ottoman Empire. In the 1980s, when the scholarly consensus about the Armenian genocide was not as broad as it is today, he signed a statement calling for more research on whether a genocide took place. Quataert says today he never thought the statement would be used as it was by Turkish supporters to question claims of a genocide, but he notes that as a result of his having signed at the time, he was viewed favorably by the Turkish government and with considerable skepticism by Armenians. And it is Quataert who used the word “genocide” in a journal and who says he was given a choice by the Turkish ambassador, Nabi Sensoy, of quitting as the institute’s chair or seeing its financing disappear.

The Institute of Turkish Studies, founded with funds from Turkey, supports research, publications and language training at many American colleges and universities. Most of the work is not controversial. This year the institute is providing library grants to Kennesaw State University and the University of Mississippi, supporting doctoral students’ work at New York University ("The Specter of Pan-Islamism: Pilgrims, Sufis and Revolutionaries and the Construction of Ottoman-Central Asian Relations, 1865-1914?) and the University of Texas at Austin ("Gender, Education, and Modernization: Women Schoolteachers in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1871-1922?); undergraduate exchange programs at the University of Nevada at Reno and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and seed money to create new faculty positions at Boston University and the University of Minnesota.

The institute is led by a board, primarily made up of scholars of Turkey, only a few of whom have focused on issues related to what happened to the Armenians. Even those who question the way Turkey has responded to the genocide issue say that much of the work supported by the institute is important and meets high standards.

Quataert led institute’s board from 2001 until his controversial departure at the end of 2006.

The dispute started when he published a book review in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History in the fall of 2006. The review, which included both praise and criticism, was of Donald Bloxham’s The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians (Oxford University Press). In the review, Quataert talks about how when he entered graduate studies in Ottoman history in the late 1960s, “there was an elephant in the room of Ottoman studies — the slaughter of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915.” He writes that “a heavy aura of self-censorship hung over Ottoman history writing,” excluding not only work on Armenians, but also on religious identity, the Kurds and labor issues. Only in recent years, he continues, has the “Ottomanist wall of silence” started to crumble.

Quataert notes concerns about the use of the word “genocide,” namely that discussions of its use or non-use can “degenerate into semantics and deflect scholars from the real task at hand, to understand better the nature of the 1915 events.” But despite those concerns, he writes that there is no question today that what took place meets United Nations and other definitions of genocide, and that failure to acknowledge as much is wrong.

Of using the term, he writes: “Although it may provoke anger among some of my Ottomanist colleagues, to do otherwise in this essay runs the risk of suggesting denial of the massive and systematic atrocities that the Ottoman state and some of its military and general populace committed against the Armenians.”

That sort of analysis is not exceptional for historians writing about the period. Most leading scholars of genocide have said that it is beyond question that what took place was a genocide. In 2005, for example, the International Association of Genocide Scholars issued a letter that said in part: “We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades.”

While calling the Armenian genocide a genocide isn’t controversial among historians, it is unusual for the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies. Its board hasn’t been known for taking stands on the issue and one of its members is Justin McCarthy, a professor at the University of Louisville who describes what happened not as genocide, but a period of civil war in which many people died, more of them Muslims than Armenians.

In an interview, Quataert said that after his review was published, he was told by David C. Cuthell, director of the institute, that people in Turkey were upset about his use of the word genocide and that he should call the Turkish ambassador. “He told me the embassy was unhappy and was getting a lot of pressure and maybe I should speak to the ambassador.”

Quataert said that he then called Ambassador Sensoy and had a “very cordial and polite” discussion, and that the ambassador “made it clear that if I did not separate myself as chairman of the board that funding for the institute would be withdrawn by the Turkish government and the institute would be destroyed.”

After thinking about it for a few days, Quataert said he decided to resign. “It was clear to me that there was a genuine danger that the funding would be withdrawn by these powerful elements in Ankara and all the good I have seen would vanish, and money that young scholars need to learn language and travel would dry up,” he said. “I still feel that the institute over the decades has done a lot of good work. It was not for Turkish propaganda. That’s why I agreed to be the chairman of the board.”

Based on his experience, Quataert said that it is “a very difficult question” to consider whether the institute at this point has credibility as a source of financing for research and education. “By forcing my resignation, the Turkish government has made very clear that there are bounds beyond which people cannot go,” he said.

Others share those concerns.

Birol Yesilada, a professor of political science and international relations at Portland State University, where he focuses on contemporary Turkish studies, said he quit the institute’s board for two reasons: health (he is recovering from a heart attack) and concern over what happened to Quataert. Yesilada said he didn’t know all the facts, and has heard differing accounts of what happened, but that “it does not look good.” Further, he said he was troubled by “the silence” of the institute director and many board members about Quataert’s departure.

One board member who sent a series of e-mail messages to other board members was Fatma Müge Göçek, a sociologist at the University of Michigan. She wrote that Quataert was within his rights as a scholar to write the review as he did.

“[T]he only activities that ITS has any control or say over in relation to Donald’s activities are only limited to his service as the board chairman, not as a research scholar,” she wrote. “If ITS in any way intervenes in Donald’s research activities, however, that would indeed be a violation of his academic freedom because Donald’s research does not fall within the purview of ITS’s domain of activities. In addition, of course, I should not have to point out that the funding agencies that provide money to ITS should not do so with strings attached with respect to the research the scholars do. That too is considered unethical.

The Academic Freedom Committee of the Middle East Studies Association also recently reviewed the case, and weighed in with a letter to Turkish officials expressing anger over “the Turkish government’s interference in the academic freedom of one of our most respected academic colleagues.”

The letter goes on to say that the association is “enormously concerned” that Quataert was pressured to either “publicly retract” parts of his review or to leave the chairmanship of the institute. “The reputation and integrity of the ITS as a non-political institution funding scholarly projects that meet stringent academic criteria is blackened when there is government interference in an blatant disregard for the principle of academic freedom.”

The press office of the Turkish embassy did not respond to phone or e-mail messages seeking comment. Cuthell, the director of the institute, said he did not think the embassy would want to comment because the embassy “is livid and rightly so. The ambassador’s reputation has been impugned.”

Cuthell said that there is a “lack of logical consistency” in what Quataert says that shows it to be incorrect. Cuthell said that if Quataert really cared about the institute, he would not have described events as he did to the Middle East Studies Association or for this article. “He resigns to protect the institute and then criticizes the institute,” said Cuthell.

Suggestions that the institute does not uphold academic freedom are false, Cuthell said. “Has the Turkish government ever once ever tried to change any of our grants or activities? I can tell you flat out — they have not. They have never interfered in our grants or programs.”

Asked if the institute has ever supported any research that calls what happened to the Armenians genocide, Cuthell said he couldn’t be sure, but “I doubt it.”

But he said that wasn’t because of censorship or pressure but because “the jury is out” on whether genocide took place. “There are a lot of people who are not qualified to do the work because they can’t read the archival material,” he said. “There is no archival material the Armenians can produce. There is no smoking gun,” he said. (In fact, many historians say that one of the notable developments of recent years has been the emergence of such smoking guns as some scholars have been able to use Ottoman archives to document the role of various leaders in orchestrating the mass killings of Armenians. Notable among these works is A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, by Taner Akcam of the University of Minnesota, and based largely on Ottoman documents.)

While Cuthell repeatedly said that Quataert and the Middle East Studies Association were all wrong about what had happened, he also indirectly confirmed some of what they have said. For example, Cuthell said that he did in fact tell Quataert that the ambassador wanted to talk to him about his article. Cuthell also confirmed that funding for the institute comes almost entirely from an endowment created by the Turkish government. Cuthell said that there was no threat that the funds could be taken away, so there was no way that Quataert could have feared for the center’s survival. But Cuthell also confirmed that the endowment had been moved from the United States to Turkey — a move he said had led to growth in the funds.

None of this, he said, was proof that Quataert was pressured to leave. “Obviously there was concern” about the article Quataert wrote, Cuthell said. But all this was about was that “these are diplomats who wanted to have a conversation with Don.”

— Scott Jaschik

Where Is the Endowment?
Obviously, Turkish officials who try to threaten and intimidate scholars must be condemned, whether they can follow through on the threat or not. But the location of the endowment is an odd issue. If this is an endowment to support a Georgetown program, then the endowment should be controlled by Georgetown. So it’s very odd to read that “the endowment had been moved from the United States to Turkey.” Georgetown should exert clear control over the endowment, or demand control over the endowment. And they should reinstate the chair with a clear defense of academic freedom.
John K. Wilson, collegefreedom.org, July 1, 2008

Institute of Turkish Studies
The role of the Institute of Turkish Studies in Armenian Genocide denial is longstanding. It was thoroughly exposed by Roger Smith, Eric Markusen and Robert Jay Lifton in their article “Professional Ethics and the Denial of the Armenian Genocide” (Holocaust and Genocide Studies, v. 9, 3 1, Spring, 1995, pp. 1-22). Interested readers may wish to seek it out.
Levon Chorbajian, Professor of Sociology at University of Massachusetts Lowell, July 1, 2008

Armenian claims
Definition of genocide is different to every one according to event took place in the history. My mother’s father and uncle cut into peaces by Armenians in front of their house and tossed into street dogs. This was done to force the family to move to another region of Turkey and they moved to suvive. All of our lives we heard our mother saying “I grew up without a father”. If she were alive today I think we all know her definition of genocide. Turkish Prime minster invited both Armenian and Turkish scientists to work together to bring the truth out. As late as last week a document in Russian archive was discovered that clearly demonstrating the genocide occurred against the Turkish population. I think scientists should go through as much data as possible to get the real picture before placing the blame on any side.
Guven Yalcintas, July 1, 2008

Gencode Denial
As one can see from the previous post, the Turkish genocide denial machine is alive and well. This machine is funded and otherwise encouraged by the Turkish state which seeks to silence those who speak the truth. This has included the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul. But the historical and scholarly record is quite unambiguous. If you are interested in pursuing the topic a good place to start is with the courageous Turkish sociologist/historian Taner Akcam and his recent book A Shameful Act. I also correct a small error in my previous post. The citation for the Smith et al article should be # 1, not 3 1.
Levon Chorbajian, Professor of Sociology at University of Massachusetts Lowell, July 1, 2008

It is unfortunate that Professor Chorbajian identifies me as PART OF a machine. I am not. I am simply a grandson of a man who was cut in peaces alive by Armenian terrorists. Same Armenian terrorists systematically killed innocent Turkish embassy members around the globe in 70s and 80s. I think every one sees the real reason why Professor Chorbajian desperately attacks every one who is not Armenian. I wonder what his students think about his credibility in his class.I am only suggesting to resolve the differences by studying further not continue to attacking each other.
Guven Yalcintas, July 1, 2008

John K. Wilson hits the nail on the head when he cites Georgetown’s responsibility in all of this. How can it host an institute that serves at the pleasure of a foreign government? If American institutions are going to put up “For Sale” signs, why *shouldn’t* foreign governments take advantage of it?
Greg Arzoomanian, July 1, 2008

State of Denial
Intelligence Report, Issue 130, Summer 2008
Special issue: State of Denial
“Many countries outlaw the denial of Turkey’s genocide of the Armenians. But in the U.S., Turkey spends millions to entice scholars to cover up the slaughter."Full report: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/intrep.jsp?iid=45

Skyblue, July 1, 2008

A note, especially to Mr.Yalcintas, memories are far too long in Midle Eastern cultures — both Armenian and Turkish — for their own good. Ditto for Shias and Sunis, etc.

As long as people view themselves as Turkish or Armenians and use achievements and the wrongs of the past to promote ethnic cohesion, things will not change. I would point out the behavior of Germany and Israel as an example of what can be done if people look to the future and not the past.

Turkey should stop being focused on the supposed honor of some WW I opportunists and admit that not all their heroes are spotless. They need to admit to reality and stop tying to evade the truth.

For their part Armenians should realzie that no living Turk is responsible for the 1916-18 massacres. In fact, due to the Turkish education system, most living Turks don’t even know it occurred!

Of course, this little piece will probably turn me into a target for both sides but ...
R. Wallace Avakian, Memories are too long in Middle East, July 1, 2008

Definition of Genocide
There is but one true definition of Genocide, and it is the one used by the UN. When historians say that the Armenian case was a Genocide, they are referring to the UN definition.

The word Genocide and its definition was invented by Raphael Lemkin who cited the Armenian case as a prime example of what that word means, and that word and its definition were then adopted by the UN. Essentially, Turkey has to create a new definition for that term if it wants to argue that the Armenian case was not Genocide. And that’s exactly what you are trying to do in your argument.
Phantom, July 1, 2008

Response to Skyblue
Your plug for your newsletter is obvious. Your statement “Many countries outlaw the denial of Turkey’s genocide of the Armenians” you mean “many governments". Governments are formed by politicians and they can be bought, therefore they will change their position. Then your statement means nothing. Why not focus on bilateral solution instead of blaming one side blindly. You know you are not going to get anywhere by saying many governments outlawed then it must be true. That is childish.
Skywhite, July 2, 2008

Armenian Claims
Both Mr. Avakian and Phantom make reasonable suggestions. I am not sure if I was trying to make a new definition but simply expressing what happened in our house. When we were little kids we used to hug our mother and sometimes cry with her when she remembered her father’s killing by Armenians. We did not ask why, who, etc. We just accepted. Because Armenians were and still are our good neighbors and friends. In military I shared my bunk bed with Daron, a most wonderful Armenian friend. When I read Armenian claims, just to make peace I thought may be I should express my apology. I do sincerely and with out asking an apology from our Armenian friends for my grandfather’s killing by Armenians. Is it acceptable? Then where do we go from here? That is why I am suggesting further studies must be done by using the archives. They did not have internet, satellite TV reporters, and blogs then. Do we teach our students from hearsay or from the result of a solid and conclusive research? Until then we should stop blaming and hurting each other senselessly with blank statements. Is that a wrong suggestion?

Guven Yalcintas, July 2, 2008

It is insulting to compare violent acts done by individuals to State sponsored terrorism. When i read the comments of some Turks who complain of Armenian acts of individual violence to justify or rationalize a deliberate State conceived and executed plan at racial extermination it boggles my mind.

I know that Nazi’s at the time used the the Warsaw uprising as justification for their genocidal actions. While certainly everyone is entitled to an opinion, at one point this Turkish denial just becomes so incredibly ridiculous that it should be just labeled as hate speech period and teated as such.

I am sorry for all victims of individual violence but as civilized people we must draw a distinction between the Charles Manson’s of the world and the Khmer Rouge’s, the Nazi’s and the Young Turk’s all of whom used the State as their tools for politically and racially inspired genocide.Enough already.
Imogene Wilemsen, July 2, 2008

Who is insulting
Roman Empire killed Jesus Christ (So they say). Who is responsible? Italians? Romanians? Ottoman Empire is replaced by Turkish Republic. Who is responsible? Please read what Mr. Avakian posted. “For their part Armenians should realize that no living Turk is responsible for the 1916-18 massacres.” What do you gain by humiliating and insulting today’s Turks? You are right. Enough already.
Enough Already, July 2, 2008

Genocide and academic freedom
I appreciate this column. One feels like citing the old saw about those paying the piper calling the tune. That seems to be what happened here.

I would add that Professor Nial Ferguson’s PBS series, THE WAR OF THE WORLD, covers the events in Turkey at that time, while also including, rightly, that tens of thousands of Pontic Greeks, who had lived in what is now Turkey since ancient times, were force marched, brutalized and slaughtered —- a history dramatically depicted in Thea Halo’s book NOT EVEN MY NAME.

Many awful things have happened in American history and historians honestly acknowledge them without fearing for their future. Alas, a similar honesty or, at least, permission of debate, is something the moneyed Turks seem unable to grant.
George T. Karnezis, July 2, 2008

I agree with you in principal Imogene. But in practice, this has proven to be very difficult, because the Turkish government has spent the last 93 years trying to cover up the crime and to teach its students very little, if anything about the Armenian people. So the vast majority of Turkish people educated in Turkey either know nothing at all about Armenians, or if they were taught something, it was that Armenians stabbed the Turks in the back and massacred some Turkish villages with the Russians during a time of war and were therefore gingerly “relocated". Guven, tell me if this is incorrect. My mother was a school teacher in Istanbul and my cousin is a school teacher in Istanbul, and they have both assured me that this is correct.

So, Armenians (population 7,500,000 worldwide) are left having to defend the truth against the onslaught of 75,000,000 Turks, all of whom are sure that it was the Armenians who were the back-stabbing aggressors and were dealt with fairly.

Now Guven, before you come here or anywhere else on the Internet and admonish people to review history before making accusations, have you reviewed the history yourself? Your vague assertion that there is some supposedly recent proof in the Russian archives of a genocide of Turks by Armenians is a laughable indication of your blind allegiance to a version of history that flies in the face of the historical record. Of course, you have no idea what this “proof” is; what it says; where it comes from; who wrote it; or what it proves. Despite all of that, you assert it as if it has some meaning.

I’m very sorry Guven that your grandparent was murdered by an Armenian. But it’s not clear to me how that has any significance to the Armenian Genocide or how it somehow exculpates the Young Turk leaders who planned, ordered and executed the murder of a nation. As with the vast majority of Turkish excuses and arguments, it is nothing more than a red herring, albeit a sad one.
Phantom, at July 2, 2008

Enough already,
Nobody is humiliating and insulting today’s Turks. Armenians are not blaming today’s Turks or today’s Turkey for committing a Genocide. But what you fail to recognize is that today’s Turkey and the vast majority of today’s Turks are defending those that perpetrated this immense crime. Instead of aligning themselves with the many brave and righteous Turks who risked their lives and saved wretched human beings from death, they have aligned themselves with the evil Turks that ordered and carried out the crimes. Nobody is humiliating Turkey by passing a resolution that recognizes that the Young Turk rulers of Turkey commmitted a Genocide against Armenians. Turkey simply humiliates itself by denying and trying to cover up the crime of the Young Turks.
Phantom, July 2, 2008

No academic freedom, no justice = no peace
Turkish officials and scholastic benefactors must stop tampering with and falsifying academia when it sees and hears historical facts it does not like.

Without Turkish government acknowledgment, accountability, atonement, apology, reparations and restitution to Armenians, Assyrians, Pontic Greeks and Greek Cypriots, there can be no “reconciliation” or “normalization of relations.”
Tsolin, July 2, 2008

Errors in this Article
This article contains several errors of fact: 1. The opinion of the self-proclaimed genocide “Scholars” is not at all a representative sample of scholarship on the subject. These genocide “Scholars” came into being at roughly the same time the Armenians started pressing their allegations -complete with the intimidation of terrorist acts, directed against innocent individuals, even Historians such as Stanford Shaw whose house was bombed by Armenian Terrorists. Furthermore, many these same Genocide “scholars” have a history of attacking the reputation and motivation of their ideological opponents instead of arguing on the basis of facts. Their conduct alone impeaches their credentials and shows them to be motivated by propandistic elements. These Genocide “Scholars” do not conform to recognized standards of academic Transparency; their deliberations are conducted in private, and scholars who do not accept their theses report that they are made to feel unwelcome. Most of these genocide “scholars” are experts at little more than accusing their ideological opponents of being “deniers", “denialists” and “Daniel Irvings” — not at producing proofs that conform to recognized standards of historical authenticity. 2. The argument that Taner Akcam’s book constitutes a “Smoking Gun” is entirely fallacious. He is not an historian, the arguments in his book to not conform to the standards of proof accepted by Historians and their failings have been clearly demonstrated by other historians such as Stone.3. The author’s assurances that there is a “scholarly consensus” and that the subject “isn’t controversial” among historians is not just misleading; it borders on an outright lie. The arguments against the “genocide” label are compelling, powerful and come from highly qualified and reputable historians.

Finally, it is impossible to ignore the fact that if Quaetaert is protesting his departure, there are serious inconsistencies in his position. For example, in his book review he accuses the Turkish Government of “Denial” of “genocide". If this charge is true then we must ask why he so willingly accepted their money for five whole years. Genocide is a serious charge. Covering it up is very serious. Would Quaetaert have us believe that it was okay for him to accept HIS SALARY for five years knowing that it was funded by such a supposedly corrupt government? He can’t have it both ways. Furthermore, the Turkish Government is fully within its rights to say -in effect- “Yes we see your arguments but no we don’t think it was genocide because we know what the Armenian Revolutionaries did to the Turks before 1915 and we’re not going to allow you to collect such a generous grant while you are hurling such unfounded insults in our face". Clearly the position required the upholding of certain standards of Academic Integrity. However, I should mention that I have yet to see a statement from Quaetaert saying that he himself is protesting his departure.

Partial list of non-Turkish Historians who reject the “genocide” label: 1. William Batkay, 2. Roderic Davidson, 3. Edward J. Erickson, 4. David Fromkin, 5. Edwin A. Grosvenor, 6. Michael Gunter, 7. J.C. Hurwitz, 8. Eberhard Jäckel , 9. Steven Katz, 10. Avigdor Levy, 11. Bernard Lewis, 12. Guenther Lewy, 13. Heath Lowry, 14. Andrew Mango, 15. Justin McCarthy, 16. Pierre Oberling, 17. Dankwart Rostow, 18. Stanford Shaw, 19. Norman Stone, 20. Gilles Veinstein, 21. Paul Dumont, Professor at Strasbourg-II University, director of the Institut français d’études anatoliennes (French Institute of Anatolian Studies, Istanbul);, 22. Gwynne Dyer, Ph.D. in Ottoman military history;, 23. Robert Mantran (RIP), former Professor of Turkish and Ottoman history at Aix-Marseille University;, 24. Jeremy Salt, Professor of political science at Melbourne University.
P. Connolly, July 3, 2008

Could your accusations be any more vague and baseless? There hasn’t been an Armenian terrorist act since the early 80s (25 years ago). On what information are we to believe that the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide, and virtually every Holocaust and Genocide scholar in the world were threatened into acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and writing about it? You have ventured into the territory of racism and paranoia by trying to convince people that the literally hundreds of non-Armenian academics who say it was a Genocide are only saying it because Armenians have somehow threatened their lives.

Just look at yourself: you’re reaching into acts that were committed over 25 years ago and ignoring the state-sponsored terrorism that Turkey engages in today. Does Hrant Dink ring a bell? How about Rakip Zaragoglu, who was just sentenced to prison in Turkey for the heinous crime of publishing a book about the Armenian Genocide?

Besides all of that, you start your argument by alleging that the article misstates several facts. Yet you fail to provide even one shred of evidence to support your assertion. Instead you make ad hominem attacks directed generally at all historians who acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Thus, not only is your point offensive, but the sloppiness and laziness of your work is offensive.
Phantom, July 3, 2008

Turkey itself is anti-academia
It comes as no surprise that the Turkish government corrupts academia in the U.S through organizations such as the ITS, given that the same government places many limits on academia in Turkey as regards research, free speech, and publishing. You say the wrong thing, people in the government will imprison or shoot you.

One example of many: Publisher Ragip Zarakoglu who has been sentenced to jail yet again.

Then there are laws like Article 301 and several other similar law which Turkey uses to intimidate its citizens and stifle speech and discussion.

Such examples, and many more, prove that the Turkish government is totally insincere about academic freedom and freedom of speech. ITS is corrupt by its very association with the Turkish government. The fact that an American, such as Quataert, can be ordered in to the Turkish ambassador’s office for a spanking says it all. What next, bastinado?
Armand, July 3, 2008

Genocide is an internationally defined crime that has no expiry date. So far, only Germany admitted existence of a state designed genocide. Obviously, Germany’s unique position stemmed from her unconditional surrender as a state in 1945. As far as I am aware, the Western/European countries committed numerous genocides on various ethnicities, and yet have not officially admitted existence of any genocide even though there the toll could amount hundreds of millions of civilians.

Belgian Congo Genocide is a good example of such hypocrisies existing in overall consciousness of the Western societies. Although Brussels is the capital of the EU, and although the Belgian policies resulted in a toll ranging between 5-20 million civilians, no Western/European entity questions Belgium or tries to pass resolution on the genocide of Congolese peoples. There are vast number of examples on Australia, Canada, USA, Argentine, France, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Italy, Spain and so on.

I am a Circassian whose forefathers emigrated from Caucasus to the Ottoman Turkey as of 1860s. The forced emigration of the Circassians was due to the Russian policy based upon achieving conquests with the help of “genocide, massacre and deportation". Even today, most nations have problems with the Armenians and the Russians in Caucasus, coincidence? not really. Although Russia, Armenia and other European/Western societies conduct academic research on “genocide of the Armenians", those do almost nothing about the genocide of the Circassian, Abazin, Ubykh, Chechen, Ingush, Kabardey, Karachay, Kurdish, Balkar, Kumyk, Meshkethian, Laz, Hemshin (Muslim Armenians), Nogay, Crimean Tatar peoples.
If this is not muzzling, then what is muzzling really?
Circassian, July 4, 2008

Canada? Genocide? While there was some limited conflict, I don’t know if at any time in history there was a deliberate effort to kill any group. In one of the largest conflicts, the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, about 100 people were killed, maybe half of them soldiers. A few leaders were excuted for treason or murder and that was it. Disease certainly killed a lot of the native population but it killed a lot more Europeans. The one case of Canadian genocide of which I know is the eradication of the Hurons by the Iroquois in the mid 17th century but there was no European involvement.

By Canadian definition maybe you include sending native kids to school and forcing them to learn English as genocide. Then we’re guilty as charged.
Dennis Ruhl, July 4, 2008

Turkey Muzzling...
Dear Imogene and some others. I am not any more surprised by the semantic or argumentative contorsions of some turkish writers about G-1915. I guess if they ever discover that one grand mother is armenian, they would change 100% of their point of view. Guiltiness, a Judeo-Xtian sensitivity... You can read in French or in Turkish : very impressive sociological analysis. Ahmet Altan! What a smart man. http://www.france-armenie.net/spip.php?article100
Repairs1915, G-Denial, a sociological issue, July 5, 2008

Turkey Muzzling
To Connloy (or any turkish civil servant)!
Your “partial list” account 24 names? You should say “exhaustive"! Have you ever tried to established the opposite list (beginning with Rafael Lemkin)?..240 ? More?..

Do you seriously believe that the G-1915’s recognition by 42 states of North-America, by the (!)German Bundestag(!) (2005), the Human Right UN-Wittaker subcommission (1987) the Wales parliament, the Scotland cities, Argentina, Paragay and next to come UK etc, etc... are matter of fantasy?

24 people who involved themselves in a wrong way for miscellaneous raisons (financial, promotional, geostrategical solidarity...).Pr. Weinstein is (unofficialy) empeached for lecture at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He was hardly elected with 51/49 at the College de France, due to his denial attitude....
Repairs1915, The list of Connoly, July 5, 2008

To clarify my earlier comment about Canada, I was not denying that any genocide happened. As a student of history, I simply have never heard such accusations.

Canada essentially imprisoned its Japanese population during WWII and recently provided an apology and a gratuitous payment of $50,000 each. Canada charged a head-tax of $500 each on Chinese immigrants until the middle of the 20th century and recently apologized and provided a gratuitous payment of $25,000 each. Canada has recently apologized for the treatment of native children in residential schools and have reached substantial financial settlements with most of them depending on degree of mistreatment. In all cases I believe financial payments were made only to surviving victims.

If any country is looking to come to terms with errors of the past, I think Canada has much to show the world.

Circassian does have a point about the killing of large numbers of minorities in Russia. Ukrainians complain that 8 to 12 million were killed by the Russians. As many as 1 million Russians of German ancestry were killed by starvation, forced labour, or deportation to Siberia. You can add Russia to the list of countries that need to reconcile their past using more contemporary morality.
Dennis Ruhl, July 5, 2008



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