2521) Leader in Georgetown-Based Agency Encouraged Scholars to Research Mass Killing of Armenians

Board Members Resign to Protest Chair's Ousting

The issue that has roiled U.S.-Turkish relations in recent months -- how to characterize the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 -- has set off a
. . dispute over politics and academic freedom at an institute housed at Georgetown University.

Several board members of the Institute of Turkish Studies have resigned this summer, protesting the ouster of a board chairman who wrote that scholars should research, rather than avoid, what he characterized as an Armenian genocide.

Within weeks of writing about the matter in late 2006, Binghamton University professor Donald Quataert resigned from the board of governors, saying the Turkish ambassador to the United States told him he had angered some political leaders in Ankara and that they had threatened to revoke the institute's funding.

After a prominent association of Middle Eastern scholars learned about it, they wrote a letter in May to the institute, the Turkish prime minister and other leaders asking that Quataert be reinstated and money for the institute be put in an irrevocable trust to avoid political influence.

The ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Nabi Sensoy, denied that he had any role in Quataert's resignation. In a written statement, he said that claims that he urged Quataert to leave are unfounded and misleading.

The dispute shows the tensions between money and scholarship, and the impact language can have on historical understanding.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed when the Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War I. Armenians and Turks bitterly disagree over whether it was a campaign of genocide, or a civil war in which many Turks were also killed.

In the fall, when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) championed a bill that would characterize the events of 1915 to 1917 as genocide, the Bush administration fought it and several former defense secretaries warned that Turkish leaders would limit U.S. access to a military base needed for the war in Iraq.

The Turkish studies institute, founded in 1983, is independent from Georgetown University, but Executive Director David Cuthell teaches a course there in exchange for space on campus.

Julie Green Bataille, a university spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail, "we will review this matter consistent with the importance of academic freedom and the fact that the institute is independently funded and governed."

The institute's funding, a $3 million grant, is entirely from Turkey.

A few years ago, Quataert said, members of the board checked on what they thought was an irrevocable blind trust "and to our surprise it turned out to be a gift that could be revoked by the Turkish government."

Quataert, a professor of history, said the institute has funded good scholarship without political influence. The selection of which studies to support is done by a committee of academics on the associate board, he said, and approved by the board, which includes business and political leaders. Never once, he said, did he think a grant application was judged on anything other than its academic merits.

He also noted that during his time there, no one applied for grants that would have been controversial in Turkey. Asked if any of the research characterized the events as genocide, Cuthell said, "My gut is no. It's that third rail."

Roger Smith, professor emeritus of government at the College of William and Mary, questioned whether the nonprofit institute deserves its tax-exempt status if there is political influence -- and whether it is an undeclared lobbying arm for the Turkish government.

Cuthell said none of the institute's critics ever bothered to check the truth of Quataert's account with the institute: It does not lobby, Cuthell said, and "the allegations of academic freedom simply don't hold up."

The controversy began quietly in late 2006 with a review of historian Donald Bloxham's book, "The Great Game of Genocide." Quataert wrote that the slaughter of Armenians has been the elephant in the room of Ottoman studies. Despite his belief that the term "genocide" had become a distraction, he said the events met the United Nations definition of the word.

He sent a letter of resignation to members of the institute in December 2006, and one board member resigned.

But in the fall, around the same time that Congress was debating the Armenian question, Quataert was asked to speak at a conference about what had happened at the institute. He told members of the Middle Eastern Studies Association that the ambassador told him he must issue a retraction of his book review or step down -- or put funding for the institute in jeopardy.

His colleagues were shocked, said Laurie Brand, director of the school of international relations at the University of Southern California.

Ambassador Sensoy, who is honorary chairman of the institute's board, said in a statement this week, "Neither the Turkish Government nor I have ever placed any pressure upon the ITS, for such interference would have violated the principle of the academic freedom, which we uphold the most. The Turkish Government and I will be the first to defend ITS from any such pressure."

Since the May 27 letter from the scholars association was sent, several associate and full members of the board have left. Marcie Patton, Resat Kasaba and Kemal Silay resigned; Fatma Muge Gocek said she would resign, and Birol Yesilada said his primary reason for stepping down at this time is his health, but that he is concerned about the conflicting accounts of what had happened. "It's a very difficult line that scholars walk," Patton said, "especially post-9/11, especially because of the Iraq war."

Your Comments ...
zicli wrote:
I agree with that the international community should leave the issue to Armenia and Turkey to resolve. But, if the international community claims right to be involved in this conflict, it should not forget that it has to evaluate the issue from more than one perspective:

In summary, the Armenians claim passionately that Turks committed a genocide which is the greatest crime of the world and requires strong evidences and court decision. But it can not be understood why they severely avoid of admitting to international courts and also avoid of bringing their evidences before historical commissions made up of Armenian, Turkish historians and historians from third countries. They also claim that anybody who opposes their genocide claims are the spokesmen/agents of the Turkish government and they really want to believe that the Turkish people are not allowed to speak about their thesis, but if they are let they will accept that their ancestors were criminals of genocide. However, we the Turks also heard stories and memories from our grandparents about the terrible and unbelievable massacres the Armenians displayed upon Turks and know very well that most of the evidences the Armenians present are forgeries.

Now, being in accordance with the aforementioned Armenian strategy, they obviously present the doubtful quit of a scholar from a Turkish Institute as an intervention applied by the Turkish government to academic freedom and freedom of speech.

I wonder how Fatma Müge Göçek, a Turkish origined scholar, who supports the Armenian thesis has been working in the same Institute as a board member (www.turkishstudies.org/about.html); how she could give conferences supporting the Armenian views up till now. She is the second Turkish origined academician the Armenians approve after Taner Akçam www.armeniangenocide.com/showthread.php?t=2471 www.eraren.org/index.php?Lisan=tr&Page=Makaleler&MakaleNo=3008
The Turkish government should have applied the real pressure over her and should not have let her talk in conferences held by the Armenians, if its intention were to support only people who supports it. Now, why is the subject not Göçek but Quataert? Does anybody care about it?

And as a contradiction, Kemal Silay, who is one of the members who resigned is known as a scholar to support the Turkish thesis (www.cnnturk.com/DUNYA/haber_detay.asp?PID=319&haberID=425035).

Additionally, could anybody tell me, if Armenian thesis were banned in Turkey and if Turkey silences historians or academicians who support the Armenian thesis, then how could the Armenian historian Ara Sarafyan who is the general director of Gomitas Institute in London, give a conference on the thesis of Armenian genocide in I.stanbul and discuss them with the Turkish citizens? www.turkishdailynews.co4m.tr/article.php?enewsid=102831, www.ercis.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=875, www.milliyet.com.tr/default.aspx?aType=HaberDetay&Kategori=siyaset&ArticleID=520804&Date=25.04.2008

And the historians who are known to support the Armenian thesis who were invited to XI. Turkish History Congresses to talk about the Armenian thesis did not even give any reply to these invitations. Here are examples: Garin Zedlian, Prof. Dr. Anthony BRYER, Prof. Dr. M.MARMURA, Prof. Dr. Allan CUNNIGHAM, Prof. Dr. Wolf Dietrich HUTTEROTH, Prof. Dr. Jean-Paul ROUX, Prof. Dr. Richard HOVANNISIAN, Dr. Gerard LIBARDIAN, Prof. Dr. Vahakn DADRIAN, Tessa HOFFMAN, (genocide.blogcu.com/1481695/)

As a most important point, Turkish historians, Turkish prime minister and Turkish Assembly several times suggested Armenia to discuss these events together with historians from both sides and historians from other countries. Everybody in Turkey knows very well that those who advocate the Armenian thesis most passionately are the Armenians themselves.
Could anybody tell me again if Turkey is muzzling scholars who support Armenian thesis, then why did Turkish prime minister and Turkish Assembly several times call on Armenia to discuss these events with whoever they choose?

avsharoglu wrote:
I see Phantom and StandforTruth in every article relating to Armenian so called geno-.

Are you guys using the office computer or is it your full time job to leave comments on blogs regarding Turkey and Turks? Who pays you to insult the good citiens who defend world peace?

avsharoglu wrote:
I do not know about other blogs but in this blog, Armenian propagandists are atatcking the persona of those who do not buy their false stories. For instance look at Phantom; instead of giving reason or explanation or any hard evidence why the Armenian suffering circa World War One should be called geno- while the suffering of Turks due to the invasion of France, Britain and Russia is not mentioned. Could it be because they are Muslim?

Is invading Muslim land a teaching of the Gospel? Do you think you are winning brownie points by wiping out Muslim land and spewing venom at those people?

Is being the first Christian State allowing you to rain havoc in Anatolia? With that token should Iran be allowed to attack non-Muslims states around it - you know it is a Muslim state.

Bring on the CRUSADES!..

phantom1 wrote:
So Tupac,

We should just simply ignore the first Genocide of the 20th century simply because the descendants of the perpetrators can't handle the truth? The whole world is supposed to turn a blind eye and ignore what happened, because Muslim Turks are too sensitive to want to talk about it? Are you kidding me! That's not how America rolls buddy, and if you don't like it, move to Sweden! There you can be as neutral and passive as you want while you watch Genocides unfold from the comfort of your IKEA desk.

phantom1 wrote:
I love how every time there is an article anywhere relating to the Armenian Genocide, Van der Galien and his minnie me, P Connolly, crawl out of their cripts and spew their boring and racist rhetoric. These Genocide Denying liars are no friends of the truth. Galien, for example, has a blog full of distortions and lies regarding the Armenian Genocide. But if you go there to argue against his fabrications, don't expect your comments to be posted; they'll simply get deleted. Without censorship, he has no confidence in his position.

And why is a Dutch student hell-bent on denying a Genocide that has been confirmed by virtually all scholars and academics who study Holocaust and Genocide? You may want to ask his Turkish fiancee!

avsharoglu wrote:
You all must have heard of Dennis Papazian's call to report if Wilmar Keizer says things like the Turks had a right to defend themselves upon the Van rebellion. Why is there no mention of Armenian bosses forcing academicians to teach one-sided history? YOU ARE BIASED!

avsharoglu wrote:
While the unproven Armenian allegations are taken at face value with no proof, Turkish Government is denied their right of self defence. Negative bias is evident.

Kafesjian Family funds the self appointed "genocide scholars", Dennis Papazian decides who should be hired and fired from this position and yet no where do we see an explanation for this behaviour. Instead Armenians blame their opponents for the faul methods they themselves are guilty of using.

The same happened in 1880-1914. Armenian Revolutionaries tried to claim a land where they were the minority. They smuggled arms from Russia, organized armed bandits to kill the Muslim inhabitants. Why do they not mention the people they killed? Do Muslim folk not count? Are we all suppose to be biased like they are?

When the Muslims retaliate they are given savage names. Should the Muslims not defend themselves? Another bias.

Turkish Government has every right to defend their people's interests. You cannot paint over historical truth with forgeries. No matter how hard the Armenian propaganda machine spins, TRUTH has a way of coming up.

Respectable historians who do not fall for the Armenian led campaign are showing credible evidence, but the self appointed "genocide scholars" are fabricating theories stemming from 21st Century social behaviour when they are not fabricating false documents. Why should I believe that Armenians were innocent victims and Turks were guilty?

First of all, the numbers quoted are wrong. When census figures consistently show the total number of Armenians living in Anatolia was less than 1.3 million, how can 1.5 million Armenians be killed? Ellis ISland records show tens of thousands of them arrived in the US. The American Counsil in Aleppo wrote to Ambassador Morgenthau that 550,000 Armenians arrived there safely. We know 300,000 of them crossed the Caucasus to teh Russian side accompanied by the volunteer Armenian "bandits" according to teh Turks and "revolutionaries" according to Armenians.

Armenian leader Garekin Pastermadjean boasts in his booklet published in Boston in 1918 that 160,000 armed Armenian volunteers fought on the side of teh Russians against the Turks. Anyone good at math, can figure out the gross exaggeration.

In fact, Boghos Nubar, the head of the Armenian delegation at the end of World War I claimed less than 300,000 Armenians are unaccounted for. How many million Turkish civilians were killed at the same location in the same time frame? Diseases were rampant. The land was not ploughed for 10 years consecutively due to wars. All men were called on duty to defend their land. Women could do so much. Hunger ravaged Muslims and Christian alike.

The "revolutionaries" should be held accountable for starting the war. Because of them, millions of Muslims and Christians were killed.

Any war sounds like a genocide if the dead of only one side is counted. Armenians are discounting the research opposing their desired end result but elevating someone who speaks with their biased gut feeling. Where is fairness?

P_Connolly wrote:
Armenian Propagandists - in their desparation over their inabity to acheive their aims by appealing to historical facts have devised a veritable Lexicon of "Genocide Denial" complete with phrases like "Delialism", "David Irving", "Innocent Deniers" and many others that you'll see if they keep posting here like they have been. When history doesn't work ...why not resort to Psychology? ...and out comes the Genocide "Scholars". It's magic: just like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

Heath Lowry isn't a "Genocide Denier"; he's an accomplished historian who has demonstrated that one of the favorite "sources" that Armenian Propagandists rely on is a forgery ...a deliberate distortion of historical fact. See:

So the Armenian Propagandists hate him with a passion and he became the object of a powerful Armenian campaign to discredit him as an historian. This is what these Armenians do to any historian who opposes them!! The home of Historian Stanford Shaw was bombed by an Armenian in the 80's because he dared to speak against their lies! These are the people who claim to be standing up for the truth!!

They cannot refute the arguments of these historians so they accuse them of being paid by the Turkish Government!! These people are hate-filled liars! World War I has not ended for them and they seek to bring their unquenched deep-seated ethnic hatred to our shores!

These statements are not directed against all Armenians. The Armenian Community has a problem element in its midst which needs to be dealt with.


standupfortruth wrote:
Sadly, distortion of facts and misinformation are the staples of genocide denial -- whether it is the Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, or today's genocide in Darfur.

For the psychological reasons behind this perverse practice, read noted Holocaust and Genocide scholar, Dr. Israel Charney's, "The Psychological Satisfaction of Denials of the Holocaust or Other Genocides by Non-Extremists or Bigots, and Even by Known Scholars" at

To learn more about the International Association of Genocide Scholars, their efforts to shed light on previous genocides and to help prevent future ones, visit: genocidescholars.org/home.html

For more information on the Institute to Turkish Studies, Heath Lowry and Turkey's multi-million dollar genocide denial machine, read Drs. Lifton, Markusen and Smith's "Professional Ethics and the Denial of Armenian Genocide"

As we struggle to eradicate genocides present, perhaps focus on genocide denial will help prevent future crimes against humanity.

ZTruth wrote:
Bravo Michael Vander Galien, the student from the Netherlands! He has indeed become a successful student and has mastered all the talking point documents of the Turkish government and their Armenian Genocide denial machine. Mr. Erdogan, send that man a bonus check.

All the "academics" he refers to in his post: Norman Stone, Heath Lowry, Guenter Lewy, Erick J. Erickson, Andrew Mango, Bernard Lewis, Justin McCarty and Heathy Lowry all form the Turkish government's inner circle and advisory board on the academic front of Turkey's lobbying machine.

Turkey continues to ban freedom of speech in their country via Article 301 of their penal code that makes it illegal to speak about the Armenian Genocide, or even mention those two words. In the last two weeks they prosecuted yet another author, Ragip Zarakolu, for writing those words.

So before Turkey, or any of their paid hacks, can comment about the discussion of the issue in the United States, they need to first look inward. The reality is that Turkey is trying to export their Penal Code 301 to the United States and that's something we Americans are not going to stand for.


MichaelvanderGalien wrote:
"Interesting article, though Kinzie does a disservice to readers by misrepresenting the facts of the Armenian Genocide.

"The International Association of Genocide Scholars has unanimously cited the Ottoman Turkish Government's centrally planned and systematically executed campaign to eradicate the Armenian people as genocide."

These people are activists posing as scholars. There's literally no true scholar who takes these people and this organization seriously. They don't know what they are talking about, they are not experts in history, etc.

Additionally, you can repeat that the government planned this extermination but there's absolutely no proof to back your case up. That's why you and other Armenian activists have never brought the case to court.

The only time it went to court was after the first world war; the Brits tried to get rid of the Ottomans they held responsible for the massacres. Only problem? They concluded they had no evidence to back up the claim that it was centrally planned.

The denial of the "Armenian Genocide stems from a multimillion dollar denial campaign by the Turkish Government, of which, the Institute for Turkish Studies is just one example."

That's the most retarded comment of all. Completely despicable, and part of Armenians' attempt to portray anyone who disagrees with them as 'paid for by the Turkish government.' Perhaps it's interesting in this regard to take a look at who and what Armenian organizations and individuals sponsor? Perhaps we should look at some of the financial records of those so-called 'genocide scholars'?

More importantly, though, is the fact that about half of historians (with expertise Ottoman Empire / Turkey) disagree with the term genocide. And the ones who disagree are weightier. Norman Stone, Heath Lowry, Guenter Lewy, Erick J. Erickson, Andrew Mango, BERNARD LEWIS, Justin McCarty and many, many others all disagree. These are the foremost experts when it comes to Turkey's history.

"Turkish government manipulation of the ITS is nothing new. The Southern Policy Law Center recently published an indepth account, noting that former ITS leader Heath Lowry was outed as a schill for the Turkish government as early as 1990."

lol with that this dear commenter means that this is a highly qualified professor of history, who actually knows what he is and was talking about. Just because people disagree with the Armenian propaganda doesn't mean that they are 'shills' for any government.

Additionally, Lowry is one of those who proved that the famous Ambassador Morgenthau's Story was just that; a story. Made up by his two Armenian secretaries and an American journalist who had to spice the story up a bit.

Lastly, something on the issue of the so-called genocide and the coverage in the media; although this specific article is reasonably fair, it has to be pointed out that most articles are not. Why is it that the media are never talking about the atrocities committed by Armenians and their allies (especially the Russians, but also the French) against Ottoman Muslims? Note that these atrocities took place befóre the relocations (they were the cause for the relocations of course). Any honest newspaper and journalist would and should pay attention to this side of the story. This has been well documented by Justin McCarthy and many other historians; the Turks suffered much more than most peoples during World War I. Armenians started killing Muslims on a massive scale, all because they wanted to create a nation-state of their own. They could only accomplish this by ethnic cleansing, because they formed the minority everywhere they lived.At most 30% in a region and 20%, most often less than even that (as documented in several works, among others "The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire").

Perhaps 'journalists' - and I'm using this word rather loosely in this context - should pay some attention to this?

standupfortruth wrote:
Interesting article, though Kinzie does a disservice to readers by misrepresenting the facts of the Armenian Genocide.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars has unanimously cited the Ottoman Turkish Government's centrally planned and systematically executed campaign to eradicate the Armenian people as genocide.

The denial of the Armenian Genocide stems from a multimillion dollar denial campaign by the Turkish Government, of which, the Institute for Turkish Studies is just one example.

Turkish government manipulation of the ITS is nothing new. The Southern Policy Law Center recently published an indepth account, noting that former ITS leader Heath Lowry was outed as a schill for the Turkish government as early as 1990.

Read the Southern Policy Law Center's report at: www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=935

P_Connolly wrote:
Informative article and good reporting! The Turkish government should be given a fair chance to speak and defend themselves from false and misleading accusations in this matter. Similarly Dr. Quataert should be given a fair chance to speak if he wishes to do so. Opportunistic third parties with ill-concealed propagandistic motives should not be allowed to turn this into a means of broadening their slander campaign against the Turkish Government and people!

MichaelvanderGalien wrote:
What's most interesting about this entire affair is that Quataert's 'it's genocide' conversion is a little bit odd, to say the least. It came to him as a 'revelation,' he says. Nothing scholarly or academical about it. In science, there is no room for 'revelations.' He saw the same old evidence, the same old books, the same old articles, the same old diaries, but suddenly changed his position dramatically. That's absolutely ridiculous from a scholarly perspective.

Respected scholars of history have complained that his change appears sudden, and that they don't quite understand it.

This man is, I'm sad to say, deteriorating. He's getting older but, unlike wine, not getting better.

The tone in this article towards the turkish government is, it has to be said, fairer than most articles printed in, obviously, liberal newspapers and websites.

ZTruth wrote:
Susan Kinzie does a disservice to this issue in her coverage by going out of her way to be as kind and gentle to the Turkish government as possible.

First, even the least bit of research would indicate that the number of Armenians killed during the Genocide of 1915 is 1.5 million and not "hundreds of thousands" as she wrote. Her paragraph that hundreds of thousands were killed was straight off of Turkish propaganda talking points. Don't believe Turkish or Armenian sources, but do go and check out the position of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and you will see that they do confirm that this was a genocide.

The Institute of Turkish Studies was established in 1982 to counter the overwhelming historical evidence on the Armenian Genocide and to begin exporting the Turkish government's campaign to rewrite history and denial to the U.S. Shame on Georgetown University for whoring themselves out to a foreign government for all these years and being a part of holocaust denial. They have discredited their institution by taking part in the Turkish government's efforts.

If you look at some of the major figures on the board of ITS, it is full of known genocide deniers such as Stanford Shaw, Justin McCarthy, Heath Lowry and Bernarnd Lewis to name a few. These men are Turkish lobbyists disguised in academic clothing and bring shame upon the academic community.

The latest revelations on the true nature of the ITS and the Turkish ambassadors actions are yet another example of Turkey's efforts to impose a gag rule on freedom of speech in this country when it comes to discussing the Armenian Genocide. When Americans sell themselves to this sort of influence from Turkey they are in essence working against American interests and our values as a country.

Tupac_Goldstein wrote:
Is it truly necessary for the United States of America to butt in on every issue under the sun? I can understand Pelosi -- millions of Armenians live in California and she is simply a mouthpiece, but what about everyone else? How about we leave this one to the Turks and the Armenians? 1915.
© 2008 The Washington Post Company
By Susan Kinzie, Washington Post Staff Writer, July 5, 2008; B05


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