This officially makes Akcam a paid Armenian agent.
Perhaps due to expose, pressure, and/or their fears of repercussions, Akcam was quickly “whisked” to another university (Clark University near Boston) where the payments now may come directly from the employer, CU, not the real financiers, the Armenian lobby . .
University of Minnesota
Office of the General Counsel, Minneapolis, MN 55455, January 17, 2008
Dear Mr. Kirlikovali:
University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks asked me to respond to your December 13, 2007, e-mail regarding Dr. Taner Akcam. Dr. Akcam is currently employed by the University as a Research Associate in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Department of History. This is an annually renewable, Professional & Administrative ("P&A") position. As noted in your e-mail, Dr. Akcam was previously employed as a Visiting Professor
In your e-mail, you asked whether Dr. Akcam's status as a Visiting Professor violated University policy. Faculty classifications are governed by the University's Tenure Code. I have reviewed Dr. Taner's history as a Visiting Professor at the University and find no violation of the Tenure Code. As noted above, Dr. Taner is currently employed as a P&A Research Associate.
In your e-mail, you asked whether Dr. Akcam's position is funded, in whole or in part, by an Armenian foundation. The College of Liberal Arts receives outside funding from a variety of sources, including Armenian groups. The College also receives funding from the Turkish government and the Institute of Turkish Studies. It is my understanding that Dr. Taner's current position is funded in large part by the Zoryan Institute, and the Cafesjian Family Foundation. The University has many endowed chairs and other positions that are sponsored by outside individuals and organizations. I find nothing unusual or inappropriate regarding the funding for Dr. Akcam's position.
In your e-mail, you expressed concern regarding Dr. Akcam's scholarly work concerning the Armenian genocide. Clearly, the Armenian genocide is a controversial issue with strong proponents on all sides. The University respects your views on the issue. The University also respects the views held by Dr. Akcam and other members of the University community. Under principles of academic freedom, members of the University community enjoy broad freedom to pursue their scholarly work free from interference by the University administration. Assessments of the importance, merit, and/or validity of particular scholarly works are left largely to the academic community. As I indicated in my August 31, 2007, letter to Erkin Baker, the ability to explore and discuss controversial issues in a reasoned, scholarly manner is one of the things that make the University community a rich and vibrant place.
Finally, you expressed concern in your e-mail regarding Dr. Akcam's background and qualifications. The University is aware of the various allegations regarding Dr. Akcam. In connection with his hire, the University conducted a thorough review of Prof. Akcam's background, academic credentials, and his eligibility to work in the United States. The University found no basis to deny Dr. Akcam employment.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us .
Very truly yours,
Brent P. Benrud,
Associate General Counsel
cc: Robert Bruininks
December 13, 2007
Robert H. Bruininks,
President, University of Minnesota
bruin001 at umn.edu
Brent P Benrud: benr0001 at umn.edu
James A Parente Jr: paren001 at umn.edu
Eric D Weitz: weitz004 at umn.edu
1) Erkin Baker’s letter to President Bruininks dated 8/6/2007
2) Counsel Brent P. Benrud’s response on Pres. Burinink’s behalf to Erkin Baker dated 8/31/2007
3) College of Liberal Arts Interim Dean James A. Parente, Jr’s response on Pres. Burinink’s behalf to Erkin Baker (with copy to Professor Eric D. Weitz, Chair, Dept. of History) dated 9/19/2007.
4) Erkin Baker’s response to Liberal Arts Interim Dean James A. Parente dated 10/19/2007
Dear President Bruininks:
I am indebted to Erkin Baker for sharing with me her correspondence with you and responses on your behalf she received from Counsel Benrud and Dean Parente Jr. (latter with a copy to Chair Weitz.) I would like to present my views. Please allow me to organize my thoughts under the following headings:
1- “CHECKERED PAST” OF DR. TANER AKCAM
I am aware Dr. Akcam receives his share of praise, but this must be observed in the context of political correctness and prejudice. The area of genocide scholarship has become powerful, and not many are willing to question their claims, for fear of being intimidated and labeled as Holocaust deniers .
In addition, there exists an age-old prejudice against Turks, making the claims of Dr. Akcam all the more acceptable, by people unwilling to study the issues objectively. Dr. Akcam has certainly not proven that there was a genocide conducted against Armenians, nor has anyone else; many legitimate historians disagree with this conclusion, as the evidence for genocide rests upon hearsay and forgeries. Even a few scholars have faulted Vahakn Dadrian, the mentor of Dr. Akcam, with distortions questioning his scholarly ethics. More importantly, since Dr. Akcam's research seems to contain too many similar manipulations, is it a recycling of Dadrian's work?
While Dr. Akcam may have a rudimentary knowledge of Ottoman language, a rich and complex amalgam of Turkish, Arabic, and Persian, steeped in Islamic religion and age old customs, Vahakn Dadrian does not seem to have even that much. In any case, neither gentlemen’s ability to accurately handle the Ottoman language and interpret the intricacies contained in the Ottoman documents can be claimed to satisfy the academic standards meticulously observed by Turkish experts in Ottoman language and history. This lack of mastership of Ottoman language may help explain, but not excuse, Dr. Akcam’s misinterpretations of Ataturk’s words in his last book (see the reference below.) This may also explain why Vahakn Dadrian has not been seen pouring over the Ottoman archives in Turkey, while researchers from 80 countries have. Yet, these obvious deficiencies somehow do not seem to stop neither gentlemen from making outrageous and unsubstantiated accusations against the Ottoman Empire, as well as Ataturk and Turkey. One would surely expect higher standards of scholarship from “genocide scholars”.
If the Armenian genocide claim is a politicized one, equating Turks with Nazis leads to further prejudice and hatred against Turkish people. If the University of Minnesota supports highly selective source materials, akin to Ku Klux Klan literature attempting to present a portrayal of blacks and Jews, that is a matter all honorable people need to be concerned about.
Counsel Benrud has written that "…the University conducted a thorough review of Prof. Akcam's academic credentials, and his eligibility...", but I am wondering about the thoroughness of this review.
My understanding is that a visiting professor needs to have a home university to be visiting from, lasting on average a relatively short duration, no more than a few years, after which the professor is expected to return to his home university. It does not seem like he was ever part of a university's faculty, before arriving in the United States from Germany. Does Dr. Akcam have a home university to return to?
Furthermore, it looks as though Taner Akcam was groomed by Armenian activists; his Ph.D. was co-approved by Vahakn Dadrian (as well as one other person, a cooperative genocide scholar), who was not affiliated with any university at the time. This is troubling on several levels. For one, it brings to mind many questions - if Akcam's books serve as examples: Was the thrust of his Ph.D. unoriginal? Was it relying heavily on the work of Dadrian himself?
Dr. Akcam was brought into the United States through the University of Michigan's Armenian Research Center, and appears to have lost his job there, probably after this university was made aware of its "visiting professor" rules being violated. Dr. Akcam was called a "visiting scholar" when he first arrived, and it is very curious as to how his title was changed to "professor." In Germany, one doctorate is not sufficient to earn the professor's title. It seems fair, therefore, to ask the following questions:
Is Dr. Akcam's position being subsidized by an Armenian foundation directly or indirectly?
If this is the case, is there not a conflict of interest involved, endangering the credibility of the University of Minnesota?
Are the "visiting professor" rules of the University of Minnesota being violated now by Dr. Akcam’s status, credentials, record, and/or qualifications?
Does the American public have a right to know if the University of Minnesota’s rules are being violated?
Furthermore, Dr. Akcam admitted in a Turkish newspaper interview (Milliyet, January 11, 2002) that he had collaborated with the PKK in the early 1980s, designated as a terrorist organization by our own government in Washington D.C., by Europe, and by The Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel (www.ict.org.il ) PKK is responsible for deaths over ten times the toll of 9/11. Taner Akcam was involved with other violent organizations in Turkey during the 1970s as well, including one with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Abdullah Ocalan, who is in a maximum security island-prison in Turkey since his capture with U.S. help in 1999, responded to Dr. Akcam's interview in the January 19, 2002 edition of Ozgur Politika, an organ of the PKK, where the terrorist leader claimed that Taner Akcam had "…caused heavy casualties..."
"…The ability to explore and discuss such issues in a reasoned, scholarly manner…",as Counsel Benrud has written, is to be encouraged, but to provide an outlet for vicious propaganda by biased scholars with dubious research, spreading racism and hatred, is another matter entirely.
2- GENOCIDE ALLEGATIONS
While some amongst us may be forgiven for taking the blatant and ceaseless Armenian propaganda at face value and believing Armenian falsifications merely because they are repeated so often, it is difficult and painful for someone like me, the son of Turkish survivors on both maternal and paternal sides, of yet untold, unfairly dismissed, or prejudicially ignored massacres of Turks during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 (which preceded the World War I of 1914-18 and the Turkish Independence War of 1919-1922.) These seemingly endless “War years” of 1912-1922 brought wide-spread death and destruction to Ottoman Muslims as well as others. Those nameless, faceless victims are killed for a second time today with politically motivated and baseless charges of Armenian genocide.
Allegations of Armenian genocide are racist and dishonest history. They are racist because they ignore the Turkish dead: about 3 million during WWI; around half a million of them at the hands of Armenian nationalists. By ignoring the suffering of one side completely, any war, including the American civil war, may be made to look like a genocide.
And the allegations of Armenian genocide are dishonest because they simply dismiss “The Six T’s of the Turkish-Armenian conflict”:
1) Tumult (as in Armenian armed uprisings)
2) Terrorism (by Armenian nationalists and militias)
3) Treason (Armenians joining the invading enemy armies)
4) Territorial demands (where Armenians were a minority, not a majority)
5) Turkish suffering and losses (i.e. those caused by the Armenian nationalists) .
6) Tereset (temporary resettlement) triggered by the first five T’s above and amply documented as such; not to be equated to the Armenian misrepresentations as genocide.)
Armenians, thus, effectively put an end to their millennium of relatively peaceful and harmonious co-habitation in Anatolia with Muslims by killing their Muslim/Turkish neighbors and openly joining the invading enemy. Turks were only defending their home like any citizen anywhere would do.
- DOUBLE STANDARDS
It may be said that hundreds of thousands of innocent Hiroshima and Nagasaki civilians offered none of the harm to America in 1945 that the whole of the Armenian community treacherously performed against the Ottoman Empire, between the late 19th century and 1915. Yet, the Ottomans responded only by Tereset, temporarily resettling some of the Armenians, not all, to other parts of the Empire and only when the last straw broke the camel’s back (i.e. after the bloody Armenian revolt in Van.) Nevertheless, not too many people in America today consider accusing the U.S. of committing genocide with those atomic bombs, although the intent to exterminate the entire population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a matter of uncontested record.
Consider that all this carnage came over and above the wholesale Japanese-American relocation of 1942 which was based on a hunch, a probability of fifth column activities by some Americans merely because of their ethnic origin. President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones", from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, except for those in internment camps. In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion, removal, and detention, arguing that it is permissible to curtail the civil rights of a racial group when there is a "pressing public necessity." During the period of 1939–41, the FBI compiled the Custodial Detention index ("CDI") on citizens, "enemy" aliens and foreign nationals who might be dangerous based principally on census records. Upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Presidential Proclamations 2525 (Japanese), 2526 (German) and 2527 (Italian) were signed. Many homes were raided using information from the CDI, and hundreds of aliens were in custody by the end of the day, including Germans and Italians (although war was not declared on Germany or Italy until December 11).
Contrast the above absolutist American acts against the American citizens and Japanese citizens with the Ottomans’ flexibility and tolerance. The latter did not move the Ottoman-Armenian citizens out of Istanbul, Izmir, Edirne, Aleppo and other places, even after blatant Armenian treason elsewhere, thus separating “probable threat” from “proven threat”.
Consider further that all absolutist American actions mentioned above came decades after the Tereset of 1915. If temporary resettlement was so wrong, then why did the U.S. resort to it and worse? How come no one is charging the U.S. with the crime of genocide? How can anyone honestly explain these double standards in academia?
4- PROMOTE MORE RESEARCH AND DIALOGUE: INVITE THE OPPOSING VIEWS
If you truly believe in freedom of speech, then please don’t silence people like me who disagree with you and/or others in your university on the characterization of the Turkish-Armenian conflict. Not giving responsible opposing ideas a place in genocide panels is a form of censorship and does violate my freedom of speech as an American. Include the other side of the story in your genocide panels. I would be more than happy to participate as a speaker, for example, in one of your future “genocide panels” to offer the benefits of the other side of the story to unsuspecting attendees. You can perhaps convince the organizers to allow the showing of the 45-minute documentary “Armenian Revolt 1894-1920” during such panels. Freedom of speech should be honored by such “solid deeds”, not simply by “hollow words” in clichés.
As a university president, I believe you have a responsibility to ensure that the public is given a fair chance to hear all sides of a controversy and that “partisan accounts” are not promoted as “settled history”. I coined a new term back in 2003, my humble gift to the English language, to describe the stance of the Armenian-funded genocide scholars vis-à-vis the Turkish-Armenian conflict: “ETHOCIDE”, a brief definition of which is “deliberate and systematic extermination of ethics via malicious mass deception for political and other benefits.”
President Bruininks, fairness, objectivity, and truth are all that I ask.
Son of Turkish-survivors from both maternal and paternal sides
(Address and phones...)
Reference: http://ataa.org/reference/pdf/akcam.pdf ; The Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Public Outreach Program, Position Paper No. 1, April 2007, Book Review : A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and theQuestion of Turkish Responsibility, by Taner Akçam. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company, 2006. x + 376 pages. Notes to p.464. Index to p.483. $30.00 (hardback). ISBN 0-8050-7932-7.