3318) Hrant Dink’s “Heirs” Should Be More Coherent

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com
Maxime Gauin
JTW Columnist
22 September 2011

The “friends of Hrant Dink” sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The text, as quoted in the Hürriyet Daily News on September 16, 2011, alleges:

“Our search for justice has been left null and void as [our efforts] approach their fifth year. The state in its entirety that we have petitioned saw itself as being close to the murderer.”

The fact that the assassin, Ogün Samast, was quickly arrested and sentenced to more than 20 years in jail seems irrelevant to the authors of this letter. The still unresolved cases of political assassinations in Turkey and in other countries, including old democracies like France, apparently are not very interesting to them, even as contexts leading to prudence in their wording and level of allegations.

Such an excessive statement could be attributed, by an uninformed observer, to the misleading pain of people who have lost a friend because of a terrorist attack. Unfortunately, in looking more closely, quite a different picture emerges
. .

Preliminary remarks

Hrant Dink was assassinated in İstanbul on January 19, 2007. Despite having been merely the editor-in-chief of a small weekly paper, Agos, representing only a part of Turkey’s Armenian community (the daily Jamanak, for instance, has a different stance), Hrant Dink’s assassination provoked huge reactions and demonstrations in Turkey. The rejection of the murder was unanimous among Turkey’s main political parties and other organizations.

Now, let’s look at what happened in Los Angeles on January 28, 1982. Kemal Arıkan, Consul General of Turkey, was assassinated by Hampig Sassounian and another, unidentified man. The two perpetrators were terrorists of the Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide (JCAG), i.e. the terrorist arm of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnak), the main political party of the Armenian Diaspora which controls numerous cultural and charitable associations all over the world, especially in North America, France, Australia, and the Middle East.

Instead of condemning the assassination, the Armenian community of California expressed unanimous and unconditional support for HampigSassounian. It does not mean, of course, that all the Armenians of California agreed with the murder; but any Armenian who would have publicly reproved this act would had been purely and simply expelled from Armenian American cultural and religious life. As the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) documented for the parole hearing of Mr. Sassounian in 2010, and as I summarized in my previous column for the JTW, the ARF provides constant and full help to its terrorist, presenting him as a “martyr,” “hero,” and “example.”

The comparison between the Dink and Arıkan cases can be continued. Kemal Arıkan’s assassination never provoked the same reactions as the murder of Hrant Dink in the Western opinion. Despite Kemal Arıkan having been a diplomat representing an important country, a member of NATO, there is simply no street, plaque, or any memorial in any Western country, including the U.S., commemorating his death. There are several streets named after Hrant-Dink in the West, for instance in Lyon, France. In this city, the Turkish Consulate was attacked by the Armenian Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), which killed two people, on August 5, 1980. No policeman protected the Consulate at that time. Nothing was inaugurated in Lyon to commemorate the attack.

Prof. Michael M. Gunter, specialist, among other subjects, of Armenian terrorism, explains even, speaking about himself “this author often finds sheer of disbelief on the part of the general non-Armenian public that the phenomenon [Armenian terrorism] even existed” (Armenian History and the Question of Genocide, New York-London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011, p. 72).Despite the JCAG having been directly subordinate to the ARF’s World Bureau, despite all the legal branches of the ARF having given unconditional support to the JCAG, the ARF was never banned by any democratic country. Even the other perpetrator of Kemal Arıkan’s assassination was not found. The lack of protection provided by American police to Kemal Arıkan, or later to the honorary Consul General in Boston Orhan Gündüz who received death threats before his death, did not incite the police forces to any investigation for incompetence, still less for complicity. Similarly, the inability of the police of France, Austria, Belgium, Italy, or Greece to protect Turkish diplomats and other citizens against Armenian terrorists was never the target of any internal investigations. There are such investigations for the Dink case.

The Hrant Dink family, the Hrant Dink Foundation, and other “friends” were never interested by these cases of Armenian terrorism. Armenia’s aggression toward Azerbaijan and the Armenian terrorism against this country are not among the concerns of Hrant Dink’s “heirs.” They are not even interested by the hundreds of Armenians killed or threatened to death by Armenian terrorists, since the end of 19th Century.

The active cooperation of Hrant Dink’s “heirs” with Armenian nationalists

This selective indignation is unfortunately the less serious problem of internal incoherence raised by the statements and activities of Hrant Dink’s “heirs.”

On January 17, 2008, for the first anniversary of Hrant Dink’s assassination, Ochin Tchilinguir, an Agos journalist and “one of the lawyers of Dink family,” attended an event organized by the Unitary Committee of Alfortville’s Armenian Associations (CUAA).[1] Alfortville is a kind of French Glendale or Watertown, for the numeric importance of its Armenian community. The CUAA is dominated by the ARF, and is even located in the House of Armenian Culture (MCA), a branch of the Dashnak Party. Another important component of the CUAA is the Hunchak, another nationalist party which practiced terrorism—including against Armenians—during the Ottoman period and supported ASALA during the 1980s. The event was also attended by Ara Krikorian, ex-leader of the ARF in France and editor in 1981 of a book glorifying the Dashnak terrorist S. Tehlirian.

It is difficult, for somebody who received a French education, to refrain from thinking of François de La Rochefoucauld’s saying: “Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue.”

Another event took place in Arnouville, also a Parisian suburb with an important Armenian community. The conference was hosted by the Hrant-Dink school, whose founder denied any connections with the ultra-nationalist organizations. However, one of the participants was Alexandre Couyoumjian, member of the bureau of the strongly nationalist—and above all, anti-Turkish— Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Associations (CCAF). A lawyer by profession, Mr. Couyoumjian was one of the supporters of the defunct bill presented to the French Parliament, which was designed to forbid the “denial” of the “existence of the Armenian genocide.”[2] Ochin Tchilinguir also participated. Mr. Tchilinguir saw no contradiction between the proclaimed goal of Hrant Dink’s “heirs” to fight for the freedom of expression and cooperating with an activist who fights this very same freedom. At the time, when the censorship bill was discussed, Hrant Dink stated that he was ready to go to France and say: “There was no Armenian genocide.

These examples are by no means isolated or limited to France. Talin Sucyan, who wrote in Agos from 2007 to 2010 is now a contributor of the Dashnak Armenian Weekly. During the 1970s and the 1980s, this newspaper published both the communiqués of the JCAG and inflammatory articles of its staff, supporting Armenian terrorism. In the 1930s, The Armenian Weekly (at that time named Hairenik Weekly) unconditionally supported Nazism and was proud to mention the assassination of numerous Armenians by the ARF, because they did not want to give money to this party. The Armenian Weekly also published numerous defamatory attacks against Archbishop Leon Tourian, who was eventually assassinated by the ARF in New York on December 24, 1933.

Ms. Sucyan published an article in The Armenian Weekly viciously attacking Turkey without any evidence. She mentioned a conference of the Armenian General Benevolence Union (AGBU), which failed to take place in Jordan.[3] Ms. Sucyan wanted to present a speech on “The Legacy of Hrant Dink.” The AGBU is a branch of the Ramkavar Party. The Ramkavar allowed its members to support Armenian terrorists in the 1980s, and as late as 2000, Moorad Mooradian, an important figure of the Ramkavar, justified the assassination of Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorists, and failed to write a single word of criticism about the other kind of attacks, like the bombing of Orly airport (The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, March 25, 2000). The Ramkavar-dominated Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) supported countless anti-Turkish initiatives since its creation in 1972. The French branches of AGBU and Ramkavar supported the censorship bill.

Even more strikingly, the widow of Hrant Dink received an award from Robert Kocharian, at that time President of Armenia.[4] Mr. Kocharian played a central role in the aggression toward Azerbaijan as well as in the ethnic cleansing of Azeris. He supported most of the claims of the Diaspora’s extreme nationalists and attacked even (verbally) the Jews.

These acts of cooperation make even more sense considering that the Hrant Dink Foundation established in 2010 a “Support Fund for History Studies” focusing on the “1915 events.” The jury includes the German sociologist of Kurdish heritage Taner Akçam, whose methods are proven to be less than scientific (mistranslations, misquotations, use of fakes, allegations without proof)[5] and who even dared calling the well documented slaughters of Muslim civilians by Armenian volunteers of the Russian army “a legend” on PBS, in April 2006. The jury also includes Raymond Kévorkian and Hans-Lukas Kieser, two authors with a strongly anti-Turkish bias. There is not any specialist of Ottoman and Turkish history, not even Hilmar Kaiser, a supporter of the “genocide” allegation who accepts the debate and recognizes the high scholarship of Yusuf Halaçoğlu; Donald Bloxham, who at least admits that there were actually Armenian insurrectional activities at the beginning of WWI and that “During the Russian advance into eastern Anatolia at the beginning of 1916, vengeful Armenian forces […] murdered many Muslims, as testified to in the British sources;” or Ara Sarafian.

The Silence vis-à-vis Other Attempts of Misuse

In addition to the active and direct participation of the Hrant Dink Foundation, the Dink family or their friends to the propaganda allowed, at least by their silence, a recurrent misuse of Hrant Dink’s assassination by the most radical, anti-Turkish, Armenian nationalists. In one of its inflammatory articles against Turkey—and actually, against most of the Turkish people themselves—The Armenian Weekly (January 27, 2010) concluded “in the memory of Hrant Dink.”[6] The text is full of praise for the PKK, an old comrade in arms of the ARF, and the owner of The Armenian Weekly. In reading such absurd allegations like “In a place like Turkey where the call to speak is an invitation to prosecution, to harassment, in a place where historical truths do not exist, where contemporary human rights are trampled, minority rights are unfathomable, and women’s rights unimaginable,” it is hard to forget what the very same newspaper wrote during the years of Armenian terrorism:

“Out of the East came a foe unequalled in his barbarity—the slit-eyed, bow-legged Turkic nomads. […] The Seljuks and Ottomans with their ferocious customs were determined to annihilate the whole Armenian race.”(The Armenian Weekly, June 1st, 1983, p. 42).

This tone is still common among the readers’ comments on the Web site of The Armenian Weekly and its counterpart of California Asbarez. In the newspapers, the same racist ideas continue, this time using the screen of “human rights” even more than before. In such a context, the silence of Hrant Dink’s “heirs” is an act of complicity. The title of an article from 2010, “Commonalty in Struggle” makes special sense considering the kind of “struggle” which The Armenian Weekly advocated for years—and continues to justify, not to say glorify, today.

Similarly, Peter Balakian, considered “the number 1 enemy of the Turks” in the U.S. delivered a speech during a panel discussion on the legacy of Hrant Dink on February 1, 2009. The text of the speech was published—not surprisingly—in The Armenian Weekly.[7]

Ara Sarafian pointed out in The Armenian Reporter of December 18, 2008:

“Our understanding of the Armenian Genocide has been influenced by partisan scholarship because a number of academic institutions and political parties in Armenian communities, such as in the United States or Great Britain, have nurtured a prosecutorial approach to the subject. Consequently, some important elements of the events of 1915 have been distorted. The main thrust of the prosecutorial approach has been the assertion that the genocide of Armenians was executed with the thoroughness of the Nazi Holocaust, and that all Turks and Kurds were involved in the genocidal process. This approach is best exemplified by Vahakn Dadrian’s The History of the Armenian Genocide.”

To speak even more clearly, the “prosecutorial approach” criticized rightfully by Mr. Sarafian is a racist approach. Peter Balakian’s bestseller, The Burning Tigris, is barely more than a degraded version of Vahakn N. Dadrian’s publications. Most of the main arguments of The Burning Tigris are copied without particular originality from Mr. Dadrian’s book and articles. It can be noticed in the endnotes.

In The Burning Tigris, Mr. Balakian praises the Armenian terrorism of the 1920s—using even the fake documents of Aram Andonian—and attenuates the circumstances of the terrorist attacks of the 1970s and the 1980s. Mr. Balakian largely deserved the numerous congratulations and honors which he received from the ARF.[8] But his misuse of Hrant Dink’s cadaver for his anti-Turkish crusade should have been denounced by the Dink family and the Hrant Dink Foundation. It was not.

However, the manifesto of Anders Breivik demonstrated how much this far right terrorist was obsessed by Turkey. The unsubstantiated claims of “Armenian genocide” or “Greek genocide” and even more the racist conceptions diffused by the most radical versions of these allegations played a central role in Mr. Breivik’s Weltanschauung (world view)—and eventually in his decision to commit terrorist acts. The main reactions in the West demonstrated one more time that in the matter of terrorism, the kind of reactions depend largely on the religion of the perpetrator.[9]

Conclusion: practicing double standards, supporting prejudices

This active and passive cooperation with groups and individual notorious for their praising—or, in the case of the ARF, their practicing—of terrorism is by no means coherent with the self-description of Hrant Dink’s “heirs” as people fighting for justice, against hatred and restriction of freedom. Elementary logic should lead them to stop such cooperation. Until then, the single cohesive factor in such an attitude is a permanent defamation against Turkey—not to say against the Turkish people themselves. In the world as described by the Hrant Dink Foundation, the perpetrators of crimes are ethnic Turks and the victims are ethnic Armenians—never the reverse.

The concrete effect of the Hrant Dink Foundation was to give respectability to anti-Turkish speech and a window on Turkey to some of the most extremist nationalists of the Armenian Diaspora. This is in complete contradiction to Dink’s thoughts, and even more so to the great tradition of Turkish Armenians, illustrated by Bedros Kapamaciyan, Berç Kerestecıyan Türker, and many others.

[1] http://www.collectifvan.org/article.php?r=&id=14957
[2] http://www.imprescriptible.fr/dossiers/couyoumdjian/negationnisme
[3] http://www.armenianweekly.com/2010/06/10/jordan-cancels-armenian-youth-conference/
[4] http://www.azad-hye.net/news/viewnews.asp?newsId=356gsl14
[5] Erman Şahin, “Review Essay: A Scrutiny of Akçam’s Version of History and the Armenian Genocide,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, XXVIII-2, Summer 2008, pp. 303-319, http://www.tc-america.org/files/news/pdf/Erman-Sahin-Review-Article.pdf id. “Armenian Question: Scholarly Ethics and Methodology,” Review of Armenian Studies, n° 19-20, 2009, pp. 141-152;id. “Review Essay: the Armenian Question,” Middle East Policy, XVII-1, Spring 2010, pp. 144-157, http://www.mepc.org/create-content/book-review
[6] http://www.armenianweekly.com/2010/01/27/commonality-in-struggle/
[7] http://www.armenianweekly.com/2009/08/08/balakian-remembering-hrant-dink/
[8] For example : http://www.ancsf.org/pressreleases/2003/11062003.htm
[9] Süleyman Özeren, “Terrorist or Crazy: Irresistible Denial of Naked Truth,” The Journal of Turkish Weekly, July 28, 2011; Lenka Kantnerova, “Reactions to Norwegian Massacre: A Double Standard?”, id., August 17, 2011, http://www.turkishweekly.net/op-ed/2860/reactions-to-norwegian-massacre-a-double-standard.html

Source: www.turkishweekly.net

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Sourced Articles Mentioned Above

Balakian: Remembering Hrant Dink
By: Contributor

The article below is based on a speech delivered by Prof. Peter Balakian during a panel discussion on the legacy of Hrant Dink held at MIT on Feb. 1, 2009.

George Santayana, the philosopher who taught at Harvard for decades, wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It seems like an axiomatic enough assertion, yet what happens to those who don’t know history, who have been locked out of history, for whom the past is a manipulated narrative constructed by the state? The idea of repeating a past you don’t know is fraught with another kind of tragedy. It’s a kind of blind legacy that one might see in various cultures, but one that we see in Turkish society that hasn’t been allowed to know its history, in particular its dark histories of which the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is one. Blind history will beget a blind and violent present.

Hrant Dink’s assassination in broad daylight, carried out by Turkish nationalists, is one manifestation of blind history. Dink was a man of unusual courage, and dedication to the complex process of creating a ground upon which Turks could come together with Armenians in order to know the true history of 1915. Hrant forged complicated roads and narrow alleyways to make this journey; he spoke openly in a country where to speak openly is done at great risk and to speak openly as any minority, an Armenian, a Kurd, is done at even greater risk.

Hrant was an Armenian citizen of Istanbul who was writing and speaking about the Armenian Genocide openly in Turkey. He was inhabiting a delicate civic space in Turkey’s complex society. In one of his final essays, he told us he felt like a pigeon—at once vulnerable, yet free, he so hoped. But he was gunned down, apparently by the Deep State, by forces of repression and violence against free expression and thought, having been demonized and made a pariah by Article 301 of Turkey’s penal code.


Stephan Deadalus, in Joyce’s “Ulysseus,” says: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” It’s a phrase that hits any Armenian in vulnerable places. It’s a notion that is embedded in the traumatic life of the legacy of genocide. For Armenians, whether of the diaspora or the Republic, that legacy remains poisoned by ongoing Turkish state denial. The assassination of Hrant Dink is in some way emblematic of that nightmare.

Hrant’s murder resonated with Armenians for many reasons, but not least because it evoked the murder of thousands of intellectuals and cultural leaders in 1915. There was a genocidal taint to his assassination in broad daylight in downtown Istanbul. It reenacted our history.

The killing of Armenian intellectuals and cultural leaders goes back well into the 19th century and before, but it was this killing of intellectuals on April 24 that marked the beginning of the genocidal process in 1915.

In the end, thousands of Armenian cultural leaders and intellectuals were killed by Turkey’s Ittihad government. In the end, more than 5,000 churches, monasteries, and schools were destroyed. In the end, a civilization, not only its people but its many layers of history and culture, which had evolved for 3,000 years, was gone. In the wake of this, it is not surprising that Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish legal scholar who invented the concept of genocide as a crime in international law, relied quite heavily on the Armenian case in developing the concept of genocide. It was Lemkin who first used the term “genocide” in relation to the Armenians on U.S. national TV, on Feb. 13, 1949.

So affected by the Armenian Genocide was Lemkin, that he noted as the UN Genocide Convention was being ratified: “…A bold plan was formulated in my mind. This consisted [of] obtaining the ratification by Turkey [of the proposed UN Convention on Genocide] among the first twenty founding nations. This would be an atonement for genocide of the Armenians.”


Hrant Dink’s death opened up positive forces in the democracy movement in Turkey; in this sense he was a martyr for democracy. His death forced an inquiry into intellectual freedom in Turkey and into the Armenian past.

For me, Hrant’s legacy is emblematic of a new climate of Armenian-Turkish intellectual dialogue and colleagueship and friendship. Where once there was a black hole of abstraction about Turkey for many of us, now there is a more visible and complex world. In the past decade, Turkish intellectuals and others have made great inroads that are now visible to us and have given us a deeper understanding of Turkey as a place of many layers and nuances, a place not simply defined by ultra-nationalism and Deep State forces. Armenians need to embrace the new sense of complexity they have given us—of our shared history, of our shared humanity, of the understanding that there is no future in denying the past. Our Turkish friends are vital to our sense of a future.

I feel it is also important for Turks and Armenians to de-ethnicize the Armenian past. The idea that this is a debate between two cultures is wrong and ahistorical. It is not “Armenians say” and then “Turks say.” The genocide is a fact of modern history, and here, there is an important place for the international scholarly community. Rather than defending or rejecting a particular national narrative, scholars are able to see the anatomy of such events in a comparative context across a global expanse. They are able to show us that the Armenian Genocide is part of a human history that involves many perpetrators and many victims. Turkey is not alone in its crimes against humanity; most countries have built themselves from violence done to other ethnic groups and peoples.

It seems as if there has never been a more open moment for bonds to be forged between Turks and Armenians on the issue that haunts both their cultures. Hrant Dink was concerned that pressure on Turkey from the outside world would backfire or endanger the lives of people inside Turkey, and his perspective I respect deeply; he paid the highest price for it. And yet, I think he was wrong here. While his fears were a genuine response to the mechanisms of terror and repression inside Turkey, the fact remains that the process of education about the history of the Armenian Genocide is an inexorable force, and a litmus test of intellectual freedom and democracy for Turkey. The process of education can’t be stopped, or controlled, by any entity. It is part of world knowledge. We cannot allow the accepted history of the Armenian Genocide to be falsified by the blackmail and threats of the Turkish state. And the Turkish state will have to come to accept that the moral reality of the Armenian Genocide is not controversia
l anywhere else in the world but in Turkey. And, even there, the taboo is crumbling.

In this new era, Armenians I hope will find ways of joining hands with their new Turkish colleagues and friends to work for change—in whatever ways—in creative ways and pragmatic ways. Not rigid, ideological, or romantic. There are new openings in this landscape and there are new pitfalls and fears. There is anger, frustration, and paranoia among Armenians after decades of Turkish state violence, denial, and continued racism. There are threats of violence against progressive Turks from the new wave of Turkish ultra-nationalists; and there are many people inside Turkey asking for broad, democratic change, so that religious and ethnic minorities can achieve equality, and intellectual freedom and free speech can be realized. Two years ago, more than a hundred students at Bogazici University in Istanbul staged a protest with the slogan “against the darkness,” and they chanted Hrant Dink’s name and their solidarity with Armenians. These are the forces that Armenians want to join with and work with in pursuit of an open and free society in Turkey.

Peter Balakian is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities at Colgate University and the author of many books including The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, winner of the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize.


November 6, 2003

Balakian Talks about Genocide as "Landmark Event in American History"

San Mateo, CA, November 4 – Bestselling author Peter Balakian told Bay Area Armenian-Americans and Jewish-Americans Tuesday that the Armenian Genocide was not only a landmark event in 20th century history, but also in American history, as it prompted the first large-scale international human rights movement in the United States.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by Facing History and Ourselves, the Bay Area Armenian National Committee, and local supporters Joe and Araxi Bezdjian, Balakian discussed the themes of his new book "Burning Tigris: the Armenian Genocide and America’s Response," which debuted at #4 on the New York Times Best Sellers List several weeks ago. The luncheon took place at the Bezdjian’s Simonian Oriental Rugs showroom.

ANC-SF Representative Roxanne Makasdjian, Peter Balakian, and Jack Weinstein, Director, San Francisco Bay Area Facing History and Ourselves

Bay Area ANC representative Roxanne Makasdjian greeted the attendees, saying that "Burning Tigris" is an important new tool in the fight for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Jack Weinstein, Director of Facing History’s Bay Area office, introduced Balakian, saying "I want to thank Peter Balakian for bringing us this history, which has been too long out of the public eye." Weinstein said that Balakian’s book, combined with the work of Facing History and local communities, would expose children to this history, "putting an end to the negative tradition of denial." Facing History and Ourselves is a nation-wide organization, which engages teachers and students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. Facing History will soon publish its new resource book, "Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians."

Rightful Place in History

Balakian said that Armenian-Americans from around the country embraced the book and helped publicize it. "Armenian-Americans are passionate to see this history take its rightful place," said Balakian, "These are hopeful times."

"No history of the 20th century can be understood without an understanding of the Armenian Genocide. No American history can be properly fathomed without an understanding of the Armenian Genocide," said Balakian. He noted that it was in reference to the Armenian Genocide that the term "Crimes Against Humanity," was first used. It was contained in a message from the Allied Powers in May of 1915 to the Ottoman government, saying Turkey would be held accountable for its crimes against humanity."

A "cast of extraordinary American voices weighed in on the Armenian Genocide," said Balakian, telling the story of the American intellectual and Christian community which rose to the aid of Armenians first during the Hamidian massacres of the late 1800’s during which 200,000 Armenians were slain. Bringing aid to Armenian killing fields was the first international venture to be undertaken by Clara Barton, who headed the Red Cross.

"In an age when a loaf of bread cost five cents, the Near East Relief Fund in the U.S. raised $110,000,000 for Armenian relief," said Balakian. He noted the "density of the movement," in which all kinds of small and large organizations raised money to help the "starving Armenians," and the New York Times wrote an average of 2.2 articles about the Armenian Genocide in 1915 alone.

Turkish Denial

Countering denialists statements that the Armenian Genocide was not organized or the massacres were a result of deportations that "got out of control," Balakian said that after four years of research, he came away with an "overwhelming sense of how well orchestrated and fine-tuned" the genocide was.

That orchestration had several components, making use of the military, legislative and technological means for carrying out the Genocide. Reminiscent of the "SS" organization under Adolph Hitler, which carried out the brutal crimes of the Holocaust, Balakian told about the Ottoman government’s creation of the "SO" or Special Organization, killing squads made up of the 30,000 prison convicts who were released and given orders to eliminate the Armenians.

Two laws passed by the Ottoman parliament were used to legalize the Genocide, said Balakian: a temporary law of deportation, and a temporary law allowing for expropriation and confiscation of property. And the technological advances of the railway and the telegraph were used quite effectively to carry out the planned Genocide. Cattle cars meant to carry no more than 30 were packed with close to 100 people being transported from the West to the far eastern reaches of the Ottoman Empire. Talaat Pasha, the mastermind of the crime, used the telegraph profusely to communicate orders for arrest and deportation.

Balakian said that Armenians resisted bravely when they could, as in Van in the spring of 1915 and in Musa Dagh, but most often it was impossible since the able-bodied men were eliminated early on.

"In the end, 1.2 million to 1.3 million Armenians were murdered, and if you tabulate all of the post-war deaths in Marash, Smyra, and the forced slavery and Islamification, the number reaches 1.5 million," said Balakian, referring to the study of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Returning to the theme of the U.S. involvement, Balakian spoke about the important role of the U.S. Consuls across the Ottoman Empire, "who risked their lives to rescue, hide, save, and also help hide Armenians’ wealth." He said the diplomats "wrote some of the most vivid, clear, clean, detached, clinical reports and dispatches back to their Ambassador." Of the 38,000 documents in the US National Archives relating to the Armenian Genocide, Balakian said he read hundreds of the "landmark body of American witness texts to genocide." Balakian said he was also able to read translated transcripts (thanks to Armenian Genocide historian Vahakn Dadrian) of the failed war crimes trials in Turkey, which included hundreds of pages of high ranking Turkish officials’ confessions about how the Armenian Genocide was systematically carried out.

Just a Poker Chip

Balakian said one of the fundamental reasons for America’s change of mood on the Armenian Cause was that a hostile Republican Senate leadership, which unanimously rejected President Wilson’s call for the US to become a protectorate state for Armenia, was eager to court the new Turkish leadership, which was in control of the Mosul oil fields. Noting the similarities with US foreign policy of today, Balakian said, "Armenia is just a poker chip cashed in for lobbyists for oil."

Reading four vignettes from his book, Balakian illustrated the political dialogue taking place within the US and between Turkey and the US during this time, calling US Ambassador Henry Morganthau "a man of great conscious and courage."

Reconciliation Preceded by Truth

Balakian spoke too about the need for critical self-analysis within Turkey. He said Turkey’s human rights record is deplorable, and that it is a culture "locked up in a virulent, xenophobic nationalism," which has kept it from acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. He said minority rights are essential to building a democratic society.

Answering a question later about the possibility for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, Balakian said, "Of course there can be reconciliation, but it has to be preceded by truth."

"My hope is that Burning Tigris can help make it impossible for the United States to deny its first international human rights movement," said Balakian.


Commonality in Struggle
By: Contributor

By Vaché Thomassian

Below is the text of a speech given by Vaché Thomassian, a member of the Hollywood “Musa Dagh” AYF Chapter and of the United Human Rights Council (UHRC). It was given at the UHRC’s second annual “Opposite of Silence” event in Glendale, Calif. The event aimed to bring together Armenians and Kurds, and to pay tribute to those activists in Turkey who have been targeted, harassed, or murdered for their efforts to advance human rights, Armenian Genocide recognition, freedom of speech, equality, and democracy. The keynote speaker of the event was Kani Xulam, the executive director of the American Kurdish Information Network.

A lot of things are taken for granted. In our daily lives we wake up, go to class, go to work, check our emails, check our Facebook, go out, and live our lives, often times taking the smallest things—usually the most important things—for granted. Things like our ability to freely express ourselves, the ability to have opinions, to make them, argue about them. The ability to stand up and speak. The ability to hear and be heard.

Here in the United States, the free speech movement in the 1960?s was a pivotal time in developing and shaping our country’s activist spirit. It was a time when students stood up to authority to demand the right to express themselves. This spirit was captured by the immortal words of Mario Savio on the steps of Sproul Hall in Berkeley when he said:

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus—and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

This was the movement that secured free speech and academic freedom here in America.

In a place like Turkey where the call to speak is an invitation to prosecution, to harassment, in a place where historical truths do not exist, where contemporary human rights are trampled, minority rights are unfathomable, and women’s rights unimaginable, it takes courage and it takes conscience to speak. That is the common quality spotlighted by individuals like Layla Zana, Akin Birdal, and Erin Keskin, that is, the courage to see a wrong and speak out about it, ignoring the personal consequences.

There is no better example of the consequences of allowing Turkey to get away with genocide then what is happening to the Kurds today. The news headlines about the “Kurdish Question” hits especially close to home for Armenians: “Community leaders arrested,” “Violence in the streets,” “Demonstrators beaten or killed,” “Political parties banned.” All in the name of preserving the Turkish nation, of protecting “Turkishness.” Sounds all too familiar.

When we talk about the Armenian Cause, we have to talk of it as an issue of justice for humanity and we shouldn’t limit our vision to securing the rights of just Armenians, but instead affirm the idea that Turkey as a nation must free its people, end its occupations, and be saved from itself. Until those who live in exile, those who live in fear, those who live in silence, Kurds, and Armenians can lose the shackles that they still wear.

Recently, Turkey tried to diplomatically strong-arm the weak and inept government of Armenia with protocols that would undermine Armenian Genocide recognition efforts. Also recently, deceitful claims by Turkey of making peace with the Kurdish Worker’s Party again resulted in violence, arrests, and killings. The “Armenian Issue” and the “Kurdish issue” remain high on the list of taboos in Turkish society. Taboos that are punished by Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

Only by confronting these taboos through open, honest, and meaningful dialogue, without prosecution or arrest, can there be a revolution of values in Turkey. Only when the historic rights of Armenians who were slaughtered in the genocide and removed through deportation are respected, and when the natural rights of the world’s largest landless minority—the Kurds—are respected.

Only then, and not through any other hollow means, can there be a shift from Turkish ultranationalist arrogance towards real peace.

In this world, the ideas of power and powerlessness chase each other around in a perpetual circle of conflict. One struggles to attain and maintain its vise-grip, while the other struggles to find a voice and fight for his or her liberty.

Those of us who have only ever lived in a democracy, however flawed, would find it hard to imagine living in a state of powerlessness: the fear of reprisal for expressing your thoughts, the hesitation felt before opening your mouth, living your life constantly looking over your shoulder. Like Hrant Dink said in his last article before he was murdered, “I am just like a dove, equally obsessed by what goes on my left, and right, front and back.”

But Dink wanted to turn the boiling hell that he lived in, into a heaven. And he saw that the only way to do that was through democracy, through free speech, and through respect for all humans.

Our job as activists is to look at the world in its proper perspective. In today’s interconnected world, we can no longer isolate ourselves, separate our struggle from the struggles of groups in similar circumstances. We can’t just preach to ourselves and hope for the best. The struggles of oppressed peoples are like the fingers on your hand. Although each one is independent, each one moves fluidly in its own way, they are all connected by the hand that holds them together. Their commonalities far outweigh their differences. And only when the fingers come together, only when they cooperate and work in concert, can they form a fist that protects their rights and ensures their vitality.

Our job as activists is to open our eyes to the world, to the voiceless, to stand when they cannot stand, and to speak when they are silenced.

In the memory of Hrant Dink, in solidarity with the likes of Ayse Gunaysu, Elif Shafak, Layla Zana, and individuals like Kani Xulam. In solidarity with their struggle and making that struggle our own.


Kocharian honors slain Turkish Armenian Editor

By Gayane Danielian

President Robert Kocharian publicly honored on Monday the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink with a posthumous state award granted each year to prominent individuals in recognition of their contribution to Armenian culture and science.

Dink was among 18 writers, artists, and scientists awarded this year from a special presidential endowment set up with the help of French-Armenian philanthropist Robert Bogossian in 2001.

Kocharian singled out the late editor of the Istanbul-based Armenian weekly “Agos” for special praise as he addressed a solemn award-giving ceremony in his office attended by Dink’s wife, daughter and brother. He cited Dink’s contribution to “restoration of historical justice, mutual understanding between peoples, freedom of speech, and protection of human rights.”

“It was a big loss for our people,” Kocharian said of the editor’s shock assassination. “I want to assure members of his family that we will always remember Hrant Dink, that Armenia is also a home for his family, that we are always happy to see them in Armenia,” he added.

Dink’s widow Rakel was given a standing ovation as she received the $5,000 prize from Kocharian. “We will find the power to endure our pain,” she said in a brief speech.

Dink was shot dead outside the “Agos” offices in Istanbul last January by a young ultranationalist Turk furious with his public references to the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The murder was universally condemned in and outside Turkey and led to an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy for Dink, his family and Armenians in general by tens of thousands of ordinary Turks. But it also provoked a nationalist backlash, raising questions about the security of the country’s small Armenian community.

Speaking to RFE/RL, Rakel Dink said she and other members of her family are not yet considering leaving Turkey despite mounting security concerns within the embattled community. Asked whether they might eventually emigrate to Armenia, she said: “It could happen, but there is no such urgency now.”

Last Thursday Turkish prosecutors called for a prison sentence of up to three years for Dink’s son Arat, who now edits “Agos,” and his colleague Serikis Seropyan for republishing a 2006 interview in which his father made a case for genocide recognition. They accused the two men of “denigrating Turkishness.” Hrant Dink was given a six-month suspended sentence on the same charge several months before his assassination.

At a court hearing in Istanbul, Arat Dink accused judges of contributing to his father's death by making him a target thanks to their high-profile judicial proceedings. "I think it is primitive, absurd and dangerous to consider as an insult to Turkish identity the recognition of a historic event as a genocide," he said, quoted by the Anatolia news agency.

Source: RFE/RL, 18 June 2007


Suciyan: ‘Zero Problems’ with Whom? Jordan Cancels Armenian Youth Conference
By: Talin Suciyan

The AGBU’s Middle East Young Professionals Forum was supposed to take place in Amman, Jordan from June 3-6. However, the meeting was quietly canceled by the Jordanian authorities just the night before.

Agos was invited to the forum, and I was to attend on behalf of the newspaper. My topic was the “Legacy of Hrant Dink” and the Armenian community in Turkey. Vahakn Keshishyan, another colleague and friend from Beirut, was going to share his impressions from his visits to Anatolia. Other sessions were titled “Psychology of Success,” “Becoming the Next Armenian Leaders,” “Regional Economy,” “State of Armenian Communities: How Do We Embrace Change, How Can We Benefit from Assimilation?” etc. The participants—150 in all—were to come from various countries—from Argentina to Armenia.

But some problems started to occur just 10 days before. The organizers said there were reservations about the forum. At the beginning, it was difficult to understand why a meeting entitled “Young Professionals” would be bothersome. Yet, the real cause of disturbance slowly became apparent: The reason was Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy.

Jordan, clearly, was preparing to sign some kind of agreement with Turkey (Editor’s note: there was, in fact, an agreement that was going to be signed. Read more here.), and that is why they were concerned with hosting 150 “Young Professional Armenians” in Amman. Among all the sessions, ours was regarded as being most problematic; talking about the legacy of Hrant Dink in the Middle East was especially troublesome since literally everything about Armenians is regarded as potentially harming relations with Turkey. (I say everything, because last month in Lebanon, the broadcast of a video clip by an Armenian pop singer was banned from TV for fear that it might “offend Turkey.” Read about it here.) I should add that the organizers resisted against all pressures until the very last moment.

Debate with the Jordanian officials on the program of the forum lasted several days, and at the end, we received an email saying that “everything was fine.” Nonetheless, there was palpable pressure in the air and we had to be especially careful with our presentations. Yet the “tolerance limit” of the Jordanian authorities wasn’t clear to me.

Bad news, however, followed the good news later that day. When our organizers attempted to check into the Amman Marriott Hotel, on Wednesday evening, the staff told them that “because of reasons beyond our control, we cannot host the event and the visitors.” And when I asked whether the event could take place in another venue, the answer was clear: “The order was given from above.” To make a long story short, as of that evening the message was a definitive: “The meeting has been cancelled.”

As a result of this incident, one of the most important reasons behind Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy has become equally clear. It was the ‘disturbance’ created by the Armenians living in the neighboring countries which had to be zeroed.

During those same days in Turkey, the brutal killing of nine people in the Freedom Flotilla created an atmosphere of fierce reaction. The subject matter was not violence employed by the state, but rather Israel and even Jews as a whole. There was no attention paid to the language and symbols used. And, as we’ve read on these pages, there was a general amnesia in Turkey regarding its own historical background and current problems.

Would it be possible for Jordan to remain neutral in such a situation? One party to the conflict was its neighbor Israel; the other was Turkey. Was it not the same Jordan that made a deal with Ben Gurion in 1948, sharing the territories and leaving no place to Palestinians to live*? In this very “fragile” situation, the last thing Jordan needed was a gathering of Armenian Young Professionals! Of course, the forum was cancelled immediately.

Why doesn’t Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy apply to Armenia? On the one hand, Armenia continues to be isolated. The “Get out of Karabagh and then we can talk” argument remains in place, and the message of “Stop the genocide recognition campaigns” persists. On the other hand, the voice of Armenian survivors who fled to Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan after 1915 is silenced. And all this happen by saying “zero problems with neighbors.”

Communicating and meeting with Armenian organizations in the U.S. is an easier task for Turkey, since that community has gone through an assimilation process for generations. The communities in the Middle East are different; they’re closely knit, very little interference is possible, and there is no ground for Turkey to communicate with them. These communities have built structures consciously and therefore after 95 years, it is still the Middle East, providing the human resources for Armenians all over the world. Looking at the active Armenians in Europe and in the U.S. would prove this argument. This means that the communities in the Middle East are still living communities. Now the aim is to silence these communities. And if the simplest meeting of “Young Professionals” was not allowed to take place in Amman, doesn’t this mean that the Armenians in the Middle East have become a “zero problem”?

* Akiva Orr, www.bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/82474-israil-pazarlik-istemiyor



Alexandre Couyoumdjian
A common crimes: denial

"It is not for Parliament to write history."
Genocide is not a single historical fact. It is also and foremost, a political crime. Its negation, therefore, also called a policy response. And legal.

In this formula for convincing a priori, some historians call for the repeal of the Act itself Gayssot, criminalize protest the Holocaust and opposing the vote by the National Assembly a bill penalizing the negation of Armenian genocide.

The debate is legitimate and challenges us all he opposes legal concepts that are also crimes against humanity and freedom of expression, particularly that of the historian.

But the formula, as seductive as it is, is limited in that it obscures the high specificity of the phenomenon of genocide.

Genocide is not a single historical fact. It is also and foremost, a political crime resulting in the extermination of a people and its identity. Its negation, therefore, also called a policy response. And legal.

To want to relegate to the rank of a simple historical opinion, we forget that the denial was designed, developed and implemented upon execution of the genocide.

This is only a perverse rhetoric, during and associated with the crime of genocide, was born with it, the better to erase the track and that we will not hesitate to call infringement twin.

Yet historians are well placed to know the composition of misleading arguments for hiding the crime, and sometimes to justify the premise, is an element of the crime of genocide.

Each one bears in mind the inscription on the pediment of Auschwitz "Arbeit macht frei ', to believe that the death camps were a center where the deportees by emancipating work.

The official order of "deportation outside the war zones" of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire for his concealed a policy of extermination by the killing of Armenians immediately valid and the forced march of women to their death, children and the elderly in the deserts of Syria.

This concealment of the crime or its refutation by anticipation actively involved in its execution.

Lawyers, we see an element of denial of the will of genocide. It is both one of the materials involved in crime since his production but also further evidence of his premeditation and intent.

Our criminal justice system can both punish crimes against humanity, including genocide is considered the most serious and make the choice not to criminalize the offense with which he is connected and which seeks to disqualify him.

Such a connection of offenses is not foreign to our positive law and a useful reminder that the barriers to allow a criminal to escape responsibility or made to hinder the manifestation of the truth are misdemeanors.

The severity of Holocaust denial is revealed so much about in itself - particularly offensive to the victims and their descendants, in its finality and criminal damage to humanity that place, not in special press law but in that of criminal law, not in the area of "expression of ideas" or of "writing" of history ... but in the material acts intended to obstruct the Justice.

Defend as an absolute "freedom to History" by authorizing the denial would lead us to tolerate a real offense, a source of profound disturbance of public order and whose scope goes beyond the sole interests of the communities involved in the first leader.

We, lawyers, wish that during the consideration of a bill on the denial of the Armenian Genocide, the National Assembly extended the debate and legal analysis on the denial by recognizing it for what it really is: an offense related to the genocide, an obstruction of justice.

For if not for the Parliament to write history, it is up to legally qualify an offense that is rooted in the genocidal act to better ensure effective policy.

This is a question of courage and a need for justice.

Have already signed: President Mario Stasi, Charles Korman, Lef Forster, Alain Jakubowicz, Christian Charriere-Bournazel, Louis Jean Lagarde, Peter Mairat, Gerard Tcholakian, Didier Bruere Dawson, Alexander Couyoumdjian, Bernard Jouanneau

Google Translation From:

Hrant Dink commemorated his assassination in Paris
Published: 14-01-2008

Info Collectif VAN - www.collectifvan.org - Le Collectif VAN tells you: Hrant Dink was murdered January 19, 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey. To mark the first anniversary of his death, several memorials were held in Paris.

Commemoration ceremony of the CFC

A year after his assassination, the CFC pays tribute to the memory of Mr. Hrant Dink, Armenian journalist in Turkey, Director of AGOS newspaper and organized a panel discussion, a Requiem Mass and a ceremony of meditation and wreath laying

Friday, January 18, 2008 at 20:30

Conference-debate at the School Hrant Dink
(40-42 rue Saint Just 95400 Arnouville les Gonesse):

In partnership with the Association Sourp Khatch Tebrevank and Bilingual School Association of Holy Cross Varak, a panel discussion is organized with the participation of two personalities of Turkey: Master Ümre Deniztuna, Ochin Tchilingir lawyer and writer and Master Couyoumdjian Alexander, member of CCAF's Office. Other personalities will also speak. Political authorities, religious leaders and the Armenian organizations of France will be present. Organizations Arnouville and surrounding will be associated with this event.

This panel discussion, in the multipurpose room of a school that now bears his name, is intended to honor the memory of Hrant Dink and to the point, a year after his assassination on developments Turkey.

On Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 10:00 am

Wreath laying by the CFC on the grave of Hrant Dink in Istanbul

On Sunday, January 20, 2008

11:00 Requiem Mass in the Armenian Cathedral of Paris celebrated by His Eminence, Archbishop Norvan Zakarian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian France
(15 rue Jean Goujon 75008 Paris)

Parade 1:00 p.m. and depart to the Statue of Komitas for memorial
Meditation, prayer, wreath laying
(Place du Canada, Cours Albert 1er 75008 Paris)

The CFC-called Armenian community and more generally all those Democrats, Republicans who love justice and truth, to take action to be present at the panel discussion at the Requiem Mass and ceremony will follow.

Cvan Note:

Note also another event which will precede all these celebrations:

- Thursday 17 to Alford, 2030: The Joint Committee of Armenian Associations of Alfortville organizes an evening in tribute to Hrant Dink, chaired by René Rouquet, Deputy Mayor of Alford. With Ochin Tchilinguir, Journal Agos journalist, one of the lawyers for the family
Dink, a representative of Reporters Without Borders, Ara Krikorian, Serge Avedikian, Isabelle Kortian. In the room feel of the cultural center, crossing rue Joseph Franceschi and Marcel Bourdarias. (Close Clinique de la Concorde).

Google Translation From

Reactions to Norwegian Massacre: A Double Standard?
written by
Lenka Kantnerova
17 August 2011

"If the person who killed 70+ people in Norway were Muslim, the press would have declared him a terrorist. For now though, he is just an 'assailant', 'attacker' (Reuters), or 'gunman' (international TV channels). Looks like 'terrorist' is a name reserved for Muslims. The US Department of State calls it an 'act of violence,' not an 'act of terrorism.'" This anonymous quotation related to events in Norway has been spreading through Facebook, the biggest online social network. Is this message simply an overstatement or are we really confronting the presence of a double standard?

The absence of a universally accepted definition of terrorism forces states, international organizations, and other actors to frame their own interpretations of this phenomenon. However, it seems to be almost internationally accepted, at least predominately in the US and Europe, that the word terrorism is naturally connected to the religion of Islam. The terrorist attacks in Norway serve as a great illustration of this sad reality.

Immediately after the broadcasting of information about an explosion in Oslo, some media outlets started to specify the responsibility of Islamic extremists for this attack. Moreover, an absence of verified information did not dissuade them from analyzing the event. Among them was also SME, one of the most circulated Slovak newspapers, which prepared a short analysis based on its own interpretation, “Why Did Terrorists Choose Norway?” In this analysis, several reasons were listed:

1. Norway`s active role in NATO and its support of the invasion of Afghanistan

2. The publication of cartoons of Muhammad in Norwegian newspapers

3. The Muslim minority living in Norway

4. Mullah Krekar – the leader of Islamic militant group Ansar al-Islam who was living in Norway as a refugee

5. The understanding that Norway is a simple and easy target for terrorists

Unfortunately, not only Slovak newspapers did the same. On the other hand, once a name and origin of the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, had been published, the media started to approach the issue by circumventing the use the word terrorism. Does it therefore mean that Breivik’s condemnable attacks were not terrorist ones?

Breivik and media

Aiming to see how many times the news has connected Breivik to the term terrorist, the data below has been obtained by briefly checking the results returned by the Google search engine. Conditions for the Google advanced search have been set to find exact phrases in headlines of various news outlets for the period from 07/22/2011 to 08/09/2011. The results from the search illustrate the media’s preferred phrasing during this episode: “Gunman Breivik” 2 results, “Terrorist Breivik” 16 results, “Killer Breivik” 21 results, “Norwegian gunman” 31 results, “Norwegian terrorist” 31 results, “Norwegian Killer” 128 results.

With reference to the Google search engine, the most frequent expression used for Breivik, “Norwegian killer”, has been used 128 times. On the other hand, “Norwegian terrorist” has only been used 31 times. Moreover, another important observation was made while conducting this research. Among news sources preferring to use “Norwegian killer” in their titles are the popular Washington Post, Reuters, Hindustan Times, Atlantic, International Business Times, Huffington Post, Hürriyet Daily News, etc. Furthermore, if titles which do not contain the word terrorist are summed up, the difference in numbers is even more significant. Additionally, it should be emphasized that if other words synonymous with the adjectives news companies have preferred to use (for example evil, psychopath, maniac, extremist, and crusader) are contained in the table, the number of titles using the word terrorist becomes insignificant.

In addition, the most widely used words in headlines linked to Breivik in a number of news sources have been gathered together (BBC, CNN, NY Times, Reuters). BBC, NY Times and Reuters have called Breivik as a gunman, insane, evil, killer, psychopath, maniac, extremist and slaughter. On the other hand, only CNN have not avoided including the expression terrorist and terror in its headlines.

Who is then Anders Behring Breivik?

Breivik is a gunman, attacker, assailant, evil, a killer, even a maniac, but without a doubt, Anders Behring Breivik is first and foremost a terrorist. Accordingly, he has been labeled as such by the court which has charged him with acts of terrorism. To be more specific, it can be said that Breivik is a right-wing terrorist. It should be noted here that this is not a new concept created only as a response to Breivik`s case. Ideologically, the evidence of this form of terrorism in Europe dates back to the era of Fascism and National Socialism.

The tradition of connecting terrorist attacks to Islam and Muslims became popular mainly after the events of September 11, 2001. Furthermore, the news being saturated with reports of terrorist attacks committed by al-Qaeda and the Taliban did not contribute to decreasing of the abovementioned stereotypes. Now, one can ask: “Should the media then decline publishing news about terrorist attacks conducted by Islamic extremists with the aim of decreasing people`s fear of Islam?” Of course not, but what the media should do, is call every type of attack by the same name, even if the perpetrator is not an Islamic extremist.

One can still argue that according to the statistics published by the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System for 2010, Islamic extremist groups are responsible for 6591 terrorist attacks in the world. However, the statistics published by EUROPOL for 2010 shows that 249 terrorist attacks has been carried out in 9 EU Member States. Moreover, it should be underlined that not Islamist terrorist were responsible for the biggest amount of them. On the other hand, Islamist groups were responsible for 3 of them, while another 246 attacks were carried out by other groups, and the biggest amount, 160, belongs to Ethno-nationalist and separatist groups.

It is an irony that the rise of Islamophobia occurs mainly in Europe, in countries where the amount of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremist groups is minimal in comparison to other perpetrators.

Despite the absence of a universal definition of terrorism, a linkage between Islam and the phenomenon of terrorism cannot be found in any internationally respected definitions. To summarize some relevant definitions, terrorism can be defined as a calculated strategy conducted by an individual, group, or a state that involves the use of violence with the aim of creating public fear to accomplish predominantly political, social, religious, or ideological objectives. As a result, to link terrorism to any kind of religion, nation, etc. is pure generalization and manipulation of public opinion.

In defiance of the fact that Breivik was in the end charged with acts of terrorism and some news sources described him with the right word, terrorist, we cannot ignore the reality that a significant number of news sources still use different terms, which even cannot be considered synonymous to the word terrorist, and absolutely do not reflect reality. This event should be to serve as a wakeup call. Terrorism cannot be perceived from only one point of view. The aim of this contribution was to draw attention to the problem of the inconsistent use of the term terrorism in mass media. This double standard contributes to the rise of Islamophobia, prejudice, and fear of otherness, in addition to leading to disasters similar to Norway’s.


Europol (2011). TE-SAT 2011, EU terrorism situation and trend report. Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/publications/te-sat2011_0.pdf

Europol (2010). ). TE-SAT 2010, EU terrorism situation and trend report. Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/publications/tesat2010_0.pdf

Lutz, J. Lutz, B. (2008). Global Terrorism-Second edition. Routledge. Pg. 1-24. Available at: http://books.google.com.tr/books?id=VEPz1Dn0g6AC&lpg=PA131&dq=Lutz%2C%20J.%20Lutz%2C%20B.%20(2008).%20Global%20Terrorism&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Official Web Site of the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System. Available at: https://wits.nctc.gov/FederalDiscoverWITS/index.do?N=0

SME (22.07.2011). Prečo si teroristi vybrali práve Nórsko? Available at: http://www.sme.sk/c/5988612/preco-si-teroristi-vybrali-prave-norsko.html

The National Counterterrorist Center. Terrorist Deffinition. Available at: http://www.nctc.gov/site/other/definitions.html

TTSRL (2008). Definition Terrorism in the European Union. Available at: http://www.transnationalterrorism.eu/tekst/publications/WP3%20Del%204.pdf

TTSRL (2008). 20th Century Right Wing Groups in Europe, Prone to extremism or terrorism? Work package 3. Available at: http://www.transnationalterrorism.eu/tekst/publications/Rightwing%20terrorism.pdf



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