The Turkish Lobby Played a Long Game – And Won

August 10, 2012 2:59 pm 32 comments

"Valley of the Wolves Palestine" poster. Photo: DVZ.

How is this for a movie idea?

The inhabitants of six peaceful villages located in a vast, but crumbling, empire receive an edict from government officials telling them to pack their things and prepare for their relocation, which will take place in eight days. Having heard rumors of terrible massacres resulting in the death of their kinsmen elsewhere in the empire and guessing that a similar fate awaits them if they comply with the order, the villagers, who are mostly artisans and farmers, ascend a nearby mountain with the few antiquated guns they own and small herds of livestock.

Atop this mountain, they build a compound to hold off their attackers. There they wait, atop a mountain that looms over a vast sea to the west and a wide plain to the east. They fly banners telling passing ships of their plight in hopes of being rescued.

Soldiers from this crumbling empire repeatedly attack this poorly armed band of villagers, but fail each time to overrun their compound. In one instance, the villagers cause an avalanche to fall down on their attackers in a scene reminiscent of the Red Sea crashing in on the Egyptians as they chased the ancient Israelites into the wilderness. Eventually, the soldiers give up trying to overrun the compound and decide to simply starve them out.

Things look pretty bad for the villagers, but just when things look the bleakest, warships from a powerful navy see the banners. The villagers send out swimmers who tell their story to a ship’s captain. After learning of the villagers’ plight, the captain orders that they be rescued. A battleship lays down a barrage on the empire’s soldiers. The villagers are ultimately delivered to their new homes out of reach of the regime intent on marching them out into the desert to die.

Yes, it sounds like a fantastic story imagined by someone who spent his adolescence playing Dungeons and Dragons.

But it’s true. These events took place on the Anatolian Peninsula in 1915. The heroic villagers were approximately 5,000 Armenians slated for destruction by the Young Turks, the founders of modern-day Turkey. Their rescuers were the French navy and their new home was Anjar, a city in Lebanon.

Cover of Musa Duga by Edward Minasian. Photo: DVZ.

The mountain where these Armenians made their last stand is Musa Dagh, or Moses Mountain, located in what is known today as the Hatay Province of Turkey. The sea to the west is the Mediterranean and the vast expanse to the east is the Antiochian Plain.

The story is true. It happened.

The miraculous story of Musa Dagh was memorialized in The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, a novel written by Franz Werfel, an Austrian Jew in the early 1930s. According to a note at the beginning of his text, Werfel learned of the events while traveling the Middle East. He came upon gaggle of “maimed and famished-looking refugee children, working in a carpet factory” in Damascus. He asked the owner of the factory about the origins of the children and learned they had lost their parents in the “Hell” that had befallen the Armenian people beginning in 1915.

Werfel’s masterful book, written in German, served as an ominous warning of the Shoah that was to afflict the Jews in Europe in the 1940s. It became a world wide best seller despite being banned in Germany, Turkey and France. The Jews who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto read Werfel’s book as inspiration in their fight against the Nazis. The book became a favorite of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Recognizing the epic nature of the story, MGM purchased the movie rights to Werfel’s text in hopes of making a hugely successful movie. MGM never made the movie.

Why? The Turkish lobby.

MGM never made the movie because of a campaign of obstruction by the Turkish Government which to this day has never admitted the crime it has perpetrated against the Armenian people in the opening years of the 20th Century.

In a successful effort to convince MGM to not make the movie, the Turkish government threatened to deny the company the license it needed to show its other movies in Turkey. Turkish officials promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories about the book’s author. In an effort to distance themselves from the story, which so clearly embarrassed the Turkish government, Armenians living in Turkey burned a photo of Werfel in effigy to show their contempt for its author. (That’s dhimmi behavior par excellence.)

To make matters worse, the U.S. State Department lobbied MGM on behalf of the Turkish Government and the Hays Office, created in the 1920s to prevent the on-screen displays of profanity and immoral sexual behavior, participated in the campaign to censor the movie even though the objections to the movie were purely political. In response MGM agreed to show a script of the movie to the Turkish government, but the movie still never got made.

Periodically, MGM prepared to make the movie and every time the news of its impending production hit the trades, the Turkish lobby again pulled out all the stops to prevent it from being made.

Eventually, MGM sold the rights to an Armenian businessman in the U.S. who knew very little about the movie business. He did his best, but produced a disappointing movie that sank into oblivion soon after it was released in the early 1980s. The businessman eventually sold the rights to a company in Germany, which has yet to produce a film. Sylvester Stallone and Mel Gibson (yes, Mel Gibson) have both expressed an interest in making the film, but have been the targets of letter-writing campaigns organized by Turkish activists who want to keep a quality-made version of Werfel’s text movie from ever hitting the screen.

That’s censorship.

Historian Edward Minasian, documents this long sad story in his book Musa Dagh (Cold River Studio, 2007). In sum, the Turkish government, with help from the U.S. government, was, for decades, able to block the production of a movie by a U.S. company.  Minasian’s outrage is palpable – and justified. “A foreign government must never be permitted to stop production of an American motion picture,” he wrote.

Turkey would never allow its filmmakers to be bullied in such a way. Audiences in Turkey are treated on a regular basis to movies demonizing the United States and Israel. In fact, there is a movie franchise in Turkey called Valley of the Wolves dedicated to demonizing Israel and the U.S.   An article in Bloomberg published in 2006 reported the following about the first movie of this franchise:

The movie, [Valley of the Wolves: Iraq] the most-watched Turkish film ever, depicts U.S. soldiers in Iraq as brutish and shows a Jewish doctor harvesting Iraqis’ organs for sale. ”

Musa Dagh Monument. Photo: wiki commons.

The film is absolutely magnificent,” Turkey’s parliamentary speaker, Bulent Arinc, said after watching it, according to the London-based Times newspaper.

More recently, Turkish filmmakers have produced Valley of the Wolves: Palestine, which demonizes Israeli soldiers who landed on board the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish-owned vessel that participated in the flotilla that tried to break the blockade of Gaza in 2010. Apparently, the movie, based on the confrontation on the Mavi Marmara portrays vessel as ferrying only innocent “aid workers” when in fact, its passengers included jihadis who were looking for a violent confrontation with the Israelis in the Mediterranean Sea.

So here is how it shakes out: Turkey is, with the help of the U.S. Government and the Hays Office, able to prevent the production of an epic movie – based on real-life events – for decades. Eventually, the movie got made, but it was not any good.

Decades later, movies, completely divorced from reality, that demonize the United States and its ally Israel are all the rage in Turkey.

What is wrong with this picture?

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

32 Comments

  • Personally as an american with no ties to this i think people who lose a battle will always clame genocide. If there is a war and soldies and civilians die on both sides the loser will cry genocide. Another thing i have just cme to realize is that every country that borders turkey seems to have hostitlity to them. Armenians, greeks, syrians, iranians, iraq(kurdish part borders turkey). Georgia and a slight 8 km border with azerbaijan there closest allies.

    Now that said of all above mentioned countries it would seem the ones who have dwelled on the past are now stuck there economically. While baku and istanbul are rich cities bringing in foreign investments from all over.

    My advice stop trying to cause a problem and focus on your countries future, isnt that what everyone wants? If the azeris and turks opened there borders do u think armenia would prosper more? I think it would.

    Is having the recognition on cnn for 1 night worth it. I mean everyone will continue on the path they are currently on.

    Will you get billions of dollars donated, no. Will u get land from the turks in anotalia, no.
    As a businessman i think if u look to the future u will be better dwell on the past and thats were you will stay.

    Please dont get me wrong, im not even turkish i have armenian friends that tell me that none of our friends know what yeravan even is but of course they know what istabul is. Put this energy into the future of your country build relationships with your neighbors.

    Here is a thought. Germany has been destroyed twice in the past 100 years, miltary crushed global wide sactions destroyed there economy. And within the SAME DECADE they once again have rose to the top and considered the financial leader of europe.

    Israel has been successful only because of america. But they are still at war with all their neighbors and people are still dieing everyday.

    But the america-israel relationship is most definatley not that of armenia and america.

    The true victory is for the world to recognize your country as leader in wealth and power. So your citizens can live happily because of a bright future not be upset about the past.

    • No doubt you’re a Turk!

      3 million Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Arameans were brutally killed,, KILLED by your so call Muslim Turksih empire!

  • Jack Kalpakian

    It is a Pyrrhic victory. The damage to Turkey from 2015 on will be counted in lost security, dollars, and a brand issue that will never go away.

  • Moorad Alexanian

    Rafael de Nogales, Inspector General of the Turkish forces in Armenia during World War I, attest to “the martyrdom and slaughter of the million and one-half of Christians who perished during those massacres.” He quotes the Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha (one of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide): “The massacres! What of them! They merely amuse me.” No wonder Tsar Nicholas I described Turkey as “the sick bear of Europe.”

    “Four Years Beneath the Crescent” by Rafael de Nogales, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York-London ,1926

  • this sentence “5,000 Armenians slated for destruction by the Young Turks, the founders of modern-day Turkey. Their rescuers were the French navy and their new home was Anjar, a city in Lebanon.” founders of modern Turkey was NOT in Young Turks. that is number one,
    Question, what was French navy doing near Turkey? Attacking and killing women and children, Turks! who attacked Dardanelles, galipoli? Who is the attacker here? one side defending their HOMELAND, other side is attacking and Attackers are the INNOCENT now? according to what LOGIC is this right? French, British, Greeks, Russians were all attacking and killing Turks by the millions (remember Balkans also 1912) they made a plan to divide the Ottoman empire themselves and now Turks are the bad people? give me a break. Imperialists do not have any SHAME, they go to other people’s countries, kill them women children included then blame the victim. How nice of you.
    Who are the founders of Israel? bunch of “terrorists” who killed civilians, British to create Israel. Check how British defines them.
    For Armenians, they have joined Russians, check dashnak terrorrist group.
    For the Turkish lobby, yeah sure, who does not remember Midnight Express?? there is no strong turkish lobby, Author is mistaken that with the Jewish lobby, you cannot even print the truth in usa if it is bad for Israel, it is censorship of free speech.
    Author should learn his own religion’s tenants first “you shall NOT LIE”

    See a small window into what the “civilized French did in CICILIA region of Turkey to Turks. Just like they tortured and killed Algerians.

    ” on the night of 31 October, three Muslim women who were coming out of a public bath (hamam) on Uzunoluk street were accosted by an Armenian legionnaire and harassed and molested. The soldier attempted to tear off the veil of the women stating, “This is no longer the land of the Turks, you cannot walk around with a veil in French territory.” The women started to scream and ask for help. A neighbor, Çakmakcı Sait, who ran forth without carrying a weapon was then shot and killed by the Armenian legionnaires. Soon after, an individual by the name of Sütçü İmam (literally, milkman Imam) opened fire on the Armenians, killing or wounding (depending on the version) one or more of the soldiers.[2]
    After the incident, Sütçü İmam escaped and took refuge in a village nearby. The troops from the French Armenian Legion who arrived allegedly opened fire in retaliation at the civilians present on the spot and also killed a certain Hüseyin, son of Zülfikar Çavuş. French soldiers arrested Sütçü İmam’s cousin, Kadir, and tied his hands and feet from behind submitting him to torture and mutilation, by cutting his nose and ears[citation needed]. He died of suffocation while in custody.
    The tension sparked by these incidents increased gradually and led to the armed uprising against the French army in February 1920 (Battle of Marash).”

    • olcer:

      The involvement of the French in a war against the crumbling Ottoman Empire does not justify the murder of huge numbers of Armenians by the Young Turks, nor does the misdeeds of Armenians in Cilicia under French rule.

      There is simply no way the founders of the modern state of Turkey can kill that many people, many of them women and children without a historical accounting of what happened. It is simply unavoidable. Clearly, this is a bit of unmastered history for some, but not all Turks.

      • Mr Zile, first of all from your twitter account, we can see “Dexter Van Zile is the Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA. He combats the delegitimization and demonization of Israel. His opinions are his own.” you are a paid commentator for Israel, that is number one. So whatever you say by default is a propaganda.

        No one justifying anything, Yes there were innocent armenians killed, as innocent Turks were killed, you cannot cover a story by giving one sided stories, I know you in the USA are used to one sided stories by the media about middle east but facts are facts, you cannot cover it. I suggest anyone here seriously want to know about these events especially about Armenians to read “The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, Guenter Lewy ”

        West comes as imperialists and killing women and children does not justify you to preach us, first you admit to killing in your own history by the millions, Blacks, Algerians, Congolese etc, then of course Palestinians which you will I am sure deny as usual. For you, there is a comfort of picking and choosing who is human who is not. For me, everyone deserves to live in peace. And for your own political gains, interests, you show interest in this event, nothing more. I am sorry to say. Cheers.

        • The information you provide is posted at the bottom of the article which you have been unable to refute. My identity is well known to many. Who are you?

        • Olcer, first of all, Dexter purposefully discloses his affiliation with CAMERA — he didn’t have to. Because he is an ethical, honest, moral person (none of which could be said about you).

          Second, he is paid to do what he believes in and what he is passionate about — I wish all the people did, as then we’d have that much less misery in the world. As to your idiotic propaganda charge, by this definition all journalists — and that is who Dexter is, a media analyst and investigative journalist — should be called propagandists. However, if that were true, we’d live in a different world. New sflash: there ARE ethical and honest journalists out there, Olcer. Granted, not all journalists have such high moral standards as Mr. Van Zile does, but your charge is nothing but primitive and stupid propaganda, just like the rest of your moronic, misinformed, and misleading statements.

          Third, as for the media in the U.S., there are enough different (and oftentimes opposing) opinions there to make for a true marketplace of ideas — which, btw, cannot be said about Turkey. Your saying otherwise does not make it so.

          Fourth, I suggest to anyone here who seriously wants to know about Armenian genocide to read “A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and The Question of Turkish Responsibility” by Taner Akçam, a leading dissident Turkish intellectual and an international authority on the subject. Also read his scathing scholarly review of Lewy’s lame book called “Guenter Lewy’s The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey.” But I’m repeating myself. Why? Because Olcer does not allow facts to stand in the way of foregone conclusions.

          Fifth, the Ottoman Turks came as imperialists to all the countries they’ve conquered, killing women and children, which certainly does not justify your preaching to us, Olcer. First, you have to admit to killing in your own history by the millions — Armenians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Russians, et al., and then, of course, the Kurds, which I am sure you will deny as usual.

          For you, there is comfort of picking and choosing who is human and who is not. For me, everyone deserves to live in peace. And for your own political and nationalistic gains, interests, you show interest in this event, nothing more. I am sorry for you and your stupid rants, which are but pathetic excuses for polemics. You are a primitive vile barbarian, hardly more than a savage in disguise.

          I have already suggested that you crawl back into the putrid hole in the ground from whence you came and stop polluting the air with your miasmic presence. You didn’t hear me, I guess. I don’t mind repeating myself. And now, be a good boy and be gone, you ignorant windbag, just shut your trap and be gone, you coward, who is afraid to give his real name.

      • Of course you did not publish my last comment, so much for free speech :) Christianity demands love, respect and not deceit not censorship and not smearing people.
        here it is, please at least publish this so your readers can get some objective reading on this tradejic event.

        “The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, Lewy”

        • So this book, “The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide” by Guenther Lewy, solves the mystery for us once and for all, eh?

          Then read this in-depth critical scholarly review by Taner Akçam, your fellow Turk and a leading international authority on the Armenian genocide: “Guenter Lewy’s The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey.”

          And then read Akçam’s “A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and The Question of Turkish Responsibility.”

          And then shut up, OK, Olcer?

          Oh, but wait: am I not violating the Turkish laws against denigrating the so-called “Turkishness” (Article 301 of Turkey’s penal code)? So have your Islamist gov’t sue me — unlike you, I don’t hide my real name.

    • Olcer, the founders of modern Turkey WERE indeed Young Turks, led by Turkish demi-god Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Is this news to you? Or do they not teach Turkish history in Turkish schools? And it was the Young Turks’ gov’t that headed the Armenian genocide.

      “Question, what was French navy doing near Turkey?” Answer in the form of a newsflash: The French navy was taking part in WWI against the Axis powers, which included Turkey, ergo their hostile actions against Turkey. And I thought this fact was well-known to grade school children, no? Also, the French forces (just like any Allied forces) were attacking the Turkish army, rather than Turkish civilians. But since was is a dirty business, many civilians died, too. Is this news to you, too? Let me remind you something else, too — it was the Axis powers that attacked the Allies, NOT the other way around. It does matter, you know, who throws the first punch. He who throws the first punch, but then loses the fight, has nothing to complain about and should keep his mouth shut.

      “Imperialists do not have any SHAME, they go to other people’s countries, kill them women children included then blame the victim. How nice of you.” Nice indeed — and true, too: the Ottoman imperialists (after all, it wasn’t called the Ottoman EMPIRE for nothing, duh) did invade other people’s countries, and killed them, including women and children. But I thought you knew all that already, no?

      “Who are the founders of Israel?” Well, let’s see: the Jews of all types: Socialists, trade-unionists, Revisionists, secular, religious, workers, farmers, businessmen, laborers, rich, poor, and everything in between. And no, they were NOT a bunch of “terrorists” who killed British civilians. When the war with the British went into full swing (circa 1944), they went after the British military and the Mandatory powers. Yes, occasionally British (and Jewish, and Arab) civilians died. But that, unfortunately, is the dirty nature of the war (see above).

      For example, when the Irgun (Etzel), led by Menachem Begin, decided to attack the King David Hotel, which housed the British Military HQ (and a library of dossiers on the Jewish Resistance), they alerted the British (and others) three times on the phone. But the arrogant British colonel in charge thought the Jews were bluffing, so he ordered the hotels doors locked, which resulted in a large number of casualties — British, Jewish, and Arab. Do real terrorists warn their intended targets of the impending attack, thereby losing the element of surprise? The same, btw, occurred during the so-called Deir Yassin “massacre” (and no, it was NOT a massacre, contrary to popular belief).

      “there is no strong turkish lobby, Author is mistaken that with the Jewish lobby, you cannot even print the truth in usa if it is bad for Israel, it is censorship of free speech.” This has got to be the best line in this whole screed — and a juicy one, too: if this is not classic anti-Semitism, then I don’t know what is.

      Olcer, I suggest you crawl back into the putrid hole in the ground from whence you came and stop polluting the air with your miasmic presence.

  • I’m a Turkish citizen, and I think what the late-Ottoman government did qualifies as genocide. I also think that the Armenian genocide was the harbinger of what’s to come before and during the Second world War, a.k.a. the holocaust. Indeed, the involvement of German military officials in documenting the Armenian genocide is breathtaking.

    But then, I also think that the current Israeli government is applying an apartheid regime towards the Palestinians, and showing strong tendencies to slide towards racism.

    Now, let’s see who are the denialists.

    • Ertank:

      Thanks for your response. It is much closer to the type of discussion that needs to be had.

      One quibble. It wasn’t the “late Ottoman government” that perpetrated the Armenian Genocide. It was the founders of the modern state of Turkey who perpetrated the genocide. They were not the custodians of a dying empire, but the founder of the country of which you are a citizen and which is oppressing yet another people group — the Kurds. I believe one reason why most Turkish officials and elites have such a difficult time contending with the Armenian Genocide is that if they were to accept responsibility for the crimes committed against the Armenians, it would force them to acknowledge/challenge/end their violence against the Kurds. Good luck in your activism on that front, Ertank. Send us the links you’ve got to the work you’ve done on this front. We’re all eyes.

      As far as Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, indeed they are troubled. The Israelis have been attacked from every bit of territory from which they have withdrawn since the 1990s and maybe even the 70s. Israel made an offer at Camp David, Arafat said no and refused to make a counter offer and then said no to the Clinton Parameters a few months later. The Second Intifada prompted many Israelis when and if a two-state solution will ever be achieved.

      The Palestinians have broadcast hate speech against Jews, similar to the imagery directed against Israel and the U.S. in The Valley of the Wolves Franchise. They have done this on PA-controlled television.

      Despite all of this, Israel sets the gold standard for human rights in the Middle East. It treats its adversaries, dissidents and minorities with far greater humanity than any other country in the Middle East. It’s not perfect, but its peace and human rights community is a demonstration of how a democracy holds itself accountable. This community is simply without a counterpart in Palestinian society.

      Rather than assailing Israel, Ertank, you should regard Israel and its activists as a model for Turkey and its activists to follow.

    • Thanks for reaffirming the obvious, Ertank — people do need to hear it, lest they forget it. You bring forth the facts that need to be heard, studied, and discussed.

      I actually own a little book by a German officer, who was one of the eyewitnesses of the Armenian genocide, dispensing with the issue of whether it took place at all. The Germans there were rather impartial observers, given their allegiances at the time, and have left quite a body of evidentiary documentation to that effect.

      One thing has to be noted, though, in addition to what Dexter wrote about the Young Turks being among the chief instigators and perpetrators of that genocide:

      The Kurds, most unfortunately, took an active part in it, too. This shouldn’t be forgotten, either.

      However, today the Kurds are on the receiving end of the Turkish wrath and thus deserve our protection, their past sins notwithstanding. In all fairness, there should be a contiguous Republic of Kurdistan, which should be carved out of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.

      As for your obligatory but gratuitous Israel-bashing diatribe — with all due respect, Ertank, I’m afraid you’re barking up a wrong tree. For you see, for the past five years I have lived in Israel, having come here from the U.S., where I’ve lived for almost 30 years, having come there from the USSR. And, while being critical of many aspects of Israeli life (bureaucracy, high cost of living, many stupid decisions on the part of the gov’t, more than occasional sloth, etc.), the apartheid charge is false and malicious.

      But to know that you would have to have an open mind and read various sources. Alas, I’m afraid that Turkish propaganda (especially now, since Turkey has once again embarked on Islamization course) did its share to brainwash your otherwise open and inquisitive mind. There is no racism at play here. Sure, you will find Israeli bigots — but you find bigots in any culture. The difference here is that one wouldn’t dare to openly express such views in polite society — it is as much of a taboo here as it is in other civilized Western countries.

      You should see the pluralism, racial diversity, and multiculturalism in Israel — it is actually quite stunning. People of all races, colors and backgrounds. And what’s even more important than their mere presence is the integration that takes place — marriages b/w people of various ethnic backgrounds are commonplace.

      Haifa University student body is at least 1/3 Arab (if not more). Hebrew U also has a multitude of Arab students. There are many Arab policemen, gov’t workers, doctors, pharmacists, et al. — I come into contact with them on almost daily basis, and almost all such encounters have been positive in my experience. I hope they felt the same way about me.

      Ergo your charge of racism and apartheid is really and honestly out of order here. Since your English is so good, you have the ability of partaking of various media sources. Don’t confine yourself to those that bash Israel just because it exists — please read the less biased sources, like the world press, including European and North American — but do try to avoid The Guardian, though :-)

      Better yet, come to Israel and see for yourself — while you still can, before the Islamist Turkish gov’t makes it a punishable offense.

      Cheers,
      Seva

  • HOW HILARIOUS ARMENIANS WHO LIVE ON THIS HUGE RED INDIAN GRAVE YARD CALLED THE USA ARE TRYING TO EDUCATE THE WORLD ABOUT TURKISH INVASION OF ARMENIAN TERRITORY. If you tried to understand the ignorants you couldn’t. 

  • Welcome to the denialists! It is reassuring to see you are out and about! It is like listening to birds chirp, frogs croak and crickets … cricket. It wouldn’t be summer without the sounds and no discussion of Turkish history is complete without your lies!

    • @Dexter Van Zile You are not short for words when it comes to criticising Turks, It’s parasites like you who constantly spill venom towards Turkey that makes us Turks determine to bury your racist false claims. Why dont you get yourself a shovel and start digging im sure you will come across thousands of bones buried that are the remains of native Indians that once walked the land you live on before you Christian whites invaded America. You are a very ignorant and a poor journalist go make yourself a Turkish coffee and relax remember the world owes Armenians NOTHING! And we Turks are here to stay so go get yourself a life. LONG LIVE TURKEY. 

      • You are correct that the United States treated the First Nations in its territory horribly. But in the years since, we have repented of our national sin, just as we did for slavery. We have accorded Native Peoples semi-sovereign status. In addition to their rights as U.S. citizens, they have been accorded fishing rights in the Pacific Northwests and the ability to construct casinos on their land. This is in keeping with the treaties we signed with their leaders in the late 1800s.

        These rights have been protected by the Federal Courts. For example, in 1974, Judge Boldt affirmed the fishing rights of tribes in the Pacific Northwest, and said they were entitled to 50 percent of the harvestable fish in the region’s waters. This cost non-tribal fishermen in the region access to their livelihoods. In 1980, a subsequent court ruling imposed demands on state and federal governments in the region to protect the environment so as to allow the continued existence of the fish populations that the tribal fishers were entitled to harvest. This gave the tribes great power over water use and forestry practices in the region.

        Clearly, these actions do not undo or justify the violence our ancestors perpetrated, but it does indicate that Americans have worked to confront those parts of our history in ways that Turkey simply has not.

  • You guys should be locked up for impersonating journalists.
    Your piece is nothing but a “hateful pro-Israel, get even with Erdogan” rubbish.

    • And you, sir, are a vacuous windbag with nothing of substance or value to say. The article is purely factual, whereas your bigoted and violent reaction to it is purely knee-jerk. I wonder why — is it because you hate Israel or the Armenians? Or both?

      • Both, because both of you are lying parasites milking my country and destroying our national image.

        • Ladies & gents, allow me to present an equal-opportunity bigot, Dorian Taft, who not only hates the Armenians, but (naturally) the Jews, too. Flush them out and let the world see them for what they truly are — humanoid scum, not fit for any civilized society. It is amazing that they actually aren’t shy or ashamed about being so outspoken about it. Of course, they only do that while hiding under the veil of anonymity (I always give my real name).

          BTW, Dorian, what might your country be — Turkey? If so, the national image you so cling to is long since gone — at least since Erdogan came to power. The Mavi Marmara affair didn’t help it, either — anyone with half a brain could see through that Turkish ploy. It’s just too bad the Israelis were so naive, descending on the deck with paintball guns so as to mark up the bad boys. Little did they know (actually, they should’ve known — it was a breakdown in the Israeli chain of command) what kinds of murderous thugs were lying in ambush. But at least these Islamist Turkish thugs paid a heavy price for it in the end — “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” …

          As for the “lying parasites” accusation — I have no clue what on Earth you’re talking about. Dexter’s article was about well-established historical facts. Oh, btw, he is NOT Jewish — not that this should matter to anyone with half a brain (apparently you don’t possess even that much). If you meant to say that Armenians and Jews lie — oh boy, I don’t think you want to go in that direction, as you would have no leg left to stand on when I’m done with you.

          And as for the charge of Armenians and Jews “milking [your] country” (whatever that country might be — pray tell us) — you gotta be from another planetary system altogether. The fact that both the Armenian and the Jewish people have given to the world a whole lot — certainly much more than their proportional representation among the general population of this planet — is beyond dispute and is a well-known phenomenon. It mainly has to do with their culture (something you apparently lack).

          But wait, why am I wasting my breath, explaining the obvious to a virulent Armenian-hating anti-Semite?

  • Many Armenians live and work in countries that have worst history than Turkeys but they never question about the brutal execution of the red Indians or what about the Armenians living in Australia does it ever cross there mind who walked this continent before they where killed to make way for white christian immigrants such as the Armenians! It’s fine living in Australia or the USA as an Armenian but please shut-up you hypocrites. 

    • What does one evil (e.g. the extermination of Native Americans by the Spanish, Portuguese, British, or of the Aborigines in Australia, et al.) have to do with any other evil (e.g. the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire)? All evil is evil, and your bait-and-switch tactics are all too transparent and vile.

      In your previous post you were trying to deny well-established and amply-proven historical facts, attempting to rewrite history. Now you are trying to shut up the Armenians and those who support their plight of having modern Turkey recognize and atone for the sins of old Turkey.

      There is a good reason why the denial of Armenian genocide became a punishable offense in France — I sure hope other civilized countries will follow suit. People like you, David Irving, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, et al. should be brought to trial for the denial of any genocide (including Armenian, Holocaust, etc.).

      “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” — Edmund Burke.

    • Again, you mention the native tribes in North America. As I stated above, you are correct, we did terrible acts of violence against the native tribes. We have repented for these sins and worked to make it right as best we can. I think on this score, the United States provides a model that Turkey should follow.

  • I think Dexter Van Zile is as confused as the Armenians! wasn’t it the Paris Peace Conference, immediately after World War I heard all the evidence and made decisions about what was right and wrong. Since the Paris Peace Conference at the time rejected Armenian claims–what right does any nation or group now have to reopen this historical period of time to give Armenians damages from a country that wasn’t even in existence until 8 years after the false claim was first made? To grant the Armenian “wish” of condemning modern day Turkey of committing a genocide is just not justice in today’s world. Why should the Turks admit to any such thing? When will the Armenians work for peace in their region of the world rather than starting war after war and making false demands upon its neighbors? 

    • Wow, one could just replace the word “Armenians” in this comment with the word “Jews” and get a typical Holocaust-denying drivel.

      So, LEVENT, the 1.5 million Armenians who were slaughtered and starved to death by the Turks (and Kurds) didn’t really exist, you say? There was no genocide against the Armenians?

      What about Hitler, who, when preparing for his conquest of Europe and “The Final Solution” against the Jews, said in a 1939 speech, “Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?”

      Your so-called arguments are beyond lame — they are pathetic, albeit full of hatred for the Armenians and disrespect for the memory of the 1.5M victims. You should be ashamed of yourself — but that would require a conscience, which you so demonstrably lack.

      • @Seva Brodsky, Many times Turkey offered to Armenia to open archives and to see historical facts correctly, But Armenians didn’t accept it. Why are Armenians so determined to bypass Historians and use politicians to highlight there false claims, the civilised way is Historians must be engaged with history and politicians with politics and dont  forget Jews were removed from Vienna, Austria for the sole reason they were Jews. The reason the Ottomans removed Armenians from eastern Anatolia was because they were disloyal and were helping the invading Russians. The Nazi acts do not compare to the Ottoman actions. For anyone to compare Nazi Germany to the Ottoman Empire is to compare an apple to a fence post. The problem with Armenians in general you are locked in a miserable bubble that just dosen’t burst living your miserable history to your children and like i said go ask an abourigeni about ethnic cleansing and while your there remind local Armenians about the history of Australia! Turkey will never allow this false claim to undermined my children today, who do the Armenians think they are trying to cast a dark shadow over the future of our Children image. Your dream is for Hollywood to mislead the world like they did with the spaghetti junctions making the real natives of USA the criminals. LONG LIVE TURKEY.

        • Levent (or whatever you’re called), you are an ignorant and arrogant (which usually go together) excuse for a patriot. Real patriots — like modern American ones — are not afraid to honestly look at their history and admit the mistakes and wrongdoings.

          You are also a shameless liar — it was the Armenians (along with the rest of the civilized world) who have been demanding that Turkey open its archives and bring forth the truth. Only Turkey never allowed this to happen. To be fair, there have been some brave Turkish intellectuals who have demanded that their gov’t come clean and resolve this issue once and for all so as let the matter come to a close, healing the wounds and restoring the relationships.

          Only Turkey wouldn’t hear of it as this might mean embarrassment on the int’l arena. And since one of the dominant factors of most (if not all) Muslim cultures is the concept of honor, however displaced, misguided, or misapplied, Turkey digs its own grave, as has become quite clear to most observers in recent years. Good bye, Kemalism and hello, Islamism!

          What Viennese Jews have to do with any of this is anybody’s guess — you have a weird penchant for tying together unrelated matters (or maybe it’s just your stupid tactic of obfuscating the issue). If the Ottomans were afraid of the Christian Armenians siding with the Christian Russian enemy, they could’ve done what the Americans have done with their own Japanese-Americans: intern them in some remote area. Let me remind you that those Japanese-Americans were not killed or starved to death, and that after the war they have returned to their homes. Moreover, the US gov’t eventually paid them all monetary compensation for interning them (unfairly, as it turned out).

          Compare and contrast that with the treatment, which Armenians received in the hands of the Ottoman Turks — mass murder and death marches with mass starvation. In short, genocide. And no amount of hatred and lies you, your barbaric gov’t, and your compatriots — those ignorant arrogant ones — spew out is going to change this historical fact. And until and unless you recognize it, and learn to accept it, and atone for it (like the Germans did after WWII), you will not belong in the family of civilized nations, sinking instead ever so deeper into the Medieval abyss of Islamism, which is no better than Nazism.

          And now, go hit those history books, ignoramus. LONG LIVE THE TRUTH!

    • Levent, take your simplistic, not to say simpleminded, opinions elsewhere. Neither the Armenians nor all those who defend the reality of the Armenian genocide are confused. If there is a demonstration of confusion here is the ridiculous Turkish mishmash of ideas denying the factuality of the genocide of Armenians in 1915.

      If anything the author is not forceful enough in unmasking the bone-deep hatred of anything and everything Armenian in “modern” Turkey today. I guess those who deny the Armenian genocide are those who hate Armenians today, it is normal and a natural racist Turkish behaviour, the same racism which permitted the committing of the genocide by the recent ancestors of today’s Turks.

      One last thing Levent, you know what to do, or where to shove, the so-called “opened” archives in Turkey.

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