Home > Media, Middle East, Politics > Turkey and History: Shoot the Messenger

Turkey and History: Shoot the Messenger

Taner Akçam writes in openDemocracy:

I am a historian of Turkey and the author of many books and articles on the subject of Turkish nationalism and the Armenian genocide of 1915, among them From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (Zed Books, 2004) and A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Henry Holt, 2007).

In May 2007, I revealed the identity of Murad “Holdwater” Gümen, the secretive webmaster of “Tall Armenian Tale”, an extensive and influential site devoted to “the other side of the falsified Genocide” and the defamation of genocide scholars, myself included. Murad Gümen has been a leading voice in an ongoing campaign to denounce me as a traitor to Turkey and as a terrorist who ought to be of interest to American authorities.

For the last three years, disinformation about me from Tall Armenian Tale has been disseminated all over the internet, eventually reaching the open-source encyclopedia, Wikipedia. This campaign intensified after the publication in November 2006 of my book, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility; it culminated in my detention by Canadian and American border authorities in February 2007, on suspicion of terrorism. As evidence, they showed me my vandalised Wikipedia biography.

Just one month before this incident, the assassination of Istanbul-based journalist Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007 by an ultra-nationalist gunman had put Turkey’s intellectuals on high alert. We knew that in the months before his death, Dink had been targeted by an increasingly vicious media campaign intent on portraying him as a traitor. Among other things, Dink was pilloried for revealing the Armenian identity of Sabiha Gökçen, the adopted daughter of Turkey’s founding father, Kemal Atatürk. Leading the pack against Dink was Hürriyet newspaper, one of the most influential publications in Turkey.

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Categories: Media, Middle East, Politics

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