December 6, 1997
Larry Martz, Editor
Dear Mr. Martz:
Your January 1998 focus, "When Nations Face Up To The Sins Of The Past", omitted the most egregious and systematic effort at false historical revisionism--an effort whose centerpiece is genocide denial. As stated by Stanley Cohen, Professor of Criminology at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem:
The nearest successful example [of "collective denial"] in the modern era is the 80 years of official denial by successive Turkish governments of the 1915-17 genocide against the Armenians in which some 1.5 million people lost their lives. This denial has been sustained by deliberate propaganda, lying and coverups, forging documents, suppression of archives, and bribing scholars. The West, especially the United States, has colluded by not referring to the massacres in the United Nations, ignoring memorial ceremonies, and surrendering to Turkish pressure in NATO and other strategic arenas of cooperation.1
What makes Turkey’s brand of genocide denial particularly menacing is that, unlike other nations, it is not confined within its own borders but is being aggressively, and stealthily, exported to the US. Turkey has made genocide denial a primary foreign policy objective and, in the process, has seriously undermined the integrity of our nation’s press and academia. As documented by exposés in publications such as The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and even The Turkish Daily News,2 the Turkish Government is spending millions of dollars in pursuit of a false, offensive and, above all, dangerous historical revisionism through the outright bribing of scholars and buying of university chairs within our nation’s most prestigious universities. Just last month, UCLA rejected a million dollar endowment from Turkey in the aftermath of the Princeton scandal--where Heath Lowry was evicted as head of Princeton’s middle eastern studies department after the discovery of his surreptitious employ by the Turkish Government to assist in its campaign of genocide denial. UCLA itself rejected Turkey’s endowment offer for a chair on Turkish studies because its recipient would have been contractually obligated to base his or her research on Turkish archives and keep close and friendly relations with the Turkish Government.
What makes Turkey’s failure to confront its horrific past different than other nations’ is that unlike France, Japan, Germany and Eastern European countries--nations focused on in your January issue--Turkey continues to perpetrated its crimes against humanity by not only feverishly denying its sinister past but by actively covering up its bloodied present as well through ads,3 top-notch public relations firms such as Hill & Knowlton, and an American media disturbingly receptive to its message of denial and hate.
Very truly yours,
P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.
2 "Princeton Is Accused of Fronting For The Turkish Government", The New York Times, 5/22/96; "Critics Accuse Turkish Government of Manipulating Scholarship", Amy Magaro Rubin, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/27/95; "Turkish Largess Raises Questions", The Boston Globe, 11/25/95; "Ciller’s Favorite, Kriegel, Wins New Exclusive Contract", The Turkish Daily News, 4/16/97.
3 "The laughably inept efforts of the Turkish government to deny its policies of torture are given the lie by friends of victims such as Yavuz Onen [who was] beaten and electric shocks were applied to his genitals." The Washington Post, "The Torture That Turkey Fails to Advertise", Colman McCarthy, 11/14/95.