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Anti-Armenian sentiment

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Anti-Armenian sentiment

Anti-Armenian sentiment, also known as Anti-Armenianism and Armenophobia, is a diverse spectrum of negative feelings, dislikes, fears, aversion, derision and/or prejudice towards Armenians, Armenia and the Armenian culture. Modern anti-Armenianism is usually expressed by opposition to the actions or existence of Armenia, aggressive denial of the Armenian Genocide or belief in an Armenian conspiracy to fabricate history and manipulate public and political opinion for political gain.[1]

By location

Turkey

Of this photo, the United States ambassador wrote, "Scenes like this were common throughout the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation".

Armenian Genocide and its denial

Although it was possible for Armenians to achieve status and wealth in the Ottoman Empire, as a community they were never accorded more than "second-class citizen" status and were regarded as fundamentally alien to the Muslim character of Ottoman society.[2] In 1895, revolts among the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire lead to Sultan Abdül Hamid's decision to massacre tens of thousands of Armenians in the Hamidian massacres.[3]

During World War I, the Ottoman government massacred between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians in the Armenian Genocide.[4][5][6][7] The Turkish government has aggressively denied the Armenian Genocide. This position has been criticized in a letter from the International Association of Genocide Scholars to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[8]

Contemporary

Cenk Saraçoğlu argues that anti-Armenian attitudes in Turkey "are no longer constructed and shaped by social interactions between the 'ordinary people' [...] Rather, the Turkish media and state promote and disseminate an overtly anti-Armenian discourse."[9] According to a 2011 survey in Turkey, 73.9% of respondents admitted having unfavorable views toward Armenians. The survey showed an unfavorable stance toward Armenians was "relatively more widespread among those participants with lower levels of education and socioeconomic status."[10] According to Minority Rights Group, while the government recognizes Armenians as a minority group, as used in Turkey this term denotes second-class status.[11]

"The new generations are being taught to see Armenians not as human, but [as] an entity to be despised and destroyed, the worst enemy. And the school curriculum adds fuel to the existing fires."

- Turkish lawyer Fethiye Çetin[12]

The Ankara Chamber of Commerce included a documentary, accusing the Armenian people of slaughtering Turks, with its paid tourism advertisements in the June 6, 2005 edition of the magazine [13][14] The February 12, 2007 edition of Time Europe included an acknowledgment of the truth of the Armenian Genocide and a DVD of a documentary by French director Laurence Jourdan about the genocide.[15] Hrant Dink, the editor of the weekly bilingual newspaper Agos, was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007, by Ogün Samast. He was reportedly acting on the orders of Yasin Hayal, a militant Turkish ultra-nationalist.[16][17] For his statements on Armenian identity and the Armenian Genocide, Dink had been prosecuted three times under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for “insulting Turkishness”.[18][19] (The law was later amended by the Turkish parliament, changing "Turkishness" to "Turkish Nation" and making it more difficult to prosecute individuals for the said offense.[20]) Dink had also received numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists who viewed his "iconoclastic" journalism (particularly regarding the Armenian Genocide) as an act of treachery.[21]

Ergenekon group were arrested in January, 2009 in Ankara. The Turkish police said the round-up was triggered by orders Şahin gave to assassinate 12 Armenian community leaders in Sivas.[22][23] According to the official investigation in Turkey, Ergenekon also had a role in the murder of Hrant Dink.[24]

Accounts of hate speech towards targeted groups in Turkish news outlets with Armenians shown as being targeted the most according to a January–April 2014 Media Watch on Hate Speech and Discriminatory Language Report.[25]

In 2002, a monument was erected in memory of Turkish-Armenian composer Onno Tunç in Yalova, Turkey.[26] The monument to the composer of Armenian origin was subjected to much vandalism over the course of the years, in which unidentified people had taken out the letters on the monument. In 2012 Yalova Municipal Assembly decided to remove the monument. Bilgin Koçal, the mayor of Yalova informed the public that the memorial had been destroyed by time and that it would shortly be replaced with a new one in the memory of Tunç.[27][28][29] On the other hand, a similar memorial stays in place at the village of Selimiye, where an aircraft had crashed; and the people in the village of 187 expressed their protest about the vandalism claims regarding the memorial in Yalova, adding that they paid from their own funds to keep up the maintenance of the monument in their village against the wearing effect of natural causes.[30]

Sevag Balikci, a Turkish soldier of Armenian descent, was shot dead on April 24, 2011, the day of the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide during his military service in Batman.[31] It was later discovered that killer Kıvanç Ağaoğlu was an ultra-nationalist.[32] Through his Facebook profile, it was uncovered that he was a sympathizer of nationalist politician Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and Turkish agent / contract killer Abdullah Çatlı, who himself had a history of anti-Armenian activity, such as the Armenian Genocide Memorial bombing in a Paris suburb in 1984.[33][34][35] His Facebook profile also showed that he was a Great Union Party (BBP) sympathizer, a far-right nationalist party in Turkey.[33] Testimony given by Sevag Balıkçı's fiancée stated that he was subjected to psychological pressure at the military compound.[36] She was told by Sevag over the phone that he feared for his life because a certain military serviceman threatened him by saying, "If war were to happen with Armenia, you would be the first person I would kill".[36][37]

On February 26, 2012, on the anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre a demonstration took place in Istanbul which contained hate speech and threats towards Armenia and Armenians.[38][39][40][41] Chants and slogans during the demonstration include: "You are all Armenian, you are all bastards", "bastards of Hrant [Dink] can not scare us", and "Taksim Square today, Yerevan Tomorrow: We will descend upon you suddenly in the night."[38][39]

In 2012 the ultra-nationalist ASIM-DER group (founded in 2002) had targeted Armenian schools, churches, foundations and individuals in Turkey as part of an anti-Armenian hate campaign.[42]

On 23 February 2014, a group of protestors carrying a banner that said, "Long live the Ogun Samasts! Down with Hrant Dink!" went in front of an Armenian school in Istanbul and later walked in front of the main building of the Agos newspaper, the same location where Hrant Dink was assassinated in 2007.[43][44]

On 5 August 2014, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a televised interview on [45][46][47]

In February 2015, graffiti was discovered near the wall of an Armenian church in the [48][51] In the same month banners celebrating the Armenian Genocide were spotted in several cities throughout Turkey. They declared: "We celebrate the 100th anniversary of our country being cleansed of Armenians. We are proud of our glorious ancestors." (Yurdumuzun Ermenilerden temizlenişinin 100. yıldönümü kutlu olsun. Şanlı atalarımızla gurur duyuyoruz.)[52][53]

On 20 February 2015, the Mayor of Bayburt Mete Memis called the deeds of Turkish soldiers who massacred Armenians a hundred years ago "heroism." He made a congratulatory statement on the 97th anniversary of Bayburt’s sacking, in which it's Armenian resident were massacred and exiled as part of the Armenian Genocide, claiming that 97 years ago, the Turkish soldiers in Bayburt had "written their name in history for defending the homeland."[54]

In March 2015, the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek, filed a formal complaint on defamation charges against journalist Hayko Bağdat because he called him an Armenian. The complaint petitioned that the statements by the journalist are "false and include insult and libel."[55] Gökçek also demanded 10,000 liras in compensation under a civil lawsuit against Bağdat for psychological damages, and the lawsuit is now pending.[55]

During the official state funeral of Turkish serviceman Olgun Karakoyunlu, a man exclaimed: "The PKK are all Armenians, but are hiding. I am Kurdish and a Muslim, but I am not an Armenian. The end of Armenians is near. God willingly, we will bring an end to them. Oh Armenians, whatever you do it is in vain, we know you well. Whatever you do will be in vain."[56] Similarly, in 2007, a state-appointed imam, presiding over a funeral of a Turkish soldier killed by the PKK, said that the death was due to "Armenian bastards".[57]

On September 2015, during the Turkey–PKK conflict, a video was released which captured police in Cizre announcing on a loudspeaker to the local Kurdish population that they were "Armenian bastards" (external link of video).[58] A few days later, in another instance, the Cizre police made repeated announcements on loudspeaker saying "You are all Armenians" (external link of video).[59][12]

On 9 September 2015, a crowd of Turkish youth rallying in Armenian populated districts of Istanbul chanted "We must turn these districts into Armenian and Kurdish cemeteries".[60]

In September 2015, a 'Welcome' sign was installed in Iğdır and written in four languages, Turkish, Kurdish, English, and Armenian. The Armenian portion of the sign was protested by ASIMDER who demanded its removal.[61] In October 2015, the Armenian writing on the 'Welcome' sign was heavily vandalized.[62]

Azerbaijan

Azeri soldiers destroying the tombstones at the Armenian Cemetery in Julfa.

Anti-Armenianism exists in Azerbaijan on institutional[63] and social[64] levels. Armenians are "the most vulnerable group in Azerbaijan in the field of racism and racial discrimination."[65]

Throughout the 20th century, Baku and Shusha, the centers of Armenian cultural life under the Russian Empire.

However, the current xenophobia in Azerbaijan toward Armenia and Armenians have shaped mostly during the Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku. An estimated of 350,000 Armenians left "in two waves in 1988 and in 1990 after anti-Armenian violence."[70]

The tensions eventually escalated into a large-scale military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian forces took control of most of former NKAO and seven adjacent districts outside of NKAO area. A cease-fire was reached in 1994 and is still in effect as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is de facto independent, while de jure inside the Azerbaijani borders.

Since then the Armenian side accuses the Azerbaijani government for carrying out anti-Armenian policy inside and outside the country, which includes propaganda of hate toward Armenia and Armenians and destruction of cultural heritage.[71][72][73] In 2011, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance report on Azerbaijan stated that "the constant negative official and media discourse concerning the Republic of Armenia helps to sustain a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin, who remain vulnerable to discrimination."[74]

Russia

A 19th-century Russian explorer, Vasili Lvovich Velichko, who was active during the period when the Russian tzarism carried out a purposeful anti-Armenian policy,[75] wrote "Armenians are the extreme instance of brachycephaly; their actual racial instinct make them naturally hostile to the State".[76]

According to a 2012 VTSIOM opinion research, 6% of respondents in Moscow and 3% in Saint Petersburg were "experiencing feelings of irritation, hostility" toward Armenians.[77] In the 2000s there have been racist murders of Armenians in Russia.[78][79]

Georgia

In 1989 Kakhetia – our holy land!"[80]

In 2007, the Georgian media ran several stories on the March 5 parliamentary elections in the breakaway region of [82] The paper also reported that the Abkazanian republic might already be receiving financial assistance from Armenians living in the United States.[82] Some Armenian groups believe such reports are attempting to create conflict between Armenians and ethnic Abkhazians to destabilize the region.[82]

The successive Georgian governments has actively pursued a policy of desecration of Armenian churches and historical monuments on the territory of Georgia.[83] On November 16, 2008, Georgian monk Tariel Sikinchelashvili instructed workers to raze to the ground the graves of patrons of art Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshev.[84] The Armenian Church of white genocide".[89]

In August, 2011, Georgia's Culture Minister [90][91]

In July 2014, the Armenian Ejmiatsin Church in Tbilisi was attacked. The Armenian diocese said it was "a crime committed on ethnic and religious grounds."[92]

United States

While prejudice against ethnic Armenians in the United States is not widespread today, some notable cases do exist.

Samuel Weems published the book Armenia: The Secrets of a "Christian" Terrorist State in May 2002. Weems has made such claims as the "number one export of Armenia is terrorism" and that there was no Armenian Genocide.[93] Samuel Weems was disbarred[94][95] [1] as an attorney and charged with arson and insurance fraud.

American historian Justin McCarthy is known for his controversial view that no genocide was intended by the Ottoman Empire but that both Armenians and Turks died as the result of civil war. Some attribute his denial of the Armenian Genocide[96] to anti-Armenianism, as he holds an honorary doctorate of the Turkish Boğaziçi University and he is also a board member of the Institute of Turkish Studies.[97][98]

In April 2007, the Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Douglas Frantz blocked a story on the Armenian Genocide written by Mark Arax, allegedly citing the fact Arax was of Armenian descent and therefore had a biased opinion on the subject. Arax, who has published similar articles before,[99] has lodged a discrimination complaint and threatened a federal lawsuit. Frantz, who did not cite any specific factual errors in the article, is accused of having a bias obtained while being stationed in Istanbul, Turkey. Harut Sassounian, an Armenian community leader, accused Frantz of having expressed support for denial of the Armenian Genocide and has stated he personally believed that Armenians rebelled against the Ottoman Empire, an argument commonly used to justify the killings.[99] Frantz resigned from the paper not long afterward, possibly due to the mounting requests for his dismissal from the Armenian community.[100]

Another incident that received less coverage was a series of hate mail campaigns directed at Paul Krekorian, a city council candidate for Californian Democratic Primary, making racist remarks and accusations that the Armenian community was engaging in voter fraud.[101]

In the 4th episode of Season 3 of the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls (aired on October 14, 2013) "when a new cappuccino maker is brought into the cupcake store by a co-worker, he says he bought it for a cheap price from a person who stole it but sells it at a profit, adding 'it's the Armenian way.' When the character is pressed that he is not Armenian, he says 'I know. But, it’s the Armenian way.'" This scene was characterized as "racist" by Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian, who criticized CBS for promotion of racial stereotypes in their shows.[102]

Other countries

Israel

The Jerusalem Post reported in 2009 that out of all Christians in Jerusalem's Old City Armenians were most often spat on by Haredi and Orthodox Jews.[103] In 2011 several instances of spitting and verbal attacks on Armenian clergymen by Haredi Jews were reported in the Old City.[104] In a 2013 interview Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian stated that Armenians in Israel are treated as "third-class citizens."[105]

Pakistan

Pakistan is the only United Nations member state that has not recognized the Republic of Armenia, citing its support to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.[106]

Tajikistan

In early 1990, 39 Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan were settled in Tajikistan. False rumors spread that allegedly up to 5,000 Armenians were being resettled in new housing in Dushanbe experiencing acute housing shortage at that time. This led to riots which targeted both the Communist government and Armenians.[107] The Soviet Ministry of Interior (MVD) suppressed the demonstrations, during which more than 20 people were killed and over 500 were injured.[108]

Ukraine

In 2009, an ethnic conflict broke out in the city of Marhanets following the murder of a Ukrainian man by an Armenian. A fight between Ukrainians and Armenians started in the "Scorpion" café,[109] and later turned into riots and pogroms against Armenians,[110] accompanied by the burning of houses and cars, which led to exodus of Armenians from the city.[111]

See also

References

  1. ^ Black Garden, by Thomas De Waal (Aug 25, 2004), page 42
  2. ^ Communal Violence: The Armenians and the Copts as Case Studies, by Margaret J. Wyszomirsky, World Politics, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Apr., 1975), p. 438
  3. ^ Hamidian Massacres, Armenian Genocide.
  4. ^ Levon Marashlian. Politics and Demography: Armenians, Turks, and Kurds in the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge, MA: Zoryan Institute, 1991.
  5. ^ Samuel Totten, Paul Robert Bartrop, Steven L. Jacobs (eds.) Dictionary of Genocide. Greenwood Publishing, 2008, ISBN 0-313-34642-9, p. 19.
  6. ^ Noël, Lise. Intolerance: A General Survey. Arnold Bennett, 1994, ISBN 0-7735-1187-3, p. 101.
  7. ^ .
  8. ^ Archived April 16, 2006 at the Wayback Machine from the International Association of Genocide Scholars to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, June 13, 2005
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ "In Turkey, a Clash of Nationalism and History," Washington Post, 2005-09-29
  14. ^ TIME carries documentary, adopts policy on Armenian Genocide
  15. ^ .
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Turkish police uncover arms cache, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 10, 2009
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b
  39. ^ a b
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ a b
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^ a b
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ (Russian) Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^ Benthall, Jonathan (ed.), The best of Anthropology Today, 2002, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-26255-0, p. 350 by Anatoly Khazanov
  77. ^
  78. ^ Armenian student killed in Moscow race attack Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow, The Guardian, Monday 24 April 2006
  79. ^ Six Russians Jailed For Racist Killing Of Armenian March 14, 2007, (Reuters)
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^ a b c
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^ The cultural genocide of Armenian historical monuments in Georgia, Organisation for the support of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia “Kanter”
  86. ^
  87. ^
  88. ^
  89. ^
  90. ^ a b Georgia sacks theatre legend for 'xenophobia', AFP, August 2011
  91. ^
  92. ^
  93. ^ Weems Interview, Tall Armenian Tale.
  94. ^ 98-801
  95. ^
  96. ^
  97. ^ MacDonald, David B. Identity Politics in the Age of Genocide: the Holocaust and Historical Representation. London: Routledge, 2008, p. 121. ISBN 0-415-43061-5.
  98. ^
  99. ^ a b
  100. ^
  101. ^
  102. ^
  103. ^
  104. ^
  105. ^
  106. ^
  107. ^
  108. ^
  109. ^
  110. ^
  111. ^ Межнациональные столкновения в Марганце "Армяне массово выезжают в другие города."

Further reading

  • Hilmar Kaiser: Imperialism, Racism, and Development Theories. The Construction of a Dominant Paradigm on Ottoman Armenians, Gomidas Institute, Ann Arbor (MI) 1997
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