GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region issued an open letter to the California Democratic Party on Thursday protesting the Progressive Caucus for inviting Armenian Genocide denier Cenk Uygur to speak at the party’s convention in San Diego this weekend.
Uygur, who is the host of the offensively-named program “The Young Turks,” has gone publicly denied the Armenian Genocide on several occasions in various publications and on his Web site, The Young Turks.
“The claims of an Armenian Genocide are not based on historical facts. If the history of the period is examined it becomes evident that in fact no such genocide took place,” said Uygur, according to a post on his Web site.
The ANCA-WR is urging that Uygur’s invitation be reconsidered.
Below is the text of the letter to the party.
February 9, 2012
Dear Members of the California Democratic Party,
It has come to the attention of the Armenian National Committee of America, Western Region (ANCA-WR), that the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) has invited genocide denier and lead host of the offensively-named The Young Turks news program, Cenk Uygur, to speak at the CDP Convention in San Diego, California, on February 11, 2012.
The Young Turks, upon whose name Mr. Uygur’s program is based, officially known as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), came to power in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire using the guise of reform and progressive ideology. As World War I began, the leaders of the Young Turks, known as the Triumvirate, or Three Pashas, – Mehmet Talaat, Ahmed Djemal, and Ismail Enver – initiated the planned extermination of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire.
These Young Turks were responsible for the murder of over 1.5 million Armenians. The suffering of the Armenian Nation at the hands of this group has left an indelible association of the moniker with the incomprehensible horrors of the Armenian Genocide.
Mr. Uygur’s decision to use this highly offensive and hurtful moniker for his news program has been a source of continued pain for the Armenian community in the United States and abroad.
Furthermore, Mr. Uygur has publicly denied the genocide committed against the Armenian people. One example is in the Daily Pennsylvanian where he wrote, “The claims of an Armenian Genocide are not based on historical facts. If the history of the period is examined it becomes evident that in fact no such genocide took place.”
For a caucus of the California Democratic Party – a party in which our community has placed its trust to speak the truth about the historical injustices suffered by the Armenian people – is appalling, insensitive, and irresponsible.
We ask that the California Democratic Party urge the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party to reconsider its decision to invite an admitted denier of the Armenian Genocide whose program’s name, The Young Turks, perpetuates the misguided disregard for the memory of the martyrs of the Armenian people.
Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region