Prof. Akcam Reveals Turkish Plan to Pay Scholars to Deny the Armenian Genocide

Harut Sassounian


Prof. Taner Akcam dropped a bombshell during a lecture at the Glendale Public Library last month, when he revealed that a confidential source in Istanbul had informed him about the Turkish government’s scheme to bribe American scholars to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Dr. Akcam, holder of the Kaloosdian/Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., stated that “the Turkish government is following a very systematic and aggressive policy in the US,” by attempting to cast doubt on the veracity of the Armenian Genocide. Ankara’s grand scheme is to make Turkish denialist claims as widely acceptable as the belief that the events of 1915 constituted genocide. Moreover, through a series of lawsuits in US courts, Turkey and its proxies are trying to present any criticism of denialist scholars and exclusion of revisionist materials from university programs as suppression of “academic freedom.”

Prof. Akcam, one of the first Turkish scholars to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, related to his audience that during his visit to Istanbul last December, he had a private conversation with a person who had “inside information” regarding the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s activities in the United States on subject of the Armenian Genocide. Dr. Akcam’s confidential source told him that sometime in 2004-2005, an American university professor had met with “authorities connected with the Turkish Foreign Ministry.” At that meeting, the professor told his Turkish hosts that “Turkey didn’t have a systematic program on the academic level with which to counter the claims of an Armenian Genocide,” and that “the genocide claim is well established at this point,” telling them that “there’s very little” they can do “by trying to confront it head on.”

Dr. Akcam was privately informed that the American professor made the following recommendation to Turkish officials: “The thing you need to do is to dig a ditch in front of all the genocide claims; you need to create doubt by writing scholarly works which will awaken that doubt.” Dr. Akcam interpreted these words to mean that “by producing and encouraging new academic works,” American scholars could “normalize the idea that 1915 was not genocide, just as the belief that it was genocide has become accepted.”

While it is commonly assumed that the Turkish government provides financial incentives to scholars worldwide to publish articles and books denying the Armenian Genocide, this is the first time that a knowledgeable Turkish insider has confirmed these assumptions. The confidential source told Dr. Akcam that the Turkish Foreign Ministry accepted the American scholar’s proposal and “transferred large sums of money to the US.” The informant revealed to Dr. Akcam the names of American academics who received funds to write books denying the Armenian Genocide, and disclosed that “there are documents signed by their own hand and that these receipts are now in the files of the Foreign Ministry’s records.”

In his lecture, Dr. Akcam stated that he did not want “to put any academic under a cloud of suspicion.” However, when he connected the information received from his Istanbul source to some recent publications, “a disturbing picture emerges as far as Armenian Genocide research is concerned.”

Dr. Akcam then referred to Michael Gunter’s recent book, “Armenian History and the Question of Genocide,” as a possible “example of this approach.” The website of the book’s publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, stated: “Although as many as 600,000 of them [Armenians] died during World War I, it was neither a premeditated policy perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government nor an event unilaterally implemented without cause. Of course, in no way does this excuse the horrible excesses that were committed.”

Prof. Akcam further observed that the four academics — Hakan Yavuz of University of Utah, Guenter Lewy of University of Massachusetts, Jeremy Salt of Bilkent University, Ankara, and Edward J. Ericson of Marine Corps Command & Staff College, Virginia — who praised Gunter’s book, “are well known for their denialist position and works regarding the genocide of 1915.” Although Prof. Akcam did not wish to make “an accusation against the book’s writer,” he stated: “the strange similarities between what I was told in confidence in Istanbul and what appears on the jacket cover of that book gave me pause, that’s all.”

While no one should accuse academics of receiving funds from the Turkish government or its proxies without solid evidence, it would be enlightening if any of them would voluntarily come forward and disclose whether they have been funded by Turkish sources!

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  1. Halo said:

    The Passage…
    “Although as many as 600,000 of them [Armenians] died during World War I, it was neither a premeditated policy perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government nor an event unilaterally implemented without cause. Of course, in no way does this excuse the horrible excesses that were committed.”
    … is very important because it is an example of how the Turkish government with its paid “historian prostitutes” of America is trying to take out the *legality* out of the genocide (by making it not pre-meditated). Why is this important? Because then the Armenian Genocide will be a footnote in history and Armenians will have no case for reparations and we can all kiss our western provinces goodbye. When this happens, the Turks will shed crocodile tears along with Armenians every April 24, knowing they have successfully gotten away with the biggest crime in Human history.

    • Armen Medicarefraudyan said:

      And who is making these bias one sided claims? Some professor, who was busted for being a former Radical Leftist, who got arrested in Turkey in his 20s for spreading communist propaganda and was plotting to blow up Ambassor Komers limousine and his leftist terror group THKP-C, was responsible for many plots to bomb and attack American targets. He will pay for his terrorism all over Turkey. Oh, and yeah, he had links with the PKK as well. Then he ran like a coward to Germany and became a puppet of Vahan Dadrian. This is Taner Akcam, a communist terrorist masquerading as a “human rights activist.”

      • Kemal GenocideOglu said:

        The Turkish State itself is a terrorist illegitimate entity: none of its so-called ‘judicial’ decisions have any validity in the civilized world. A country that works actively to deny the Armenian Genocide is by definition illegitimate and guilty. The illegitimate Turkish State calling Kurds or anyone else ‘terrorist’ is no different than the illegitimate, criminal Nazi State calling the French Resistance members terrorists.

      • Mary said:

        Do you have more of the like ?You make Akçam all the more interesting .By the way,are you sure Armen is a the right name for you?Something like Abdul or Ahmet would be somewhat more fitting.

  2. Viken Karapetian said:

    I’m surprised this is news. It was my belief that the Turkish government paid “scholars” to deny the Armenian Genocide, whether by funding trips, paying speaking engagements, or help publishing books. See: Sam Weems, Justin McCarthy.

  3. Sergik said:

    This article should be broadcasted in newspapers and T.V.s in the US in whichever way possible as a counter measure against Turkish goverment activities.

  4. Mego said:

    Why the Turkeys goverenment, and it’s paid lobbiest, academics and foreign politicians want to sink beneath Adolph Hitler, who did not deniey the Armenian Genocide, and used it as an example to the german nation to murder six million innocent Jews.

  5. Random Armenian said:

    “While it is commonly assumed that the Turkish government provides financial incentives to scholars worldwide to publish articles and books denying the Armenian Genocide, this is the first time that a knowledgeable Turkish insider has confirmed these assumptions. ”

    Although it would not be the least bit surprising, you need more than this to expose it. You need hard evidence, as mentioned in the last paragraph. Otherwise you’ll get sued. And I would love to have to see such evidence expose the Turkish government. I wish I knew how to make this happen.

  6. Hrant K. said:

    The early symptoms of the implosion of the turkish denialistic taboo cracks are beginning to appear!

  7. necati said:

    you know why akcam hates Turkey ? Because his citizenship was cancelled. he has no home !!! poor man !!!

    • Avery said:

      Hey Necati Genis, I see you found refuge @ another Armenian site: can’t stay away from Armenians, can you ?
      It’s OK: your promise was specifically to AW, so we’ll wait an see.

      As to Mr. Akcam: who needs Turkish citizenship ?. If it is so valuable, why are millions of Turks living illegally in Europe ? Why are Turks desperate to get into US and obtain US Citizenship ?

      Mr. Akcam is living very happily in the USA, where he can speak his mind without being harassed by the Turkish State. He is a great man; we are lucky to have him in the US, before Turks could murder him, like they murdered his friend Hrant Dink.

      • Bignose Unibrowyan said:

        Akcam hates his own race because in the 1970’s, he joined a militant leftist group called THKP-C, where he and his group plotted to attack NATO targets, blow up US Ambassdor Komer’s limousine, and also plotted kill even civilians in Turkey. Akcam was a former member of a leftist group that was reminiscent to those Red Brigades in West Europe and Japan. This is a fact. He even had links with the PKK, and even the leader of the terrorist PKK thinks he’s a two faced liar. Even pro Armenians don’t trust a word that comes out of Akcam’s mouth.

  8. David Boyajian said:

    Of course, we have known for a long, long time that the ITS (Institute for Turkish studies) in the U.S. is supported and/or influenced by the Turkish government and that some of the people in that organization say that there was no Genocide.

    The fact is that it is very hard to “prove” that a particular academician has actually been paid directly by Turkey to say there was no genocide. Turkey can easily funnel money, grants, travel expenses, special favors, and who-knows-what to academicians, organizations, and university programs and claim that these are not intended to “influence” anything. Or Turkey can claim that it is merely funding historical research.

    None of this is really anything that we did not know before. I recall that perhaps 25 or so years ago the Armenian Assembly of America looked into the Turkish and non-Turkish academicians who had an ad in the NY Times in which they cast doubt on the Genocide. The Assembly found that some of them had been the recipients of grant money, funds, or support from Turkish sources. Maybe the Assembly will pull out that report again.

    While this is all a matter of concern, I think we also ought to look at how we are losing the public relations campaign on Artsakh/Karabagh. For the last couple of years Azerbaijan has been doing a pretty good, if predictably crude, job of making itself appear to be the victim of Armenians. Armenia’s leaders, in the meantime, seem to be oblivious to this. They like to say things like “the whole world knows who is the guilty party: Azerbaijan.” The world knows no such thing, and even if it had at one point, it has totally forgotten. Then there is the Russian factor. I believe that Russia, for its own purposes of wooing Azerbaijan, does not want Armenians to make a strong case. Russia has ordered Armenia to lie low.

    This is one reason that Armenia’s public relations are so utterly *horrible*, in my opinion.

  9. Araxi said:

    The turks that enter this site and write under Armenian names is ‘living proof’ that the article is true and is a large nail in turkeys coffin.

    • Shant Glendaleyan said:

      What’s wrong about stating the facts about Mr. Taner Akcam. He ran away from Turkey in the 1970s, joining terror groups like DEV-YOL and THKP-C, plotting to bomb NATO targets, kill American politicians, bomb Ambassor Komer’s limousine, destroy Turkey’s Secular Democracy and trade it in for a Communist Regime. Also, he had links with the PKK and even a terrorist leader, Abdullah Ocalan, thinks he is a phony two faced liar who always makes a clown out of himself.

      • Manitusiker said:

        “Kemalism, the name given to the ideology imposed on the people by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is a corporatist, partly fascist ideology, intolerant of dissent and opposition. Practice persistently over the last 80+ years, with the backing and manipulation of CIA and Pentagon the Kemalist Turkish Republic was developed at the same time Mussolini was imposing his fascist regime on Italy and modeled in the same single-party totalitarian style. Turkey is one of three countries that has someone’s name (a person) in their constitution, others being North Korea and Iran. In Turkey, kemalism is considered ‘above politics’ and any political party not completely conforming to it will be shut, as it’s done 27 times before. The ‘divine dictator’ Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s hegemonic ideology is accompanied by his ever-present image all over the place, ad nauseam. In the absence of free thought, the country is full with his pictures, statues and all kind of consumer items with his pictures on. The whole country is like a absurd 19. century ‘Rise of Fascism’ play, adapted to the modern times. AND 70+ MiLLiON PEOPLE!
        After the ottoman empire broke down within a decade, the dictator ‘Ataturk’ managed to convince-fool-lie-threaten and kill his way to the absolute power, committing his own GENOCIDE in DERSiM in 1935 against Kurds and they’ve been oppressing, assimilating and persecuting KURDS, which is THE LARGEST NATION WITHOUT A COUNTRY.
        No other comparable place exists in this world… FOR MORE:
        ✖ kemalism is fascism..✖ kemalizm faşizmdir…✖kемализма это фашизм..✖kemalismus ist faschismus…✖kemalismo è fascismo…
        It’s an archaic idea, whose time has passed and should be obsoleted asap with a system that values human rights, individuality and freedom…

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  11. Armen Boghosyan said:

    It is all the plan of the Turkish Lobbying aka the Gulen Movement Missionaries which are also the lobbying arm for the Azerbaijani government and State Oil (SOCOR) Exiled Turkish Imam stated on Turkish broadcast “they were reversing the games in the next 10 years” “you must move into the arteries of the system until you reach all power centers” besides dominating education worldwide, media, politics, police, judicary system and now they have dominated the top brass of Turkish Military. They have employed the same plans worldwide, in the USA they operate the largest network of charter schools, many are attached to the local universities.
    One of the educational goals of the Gulen Movement is to have a Turkish professor at each university in the USA. THey will buy their way in if need be as they have done at George Mason University or the Catholic University of Australia which has a “Gulen Chair”.
    The Texas Universities are flooded with Gulen Turkish professors and they don’t get there on their intellect but simply on their money and ability to charm the masses with Turkish Friendship dinners, “Dialogue Dinners” (which really amount to a sales job on Turkey and Gulen)
    This cult even operates 2 colleges in North America, one in Texas and one in Chicago.

    The groundwork is laid, and they have established “Educational Foundations” all over the USA and a very strong Gulen Youth Platform (we like to call it the Hitler Youth Movement) where the movement aka Turkish lobbying have writing contests for high school seniors who then are paraded around Washington as some sort of “Peace Building Ambassadors between America and Turkey”
    They also have programs where seniors can study abroad in Turkey, usually at one of the Gulen controlled universities like Fatih University. Academia from all over the USA get to also enjoy staged tours to Turkey and visit some of Gulen’s schools, Gulen’s propaganda rag “Todays Zaman” and always a stop at the Grand Mosque formerly the St. Hagia Sofia, to take a picture in front of the mosque which is now a museum but only islamic prayers are allowed there not the religion of the people who built it.

    Their educational arm is strong in the USA, since 1999 – in just 14 short years the Gulen Missionaries have done a great job. They know which politicians to give a “peace award” to or the famous trip to Turkey to buy favors. But what they don’t have is the hearts and minds of Americans who will stop them.

    At Harvard University they have tried and tried, but Economics Professor Dr. Dani Rodrik (Jewish from Turkey) besides being anti-Gulen – Rodrik is the son in law of General Dogan one of the Generals taken town in Gulen’s scandalous Sledgehammer or Ergenekon trials to replace with Gulenist Military. They hate Rodrik, as he is a respected Professor the other professors will listen to. But Dr. Jill Carroll and Dr. Rose Ebaugh are paid puppets of the Gulen Movement/Turkey. THey tend to go after the Religious departments or Sociology Professors which are perceived as being more “tolerant” to them.

    In the West, they have had “dinners” at UCLA and are trying very hard to get into UC Davis. The only suggestion we have is get the name of their foundation (they have a gadzillon of them) and look up their IRS 990 tax returns (yes they get a non-profit status for their lobbying)

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