Donald Wilson Bush,
Four years ago Donald Wilson Bush, grandson of President Woodrow Wilson, wrote in Keghart.com about the Turkish state’s impropriety and the complicity of its civil institutions and certain individuals who support the state in its failure to properly recognize, and to make amends for, the Armenian Genocide. In light of the enormity of the misinformation and the speed at which Turkey is disseminating it–on the eve of the Genocide’s centennial–Mr. Bush says he finds it necessary to broach the subject again.–Editor.
Since I wrote my earlier Keghart article to pursue a real path toward legal redress—complete with reparations and long-term healing for the generations of aggrieved parties harmed by the Armenian Genocide—I felt it necessary to maintain a period of self-imposed silence on matters of Turkish propaganda and their endless pronouncements disavowing true ties to the known fact that Turkish people in modern history actually committed the Armenian Genocide.
However, at the alarming rate with which the global Turkish lobby is today spinning disinformation about the Armenian Genocide on the eve of its centennial celebration, I find it necessary to weigh in, once again, on the discussion of Turkish denial.
In my role as a political consultant and global peace advocate, I have worked long hours over many years with both domestic and foreign politicians and members of the diplomatic community to deconstruct the complicated matrix of foreign policy and economic interests that benefit from Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide.
And without oversimplifying the case, I will plainly state the obvious: that widespread public relations (PR) campaigns of disinformation and outright lies—encouraged and often funded by Turkish government ministries—could not survive without the complicity of many independent actors operating in the institutional space of civil society and local media instruments that drive public opinion.
It is, here, then, venturing into this nebulous, complicated space, that I will now focus my best efforts to expose some of these independent voices and the civil institutions that support and publish their distorted views and misinterpretations of historical facts
Specifically, in this present piece, I wish to confront the recent publication of blatant propaganda by Mehmet Ozay, “Distingushed” Professor of Research, International Affairs, Senior Fellow, Modern Turkish Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
At first I was curious to receive his recent article released by the “Turkish Society of Canada,” entitled: “120 Brantford Turks: Genocide in Canada, 1914?” and then I was shocked!
In this particulate publication, subtitled “The case of Lost Turks of Brantford, Ontario,” I assumed Professor Ozay was prepared to apply his pedigree as a bona fide educator and university research historian—supposedly employed by a major Canadian university— to address a local matter of historic importance with sound reasoning grounded in a substantive, peer-reviewed, academic process supported by the facts.
Specifically, I thought he was going to help his readers (in this case, me) to better understand the accuracy of names and dates, faces, places and facts pertaining to the mistreatment of 120 Canadian citizens of Turkish descent who were imprisoned and died during a state-sponsored “enemy” relocation police action at the onset of WWI.
This is typically what one should expect to read from an academic historian.
However, instead of illuminating his readers to the complexities of this important subject, the most we find coming from Professor Ozay’s pen is another inaccurate, time-worn apologetic for Armenian Genocide denial—parroting ad nauseam the official denialist position of the Turkish state.
Clearly, from the wording of the title itself, Professor Ozay discredits his profession and the broader Turkish community by setting a false premise in order to force a faulty interpretation of the facts favoring the same, old, denialist tripe I’ve encountered for more than half a decade.
Focusing forward into the full body of text supporting his argument, this effort quickly reveals the author’s private intention to propagate historical distortion in lieu of sound, research-based scholarship.
Does he really propose to place the organized mistreatment, imprisonment and subsequent deaths of 120 naturalized, “Turkish-Canadian” citizens on the same level as state-sponsored ethnic-cleansing of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, children and babies?
Does Dr. Ozay seriously expect intelligent readers, with globalist perspective and critical reasoning skills, to ignore the pervasive magnitude and protracted measure of the ENTIRE state-sponsored Armenian Genocidal campaign (spanning 30 years!) when comparing it to an isolated Canadian state-sponsored police action (albeit, equally as reprehensible) that transpired in the course of only a few years?
Does he honestly think that informed readers will accept his spurious and contrived conclusion that the Armenian Genocide was an eleventh-hour, wartime preventative police measure on the part of Ottoman leaders to safeguard the crumbling caliphate against Russian invasion from the East?
I think not.
Dr. Ozay’s words are intentionally divisive and misleading. His command of reason in the English language is elementary and reductionist, at best. He is utterly confusing—or just as well, confused.
His presupposition—that the Canadian government “carried out genocide” by killing 120 people (as he states: “…matching or even exceeding what the Ottoman military authorities did for the disloyal Ottoman Armenians in 1915”) is almost comical in its childish transparency and reminds me of a slapstick magician I once saw who gave away his secrets long before executing the trick.
Surly enough, eight paragraphs later, Dr. Ozay reverses his stance and declares the opposite: “As regards interpretation, one can argue that the Canadian government in 1914 did not act “with intent to destroy” the Brantford “Ottoman Turks”. These “Turks” were declared “enemy aliens”, along with Germans, Austrians, and Ukrainians… simply to be put away in military custody.”
And then he concludes his argument with this elementary trope: “What is good for the goose must be true for the gander! The same argument would apply in the case of the Ottoman military decision in 1914 to relocate Anatolian Armenians…with even more justification, it seems, since these Armenians actively fought with invading Russians who occupied Ottoman lands.”
Is he kidding? Is this a joke? Did he really just reverse his position and change his presupposition to reach a pre-established conclusion unattainable in syllogistic form from his original premise?
Yes, he did.
And this is where he underestimates the power of sound reason grounded in the facts to penetrate the ruse of propaganda every time.
In the end, the internal logic of his argument gets irreparably twisted when the professor clearly postulates that “what is good for the goose is true for the gander.”
With that single phrase, the syllogistic path of Dr. Ozay’s deductive inference leads an intelligent reader to the propositional conclusion that the mistreatment of the 120 Brantford Turks by the Canadian government could NOT POSSIBLY be an equal, par value comparison to the barbaric starving, rape, murder and annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.
To see this error in Dr Ozay’s convoluted argument, one need only to revisit the concluding paragraph above and replace the terms “Canadian government” and “Turks” with “Ottoman government” and “Armenians.”
Having done so, Dr. Ozay’s actual logic would lead the reader to conclude, “one can argue that the Ottoman government in 1914 did not act “with intent to destroy” the Armenians. These Armenians were declared “enemy aliens… simply to be put away in military custody.”
Are we really to conclude from all this silly banter about comparing the condition of 120 Brantford Turks to the Armenian Genocide that Dr. Ozay really believes “the Ottoman government in 1914 did not act ‘with intent to destroy’ the Armenians. These Armenians were declared ‘enemy aliens’… simply to be put away in military custody”?
“…simply to be put away in military custody?!”
Is that what was planned for the 1.5 million Armenian dead beginning with Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s initial plan in 1893 lasting through General Kemal Attatuk’s final purge in 1922?
At this point the transparency of Dr. Ozay’s complicity with the Turkish governments denialist propaganda flies in the face of the historic facts and—pardon me—stinks up the room.
Is this, then, a serious article that adds clarity or value to the broader discussion of resolving animosities tied forever to the matter of Armenian Genocide?
NO. Sadly, it is not.
What is it then?
In my opinion, this is little more than a pernicious and mean-spirited attempt on the part of a misguided organization (calling itself the Turkish Society of Canada) to utilize the power of PR by employing the pen of a shallow academic actor to spread lies.
In the end, Dr. Ozay has become little more than a surrogate bully for the current ruling Turkish regime, perhaps removed by several degrees, who is happy to build his personal reputation among ignorant pan-Turkish sympathizers at the expense of Armenian victims suffering the indignity and injustice of continued Genocide denial.
Donald Wilson Bush is President of the Woodrow Wilson Legacy Foundation in Los Angeles, California. He is a peace practitioner, writer, speaker and a global advocate for democratic causes. He can be reached for comment at: [email protected]