America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

18 December 2006

Ahmet Ertegun: Amerikan Turk?

I thoroughly enjoyed Ugur Akinci's post at Turkish Torque about the idea of Ahmet Ertegun's supposed anti-Turkishness, as written by Oray Egin of the Aksam periodial:

"Perhaps we need to find a new concept for people who have spend their lives in America, and lived in American culture according to American criteria of success.
Can we call them "American Turks"?
Or would "Americanized Turks" be better?"


Sean said...


Turkish author found not guilty of insulting national identity
Jeannie Shawl at 10:27 AM ET
Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Turkish writer Ipek Calislar was found not guilty Tuesday of "insulting the Turkish identity" in violation of Article 301 of the country's penal code. Calislar went on trial in October for writing that the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, once left his palace disguised as a woman to evade an assassination attempt. He faced over four years in prison if convicted.

Calislar is one of several writers to be accused of Article 301 violations. Turkish novelists Elif Shafak, Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk have all been charged under Article 301 for discussing the alleged Armenian genocide. Shafak was acquitted and Pamuk's charges were dismissed, while Dink faces a retrial.

Murat Altinbasak said...

This is good news. I am not a fan of Article 301, but I also believe that it's a necessary evil.
In the Turkish Republic, anti-Turkish-ness is not tolerated. There is enough of it across the borders and the world over that it shouldn't be. When Greeks, Armenians and Kurds end their racist tendencies, Article 301 will go away I think, rightly so.

Anonymous said...

When Greeks, Armenians and Kurds end their racist tendencies, Article 301 will go away I think, rightly so.

Greeks and Armenians will never end their racist ways. They are to ignorant to do so. Say they did, then what would they talk about. They are coward's, and traitor's, that is how history portay's them.

Sean said...


You don't know how to put one sentence together. There are 14 spelling and grammatical errors in your 3 sentences.

The only part that doesn't contain any errors is the part you copied from Murat. At least you did something right.

Your errors show how little you know. Hence, your opinion is insignificant, irrelevant, unimportant, and wrong.

After you take a class or 2 in English grammer and spelling, come back and I will give you a History lesson. My lesson will only contain the facts of History, not the lies that you have heard on the streets (I wanted to say "not the facts that you have read in the Turkish books", however, I am sure you haven't even read one book, so that wouldn't be correct.)

Sean said...

Gamze, Good old Gamze,

Just like always, since you have nothing intelligent to say, you resort to name calling.

I will not lower myself to your standards. I insist that you change yours.

sean said...

I'm sorry Gamze for being a filthy Armenian.

Anonymous said...

You don't know how to put one sentence together. There are 14 spelling and grammatical errors in your 3 sentences.

True. Very good sean.
Poor grammar and all I'm glad to read that you are in agreement with me on the thoughts conveyed.

Small minded sean is on his way to becoming Sean.

Why are you on this blog sean?
If not to be hateful.

Bolsa Hye said...

Perhaps Sean wants to have a dialog. But since the dialog is about a subject that is taboo to you, you feel that he is here to insult, even though he isn't.

Sean said...

Ertegün: A secret force behind Turkish-Armenian rapprochement bid
Monday, December 25, 2006


ANKARA - Turkýsh Daily News

It was rather interesting to learn that late Ahmet Ertegün was not just a “musical envoy” for Turkey, or a “monument to friendship” between the Turkish and the American peoples, but that he was also an important figure working diligently on such sensitive issues as the Turkish-Armenian problem, due to his conviction that such issues must be resolved for the better promotion of Turkey.

“Ahmet Ertegün was one of our strong supporters,” Kaan Soyak, co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC), told the Turkish Daily News as he started explaining the “great contributions” the late president of Atlantic Records had made to efforts aimed at achieving rapprochement on the extremely delicate issue haunting Turkey's image in the United States.

“He was the honorary chairman of the TABDC,” Soyak said, explaining how he first met the legendary personality. “It was 1996 and I was involved in efforts to set up an association dedicated to improve Turkish-Armenian relations. For a business trip I went to New York, where I have an office. One day, I was sitting in my office pondering what I could do to promote friendship between Armenians and Turks, particularly in view of the fact that there were many Turkish and Armenian associations in a fierce struggle against each other,” Soyak said.

Than, he said, the name of Ahmet Ertegün came to his mind. “How could I reach him? Would he be interested in my efforts? I decided to call Arif Mardin first. Mardin, after listening to my idea, answered me after a long pause: ‘This is far bigger an issue than I can talk about. You better talk with Ahmet Ertegün.' That might have been a polite no, but I asked him how I could reach Ertegün. ‘Hold on a moment,' he said; a few minutes later Ertegün was on the other end of the line.”

Soyak said he explained his idea to Ertegün. “This is a very important idea. Come over tomorrow and let's discuss it in my office” Ertegün reportedly told him.

As someone who had served as a producer at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) in the past, Soyak said he was delighted to visit Atlantic Records' headquarters -- where he had applied for work in 1986, but had later had to forget such aspirations because he could not postpone his military service.

“The legendary man that I had wanted to see for many years was standing opposite me in the charming atmosphere of Atlantic Records… I was about to start talking about music and my failed work ambitions when he very politely stopped me and said he wanted to hear my ideas about my ideas about setting a Turkish-Armenian association.”

After listening to Soyak's ideas, Ertegün reportedly replied: “This is a very sensitive issue. Each side has its own perceptions. You cannot approach this issue with only one viewpoint and you must always be very objective.”

After that initial encounter, Ertegün did not call Soyak for some time, but “After almost three months, he one day called me and invited to his office. ‘I am in' he said and we started an elaborate discussion on Turkish-Armenian problems. It was only at that time that I learned Ertegün had quite a large group of Armenian friends,” Soyak explained.

Suddenly, during that discussion Ertegün stopped and asked Soyak a question he still remembers today: “What do you want from me? Money?” He said he told Ertegün he did not want money, but did indeed have two requests: To use Ertegün's name and, occasionally, his home.

Ertegün was reportedly surprised with Soyak's unusual demands. “What would you do with my name? Who are you planning to bring to my house?” he reportedly asked.

“I told him that I would use his name when telling others that he was with us in the association's work and that I wanted to invite some leading members of the Armenian diaspora to his house. He remained silent for a while, then told me ‘Fine, you can use my name and invite people to my house but notify few days in advance that we can have the house available and complete preparations.' That was the real start.”

Soyak said he hosted many dinners at the house for members of the Armenian diaspora, executives of many institutions, senior representatives of some U.N. agencies. In a short while, he said, many more Armenians had become friends of Ertegün. He said that in the mean time Ertegün had became the honorary chairman of the TABDC.

Even when Ertegün was traveling to some distant or far flung places, they never lost contact and continued to brief him about the progress of their work toward rapprochement.

“Our meetings with him were mostly arranged to last 60 minutes, but we were rarely able to finish, even after three or four hours of discussion. Sometimes our conversations were cut by calls from prominent music personalities, such as Eric Clapton. Indeed, listening in on the discussion between Ertegün and Clapton was the most pleasurable moment of my life,” Soyak said.

He said that over the past 10 years, whenever a senior political team from Turkey was visiting the United States, he would meet Ertegün for an assessment of the trip.

When the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission was to be established, it was with Ertegün's help that the first appointments were made. Indeed, he was the host of a dinner held in honor of the commission members immediately after it was established.

Soyak explained that Ertegün had been highly appreciative of both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and often referred to them as “very honest personalities.”

“He was expecting a lot from Erdoðan and Gül toward the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border,” he said.

Most recently, in September 2006, Soyak was working with Ertegün on a music project the revenues from which would go to the restoration of the Akhtamar Church in Van. Soyak said that Turkey's Los Angeles Consul General Engin Ansay was one of the most prominent architects of that project.

“We three were following closely the restoration work at Akhtamar and were developing projects for a grand inauguration after the completion of the restoration. Ertegün was of the idea that, starting from May 2007, we should organize an annual International Akhtamar Music Festival. Unfortunately his life was not sufficient for him to see the project completed,” Soyak added.