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09 April 2007

Turkish-Armenian concert canceled due to threats

Full story in today's The Brown Daily Herald by Debbie Lehmann
Has anyone ever seen this website?: It's been saved in my favorites for a long time (here at work) but I've never had time to really look into it. -AT
How about this discussion with 273 comments?: hrant-dink-the-murder-of-free-speech Looks like Vahe Balabanian was the most active Armenian contributor. He and I occasionally write eachother, but it's usually a dead end conversation. -AT


metin said...

When push comes to shove, Armenians (even Turkish-Armenians living in Turkey) will side with Armenians. Just like Muslim-Americans will be Muslim first American second, Turkish-Americans will be Turkish first American second.

Now this is generally speaking, and of course there are exceptions. But . . .

We had a large event here in Los Angeles last year put on by Turkish Americans and Armenian Turks ended up coming to. They all received all kinds of threats, including death ones. But they came anyway, and the show went on. They didn't weasel out. They sent a clear message to their own by simply showing up.

East Coast West Coast? Courageous or Stupid? Who Cares? Whatever WIll Be Will Be?

Hey its Monday and Life is Good!

Sean said...

"More than fifty Nobel laureates from around the world appealed to Armenia and Turkey on Monday to unconditionally establish diplomatic relations, open their border, and step up contacts between their civil societies.

In an open letter, they also implicitly urged the Turkish government to acknowledge that the 1915-1918 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted a genocide. "

metin said...

Hey Sean: I just posted about Tony Soprano. Perfect opportunity for you to comment on the mistreatment of Armenians at the hands of Turks.

Were you behind the concert threats?

Sean said...


you are trying to suggest that my comment is not related to the main posting. If so, you should go back and read the posting again.

By the way, were YOU behind the delay of the U.N. Genocide Exhibit?

WHY CAN'T A FEW YOUNG PEOPLE GET TOGETHER AND HAVE AN EXHIBIT? Why does the Turkish government have to come in and delay or cancel it?

Here is one of the articles on this topic:,1,4279821.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

Anonim said...

Genocide or not
By Tulin Daloglu
April 10, 2007

One would assume that the question of whether what happened between Turks and Armenians during World War I constitutes "genocide" is not an important issue in American politics or the American consciousness. Yet for Turkish Americans, it remains a constant source of anxiety and fear of discrimination or reprisals if they express a different point of view. Generations later, even in this country that celebrates freedom of speech and debate, they feel that publicly discussing the issue will engender more hate.

"I can still remember my friends' parents saying, 'What are we going to do if our daughter marries a Turk?' " said Angelina Kara. Born in Istanbul to a French father and a Turkish mother, Angelina, 30, was raised as a Christian, married a Muslim Turk, and lives in California. "These parents never thought while raising their children in Istanbul that [the children] might eventually one day at least date a Muslim Turk. They threatened to cut their children off if they did."

"Non-Muslim communities live within their own circles in Turkey," Angelina said. "They marry within their own religion. Frankly, they feel superior to the Muslim Turks ... I remember visiting my Armenian friends. They were not encouraged to make friends with the Turks. They made friends with other Armenian kids going to the Sunday school at church. During the summer, they were usually sent abroad to their relatives or worked with their fathers."

Angelina's is a unique perspective on Turkish social norms. Not all non-Muslim Turkish families distance themselves from Muslim Turks, but she notes that a significant number prefers to live in a separate world. Angelina and her husband, Tolga, seem to deal with their worlds by celebrating their ethnic and religious differences. Yet she worries that in Turkey, the distance between the two will ultimately jeopardize the country.

In California, this young Turkish American couple sees firsthand the hard work of the Armenian American lobby for a non-binding congressional resolution that would declare the mass killings of Armenians on Turkish soil "genocide." But there is another side. Tolga remembers his grandmother: "Until she died five years ago, she wept for her father. She used to tell stories about World War I, and how the Armenians raided their home in Erzincan late at night and took her father and uncle. Days later, they found her uncle's body dismembered on the side of a small stream. They never found her father."

Tolga says that until he moved to California, he'd accepted the past as a tragedy of war. But his experience in the United States has opened his eyes to how deeply Armenians hate Turks: "One day I saw a young man staring at me in a bad way. I did not understand it, and thought I was being too sensitive. A few days later, I ran into him again, and he stared at me in the same way -- this time pointing his finger. I asked him what his problem was, and he kept pointing -- so I called the police. He was an Armenian, but [because there was no physical altercation] what he was doing was merely an exercise of free speech."

Turkey does not have a great record on free speech -- but that has been changing. Over the last several years, academic conferences and television programs have publicly debated the Armenian accusations. The United States, however, has been less favorable toward such public conversations. Last year, the University of Southern California cancelled a conference titled "Turkish-Armenian Relations: The Turkish Perspective." A press release from the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) read, "The ANCA-WR, working with USC Armenian student groups, Alumni and school supporters, was able to demonstrate to USC officials the misguided and sinister nature of this panel which led to its cancellation."

A few years ago, Armenian students at USC protested the annual Turkish Night organized by the USC Turkish Student Association. The USC Daily Trojan reported that "the dance was shut down for safety," and that a party-goer who requested anonymity out of concern for his safety called the protesters "hostile-looking and intimidating."

Recently, a concert at Brown University titled "The Armenian Composers of the Ottoman Period," in which two Armenian and two Turkish musicians were to perform, was cancelled. Its aim was to bring together Turks and Armenians through music, but the Armenians who agreed to participate faced tremendous pressure to keep their distance from the Turks.

Many Turkish Americans fear the Armenian American community's power in the United States. They don't understand why no doubt exists about what happened between Armenians and Turks. They wonder why no one remembers the murdered Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorists or numerous silenced academicians. They feel that the "genocide" claims feed an industry -- influential Armenian committees, non-governmental organizations and academics promoting their "truth" -- attached to politics. They understand that politicians need to get elected and must satisfy their constituents' needs. But they also demand an environment free of intimidation and fear.

Tulin Daloglu is a free-lance writer.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"Turkish-Americans will be Turkish first American second."

We beg to differ though, don't we?

metin said...

That's the problem with Turkish-Americans.

Sean said...

Brown Daily Herald

Concert not canceled due to threats, ASA president says

By Debbie Lehmann

Issue date: 4/10/07 Section: Campus News

The Turkish-Armenian concert planned for Friday that was canceled last week
was not called off because the president of the Armenian Students
Association received threats, ASA President Ruben Izmailyan '09 wrote Monday
in an e-mail to The Herald. Izmailyan wrote that he was not in any way
"threatened, intimidated or even asked to pull out."

The Herald reported Monday that the concert was canceled due to threats,
citing an e-mail from a Turkish Cultural Society member. That e-mail, which
included a message sent from the TCS president to the group's members, read
that the ASA president and musicians received "warning messages" from
members of the Armenian community and that as "the situation got serious,
warnings turned into threats."

Izmailyan, who declined to explain the cancellation for Monday's article,
told The Herald the cancellation was a joint decision between the two groups
after the Armenian musicians decided not to participate.

"I have received nothing but encouragement in my handling of the innate
complexities involved in such an event," Izmailyan wrote Monday, "including
from individuals who believed that this event was inappropriate at this time
and with the given circumstances."

Izmailyan wrote that the musicians pulled out of the concert because many
members of the Armenian community expressed concern about the "potential
misuse of the event." The musicians "did not wish to participate in an event
that the Armenian community was not united behind," he wrote.

Izmailyan added that he was the only person who spoke to the musicians about
their decision to withdraw from the concert.

metin said...

Don't you think the Armenians should've had that discussion prior to committing to the concert?