Number 231 | June 10, 2013
The success of the TCA supported University of Utah program on the study of ethnic cleansing in Balkans and Caucasus during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, as well TCA’s programs that educate American lawmakers on issues of importance to the Turkish American community have drawn the recent attention of various Armenian media sources.
Reading these, one must ask what are these authors and self-declared scholars afraid of? Neither TCA nor any scholars it has supported has denied that Ottoman Armenian civilians died in appalling numbers during World War I or has considered these events anything other than a horrible tragedy. Rather than supporting historians and others engaged in pursuing the unfettered access to knowledge and information, the Armenian lobby and its extensions in the academic world have chosen to publicly humiliate, threaten and intimidate scholars, particularly Armenian scholars.
The fact remains that the full narrative of the contested historical period is still a matter of controversy among historians and other scholars. The continued study of this period in Ottoman-Armenian relations is essential. But such study should not require a genocide-or-not-genocide litmus test as an entry point.
A scholar should never, we repeat, never, state that a subject is immune from further study or interpretation. To do so is to declare the death of academic freedom. To do so is to declare an absolute truth and that to question it is to commit blasphemy.
TCA is pleased to be recognized as playing a significant role in encouraging a new generation of historians and researchers who are not afraid to engage in open discussion and exchange of ideas on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, with renewed interest in documenting the sad history of the century-long ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Muslim populations in the Balkans and Caucasus. What they have written and published so far has expanded historical knowledge and understanding and has made significant contributions to a crucial area of study that had nearly suffocated due to one sided and self-serving pro-Armenian political propaganda, intimidation, threats, and even violence. TCA will continue to encourage the work of these true scholars undaunted.
TCA, as guiding principles in all its efforts, supports peaceful dialogue over conflict, reconciliation over hate, inclusion over discrimination. We support academic freedom, guaranteed through unfettered access to and dissemination of knowledge. We abhor the mentality that wishes to safeguard freedom of speech only for those with whom they agree and we will continue to stand-up for the right of everyone to speak free of fear.