Father sues Ministry over Armenian ‘genocide’ DVD

From The Times
February 28, 2009

Father sues Turkish Education Ministry over Armenian ‘genocide’ DVD ‘ SARI GELİN

Suna Erdem in Istanbul
A father is suing the Turkish Education Ministry for forcing his 11-year-old daughter to watch a “racist” and “disturbing” film countering claims that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915 with graphic allegations of Armenian atrocities against Turks.

The landmark case takes on what human rights activists have called the State’s militarist policy of brainwashing Turkey’s schoolchildren to the point of racist paranoia, aiming to preserve a nationalist status quo criticised by the European Union, which Turkey is keen to join.

“My daughter was very disturbed and frightened by the documentary and kept asking me if the Armenians had cut us up,” said Serdar Kaya, an ethnic Turkish doctor, who is suing the ministry and the child’s school for inciting racial hatred.

“There are many mass graves, bones and skulls in the DVD. They have interviewed old grandads who inspire confidence and compassion. When they say things like ‘They cut off his head’ and ‘They used it instead of firewood’, that is bound to stay with the children,” Serdar Degirmencioglu, a psychologist, told the Armenian newspaper Agos when news first broke that the documentary was being shown to primary school children – including ethnic Armenian Turks.
The Education Ministry says that it has stopped the distribution of the documentary, Sari Gelin (Blonde Bride), named after an Armenian folk song. But it has apparently not recalled it and critics say that it remains part of the curriculum.

Some MPs are bringing up the case in Parliament. The education union Egitim-Sen has condemned the film, and the History Foundation has dismissed it as baseless propaganda.

Another lawsuit has been filed by a foundation set up in honour of the murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The former editor of Agos was murdered in 2007 by a young nationalist whose links to a group of ultra-nationalists, codenamed Ergenekon, operating within the security forces and state bureaucracy are now being investigated. “In the whole of the documentary the word ‘Armenian’ has been used thousands of times and only with negative connotations,” the Foundation said.

Mr Dink had been one of several high-profile intellectuals, also including Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel literature laureate, and Elif Shafak, the bestselling author, who had been sued by nationalist lawyers over comments and writings alluding to the mass Armenian deaths. “You can see that all those cases were part of a project of manipulation … There is a sick, abnormal tissue of Turkish society that is poisoned by a nationalist, racist virus,” said Ufuk Uras, an independent MP who backs Mr Kaya’s case.

Many historians class the 1915 events as genocide, but even those who reject the term accept that hundreds of thousands of Armenians died when the Ottoman Turks deported them from eastern Anatolia. According to the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the death toll was “more than a million”.

“You go and kill more than a million Armenians, wipe the traces of Armenians from Anatolia, grab their property, and then show children videos about ‘What the Armenians did to us’ … We are cutting these children off from the rest of the world,” said Ahmet Altan, editor of the independent newspaper Taraf.

3 Replies to “Father sues Ministry over Armenian ‘genocide’ DVD”

  1. I have something to say about this article called ‘ Father sues Turkish Education Ministry over Armenian ‘genocide’ DVD ‘ SARI GELİN’ . I like to know if the same father would put his name on the same lawsuit, when it comes to US educational system. So called Armenian genocide is in the history books here, that our children are thought, and as a result are treated as ‘those barbarian Turks!’ by American peers and their ignorant teachers.
    I had enough double standard in this topic.
    Guliz IMRE
    MD, USA

  2. Armenians have countless DVD’s and propaganda materials like “Sari Gelin” their kids grow up hating Turks by watching, hearing horror stories at their churches and socials gatherings. I guess according to this father, it’s OK for Armenians to hate us but we are not allowed to hate them. We must have lots of Tamer Akcams in Turkey, they are the idiots who apologize from Armenians. Maybe they should do a favor to us and move to Armenia. That way this father’s precious daughter doesn’t have to hate her Armenian sisters and brothers.

  3. It seems the stupid lawsuits of America has jumped over to Turkey as well. History in general is not laid in flowers. It is laid in blood! Without knowing our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Oh, I am sure we heard this before, right?!
    It is so easy to hear, read, and report about how horrible the Turks were, how they butchered Armenians, how they raped girls, and left people for dead. This is called propoganda. People like Orhan Pamuk and Taner Aksam may not defected and gave secrets to the enemy but they are still traitors of the state of Turkey! No doubt about it. This is not freedom of speech. People like Pamuk and Akcam are bought with the very dollars of the Armenian lobby.
    Let’s open the discussion and speak about the massacres committed by the Armenians. Traitors of the country they lived and prospered for hundreds of years. Let’s talk about how they defected to Russia and fought against their neighbours, how they decimated whole towns without any humanity. Even today, the state of Armenia and the diaspora calls these barbarians “heroes”! How about ASALA?
    Also not mentioned is WW1. It was war, not peace time. Over 1 millions muslims were killed and massacred. When these people acknowledge and apologize for those, then maybe relations will warm up.
    Genocide is the intended annihilation of a race and if the Ottomans’ intent was that, then ALL Armenians would have been deported, not just the ones in the East. They were the trouble makers, they were removed not alone but with many other Turks from their villages because they were in war zones without protection.
    My message to this father is if he doesn’t want his daughter to learn about the realities of history, then go and homeschool your kid. It doesn’t matter who those bodies belonged to! They are the dead of a horrible time in our history. Do you want to teach your child the truth?

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