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15 02 2008 - Political Setbacks Compel Turks to Resort to Character-Assassination of an Exemplary Armenian-American Journalist
Executive Publisher/Managing Editor
USA ARMENIAN LIFE Magazine Febuary 16, 2008- Glendale-Cal

Recently, Madame Tansu Peker, a denialist Turkish author mistranslated from English into French certain segments of a commentary made by Harut Sassounian, the Publisher of The California Courier.

But that's not all. Her distortion of Sassounian's column pales in comparison with her premeditated attempts to character-assassinate him.

In a Feb. 4 article on the Belgian-Turkish website "L'," and Turquie News (France), she sheepishly followed a set of Ankara-engineered tactics trying to ruin Sassounian's good name. She portrayed him as the exact opposite of what he really is - a highly respected Armenian-American journalist, a political strategist and an upstanding community leader.

We would not want to dignify Peker by repeating here her malicious pack of lies. Besides, why would this or any other well-intentioned writer further disseminate the slanderous comments fabricated in Ankara?

Why are denialist Turkey and its cohorts attempting to mutilate Sassounian's good name and reputation? Because he exhibited the moral integrity and the courage to eloquently articulate and crystallize the Armenian demands for justice in a recent commentary titled "Armenians Demand Justice, Not Recognition."

So, instead of addressing the issues raised by Sassounian, denialist Turks resorted to defaming him.

Sassounian and fellow activists are credited for being among the architects of a series of political defeats for Turkey in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in recent years.

To make matters even worse for herself and Turkey, Peker 1) committed a hate crime against Sassounian; 2) tarnished even more Turkey's image; and 3) created more backlash against Turkey in international public opinion.

On Thursday February 7, the Armenian-French independent journalist Mr. Jean Eckian countered L' on the website of Nouvelles d'Arménie: "It is not in our custom to republish articles that appear on Turkish sites that are institutionally denialist in nature. But this pertains to an uncontestable fact, personally affecting our friend Harut Sassounian, the famous commentator of The California Courier."

The highly defamatory character of the allegations against Mr. Sassounian entitles him to demand the elimination of the defamatory posting along with the publication of a public apology. If not, he, as the defamed, reserves the right to take this case to Court, concluded Mr. Eckian.

Apparently the Turkish denialist leaders' cohorts are attempting to indirectly implement the infamous Turkish law 301 on "insulting the Turkishness" in the Free World by resorting to intimidation through hate speech.

Peker's hate speech is intended to silence individuals like Sassounian who constantly bring to light the unpunished Crime of Genocide by Turkey in 1915-1923 and steadfastly demand justice. Obviously, she and other denialists along with their leaders are desperate in their efforts to push under the rug the ugly genocidal chapter of Turkish history without any accountability for the great injustices inflicted by Turkey upon the indigenous people of Western Armenia, the Greeks in Greek Smyrna (Izmir), Pontus(Samson), and Constantinople (Istanbul), and the Arab, Assyrian, Jewish, and Kurdish minorities.

Sassounian's and his fellow activists' intention is clear. They do not want to remain silent against the crime of Genocide and to make sure that the Pekers and their fellow yellow-journalists comprehend that the crime of Genocide does not pay.

This is not the first time that Sassounian was subjected to vicious and disparaging attacks by Ankara. He has been systematically targeted on several occasions.

In August 2005, Turkish government-funded The Journal of Turkish Weekly and the Turkish Forum attacked Sassounian. They were strongly countered by several individuals including this writer.

In May 2007, a prominent Turkish collaborator of the pro-government Sabah daily, Mr. Yavuz Baydar used the University of Michigan-based Armworkshop site as a vehicle to make similar insinuations and derogatory statements on Sassounian's character.

On Sept. 24, 2007 Simon Maghakyan posted his rebuttal of Mr. Baydar's bad behavior by admonishing him for "using cheap tactiques"[sic] against Sassounian. Maghakyan urged: "If you can't kill Sassounian's arguments don't try to kill his name."

Mr. Sassounian countered Baydar by issuing statements setting the record straight. Its moderator Prof. Muge Gocek posted his statements on the Armworkshop. Baydar ultimately back peddled on his ill-advised tactics.

Interestingly, Baydar's hate speech against Sassounian is similar to Peker's ugly words. The only difference between this new attack and the previous ones is that, the previous ones were performed in news outlets published in what is now called Turkey. This latest defamatory article appeared in publications based in Europe where hate speech and defamation is punished. The latest case of hate speech punishment is the Swiss government vs. Dogu Perincek, a political leader from Turkey who was handily penalized for denying the Armenian Genocide on Swiss soil.

The sooner these two Turkish e-publications correct their grave crime, the better off they will be. Otherwise, the European-Armenian community should pursue legal action and seek punishment for this crime against an innocent individual -- Sassounian.

This latest denialist Turkish attack intending to silence all pro-justice activists is a very dangerous precedent, which must be confronted now, not later.

Political Setbacks Compel Turks to
Resort to Character-Assassination of an
Exemplary Armenian-American Journalist


Il sito è curato dall'Arch. Vahé Vartanian e dal Dott. Enzo Mainardi;
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