Protect free speech for Turk Ragip Zarakolu: Imprisoned for publishing books about Armenian Genocide, Kurds

February 3, 2012

Do you know Ragip Zarakolu? He is in prison in Turkey for publishing books which ‘insult Turkishness’ because they are sympathetic to the human rights of minorities in Turkey. Zarakolu has suffered the wrath of the Turkish government for publishing books, including a Turkish translation of British author George Jerjian’s, The Truth Will Set Us Free: Armenians and Turks and Professor Dora Zakayan’s, An American Doctor in Turkey: Garabed Hatcherian: My Smyrna Ordeal of 1922.

Prime Minister Erdogan is Turkey’s leading demagogue (a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument). He twists truths as he shines the spotlight on human rights issues, including inhumane blockades and freedom of speech. Rather than looking in the direction he points (as the media tends to do as if by reflex), learn more about Turkey’s nearly 20-year illegal blockade strangling the Republic of Armenia and look-up Article 301 which renders free speech in Turkey a crime.

Until Turkey acknowledges and apologies for perpetrating the Armenian Genocide, let’s use the publicity surrounding the Turkish Government’s interference in France’s legislative process (protesting France’s pending genocide denial legislation which would give  Armenian Genocide denial the same legal status as Holocaust denial in France) as another opportunity to educate the world about genocide and crimes against humanity.

You can protect the human right of free speech by supporting courageous righteous Turks such as Ragip Zarakolu. Read more about Ragip Zarakolu and his case on the PEN American Center website. Please send a letter on his behalf (there is a link on the PEN webpage).

We owe Turkish scholar Taner Akcam our deepest gratitude for his Armenian Genocide fact-finding

June 3, 2010

Taner Akcam’s book, A Shameful Act, is a brilliant and scholarly presentation of the facts related to the Armenian Genocide. A Shameful Act is based on Akcam’s extensive research of Ottoman and German archival sources. (The Resources Links box in the right margin of this Home Page provides a link for finding a copy of A Shameful Act.)

Watch a video of Taner Akcam discussing A Shameful Act, as originally broadcast on C-SPAN2 Book TV.

Related News

Akcam: What Davutoglu Fails to Understand
The Armenian Weekly | May 19, 2010

The Turkish version of this OpEd appeared in Taraf on May 11, 2010.

Antonia Arslan’s ‘Skylark Farm’ portrays an Armenian family’s journey through genocide

June 1, 2010

Tonight as I committed to finishing Italian-Armenian Antonia Arslan’s book, Skylark Farm, the concert on the radio was Armenian pianist Nareh Arghamanyan’s recital at the Frick (in New York City). I listened to the sublime music over the airwaves in the comfort and safety of my home while reading about the savagery committed upon the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during the Armenian Genocide. Ms. Arslan’s book is powerful and painful. It is another narrative, no-doubt based on the real-life harrowing experiences, of the Armenians who lived 95 years ago.

And, finally, here is some information about Armenian pianist Nareh Arghamanyan:

Nareh Arghamanyan—Concerts from The Frick Collection
WQXR | May 31, 2010

Finding out the truth about my grandfather and the genocide

February 7, 2010

As readers of this blog already know, I am writing a book about my grandfather, Dr. Karnig Kalpakian. This blog came about because as I started researching the history of the Armenian Genocide, I learned that what my high school Sunday School teacher warned us was true: the Turkish government actively denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide. And, sadly, many of our politicians and universities are on the Turkish lobby’s payroll. This blog is simply a means for sharing what I come across each day as I dig deeper into the mountains of evidence that actually do exist, which prove the truth of the Ottoman Turks’ slaughter and brutalization of over 1.5 million Armenians at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Last night I read Neither to Laugh nor to Weep: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide by Father Abraham H. Hartunian. I learned about the book when I read the Ellis Island oral history of his son, Vartan Hartunian. Father Hartunian’s account is brutal and vivid. I shutter to think what horrors he may have edited out of his memory, because his descriptions of the attacks he witnessed and the terror he experienced are raw.

I wanted to read his book because I learned that he led a church congregation in Marash (which is the city where my grandfather lived). I hoped to learn more about what happened in 1920, as my grandfather only glossed over the events in his letters to our family. The only clue I had to the madness is that my grandfather referred to his home burning and that his mother and sisters were taken to the mosque and ‘butchered’. But, I questioned his knowledge and memory of the event because until last night I had not read an account, or spoken with anyone, who knew of the mosque (I kept encountering the recounting of the burning of the churches with their congregations inside).


On pages 136-137 of Neither to Laugh not to Weep, Father Hartunian writes:

On the night of January 23, to the firing, the thundering of the cannons, the din of battle, a more calamitous evil was added—fire! The Turks had begun to set Armenian houses and buildings on fire. Even Turkish buildings were being burned if it seemed possible thus to spread the blaze to the Armenian quarters or one of the military centers. The flames rose everywhere; the city glowed beneath their light. From every side, bullets were incessantly whizzing like hail, and no one knew when he might be hit. Every moment there was danger of a fierce attack on any center where the Armenians had gathered. The fire horrified us. It was impossible to withstand it. I do not know a battle on a field or in the air, but I do know that a battle in a city is a hellish thing!

In the other centers the situation was the same or even worse. But no horrors can ever parallel the experience of the Armenians in the Armenian quarters and in their houses. These were tortured without respite and without pity and then slaughtered. A well-known and supposedly good-hearted Turk, Murad Bey, was in the Great Mosque, Ooloo Jami, where the murderers were at work. Some Armenian women and children, watching the slaughter and awaiting their turn, pleaded, “Please tell them to shoot us and not cut our throats with the knife!” and our kind Turk answered, “Don’t be afraid. The knives have been sharpened well and you will not suffer much.”

The city’s greatest Hoca was there too, Dayi Zade Hoca, and the Turks turned to him saying, “Hoca, shall we slaughter the small children too?” Does the Koran give us permission?” “Yes,” he answered, “slaughter them too. The Koran permits. We must kill the offspring of the scorpions, too, that they may not grow and sting us.”

Now, I know the fate of my grandfather’s mother, Mary Mesrobian Kalpakian; and his sisters, Anais Kalpakian (13 or 14 years old), and Armenouhi Kalpakian (9 or 10 years old).

The more I read, the more my grandfather’s words are verified as fact. This history is no ‘myth’ as Turkish government spokespeople continue to allege. But, I wish they were right.

Book & documentary project needs Armenian Genocide family histories, letters, photos

January 8, 2010

Dear Readers,

I am working on a book and documentary project concerning the Armenian Genocide. In addition to the stories of my grandparents and their peers, I wish to include family histories, stories, letters, photos and any other information or documentation that may fit. Please contact me if you have anything you wish to share.

Thank you,

Sheri Jordan

The Armenian Massacres, 1894-1896: U.S. Media Testimony

January 3, 2010

Another important book documenting the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks:

The Armenian Massacres, 1894-1896: U.S. Media Testimony

(I found the reference to this book on the Armenian National Institute’s (ANI) website, listed under Education at:

Book Review: “Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-Long Struggle for Justice”

December 28, 2009

Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-Long Struggle for Justice by Michael Bobelian
Books: ‘Children of Armenia’ | Washington Times | December 27, 2009.

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