Montréal, Feb. 6 – The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) demonstrated a lack of judgment when it failed to invite representatives of the Canadian-Armenian community to its Feb. 6 Sunday Edition radio program where following the discussion of a book on the Armenian Genocide, only the Turkish Embassy was allowed to present its side.
The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) president, Dr. Girair Basmadjian, said: “It’s regrettable that deniers of the Armenian Genocide (the Turkish Government) have been provided with a platform while the representatives of the Canadian-Armenian community have not been offered the opportunity to respond to the Turkish Government’s propaganda.”
In a 25-minute segment, host Michael Enright interviewed Prof. Taner Akçam, the author of “From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide”. Following the interview, Mr. Enright read a lengthy statement sent by the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa. No such statement was read from the Armenian Embassy of Ottawa.
Prof. Akçam is one of many Turkish historians to recognize publicly the mass killings and deportation, in 1915, of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. His book represents a scholarly attempt to document the Armenian Genocide from the perpetrator’s, rather than the victim’s perspective. In the interview, Prof. Akçam stated that he has been refused posts in Turkish universities because of his recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“We commend the CBC and thank Mr. Michael Enright for their decision to shed light on the Forgotten Genocide of the 20th century, and Prof. Akçam’s scholarly research. At the same time we were surprised and disappointed to hear Mr. Enright read the Turkish Embassy’s statement which was, as usual, full of historical fabrications and misinformation, the usual official stance of successive Turkish governments. To us, it is a sheer error of judgment to confront an honest academician with a baseless political onslaught, without even giving a chance for the author to respond.” said Dr. Basmadjian.
The Canadian-Armenian community leader said that it was unfortunate that the CBC provided an opportunity for such a statement from the Turkish Embassy while not inviting Canadian-Armenians the same opportunity. “Moreover, the statement was an outright insult to the author, Dr. Akçam, who did not lack courage to express the historical truth. The Canadians of Armenian origin representing survivors of the said Genocide are commemorating the 90th anniversary this year, are insulted by such statements on a respectable broadcasting corporation such as the CBC.” added Dr. Basmadjian.
It was omitted by the programmer the fact that the Armenian Genocide was recognized as such by the Senate and House of Commons of Canada on 2002 and 2004 respectively, and by provincial legislatures of Ontario and Quebec dating back to 1980.
Genocide denial out of ignorance or a false sense of “balanced journalism” or “political correctness” is irresponsible and only serves to promote revisionist policies. “Do we provide Holocaust deniers with such courtesies or platforms?” asked Dr. Basmadjian.
The ANCC believes the denial of the Armenian Genocide is an encouragement for its repetition, as it eventually happened in Ukraine, Germany, Cambodia and Rwanda. In light of these events, it is appropriate that the CBC apologize to the Armenian listeners and promise to present the same opportunity to the Armenian Embassy in the future.