By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Turkish American Prof. Fatma Muge Gocek received abusive and possibly libelous e-mails from Turks last week after criticizing the denialist policies of the Turkish government on the Armenian Genocide in an interview conducted by Aris Babikian which was published in Horizon Weekly, a Canadian-Armenian newspaper, and posted on several internet sites.
A Turk, calling himself “Ilyas Botas” (who also uses various aliases on different occasions) sent an e-mail full of insults to Dr. Gocek
with copies to scores of others, including the Turkish Embassy. Referring to Prof. Gocek as “a useful idiot,” the so-called “Botas” wrote: “This bimbo not only has an immense ego problem, but she is odiously (sic) arrogant…. The chutzpah of this airhead of a woman is as big as her considerable heft.”
In a blatant attempt to libel Dr. Gocek, “Botas” wrote: “How obviously and how crudely her words are geared to please her Dashnak benefactors. If this woman is not a pathetic, sycophantic, toady of the Dashnak hate lobby, then my name is not Keenan Pars,” thus shamelessly disclosing another one of his aliases.
“Botas” then went on to attack Elif Shafak, a prominent Turkish scholar who had no role in the interview, but who had previously made sympathetic comments about Armenians. “Botas” described Shafak as “the other bimbo.”
Another Turk by the name of Ferruh Demirmen, who supposedly is a petroleum consultant in Houston, Texas, also sent a libelous hate e-mail to these two Turkish scholars, stating that “they are self delusional, they thrive in vanity, surpass in inanity, and their mark is stupidity. Arrogance is in their blood, deceit is their trade, and the Pavlovian instinct is in their psyche. As long as there are those like Gocek and her ilk, that are ready to serve their Dashnak masters, Turks don’t need enemies.”
In a separate e-mail posted on the Turkish Forum, “Botas” referred to Gocek and Shafak as “opportunistic parasites…who sell their souls for personal gain.” “Botas” is listed as a Board Member of the Turkish Forum.
Prof. Gocek sent an e-mail to both Demirmen and “Botas,” advising them that attorneys for the University of Michigan, where she is a tenured professor, are “looking into the legal implications of internet hate mail on the senders, their e-mail service providers, as well as the websites and the service providers of the websites at which these hate mails then get posted.”
In an e-mail Dr. Gocek posted on the Armenian Workshop site, she said: “I am not the only one to receive such hate mail. I know Taner Akcam, Halil Berktay and Elif Shafak had received such mail in large volumes and it became clear at the Istanbul Conference in September 2005 that many of the participants there and specially the journalists who happened to write on the Armenian issue have received it in droves as well.”
Dr. Gocek described her predicament as follows: “You have scholars on the one side and some vicious individuals – who of course are not scholars – backed by certain institutions sent out to attack them
with all their might, on the other. That is not fair. For the peaceful resolution of the Armenian issue, such tacit institutional/organizational support behind such maliciously behaving individuals needs to stop. And even though such tacit support may work in Turkey, where the legal system, unfortunately, does not work as well as it ought to, it should not work in the United States.”
In response to Dr. Gocek’s e-mail to the senders of the these hate mails, “Ilyas Botas” responded with even more insulting and obnoxious words, by writing: “The fat lady threatens legal action. And I am shaking in my boots, or more correctly, in my wing-tip shoes. Are the chickens coming home to roost, Ms. Gocek? How do you like them apples? Weren’t you and a bunch of other Dashnak lackeys the ones who
were decrying the lack of freedom of _expression in Turkey before you held your ‘Armenian Conference’ in Istanbul? How now, Gocek Efendi? The moccasin is on the other foot and you don’t seem to like it. That’s too bad. …How am I doing so far, fat lady? Am I providing you with even more grounds for ‘legal action’? Good. Send in your lawyers. Take your best shot. …I’ll provide you with even more grounds. Or by ‘legal action’ do you mean to send the hoodlum punks from the Armenian Youth Federation or some such thing? …Fat lady Gocek, I am ready for all eventualities, including having the perimeter of my house decorated with surveillance cameras. You say you are a professor ‘with tenure.’ Where did you get your degree? Like Dennis Papazian, at the Guguk Gagikyan Lahmajun Bakery? …I will distribute the same piece to every institution, public or non (sic), as well as to individuals, that I can. I think every Tom, Dick and Harry in the world should know what you’re up to. Hey, what the hell
more can you ask for? I’m making you famous. I expect you will send me my 10 percent commission via Fedex. Oh, if you want a good attorney, I recommend the Armenian lawyer, Mark Geragos the Gorgeous. Oh, I know he lost his last two big cases for the shoplifter actress Winona Rider [he means Ryder] and for the murderer Scott Peterson, but I think he still has the knack. I bet he’ll even do pro bono work for people who are inclined to be toadies for the slick Dashnak lobby. Wishing for your eventual cessation of prostituting for the Dashnak hate peddlers, Ilyas.”
These vicious words remind one of the Armenian saying: “hayhoyanke pasdi sove e.” Cusswords or name-calling means the absence of proof.
If Dr. Gocek does carry out her intent to sue these unsavory characters, she would not only safeguard her own reputation, but she would blow the cover of such impostors who carry out a vicious campaign of insults and threats, hiding behind fake names and phony e-mail addresses!