Open letter to the President of the University of Toronto: Freedom of Speech: Only If No Dissent is Expressed? by Ergun KIRLIKOVALI
Open letter to the President of the University of Toronto:
FREEDOM OF SPEECH: ONLY IF NO DISSENT IS EXPRESSED?
Dear President Gertler,
Can you imagine a university, a vibrant place where controversial matters are expected to be freely explored, disallowing dissent?
Worse yet, disallowing dissent under intimidation of Armenian pressure groups?
What kind institute of higher learning would that be? Would you consider that university to be a respectable ally of the notion of freedom of speech that we all hold so dearly?
That is what is happening in Toronto as you read these lines on this 26th day of February, 2015. Armenian groups are pulling all stops to harass the University of Toronto President Prof. Dr. Meric Gertler into denying two highly esteemed intellectuals, Prof. Justin McCarthy and constitutional legal scholar Bruce Fein, the academic platform at the University of Toronto, to express their views on a controversial historical event that took place 100 years ago in the Ottoman Empire.
Apparently, Armenians must think that a university is a proper place to exercise censorship of ideas and dissenting views. Furthermore, Armenians must believe that even if a respectable university is coerced, though highly unlikely, into stopping people from freely speaking their minds, that those ideas will never be heard elsewhere on some other platform or medium. Worst of all, Armenians must think the freedom of speech is a right that can only be exercised if Armenians agree with the ideas to be expressed and that nothing in those expressions can challenge the orthodox Armenian narrative.
If Armenians succeed in harassing all universities, colleges, schools, and other platforms for reasoned debate into silencing all responsible opposing views, what kind of a city, state, or country would that be?
If we cannot openly discuss a controversial matter, any issue, from abortion, immigration, gun control, gay rights, economy, wars, global warming, politics, to million other such “hot potatoes,” then what good is our democracy? And what side of an issue shall be deemed right and what views shall be suppressed? Will we have an “opinion police” (made up of Armenians) regulating thought? What happens to the freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of both the U.S. and Canada? Will you allow Armenian aggression to turn the U.S. and Canada into that aggressive, land-locked, mind-locked, violent and corrupt Armenia?
As American and Canadian citizens, and indeed all world citizens, we urge the UoT not to allow academic freedom to be destroyed by some radical Armenian groups in Toronto who launched a campaign of vilification targeting two highly esteemed intellectuals. The UoT should reject the discriminatory demands of Armenians.
With the December 17, 2013 verdict on “Perincek vs Switzerland”, the highest court in Europe, the European Courts of Human Rights, has established that the events of 1915 cannot be proven to be genocide and cannot be compared to Jewish Holocaust. What’s more, silencing contra-genocide views is a direct violation of freedom of thought, expression, and speech–a stance contra-genocide scholars and writers were advocating all along. What is needed is civilized dialogue and reasoned debate, not censorship, silencing, and intimidation.
With this remarkable milestone of a court verdict, the Turkish side of the story, long dismissed, ignored, and/or censored, will now finally be heard. Armenian agitation, propaganda, insurgency, deception, terrorism, treason, revolts, territorial demands, and the resulting Muslim, mostly Turkish, suffering and
losses will be included in the debate for a balanced treatment of the Turkish-Armenian conflict. All this can be expected to lead to civilized dialogue and reasoned debate which, in turn, may finally produce closure based on the concepts of “shared responsibility,” “shared pain,” and “fair memory”.
Turko-phobia and Islamo-phobia in the pro-genocide views, by far the biggest challenges to reasoned debate on the Turkish-Armenian conflict, should now clearly be checked at the door prior to debating this issue. If that is done, then it will be seen that it was a truly complex human tragedy engulfing all the people of the era and area, not just Armenians. Furthermore, Armenian complicity in this tragedy,
Armenian war crimes and hate crimes can no longer be swept under the rug (see, for example, https://www.ethocide.com for a photo of the well-trained, well-armed Armenian military academy cadets posing with their Russian-made Mosin weapons as far back as 1906, flying in the face of the rhetoric we are all so familiar with: “poor, starving, unarmed, loyal Armenians cut down by blood-thirsty Turks for no reason on one 1915 morning”)
Armenians resorted to terrorism (1862-1922,) revolts (1882-1920,) and treason (1878-1920) and caused 519,000 Turks and other Muslims to meet their tragic ends at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries. Jews did no such things in 1930s or 1940s. So how can anyone measure the two events by the same yardstick ?
Lacking historical evidence and legal support, Armenians are resorting to political pressure and deceptive comparisons with Holocaust to establish “credibility by association.” That is why the UN, the US, the UK, Australia, Israel, Sweden and many other countries do not accept the use of the term genocide to describe the Turkish-Armenian conflict.
History cannot and should not be enforced by “opinion police” made up of Armenian radicals and people should not be intimidated by aggressive advocacy of the Armenians into accepting a fallacy as truth. Doing so would destroy the freedom of speech, academia, and press. This concept is eloquently expressed by the French historians who wrote this about the proposed (and thankfully failed) draconian denial laws in Appel De Blois: “… History must not be a slave to contemporary politics nor can it be written on the command of competing memories…” I certainly put my signature on that public statement.
Blindly buying into Armenian misrepresentations and insisting on a false claim of genocide will cause one to commit the crime of Ethocide, which is defined as “extermination of ethics via malicious mass deception for political gain.”
The road to enlightenment passes through understanding the other side, indeed, all sides, of an issue, not censorship or ignorance. And university is a place for enlightenment, not “policing thought.”.
An American of proud Turkish heritage,
Son of Turkish survivors of Armenian (and other) atrocities