WATERTOWN, M.A. – A coalition of 14 national anti-genocide and human rights groups, led by the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER), have called on The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and The Philadelphia Inquirer to issue a formal apology for the placement of advertisements denying the Armenian Genocide in their publications and urged an advertisement policy review to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In letters sent to the publications this week, the coalition explains that “the website linked to in the advertisement clearly denies the Armenian Genocide in several ways, including by disputing the number of people killed, referring to the genocide as a ‘destructive conflict,’ or the ‘1915 tragedy.’ While the coded language used on the website may be unfamiliar to outsiders, we are all too familiar with the use of this language as a tool for denial.” The letters went on to note that “the advertisement was run by an organization called the ‘Turkic Platform,’ a propaganda group that aims to distract conversation from Turkey’s role in the Armenian Genocide through the use of billboard and newspaper advertisements and other activities.”
ANCA-ER’s Armen Sahakyan thanked coalition partners for taking a “principled and unequivocal stance against the denial of the Armenian Genocide. We will continue our active work in further promoting the anti-genocide alliance to speak with one, united voice against all cases of genocide and/or their denial.”
Leaders of A Demand for Action; Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region; Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center; Carl Wilkens Fellowship; Darfur Interfaith Network; Genocide Watch; Hellenic American Leadership Council; In Defense of Christians; International Association of Genocide Scholars; Jewish World Watch; STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities; Stop Genocide Now; Together We Remember; and United to End Genocide co-signed the letters which outline three concrete requests:
On April 20th, the Istanbul-based Turkic Platform began a U.S.–wide advertisement blitz denying the Armenian Genocide, spending millions on full page print newspaper ads, online news site ads and billboards. Backlash from the ad campaign has been significant with grassroots action leading to ClearChannel Outdoor first pulling its billboards in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco and then stopping the campaign nationwide. Some newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News, issued apologies and pledged a full review of their ad placement policy.