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Anti-Armenianism, also known as Armenophobia is the fear, dislike of, hatred or aversion to the Armenians, Republic of Armenia and the Armenian culture. Modern anti-Armenianism is widespread in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Modern Anti-Armenianism is usually associated with either extreme opposition to the actions or existence of Armenia,[1][2] historical falsifications,[3][4] or belief in an Armenian conspiracy to fabricate history and manipulate public and political opinion for political gain.[5]

By location[edit]

Ottoman Empire and Turkey[edit]

Of this photo, the United States ambassador wrote, "Scenes like this were common throughout the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation".

Although it was possible for Armenians to achieve status and wealth in the Ottoman Empire, as a community they were never accorded more than "second-class citizen" status and were regarded as fundamentally alien to the Muslim character of Ottoman society.[6] In 1895, revolts among the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire lead to Sultan Abdül Hamid's decision to massacre tens of thousands of Armenians in the Hamidian massacres.[7] During World War I, the Ottoman government massacred between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians in the Armenian Genocide.[8][9][10][11] The position of the current Turkish government, however, is that the Armenians who died were casualties of the expected hardships of war, the casualties cited are exaggerated, and that the 1915 events could not be considered a genocide.[citation needed] This position has been criticized in a letter from the International Association of Genocide Scholars to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[12]

The difficulties currently experienced by the Armenian minority in Turkey are a result of an anti-Armenian attitude by ultra-nationalist groups such as the Grey Wolves.[citation needed] According to Minority Rights Group, while the government recognizes Armenians as a minority group, as used in Turkey this term denotes second-class status.[13] In 2004, Belge Films, the film's distributor in Turkey pulled the release of Atom Egoyan's Ararat, after receiving threats from the Grey Wolves.[14][15][16][17]

The Ankara Chamber of Commerce included a documentary, accusing the Armenian people of slaughtering Turks, with its paid tourism advertisements in the June 6, 2005 edition of the magazine Time Europe. The magazine later apologized for allowing the inclusion of the DVDs and published a critical letter signed by five French organizations.[18][19] The February 12, 2007 edition of Time Europe included an acknowledgment of the truth of the Armenian Genocide and a DVD of a documentary by French director Laurence Jourdan about the genocide.[20]

Hrant Dink, the editor of the weekly bilingual newspaper Agos, was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007, by Ogün Samast. He was reportedly acting on the orders of Yasin Hayal, a militant Turkish ultra-nationalist.[21][22] For his statements on Armenian identity and the Armenian Genocide, Dink had been prosecuted three times under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for “insulting Turkishness”.[23][24] (The law was later amended by the Turkish parliament, changing "Turkishness" to "Turkish Nation" and making it more difficult to prosecute individuals for the said offense.[25]) Dink had also received numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists who viewed his "iconoclastic" journalism (particularly regarding the Armenian Genocide) as an act of treachery.[26]

İbrahim Şahin and 36 other alleged members of Turkish ultra-nationalist Ergenekon group were arrested in January, 2009 in Ankara. The Turkish police said the round-up was triggered by orders Şahin gave to assassinate 12 Armenian community leaders in Sivas.[27][28] According to the official investigation in Turkey, Ergenekon also had a role in the murder of Hrant Dink.[29]

Accounts of hate speech towards targeted groups in Turkish news outlets with Armenians shown as being targeted the most according to a January-April 2014 Media Watch on Hate Speech and Discriminatory Language Report.[30]

In 2002, a monument was erected in memory of Turkish-Armenian composer Onno Tunc in Yalova, Turkey.[31] The monument to the composer of Armenian origin was subjected to much vandalism over the course of the years, in which unidentified people had taken out the letters on the monument. In 2012 Yalova Municipal Assembly decided to remove the monument. Bilgin Koçal, the mayor of Yalova informed the public that the memorial had been destroyed by time and that it would shortly be replaced with a new one in the memory of Tunç.[32][33][34] On the other hand, a similar memorial stays in place at the village of Selimiye, where an aircraft had crashed; and the people in the village of 187 expressed their protest about the vandalism claims regarding the memorial in Yalova, adding that they paid from their own funds to keep up the maintenance of the monument in their village against the wearing effect of natural causes.[35]

Turkish Army private Sevag Şahin Balıkçı was shot dead on April 24, 2011—the day of the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide—during his military service in Batman.[36] It was later discovered that his killer Kıvanç Ağaoglu was an ultra-nationalist.[37]

On February 26, 2012, on the anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre a demonstration took place in Istanbul which contained hate speech and threats towards Armenia and Armenians.[38][39][40][41] Chants and slogans during the demonstration include: "You are all Armenian, you are all bastards", "bastards of Hrant [Dink] can not scare us", and "Taksim Square today, Yerevan Tomorrow: We will descend upon you suddenly in the night."[38][39]

In 2012 the ultra-nationalist ASIM-DER group (founded in 2002) had targeted Armenian schools, churches, foundations and individuals in Turkey as part of an anti-Armenian hate campaign.[42]

On 23 February 2014, a group of protestors carrying a banner that said, "Long live the Ogun Samasts! Down with Hrant Dink!" went in front of an Armenian school in Istanbul and later walked in front of the main building of the Agos newspaper, the same location where Hrant Dink was assassinated in 2007.[43][44]

On 5 August 2014, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a televised interview on NTV news network, remarked that being Armenian is "uglier" even than being Georgian, saying "You wouldn't believe the things they have said about me. They have said I am Georgian...they have said even uglier things - they have called me Armenian, but I am Turkish."[45][46][47]


Azeri soldiers destroying the tombstones at the Armenian Cemetery in Julfa.

Anti-Armenianism exists in Azerbaijan on institutional[48] and social[49] levels. Armenians are "the most vulnerable group in Azerbaijan in the field of racism and racial discrimination."[50]

Throughout the 20th century, Armenians and Muslim inhabitants of the Caucasus (Azerbaijanis were called Caucasian or Azerbaijani Tatars before 1918) had been involved in numerous conflicts, including pogroms, massacres and wars. The two ethnic groups intensified "mutual distrust" and the clashes throughout the 20th century "have been significant factors in the shaping of the national self-consciousness of the two peoples."[51] From 1918 to 1920 organized killings of Armenians occurred in Azerbaijan, including in the cities of Baku and Shusha, the centers of Armenian cultural life under the Russian Empire.

However, the current xenophobia in Azerbaijan toward Armenia and Armenians have shaped mostly during the last years of the Soviet Union, when Armenians demanded the Moscow authorities to incorporate the mostly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast with the Armenian SSR.[52] In response to Armenian claims, the Azerbaijani nationalists, most prominently the Azerbaijani Popular Front,[53][54] organized pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku. An estimated of 350,000 Armenians left "in two waves in 1988 and in 1990 after anti-Armenian violence."[55]

The tensions eventually escalated into a large-scale military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian forces took control of most of former NKAO and seven adjacent districts outside of NKAO area. A cease-fire was reached in 1994 and is still in effect as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is de facto independent, while de jure inside the Azerbaijani borders.

Since then the Armenian side accuses the Azerbaijani government for carrying out anti-Armenian policy inside and outside the country, which includes propaganda of hate toward Armenia and Armenians and destruction of cultural heritage.[56][57][58] In 2011, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance report on Azerbaijan stated that "the constant negative official and media discourse concerning the Republic of Armenia helps to sustain a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin, who remain vulnerable to discrimination."[59]


Armenian youths protest anti-Armenian violence in Russia.

A 19th-century Russian explorer, Vasili Lvovich Velichko, who was active during the period when the Russian tzarism carried out a purposeful anti-Armenian policy,[60] wrote "Armenians are the extreme instance of brachycephaly; their actual racial instinct make them naturally hostile to the State".[61]

According to a 2012 VTSIOM opinion research, 6% of people in Moscow and 3% in Saint Petersburg were "experiencing feelings of irritation, hostility" toward Armenians. 31% had the same feeling towards people from the Caucasus in general (which area includes Armenia, Chechnya, Georgia and Azerbaijan), 23% toward Tajiks, 17% toward Azerbaijanis and 9% toward Georgians in Moscow.[62] There have been racist murders of Armenians in Russia, in recent years.[63][64]


In 1989 Georgia's future president Zviad Gamsakhurdia proclaimed: "Today, we are facing a serious problem. Tatars, Armenians and Ossetians have risen to their feet. We must save from foreigners Kakhetia – our holy land!"[65]

In 2007, the Georgian media began running several stories on the March 5 parliamentary elections in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, claiming that ethnic Armenians in the area, who make up roughly 20% of the local population, would be controlling the elections.[66] The Georgian newspaper Sakartvelos Respublika predicted that much of the parliament would be Armenian and that there was even a chance of an Armenian president being elected.[67] The paper also reported that the Abkazanian republic might already be receiving financial assistance from Armenians living in the United States.[67] Some Armenian groups believe such reports are attempting to create conflict between Armenians and ethnic Abkhazians to destabilize the region.[67]

Georgia has also actively pursued a policy of desecration of Armenian spiritual-cultural values, churches and historical monuments on the territory of Georgia.[68]

On November 16, 2008, Georgian monk Tariel Sikinchelashvili instructed workers to raze to the ground the graves of patrons of art Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshev.[69] The Armenian Church of Norashen in Tbilisi, built in the middle of the 15th century, has been desecrated and misappropriated by the Georgian government despite the fact that both Armenia's and Georgia's Prime-Ministers have reached an agreement on not to maltreat the church.[70][71][72] Due to no law on religion, the status of Surb Norashen, Surb Nshan, Shamhoretsor Surb Astvatsatsin (Karmir Avetaran), Yerevanots Surb Minas and Mugni Surb Gevorg in Tbilisi and Surb Nshan in Akhaltsikhe is unknown since being confiscated during the Soviet era. Since independence in 1991, Georgian clergy have occupied the Armenian churches.[73] Armenians in Georgia and Armenia have demonstrated against the destruction. On November 28, 2008, Armenian demonstrators in front of the Georgian embassy in Armenia demanded that the Georgian government immediately cease encroachments on the Armenian churches and punish those guilty, calling the Georgian party's actions "white genocide".[74]

In August, 2011, Georgia's Culture Minister Nika Rurua sacked director Robert Sturua as head of the Tbilisi national theatre for "xenophobic" comments he made earlier this year, officials reported. "We are not going to finance xenophobia. Georgia is a multicultural country," Rurua said.[75] Provoking public outrage, Sturua said in an interview with local news agency that "Saakashvili doesn't know what Georgian people need because he is Armenian." "I do not want Georgia to be governed by a representative of a different ethnicity," he added.[75][76]

In July 2014, the Armenian Ejmiatsin Church in Tbilisi was attacked. The local diocese said it was "a crime committed on ethnic and religious grounds."[77]

United States[edit]

While prejudice against ethnic Armenians in the United States is not widespread today, three notable cases do exist. In April 2007, the Los Angeles Times' Managing Editor Douglas Frantz blocked a story on the Armenian Genocide written by Mark Arax, allegedly citing the fact Arax was of Armenian descent and therefore had a biased opinion on the subject. However, other sources say that Frantz blocked Arax from completing the story not because of his descent, but rather because of his publicly political involvement in the topic and company policy that prohibited journalists from writing pieces on topics they were activists for in order to maintain the integrity of the paper that is closely linked with neutrality and unbiased journalism.[citation needed] Arax, who has published similar articles before,[78] has lodged a discrimination complaint and threatened a federal lawsuit. Frantz, who did not cite any specific factual errors in the article, is accused of having a bias obtained while being stationed in Istanbul, Turkey. Harut Sassounian, an Armenian community leader, accused Frantz of having expressed support for denial of the Armenian Genocide and has stated he personally believed that Armenians rebelled against the Ottoman Empire, an argument commonly used to justify the killings.[78] Although Sassounian was unable to provide any proof of his allegations, Frantz resigned from the paper not long afterward, possibly due to the mounting requests for his dismissal from the Armenian community.[79] Frantz however has also been stated to have been upholding company policy that prohibited journalists from doing articles on topics in which they have publicly expressed a bias or been involved in political activity concerning the issue, like the case for the article at hand, because journalists are meant to maintain an air of unbiased professionalism. Another incident that received less coverage was a series of hate mail campaigns directed at Paul Krekorian, a city council candidate for Californian Democratic Primary, making racist remarks and accusations that the Armenian community was engaging in voter fraud.[80]

The third act of alleged ethnic bias towards Armenians was on a KFI radio show with Bill Handel, who in an attempt at humour said that Glendale (a suburb of Los Angeles with a large Armenian community) should be sold to provide more money for the US economy due to the medical budget issue. When a listener replied to him via mail and said his actions were racist, a co-host replied "What the Turks started, Bill Handel will finish". The show was shortly afterwards made to apologize and has had subsequent Armenians whom they have interviewed.

On April 24, 2010, the day the Armenians mark the genocide of 1915, a group of Turkish-American protesters gathered in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington and protested the commemoration of the genocide, or what they call "Armenian Lies", in a celebratory way. One sign at the protest read "Armenian Girls Like Turkish Guys"[81]

Other countries[edit]

Anti-Armenian and anti-government riots in Tajikistan, 1990
  •  Pakistan: Pakistan is the only United Nations member state that has not recognized the Republic of Armenia, citing its support to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.[84]
  •  Poland: According to a 2010 poll conducted by CBOS in Poland, 23% of Poles have negative attitude towards Armenians, compared to 29% of those who had positive and 34% who had neutral attitude towards Armenians.[85]
  •  Romania: In one instance, President of Romania Traian Băsescu called the doctor who operated on him "the first competent Armenian I have met", referencing the Romanian finance minister Varujan Vosganian, who is of Armenian descent and whom Băsescu considered incompetent. This remark was considered racist by Vosganian.[86]
  •  Tajikistan: In early 1990, 39 Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan were settled in Tajikistan. False rumors spread that allegedly up to 5,000 Armenians were being resettled in new housing in Dushanbe experiencing acute housing shortage at that time. This led to riots which targeted both the Communist government and Armenians.[87] The Soviet Ministry of Interior (MVD) suppressed the demonstrations, during which more than 20 people were killed and over 500 were injured.[88]
  •  Ukraine: In 2009, an ethnic conflict broke out in the city of Marhanets. A Ukrainian was murdered and an Armenian person was blamed for it. This started a fight between Ukrainians and Armenians in the "Scorpion" café.[89] It later turned into riots and pogroms against Armenians,[90] accompanied by the burning of houses and cars, which led to exodus of Armenians from the city.[91]

By individuals[edit]

For several months in 1994, someone posted messages under the alias Serdar Argic claiming that the Armenian Genocide did not happen or that Armenians massacred Turks, on Usenet newsgroup threads mentioning the word Turkey.[92]

Samuel Weems published the book Armenia: The Secrets of a "Christian" Terrorist State in May 2002. Weems has made such claims as the "number one export of Armenia is terrorism" and that there was no Armenian Genocide.[93] Samuel Weems was disbarred[94][95] [1] as an attorney and charged with arson and insurance fraud.

American historian Justin McCarthy is known for his controversial view that no genocide was intended by the Ottoman Empire but that both Armenians and Turks died as the result of civil war. Some attribute his denial of the Armenian Genocide[96] to anti-Armenianism, as he holds an honorary doctorate of the Turkish Boğaziçi University and he is also a board member of the Institute of Turkish Studies.[97][98]

On more than one occasion, modern Azerbaijani historian Farida Mammadova has made anti-Armenian statements.[99] During one interview, she stated "it is known, that on the whole planet it is exactly the Armenian people who are distinguished by their absence of spiritual and other human values", in reference to supposed destruction of an Azeri holy sanctuary, Aga-Dede[100] south of Yerevan by Armenians in late 2005.[101]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ De Waal, Thomas. Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through War and Peace. New York: New York University Press, 2003, p. 154.
  3. ^ Robert Hewsen. Armenia: A Historical Atlas. — University of Chicago Press, 2001. — p. 291.: "Scholars should be on guard when using Soviet and post-Soviet Azeri editions of Azeri, Persian, and even Russian and Western European sources printed in Baku. These have been edited to remove references to Armenians and have been distributed in large numbers in recent years. When utilizing such sources, the researchers should seek out pre-Soviet editions wherever possible."
  4. ^ Abbas-Kuli-aga Bakikhanov, Willem M. Floor, Hasan Javadi The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & Daghestan. — Mage Publishers, 2008. — P. xvi, 5. — 226 p. — ISBN 1-933823-27-5, cit. "This certainly is the case with Zia Bunyatov, who has made an incomplete and defective Russian translation of Bakikhanov’s text. Not only has he not translated any of the poems in the text, but he does not even mention that he has not done so, while he does not translate certain other prose parts of the text without indicating this and why. This is in particular disturbing because he suppresses, for example, the mention of territory inhabited by Armenians, thus not only falsifying history, but also not respecting Bakikhanov’s dictum that a historian should write without prejudice, whether religious, ethnic, political or otherwise. <…> Guilistam-i Iram translated with commentary by Ziya M. Bunyatov (Baku. 1991), p.11, where the translator has deleted the words `and Armenia` from the text, which shows, as indicated in the introduction, that his translation should be used with circumspection, because this is not the only example of omissions from Bakikhanov’s text."
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Further reading[edit]

  • Hilmar Kaiser: Imperialism, Racism, and Development Theories. The Construction of a Dominant Paradigm on Ottoman Armenians, Gomidas Institute, Ann Arbor (MI) 1997