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Anti-Armenian sentiment, also known as anti-Armenianism and Armenophobia, is a diverse spectrum of negative feelings, dislikes, fears, aversion, derision and/or prejudice towards Armenians, Armenia, and Armenian culture. Modern anti-Armenianism is usually expressed by opposition to the actions or existence of Armenia, aggressive denial of the Armenian Genocide or belief in an Armenian conspiracy to fabricate history and manipulate public and political opinion for political gain.
Armenian Genocide and its denial
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. In 1895, revolts among the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire led to Sultan Abdül Hamid's decision to massacre tens of thousands of Armenians in the Hamidian massacres.
During World War I, the Ottoman government massacred between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians in the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government has aggressively denied the Armenian Genocide. This position has been criticized in a letter from the International Association of Genocide Scholars to – then Turkish Prime Minister, now President – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Cenk Saraçoğlu argues that anti-Armenian attitudes in Turkey "are no longer constructed and shaped by social interactions between the 'ordinary people' [...] Rather, the Turkish media and state promote and disseminate an overtly anti-Armenian discourse." According to a 2011 survey in Turkey, 73.9% of respondents admitted having unfavorable views toward Armenians. The survey showed an unfavorable stance toward Armenians was "relatively more widespread among those participants with lower levels of education and socioeconomic status." According to Minority Rights Group, while the government recognizes Armenians as a minority group, as used in Turkey this term denotes second-class status.
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. 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.
Hrant Dink, the editor of the weekly bilingual newspaper Agos, was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007, by Ogün Samast, who was reportedly acting on the orders of Yasin Hayal, a militant Turkish ultra-nationalist. 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.” (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.) 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.
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 roundup was triggered by orders Şahin gave to assassinate 12 Armenian community leaders in Sivas. According to the official investigation in Turkey, Ergenekon also had a role in the murder of Hrant Dink.
In 2002, a monument was erected in memory of Turkish-Armenian composer Onno Tunç in Yalova, Turkey. 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 former 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. 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.
Sevag Balikci, a Turkish soldier of Armenian descent, was shot dead on April 24, 2011, the day of the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide during his military service in Batman. It was later discovered that killer Kıvanç Ağaoğlu was an ultra-nationalist. Through his Facebook profile, it was uncovered that he was a sympathizer of nationalist politician Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and Turkish agent / contract killer Abdullah Çatlı, who himself had a history of anti-Armenian activity, such as the Armenian Genocide Memorial bombing in a Paris suburb in 1984. His Facebook profile also showed that he was a Great Union Party (BBP) sympathizer, a far-right nationalist party in Turkey. Testimony given by Sevag Balıkçı's fiancée stated that he was subjected to psychological pressure at the military compound. She was told by Sevag over the phone that he feared for his life because a certain military serviceman threatened him by saying, "If war were to happen with Armenia, you would be the first person I would kill."
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. 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."
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.
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.
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."
In February 2015, graffiti was discovered near the wall of an Armenian church in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul saying, "You’re Either Turkish or Bastards" and "You Are All Armenian, All Bastards." It is claimed that the graffiti was done by organizing members of a rally entitled "Demonstrations Condemning the Khojali Genocide and Armenian Terror." The Human Rights Association of Turkey petitioned the local government of Istanbul calling it a "Pretext to Incite Ethnic Hate Against Armenians in Turkey". In the same month banners celebrating the Armenian Genocide were spotted in several cities throughout Turkey. They declared: "We celebrate the 100th anniversary of our country being cleansed of Armenians. We are proud of our glorious ancestors."
On 20 February 2015, the Mayor of Bayburt Mete Memis called the deeds of Turkish soldiers who massacred Armenians a hundred years ago "heroism." He made a congratulatory statement on the 97th anniversary of Bayburt's sacking, in which its Armenian resident were massacred and exiled as part of the Armenian Genocide, claiming that 97 years ago, the Turkish soldiers in Bayburt had "written their name in history for defending the homeland."
In March 2015, the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek, filed a formal complaint on defamation charges against journalist Hayko Bağdat because he called him an Armenian. The complaint petitioned that the statements by the journalist are "false and include insult and libel." Gökçek also demanded 10,000 liras in compensation under a civil lawsuit against Bağdat for psychological damages, and the lawsuit is now pending.
During the official state funeral of Turkish serviceman Olgun Karakoyunlu, a man exclaimed: "The PKK are all Armenians, but are hiding. I am Kurdish and a Muslim, but I am not an Armenian. The end of Armenians is near. God willingly, we will bring an end to them. Oh Armenians, whatever you do it is in vain, we know you well. Whatever you do will be in vain." Similarly, in 2007, a state-appointed imam, presiding over a funeral of a Turkish soldier killed by the PKK, said that the death was due to "Armenian bastards."
In September 2015, during the Kurdish–Turkish conflict, a video was released which captured police in Cizre announcing on a loudspeaker to the local Kurdish population that they were "Armenian bastards." A few days later, in another instance, the Cizre police made repeated announcements on loudspeaker saying "You are all Armenians."
On 9 September 2015, a crowd of Turkish youth rallying in Armenian populated districts of Istanbul chanted "We must turn these districts into Armenian and Kurdish cemeteries."
In September 2015, a 'Welcome' sign was installed in Iğdır and written in four languages, Turkish, Kurdish, English, and Armenian. The Armenian portion of the sign was protested by ASIMDER who demanded its removal. In October 2015, the Armenian writing on the 'Welcome' sign was heavily vandalized. The Armenian portion of the sign was ultimately removed in June 2016.
In April 2016, Barbaros Leylani, the head of the Turkish Worker's Union in Sweden, referred to Armenians as "dogs" in a public speech in Stockholm, and added: "Turks awaken! Armenian scums must be finished, die Armenian scums, die, die!" (external link of speech (in Turkish)) Juridikfronten, a Swedish watchdog organization, filed a report to the police due to an "incitement to racial hatred". Thereafter, Leylani resigned from his post.
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." 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. In response to Armenian claims, the Azerbaijani nationalists, most prominently the Azerbaijani Popular Front, 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."
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 Republic of Artsakh 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. 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."
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, wrote "Armenians are the extreme instance of brachycephaly; their actual racial instinct make them naturally hostile to the State."
According to a 2012 VTSIOM opinion research, 6% of respondents in Moscow and 3% in Saint Petersburg were "experiencing feelings of irritation, hostility" toward Armenians. In the 2000s there have been racist murders of Armenians in Russia. In 2002 an explosion took place in Krasnodar near the Armenian church which the local community believed was a terrorist act.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century anti-Armenian sentiment was prevalent in both socialist and nationalist Georgian circles. The economic dominance of Armenians in Tbilisi fueled verbal attacks on Armenians. Droeba, an influential journal, described Armenians as people who "strip our streets and fatten their pockets" and "but the last piece of property from our indebted peasant families." Both Ilia Chavchavadze and Akaki Tsereteli, two major literary figures, attacked Armenians for their perceived mercantilism. Tsereteli portrayed Armenians as a flea sucking Georgian blood in one fable. Chavchavadze denounced Armenians for "eating the bread baked by someone else or drinking that which is creating by another's sweat." Chavchavadze's newspaper, Iveria, depicted Armenians as "sly moneylenders and unscrupulous traders," according to Stephen F. Jones. The Social Democratic Party of Georgia (Georgian Mensheviks) attacked the bourgeoisie and imperialism to liberate Georgia from both Russian imperialism and perceived Armenian economic exploitation. During the existence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918–21), the independent Georgian government saw Armenians as a potential "fifth column" for their supposed loyalty to the First Republic of Armenia and subject to manipulation by foreign powers. The Georgian–Armenian War of December 1918 increased anti-Armenian sentiments in Georgia. In post-Soviet Georgia, first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia, an outspoken nationalist, viewed Armenians, along with other ethnic minorities, as "guests" or "aliens" who threaten Georgia's territorial integrity.
What exists in Georgia is anti-Armenian nationalism but this is because there is an Armenian big bourgeoisie which, by crushing the small and as yet weak Georgian bourgeoisie, thrusts the latter towards anti-Armenian nationalism.
Around the time of the 2007 parliamentary elections in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, the Georgian media emphasized the factor of ethnic Armenians in the area. 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. The paper also reported that the Abkazanian republic might already be receiving financial assistance from Armenians living in the United States. Some Armenian analysts believe such reports are attempting to create conflict between Armenians and ethnic Abkhazians to destabilize the region.
A policy of desecration of Armenian churches and historical monuments on the territory of Georgia has actively been pursued. On November 16, 2008, Georgian monk Tariel Sikinchelashvili vandalised the graves of patrons of art Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshev. 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. 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. 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."
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. 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.
In 2018 the Tandoyants Armenian church in Tbilisi was gifted to the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Orthodox Church in Georgia stated that the church was “illegally transferred” to the Georgian Patriarchate. According to the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, Tandoyants is not the only historic Armenian church the Georgian Patriarchate has targeted. There are at least six others the Patriarchate has its sights set on.
There has been historic prejudice against Armenians in the United States throughout various times, at least beginning from the early 1900s.
In early 1900s Armenians were among the group of minorities who were barred from loaning money, land, and equipment particularly because of their race. They were referred to as "lower class Jews". Moreover, in Fresno, California, among other minorities Armenians lived on one side of Van Ness Blvd., while the residents of European white origin lived on the other side. A deed from one home there stated, "Neither said premises nor any part thereof shall be used in any matter whatsoever or occupied by any Black, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, Armenian, Asiatic or native of the Turkish Empire."
In Anny Bakalian's book Armenian-Americans: From Being to Feeling Armenian, various groups of Armenians were polled for discrimination based on their identity. Roughly 77% of US-born Armenians felt they were discriminated in getting a job while 80% responded positively to a question whether they felt discriminated in getting admitted to a school.
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 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.
On April 24, 1998 during a campus exhibit organized by the Armenian Students' Association at UC Berkeley, Hamid Algar, a Professor of Islamic & Persian Studies, reportedly approached a group of organizers and shouted, “It was not a genocide but I wish it was—you lying pigs!” The students also claimed that Algar also spit at them. Following the incident members of the Armenian Students' Association filed a report with campus police calling for an investigation. After a five-month investigation the Chancellor's office issued an apology, though no hate charges were filed as incident did not create a "hostile environment."  On March 10, 1999 the Associated Students of University of California (ASUC) passed a resolution titled, "A Bill Against Hate Speech and in Support of Reprimand for Prof. Algar," condemning the incident and calling for Chancellor to review the University decision not to file charges.
In 1999, after Rafi Manoukian got elected to Glendale City Council, one resident attended the Council’s meetings every week to “tell Armenians to go back where they came from.” Manoukian campaign had made a point to galvanize Glendale's large Armenian American electorate.
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. Arax, who has published similar articles before, 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. Frantz resigned from the paper not long afterward, possibly due to the mounting requests for his dismissal from the Armenian community.
In March 2012 three of five Glendale Police Department's officers of Armenian origin filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Glendale Police Department claiming racial discrimination.
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.
In 2016, during a race between Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian and Glendale Council Member Laura Friedman for the 43rd District Assembly seat, Kassakhian’s campaign faced numerous threats and criticism based on the candidate's ethnicity. At one point in the campaign Kassakhian’s office was evacuated after receiving a phone call that threatened the safety of employees and volunteers.
On April 20, 2016, Armenian genocide denial propaganda appeared in the sky over the Hudson River between Manhattan and Northern New Jersey. The skywriting featured messages such as "101 years of Geno-lie," "BFF = Russia + Armenia," and "FactCheckArmenia.com." The aerial stunt was part of a campaign by the website Fact Check Armenia, an Armenian Genocide Denialist site. The writing could be seen from roughly a 15-mile (24 km) radius. The media attention from the incident resulted in an official apology by the skywriting company.
On April 21, 2016 students at Clark Magnet High School, which currently has 60% Armenian student body, wrote an open letter accusing the school administrators of cultural insensitivity. In the letter students explained that as a day of remembrance students wore black T-shirts. Because of Clark's collar dress code policy school staff browsed through classrooms and gave detention slips to students who wore black T-shirts. They also accused one of the teachers of shaming their actions, who "according to more than fifty Clarkies, one of the faculty members called the students' patriotic actions a "disgrace to America" and stated that she considers them to be "disrespectful to other Americans."
In the 4th episode of Season 3 of the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls (aired on October 14, 2013) "when a new cappuccino maker is brought into the cupcake store by a co-worker, he says he bought it for a cheap price from a person who stole it but sells it at a profit, adding 'it's the Armenian way.' When the character is pressed that he is not Armenian, he says 'I know. But, it's the Armenian way.'" This scene was characterized as "racist" by Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian, who criticized CBS for promotion of racial stereotypes in their shows.
In the January 9, 2018 episode of the Comedy Central late-night program The Daily Show Trevor Noah stated: "This is, like, really funny. Only Donald Trump could defend himself and, in the same sentence, completely undermine his whole point. It would be like someone saying, ‘I’m the most tolerant guy out there, just ask this filthy Armenian.'" Armenian American organizations criticized Noah for alleged racism against Armenians. In a joint press release the Armenian Bar Association and the Armenian Rights Watch Committee (ARWC) compared "Filthy Armenians" to racial epithets as "Dirty Jew" and "Lazy Nigger", which although "may have been intended to coax a laugh from the audience by ridiculing President Trump's self-proclaimed genius and tolerance," constitutes "affront and slander." The organizations called for The Daily Show and Trevor Noah to issue a retraction and an apology. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) also called for an apology.
In July 2020 the KZV Armenian School and its adjacent Armenian Community Center in San Francisco were vandalized overnight with threatening and racist graffiti. According to San Francisco officials, the attack claimed to support a violent, anti-Armenian movement led by Azerbaijan. The messages contained curse words and appeared to be connected to increased tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi noted that “The KZV Armenian School is a part of the beautiful fabric of our San Francisco family. The hateful defacing of this place of community and learning is a disgrace.” San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and San Francisco Mayor London Breed also condemned the hate act.
The Jerusalem Post reported in 2009 that out of all Christians in Jerusalem's Old City Armenians were most often spat on by Haredi and Orthodox Jews. In 2011 several instances of spitting and verbal attacks on Armenian clergymen by Haredi Jews were reported in the Old City. In a 2013 interview Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian stated that Armenians in Israel are treated as "third-class citizens."
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. The Soviet Ministry of Interior (MVD) suppressed the demonstrations, during which more than 20 people were killed and over 500 were injured.
In 1944, in the town of Kuty in eastern Poland, Ukrainian nationalists from the OUN-UPA massacred (as part of the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia) Armenians and Poles, killing 200 people. Kuty was the largest concentration of Armenians in Poland.
In 2009, an ethnic conflict broke out in the city of Marhanets following the murder of a Ukrainian man by an Armenian. A fight between Ukrainians and Armenians started in the "Scorpion" café, and later turned into riots and pogroms against Armenians, accompanied by the burning of houses and cars, which led to exodus of Armenians from the city.
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:Translated from Turkish: "On May 1, 2011, after investigating into the background of the suspect, we discovered that he was a sympathizer of the BBP. We also have encountured nationalist themes in his social networks. For example, Muhsin Yazicioglu and Abdullah Catli photos were present" according to Balikci lawyer Halavurt.
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Translated from Turkish: "We discovered that he was a sympathizer of the BBP. We also have encountered nationalist themes in his social networks. For example, Muhsin Yazicioglu and Abdullah Catli photos were present" according to Balikci lawyer Halavurt."
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Title translated from Turkish: Doubts emerge on the death of Sevag
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Title Translated from Turkish: From the fiance: If we were to go to war with Armenia, I would kill you first"
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‘Mount Ararat will Become Your Grave’ Chant Turkish Students
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