Cenk Uygur is the co-founder and main host of the left-leaning online media outlet ‘The Young Turks’. Over recent years, he’s faced increasing pressure to address his past claims that the Armenian genocide didn’t actually happen.
As well as denial of the atrocity, he’s also accused of naming his show, ‘The Young Turks’ after the perpetrators of the genocide. He’s been willing to deny the latter, but has been consistent in his avoidance of the former.
After years of silence and public avoidance when challenged on this issue, Cenk finally released a statement on April 22nd. It is reproduced in its entirety below:
Today, I rescind the statements I made in my Daily Pennsylvanian article from 1991 entitled, “Historical Fact of Falsehood? When I wrote that piece, I was a 21 year-old kid, who had a lot of opinions that I have since changed. Back then I had many political positions that were not well researched. For example, back in those days I held a pro-war rally for the Persian Gulf War. Anyone who knows me now knows that I am a very different person today.
I also rescind the statements I made in a letter to the editor I wrote in 1999 on the same issue. Back then I had a very different perspective and there were many things that I did not give due weight. On this issue, I should have been far, far more respectful of so many people who had lost family members. Their pain is heart-wrenching and should be acknowledged by all.
My mistake at the time was confusing myself for a scholar of history, which I most certainly am not. I don’t want to make the same mistake again, so I am going to refrain from commenting on the topic of the Armenian Genocide, which I do not know nearly enough about.
Thank you for being patient with me on this issue, though I might not have always merited it.
I find this statement lacking. Cenk has had 25 years to get his facts straight on this topic, yet he still avoids confirming whether this atrocity actually took place. Merely rescinding a statement is not the same as conceding that it is untrue.
Were it the case that I wanted people to be certain that I wasn’t denying a historically established genocide, I’d be sure to confirm my acknowledgement of said atrocity in a released statement intended to put the matter to bed. Something like: ‘Of course I now accept the Armenian genocide happened’ would do it for instance.
The above simply reads as someone who just doesn’t want to talk about it and is hoping it will all go away, rather than someone who wishes to set the record straight.
But unfortunately, Cenk can only manage to concede he was mistaken for ‘confusing’ himself for a ‘scholar of history’ rather than being mistaken about historical fact.
Also, ‘I don’t know enough about this, I’m not a scholar’ is an odd defence to take for a talk show host. Cenk is not a ‘scholar’ on any topic as far as I’m aware.
Will Cenk refrain from being opinionated on topics he is not a scholar on from now on? Surely he would need to find a new job then. Or does this credential humility only apply where inconvenient topics such as the Armenian genocide are concerned?
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