Cenk Uygur Still Won’t Acknowledge The Armenian Genocide


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?

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • As I have pointed out on Twitter earlier, Cenk’s “I’m not a scholar”, sounds very much like the leadership of CAGE, and their claim of “I’m not a theologian”, when asked a very simple question of whether stoning a woman to death for adultery is acceptable.

  • I followed the Young Turks back when they where strictly broadcasting from YouTube. It was a nice little show but I witnessed odd statements by Cenk and his evolution throughout the show. In my eyes, he was turning into a Rush Limbaugh, complete with yelling and sweating. I have since un-followed TYT. Cenk most likely released this statement to save face in order to preserve the integrity of his show which makes its income from viewers. Cenk is relatively young and still has his Limbaugh ranting moments. Perhaps he should engage his viewers with a live video conference of some sort in order for viewers to visually gauge his sincerity.

  • Jennifer E Johnson

    Why do people keep lying about this? He has long since acknowledged it. His co anchor is Armenian. I’ve been watching them for over 10 years and these articles are nothing but perilous propaganda aimed at silencing progressive voices. Btw the name “The Young Turks” has more than one meaning. It also means “Young progressive rebel” which it clearly states on their website. If you’ve ever heard the song “The Young Turks” by Rod Stewart you would know this. Stop lying already. I have heard him acknowledge the genocide many times.

    • Stephen Knight

      Thank you for your comments Jennifer. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to map on to what I wrote, or the issues at hand. I’ll address your criticism point by point.:

      ‘He has long since acknowledged it…I have heard him acknowledge the genocide many times’

      Where has he done this? Can you please provide a source?

      ‘His co anchor is Armenian’

      And? Why is this relevant? He’s not being accused of denying the existence of Armenians, is he?

      ‘Btw the name “The Young Turks” has more than one meaning. It also means “Young progressive rebel” which it clearly states on their website. If you’ve ever heard the song “The Young Turks” by Rod Stewart you would know this. Stop lying already’

      Where did I lie about this? I said he had been ‘accused’ of naming the show after the perpetrators – which he has. In the interest of fairness, I also noted that he had denied these allegations. I also provided a link to a YouTube video of him explaining the origin of the show’s name from his perspective.

      .’..these articles are nothing but perilous propaganda aimed at silencing progressive voices’

      How is this article on my personal blog, ran by one man – about someone who owns a successful, multi-platform media corporation an attempt to silence? How could I even hope to achieve such a goal even if I wanted to silence him? Where does the balance of power lie here, in your opinion?

      I would also add it’s not particularly progressive to misrepresent critics, exempt Islam as a causal factor from violence and refuse to acknowledge a historically established genocide. All of which Cenk has done.

      If you can point me to where Cenk has clearly and unreservedly stated that he believes that the Armenian genocide did take place, I’ll happily update my blog with the new information.

      I look forward to your response

    • Jennifer,

      I appreciate that it’s difficult to learn that a trusted source is as human and as flawed as the rest of us. This doesn’t mean that everything Cenk says is bad or wrong but it should give us pause and remind us to not take what he does say at face value. It’s always better to dig deeper and learn more.

      I stopped watching TYT a while ago because found Cenk to be sexist in the way he treats his co-host Ana Kasparian often gaslighiting her, and his shameless misrepresenting and strawman-ing of people he disagrees with.

    • The fact that ‘Young Turks’ has another meaning is very much a distraction. He is a prominent Turk, who was a genocide denier (now a genocide agnostic, it would seem). One might look the other way if a hindu wore a swastika, pointing to it’s ancient origins, less likely if a neo-nazi gave the same argument. Combined with the fact that TYT consistently criticise others (The Redskins, for example) of being culturally insensitive make his naming of his show a spit in the face of history and Armenians in particular. That he managed to hire an Armenian as some kind of armour to this criticism, when clearly she is so ashamed of his position, makes matters worse, not better.

  • In 2007 Cenk mentions how the leader of Turkey denies the Armenian genocide and hints or alludes at how crazy that is/wrong that is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCEhTmR1uE0

    Cenk said the same thing in 2011 in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/ahmadinejad-the-new-booge_b_65735.html

    Essentially Cenk has flip flopped on this issue. We got the closest thing to an apology for what he wrote in the 90s a few days ago. In 2012 when he was being protested by Armenians he couldnt even address what he wrote in the 90s.

    Since 2012 he’s called the Armenian genocide a historical situation, massacres (I think he said massacres before 2012 actually) and a slaughter-fest. It’s the one topic he does not want to talk about.

    He’s supporting two Turkish American organizations which are ATAA and TCA and they both do all they can to make sure the Armenian genocide is not taught anywhere. Maybe that’s why he stopped saying/writing Armenian genocide publicly. He also could be afraid of the Turkish govt (he’s still a citizen of Turkey and it’s a crime to say the Armenian genocide happened) and Turkish nationalists (they’ve been known to kill some Turks who say the Armenian genocide happened).

    I do think he just needs to stop supporting those two Turkish American organizations. i also think he needs to change the name of his show and network. It’s just high time that he and his who respect Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians who were affected/effected by this crime against humanity (and everyone else who cares about humanity).

    • The blog post in 2011 was actually a repost from 2007 (you’ll note he references a living Osama bin Laden who was alive when the blog was originally published, but dead when it was reposted on huffpost). He does not actually acknowledge the genocide in the article or the companion video, he merely states that Turkey denies it and that countries have “different versions of history” as part of an argument that Iran denying the holocaust is not a danger.

      • Okay, thank you for letting me know that, cause I thought originally that The Huffington Post blog post was from 2007 and then looked later and saw the date of 2011, which confused me and then thought that was the original date (I was dumb!). He was kind of crafty in how he worded what he said on his video and in Huff po. It seemed to me that he was insinuating that genocide happened and that the U.S cant go to war with Turkey for that reason alone as well as going to war with Iran over the leader denying the holocaust etc. God, he’s such a lawyer/so crafty.

        Just seeing how Cenk did his recent piece on rescinding what he wrote in the 90s and having Ana tweet it out etc was just so calculating. And how Cenk worded everything at the end of that was such lawyer speak/Turkish political correctness. I’m glad so many people have stood up to him.

        Again, thanks for your information.

        • “… and having Ana tweet it out etc… ”

          Would Ana co-operate with such manoeuvring? She’s condemned the genocide on her personal channel. AFAIK has (can?) not on a TYT channel.

          Personally, I don’t regard cenk as anything other than a hard right propagandist, supporting Turkish expansionism and the prejudicial causes of the Regressive Left.

          “Liberal” he ain’t.

          • “Personally, I don’t regard cenk as anything other than a hard right propagandist”

            I’m not sure I understand this statement. Are you saying that he’s “hard right”? In which case, he could be called a lot of things…right-wing isn’t one of them.

            Or, are you saying that he spouts off anti-right wing propaganda? That makes a little more sense, as on multiple occasions he’s misquoted, stated his personal opinions as if they were fact and used the classic “they’re racists/bigots/etc.” against conservative figures.

          • Yes I expressed myself poorly. While Cenk is renown as an apologist of the Regressive Left when talking about issues in the US his stance becomes more nationalistic when addressing issues in Turkey. I no longer watch TYT other than occasional clips highlighted by others so am conscious I can’t refer to specific examples other than the issue of the Armenian Genocide.

            I personally can’t see a contradiction between the ultimate consequences of Regressive and Far Right policies. They focus on different tribes but an expansionist Orwellian State is their goal.

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  • He’s from a Muslim background, He named his show after a Muslim political party responsible for the most successful genocide of Christians in recent history. Yes, Ceng Uygar is a piece of shit. Next story.

  • Samvel Tigranyan

    TYT-The Young Turks,this was the political party in charge that executed the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Armenians around the world still get goosebumbs just from hearing or seeing those words,it is extremely offensive for at least 10 million people ,who have had direct ancestors killed or placed out of their homes to become refugees.
    It would be like naming an organization “The Nigger Haters” and explaining it as “We just dont like the black color” and quoting the Oxnard Dictionary- ” Nigger- Origin
    Late 16th century: from earlier neger, after Latin niger ‘black’ (see Negro).”
    One shouldnt justify something quoting the 3rd or 4th meaning of the word or the phrase and completely ignoring the 1st and 2nd meaning of it,which in case of “Nigger” would be ” The word nigger has been used as a strongly negative term of contempt for a black person since at least the 18th century” (source -Oxnard Dictionary).
    The name TYT has got to go,surely there are other phrases TYT and Cenk Uygur can identify with,The Young Turks is not the best you can do Cenk.
    This is from someone who has been a loyal follower of your media outlet and,most importantly,agree with most of ideas and values that your organization is promoting.

  • And neither will Israel: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/04/23/why-is-israel-still-silent-on-armenian-genocide

    Apparently some genocides are more worthy of acknowledgment than others.

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