Sunday, April 24 was the day of remembrance for Armenian genocide. The Wall Street Journal chose to mark this date by running a full-page ad on Wednesday, April 20, claiming that Turks and Armenians lost a similar number of lives in 1915.
101 years ago, Ottoman officials massacred between 664,000 and 1.2 million Armenians. Reports of these murders and abuses were recorded by survivors of the genocide, considered the 20th century’s first massacre, over the years.
“Rape and beating were commonplace,” David Fromkin said of the genocide in “A Peace to End All Peace.” “Those who were not killed at once were driven through mountains and deserts without food, drink or shelter. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians eventually succumbed or were killed.”
However, on the genocide’s commemoration, the Wall Street Journal ran an ad that ignored reports of the Armenian genocide.
“[The ad] contains a URL for the genocide-denial group FactCheck Armenia, the unfounded arguments of which boil down to 1) It wasn’t actually that many people, and 2) The Armenians started it,” Sam Biddle wrote in Gawker. “That group is itself a part of Turkic Platform, a pro-Turkey group that attempts to distract from discussion of the genocide with events like Times Square dance routines.”
Although the United States has the world’s largest dispersion of Armenians outside of Armenia, the United States government has failed to recognize the Armenian genocide, since the country wants to maintain strong relations with Turkey.
“In the United States, a powerful Armenian community centered in Los Angeles has been pressing for years for Congress to condemn the Armenian genocide,” The New York Times stated. “Turkey, which cut military ties to France over a similar action, has reacted with angry threats. A bill to that effect nearly passed in the fall of 2007, gaining a majority of co-sponsors and passing a committee vote. But the Bush administration, noting that Turkey is a critical ally–more than 70 percent of the military air supplies for Iraq go through the Incirlik airbase there–pressed for the bill to be withdrawn and it was. The roots of the genocide lie in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unequivocally called the massacre a genocide, releasing a statement on the commemoration saying: “[Canadians] preserve the memory of those who lost their lives, and those who suffered, during this genocide and pay our deepest respects to their descendants, including those who now call Canada home.”
When asked why it would run an ad denying the Armenian genocide, the Wall Street Journal said that they “accept[ed] a wide range of advertisements, including those with provocative viewpoints [and that] the varied and divergent views expressed belong to the advertisers.”