By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, January 2019
The United States might be adept at claiming top global talents as its own, but it is in kindergarten compared to the Ph.D.-flashing Turkey. Turkey takes no back seat to the United States or any other country when it comes to claiming what doesn’t belong to it. Turkey’s acquisitive temerity leaves people open-mouthed in shock. Turkey is hands down the champion of grand identity theft. This should not come as a surprise to people who know that Ataturk published a three-volume history book which claimed all civilizations have their roots in Turkish culture.
The “Famous Turkish Men” list on the Internet has 71 names. Of these only 21 are Turks. And of the 21 only novelist Orhan Pamuk can be considered a genuine celebrity. The Turkish contingent includes 22-year-old YouTube personality Orkun Isitmak and such high-profile global personalities as Berrypinklips, Emre Can, Arda Turan, Fehriye Evecn, Tuba Buykustun, Fatih Terim, and Bergnzar Korel. Although the list is titled “Famous Turkish Men”, it includes a number of actresses. Other famous Turks on the list are genocidiers Tala’at, Enver, Ataturk plus mass murderer Ismet Inonu.
Putting aside the dubious fame of most of the above, what’s remarkable about the “Famous Turkish Men” list is that 50 of the 71 people on it are not Turks. The non-Turk Turks list includes Christian saints, Byzantium emperors and empresses, a Jewish mystique, Greek and Roman writers and philosophers, European kings and emperors, Greek-American film director Elia Kazan and Assyrian King Sargon II who lived nearly two-thousand years before Turks made their blood-soaked appearance on the world stage.
Another non-Turk who makes the list of celebrated Turks is management pundit Henri Fayol. Why has the Frenchman been reincarnated as a Turk? His father was working on the construction of the Galata Bridge in Constantinople when Henri was born in that city. The Fayols returned to France after Fayol Sr. wrapped up his contract but since Henri was born in Turkey he is forever a Turk. European football players beware: if you who sign a contract with Beshiktash or Galatasaray, you might wake up one morning and discover that you’re a Turk.
Thanks to the list, we learn about such Turks are St. Paul (Jewish), Saint Blaise (Armenian from Sebastia/Sivas), Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus (Greek), St. Barbara (Greek), St. Polycarp (Greek) John Chrysostom (Greek) and Philip the Apostle (Jewish). Although poet Rumi was Iranian and wrote mostly in Iranian, Greek, and in Arabic, he too is a Turk. So is Iraq’s former foreign minister and Assyrian Tariq Aziz (Christian). But the medal for nerve goes to the claim that Hussein bin-Sharif, the leader of the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans, was a Turk. But then again, he might have been a self-hating Turk.
Byzantium emperors Basil I (Armenian), Basil II (Armenian), John I Tzimiskes (Armenian), Heraclius (Armenian), Theodosius, Leo III, Alexios I Komnenos, Manuel I Komnenos, Justinian II, Constantine VI, Constantius II, and Empress Theodora were Greek but according to the Turkish list are full-blooded Turks. So was Greek Gen. Belisarius of Byzantium. So far the great Armenian Gen. Narses of Byzantium has failed to qualify as a Turk.
Other famed “Turks” on the list are Sabbatai Zevi (a 17th century Jew who claimed to be the Messiah), ancient Greek philosophers Anaximander and Zeno, the German King Frederick I of the Holy Roman Empire, Mithridates VI of Pontus, the North African King Jugurtha, Roman writers Pliny the Younger, Lucian, and Roman emperors Caracalla, Aurelian, Arcadius…
An interesting Turk who is genuinely famous is Adnan Oktar. A “novelist and theologian”, he preaches Islamic creationism. He has sent six-hundred unsolicited copies of his self-published book (“The Atlas of Creationism”) to American scientists and to members of the Congress. A televangelist, he is famous for featuring “kittens”, his female devotee cult on his show. Single handed, Oktar has helped keep the Turkish legal industry afloat. So far he has filed 5,000 lawsuits against people who have found his pronouncements strange and dubious.
In addition to the “Famous Turkish Men” list there are several other lists on the internet hailing the vast Turkish contribution to civilization. The “Famous Turkish Historical Personalities” list has 69 names of which 22 are sultans. Considering that all the sultans—except for Suleiman I—were either imbeciles, drunkards or uniformly indulged in fratricide—the list is unintentionally funny. What about the rest of the names on the list? They are the same non-Turks of the first list. The compilers of the fantasy list of Turkish greats must believe in the Goebbels’ dictum that when a lie is repeated ad nauseam it becomes a fact.
A century ago Turkey slew 1.5 million Armenians and pushed close to a million Armenians to the Syrian Desert to perish. The survivors of the genocide, many of them children, settled in the Middle East or moved to Greece, France, and the Americas. Within a few years these penniless and homeless Armenians had organized vibrant communities in faraway lands… churches, schools, clubs, sport teams, marching bands, and drama groups mushroomed from Beirut to Boston. They also published books, newspapers, scientific journals and movie magazines. An Armenian woman in Lebanon published a feminist magazine in the ‘40s. Despite living in alien lands, through determination, hard work and pride, the far-flung Armenian Diaspora produced world-caliber talents. Meanwhile, Turkey, with a population of 80 million and the beneficiary of Western economic, political, and military largesse and a vast land has produced such dazzling luminaries as Berrypinklips, execrable soap operas, anti-Semitic documentaries, several actresses/models, a bunch of su generis military dictators, and a hilarious televangelist named Adnan Oktar.
What have the victims of the Turks produced? Here are one-hundred Armenians who despite being strewn to the four corners of the world have left their mark on the 20th century:
Andre Agassi, Charles Aznavour, Ross Baghdassarian, Eric Bogosian, Cher, Mike Connors, Dr. Raymond Damadian, Atom Egoyan, Arshile Gorky, Calouste Gulbenkian, George Gurdjieff, Alan Hovhannes, William Saroyan, Jerry Tarkanian, Kevork Hovnanian, Garry Kasparov, Howard Kazanjian, Dr. Varastad Kazanjian, Michael Arlen, Kirk Kerkorian, Emile Lahoud, David Nalbandian, Ara Parseghian, Anita Conti, Zildjian Family, Edouard Balladur, Alain Prost, Marc Aryan, Agop Terzan, Jean Carzou, Jean Jansem, Henri Troyat, Yousef Karsh, Malak Karsh, Larry Gagosian, George Deukmejian, David Ignatius, Paul Ignatius, Ivan Galamian, Peter Balakian, Monte Melkonian, Rouben Mamoulian, Jackie Speier, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Peter Oundjian, Raffi, Ann Cavoukian, Missak Manouchian, Henri Verneuil, Michel Legrand, Andre Manoukian, Artur Adamov, Catherine Robbe-Grillet, Robert Guedigian, Vahe Kacha, George Garavarents, Patrick Fiori, Irene Sharaff, David Dickenson, Anna Arslan, Baron Ara Darzi, Andy Serkis, Dikran Tahta, Enrico Porro, Luther Simjian, Ohannes Gurekian, Antonia Arslan, Georgio Armani, Ariel Agemian, Pietro Kuciukian, Alex Yemenijian, Martin Karadaghian, Little Feyrouz of Egypt, Nelly, Saroukhan, Lblba, Vittoria Aganoor, Ariel Agemian, Eduardo Eurnekian, Bedros Hadjian, Gladys Berejikian, Gegard Mousasi, Arthur Abraham, Susi Kentikian, Vartan Gregorian, Alek Keshishian, Hrant Dink, Serj Tankian, Manoug Manougian, Arsen Avakov, Daron Acemoglu, Shahan Arzruni, Agop Dilacar, Ara Guler, Hagop Hacikyan, Garo Paylan, Vahakn Dadrian, Antranik Teymourian, and Henrikh Mkhitarian.
Tala’at and his murderous gang must be tossing in their graves.
See Part II (“Turks Invented Everything Except for Air and Water“) in the next issue.
Thank you for the great article.
Please allow me to point out some issues:
A) "The first group of entertainers is Canadian while the second is Australian" should have been: "The first group of entertainers are Canadian while the second are Australian"
B) Among the 100 Armenian names you have included Georgio Armani. The only reference of him being Armenian are on two unheard Armenian websites only, even Wikipedia hasn't mentioned it.
C) Among the Armenians you have forgotten the two Mikoyan brothers who have left a huge impact in the 20th century in many ways. I understand that you can't possibly mention every name, and there are many more than 100, but some of the mentioned are not as high of a calibre as the Mikoyans.
Who is Lblba??
Emile Lahoud's mother was Armenian and not the father.
Again, thank you for the interesting article.
Response to Levon
Thank you for the clarification
Thank you for the clarification Jirair. But let me reply as follows:
When the group is being considered as a whole, it can be treated as singular. But when the individuality of its members is being emphasized, “group” is plural, I believe you were referring to the members of the group. But you are the author, you can do it your way.
If a celebrity has Armenian roots, it will be published (by non-Armenians) somewhere to be found easily, as is the case of Cher, Gorky, Mike Conners, etc. yet the only 'published' claims of Georgio Armani's Armenian heritage are in a few low-end websites, published and claimed by Armenians only. As far as that, I have to assume it's in the Armenian imagination and cannot be proven.
Diogenes statue in Sinope
There are different types of Turks who look at issues differently. There are those who cherish and claim everyone who lives or lived in the present Republic of Turkey as one of their own, and those who despise them.
Case in point: There is a statue of Diogenes (the philosopher pictured living in a barrell – the father of cosmopolitanism) in the town where he was born and raised (Sinope, now Sinop, Turkey, on the Black Sea). Every year the statue is vandalized by Turkish nationalists who don't want any traces of Greeks in their town.
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