The Turk in America, The Creation of an Enduring Prejudice By Justin McCarthy

The Turk in America
The Turk in America

The book, published in 2010 by the University of Utah, was introduced during the March 14-16 Turkish American Leadership Conference in Washington DC. I had gone through its 500 pages but not read it since some of the subjects in the book are already covered in many books, especially in the two-volume “The Genocide of Truth” by Sukru S Aya, “, and in close to one hundred books and articles by Prof.Dr. Turkkaya Ataov, the Turkish

International Relations teacher has known around the world for his research on the Armenian and other issues.  However, none of Ataov’s or Sukru Aya’s books are listed in the 28-page Bibliography which includes over 500 books by both  Turkish and foreign writers.  Another important book related mainly to the Missionary activities in Turkey, “Turkiye’deki Amerika – America in Turkey” by Dr. Uygur Kocabasoglu (TAC graduate)  is not included in the Bibliography either, although this is the main topic of discussion in the book. Frank A. Stone’s, “Academies for Anatolia” is in the list.

To be sure, and much to Prof. McCharthy’se credit, there are many very interesting revelations in the book, explained in an excellent manner and in great detail. The first chapter, “The Missionaries Depart”, opens with the comments by Pliny Fisk, the first American missionary to the Middle East, presented during his farewell sermon as he left Boston to Turkey:

Judea is inhabited by several interesting classes of men. The principal of these are Mohammedans (1), and Jews; and Roman Catholic, Greek, Armenian and Syrian Christians. The Mohammedeans, who are masters of the country, who possess most of its wealth, and who have the exclusive management of political concerns, are, as you well know, the followers of that artful imposter, who arose in Arabia, about the commencement of the seventh century…”

The second chapter, Turks and Muslims in Early America, begins with the statement: The image of Turks began with a historical disadvantage in early America. The new American Republic, despite the secularism of its Constitution, was a resolutely Christian state. Little was known of Islam, except as a supposed enemy of Christianity…”

Chapter 3 chronicles the Greek rebellion, Chapter 6 tells all about the Bulgarian Horrors and Chapter 7 is about the Americans and the Armenians. This is where the truth about the Armenian issue is spelt out in many ways.  Armenian falsifications and American way of informing the public who probably did not know where Armenia or Turkey was, especially the often false and imaginary reporting by the New York Times and the Associated Press,  are presented in detail.

Chapter  9 is on the creation of the Near East Relief as a continuation of “the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian relief (ACASR) founded in November 1915, and which still exists today, headed by an Armenian-American, in an office downtown Manhattan. The activities of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) is told in detail, including that of James L. Barton, the missionary leader of the Boston based and still active organization.

The final chapter,  “The Last Act for the Missionary Establishment”, begins with a statement that “The Missionaries’ political hopes for the Armenians were thwarted forever by the victories of the Turkish Nationalists in Anatolia and the Bolsheviks in the Caucasus” And yet, there is no mention of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s statement on the Armenian issue in the book, who had a lot to say about the the Missionaries also. The final section, “A Sea Change”,  states that “With the campaign for the Lausanne Treaty the missionaries had turned form enemies of all things Turkish to supporters of Turkey.”

The Epilogue covers the continuation Myth of the Terrible Turk. This is probably why only a dozen Americans and twice that number Turkish-Americans attended a presentation on Ataturk and Turkey at the Hunterdon County Library in Clinton, NJ on May 21, 2011. Most of the questions asked were on Today’s Turkey, which seems to parting from Ataturk’s principles. They all stated the same thing, “They knew nothing about Ataturk or the Turks” and one lady stated that her friends tried to dissuade her when she told them that she was going to Turkey. Se also suggested that presentations such as the one at the Hunterdon County Library should be made across America in order to tell the truth about the real Turk and the beautiful country of Turkey.

I received the book as a present from Sevgin Oktay, the moderator of the Concerned People to Set The Record Straight (cptstrs) group which published a small booklet early this year with 9 subjects on the “Armenian falsifications”. Most of the topics in the booklet are also covered in Prof. McCharthy’s book.  This is what Sevgin Oktay added as a comment on the last blank page:

EndNote: I call this the Justin – Wikileaks” on what has transpired behind the scenes against the Turks for so long. It is an eye-opener and calls for a united effort to expose it as this book does so admirably, and then let the sunshine disinfect-.

The above suggestion could be followed by all the Turkish-American Associations and partial reading of the book with a critical evaluation of its contents and omissions can be made.  Anyone interested in participating in this event could contact their associations and design an action plan on how to fight the anti-Turkish efforts presented in this book, which are often overlooked. Those who have read the book are encouraged to share their comments, in writing if possible, with those involved with this type of activities. A brief review of other books on  Turkey and the Middle East, which either ignore Turkey completely or presents distorted facts, distributed earlier, can also be made available. This is a must-read book for those who are working on the reconciliation between the Armenians and Turks, including all the leaders of the NGOs and many government authorities.

Best regards.

Yuksel Oktay, PE

26 May, 2011, Washington, NJ

Notes. (1) Referring to Muslims as Mohammedan is not proper, a mistake made by foreigners.

(2). The fact that the US Senate has not ratified the Lausanne Treaty is also covered in detail.