Armenian protesters disrupt Republic of Turkey event on campus

The event commemorated the 78th anniversary of the death of former Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Photo illustration by Rebeccah Glaser

The event commemorated the 78th anniversary of the death of former Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Photo illustration by Rebeccah Glaser

A group of about 25 Armenian protesters disrupted an event where the Turkish Consul General Raife Gülru Gezer and George Gawrych, a professor from Baylor University, were speaking in Argyros Forum Thursday night, said Public Safety Captain John Kabala.

Public Safety officers received a call at about 7 p.m. that a group of people who claimed to be Chapman students entered the event chanting in Armenian.

“They were yelling in each other’s faces,” Kabala said. “It had the potential to become physical. It took 15 to 20 minutes to calm it all down and get them to agree with my negotiations.”

Kabala said that people were agitated on both sides, and Public Safety responded by clearing about 60 attendees who were there in support of Turkey and moving them down the hallway while he spoke to the protesters.

Kabala also said that he advised Gezer to leave the event for her own safety.

The event took place on the 78th anniversary of the death of former Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Ergun Kirlikovali, the former president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations who attended the event, said that he felt his First Amendment rights were violated by the protesters.

“They have trampled upon my freedom of speech,” Kirlikovali said. “This is not what higher education is about. We can talk about facts, figures, backgrounds, even feelings and emotions. But we don’t try to silence each other. That’s what they tried to do tonight.”

Kabala said that a similar protest happened at a California State University, Northridge event earlier that day, where Gawrych also spoke.

Seven Public Safety officers arrived at Argyros Forum and then called seven Orange police officers. Kabala said that in these types of events, Public Safety will prepare in advance. In this case, that meant accompanying Gezer with a team of four or five private security officers hired by the Turkish consulate. Kabala said that if the protesters hadn’t cooperated, they would have been charged with trespassing by the police department and arrested.

Kabala said that the students left the event without protest, but insisted on singing the Armenian national anthem before departing.

“They left a couple fliers on the chairs for whatever they were supporting and that was the end of it,” Kabala said. “They all shook my hand when they left, and there were no hard feelings from either end.”


  • Diaspora-Armenian youths, radicalized by their hate-cultivating-elders, clearly do not have the ability to explore and discuss controversial issues in a reasoned, scholarly manner, which is one of the main traits that make universities vibrant places. They think this is a game where you attack, intimidate and terrorize peaceful conference goers, disrupt scholarly lectures, and force professors who have written books upon the subject to leave. They have to grow up to realize that they are parting in hate crimes while trampling upon the rights of others to free speech. In that regards, I am sorry to say, that the Diaspora-Armenian Youth have begun to look more and more like the Hitler Youth. Sad but true.

    • How odd that Mr. Kirlikovali should complain about being “victimized” by supposedly Hitlerian Armenians, when he is the one who chronically makes racist and essentialist remarks about Armenians as subhuman criminals. But don’t take my word for it… see this 2010 profile from the OC Weekly, which named this poor elderly snowflake the 12th scariest person in Orange County:

      This Coto de Caza resident made national headlines in 2008 when he and other Turkish businessmen held a fund-raiser in OC for the opponent of Pasadena-area Congressman Adam Schiff. The Democrat has long tried to pass a resolution asking the American government to acknowledge the mass slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the early part of the 20th Century as a genocide—a historical reality accepted by mainstream historians and civilized countries but dismissed as anti-Turkish propaganda by Kirlikovali and his ilk. As a columnist for the Southern California website, Kirlikovali frequently ridicules the Armenian genocide’s victims as treasonous, whiny ingrates and maintains it was Turks who were the victims of the Armenians, not the other way around. “Deception, fraud, lies . . . should give any fair-minded American a clue about the Armenian psyche,” Kirlikovali wrote recently, while also referring to a group of Armenians as ‘gold-chain wearing, hairy and smelly.’
      MITIGATING FACTOR: The picture for Kirlikovali’s column shows him wearing an Anaheim Angels hat.”

      • In the article, Kirlikovali said. “This is not what higher education is about. We can talk about facts, figures, backgrounds, even feelings and emotions. But we don’t try to silence each other. That’s what they tried to do tonight.”

        He was right on the money. The author, JDA, attempted to discredit this inarguable statement of fact by digging up a highly biased article by the incredibly bigoted former editor of the Orange County Weekly, Gustavo Arellano, who has no tolerance for historical facts and was a byproduct of California’s school system affirming a nonexistent “Armenian genocide.”

        JDA could not argue with the undeniable and inexcusable strategy of how Armenians cannot handle the truth and must resort to truth-suppressing tactics, as with the disruption of talks. Therefore, JDA had to resort to the ad hominem attack, as with “poor elderly snowflake the 12th scariest person in Orange County.” Typical cover-up, and not an honorable way to score points.

  • I feel like this article does not go into the reasoning behind the “disruption” and the as to why they would be mad– at least mention the horrible Armenian Genocide that took palce almost 102 years ago. This article makes Armenians seem crazy. Diaspora-Armenian Youth is making a statement that are trying to put a message out there, a message that so many countries are ignoring– Turks killed Armenians and took their land. It is ironic that people compare Armenian youth to Hitlerian youth, when Turks are the ones who were killing.

    • Because fanatics are insane like that. Want more examples? Look up the bombing of UCLA professor’s house, the assassination of Turkish diplomats in LA… Look up the more recent Starbucks poster incident. Indeed, that is insanity.

      • Merhaba Ilknur;
        I agree with you about fanatics like Mehmet Agca that shot Pope John Paul and the rest of his Grey Wolves crazy lot. Or perhaps the shooting of Turkish -Armenian journalists Hrant Dink for dare bringing up the fact about “hidden Armenians” who had a Greek, Armenian, or Assyrian orphan as a grandmother like famous Turkish lawyer Fetiye Cetin. You can try to rewrite history, plunder, destroy or shamelessly convert our St. Hagia Church into a mosque but the truth is any building in Turkey today that is over 100 years old was built by non Turkic hands like the Balian family who built the Topaki palace and other structures. Your radicalism is known worldwide, to the gates of Vienna your dirty sword and Turkification spread. So people resist your islamic Caliphate and they are labeled “terrorists”? Wow, anyone that even remotely watches the news today knows that Turkey is the base for terrorism in the region – grant you partly by NATO who is turning Turkey into a shit hole for daring to pull toward Russia and other non NATO countries as “partners”. Everyone knows the Turk is treacherous backstabbers., violent jihadists that are now ripping up Turkey. Turks are insane because they have a black psyche guilt for all the death they have caused in the region on innocent civilians. One compliment I can give Turks who have DNA blood of Armenians, Greeks et al you stood up to tanks, guns etc., with your bare hands so your fellow Turks couldn’t complete their coup. July 15th …what did it feel like when your own countrymen turn on you? Then what do you do? Arrest Kurds, kill kurds, wipe out what churches are even left in SE Turkey. The entire world knows the same of the Turk, they are a mess with a dark cloud hanging over them. Remember when Soghomon Tehlirian killed Talat Pasha in the streets of Berlin, he was not find guilty of murder. The other 3 pashas that ordered the death of the Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds, etc., were found guilty of war crimes against civilians by a Turkish military tribunal by then they had fled like cowards all three died and no one in the world that matters cares because most people know the blood thirsty Turks even turn on each other. Fix your psyche and earn some respect in the the world instead of contempt. Turkey is falling into civil unrest with backlash of terrorism and the world yawns and says “They deserve it”

      • a turk whose country was founded on Genocide talking, how cheap… you must be proud that the father of the turks was a known pedo who liked little boys

  • Ergun Kirlikovali is drinking too much Raki, he doesn’t understand American freedom of speech allows us to assemble and protest peacefully. Fair balance is part of higher academia in America but Ergun wouldn’t know that as he wasn’t educated in the USA nor was Vega Sankur who tried to sneak these talks in using her academic standing at USC. If you want a true fair balance of the facts of Ataturk who finished the job ridding Anatolia of it’s Greek, Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish populations then let’s have writer Stefan Ihrig lecture on his well researched book ” “Ataturk in the Nazi Imagnination” – Here is a quick overview : “Early in his career, Adolf Hitler took inspiration from Benito Mussolini, his senior colleague in fascism—this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler and the Nazis has been almost entirely neglected: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. Stefan Ihrig’s compelling presentation of this untold story promises to rewrite our understanding of the roots of Nazi ideology and strategy.

    Hitler was deeply interested in Turkish affairs after 1919. He not only admired but also sought to imitate Atatürk’s radical construction of a new nation from the ashes of defeat in World War I. Hitler and the Nazis watched closely as Atatürk defied the Western powers to seize government, and they modeled the Munich Putsch to a large degree on Atatürk’s rebellion in Ankara. Hitler later remarked that in the political aftermath of the Great War, Atatürk was his master, he and Mussolini his students.

    This was no fading fascination. As the Nazis struggled through the 1920s, Atatürk remained Hitler’s “star in the darkness,” his inspiration for remaking Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Nor did it escape Hitler’s notice how ruthlessly Turkish governments had dealt with Armenian and Greek minorities, whom influential Nazis directly compared with German Jews. The New Turkey, or at least those aspects of it that the Nazis chose to see, became a model for Hitler’s plans and dreams in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland.”
    Yes Hitler was inspired by Ataturk the Hitler of Ottoman Empire, that sacked Smyrna (now Izmir) and rid it’s population of the Armenian, Jewish and Greek population. Plundering our churches, and businesses and purging the country of all religious minorities.
    Here you can get the great book here or perhaps Mr. Gawrych would care to debate Mr. Ihrig on the true facts around Turkey’s Hitler Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Or they could always debate about the mess Turkey is in and it’s true leader Baba Imam Fethullah Gulen.

    • To this commentor. I think your wrong. Stefan Ihrig is a person who seems like he is a person who has a hostile agenda against a soveirgn nation. Trying to liken a leader who was a Patriotic Revolutionary like Martin Luther King Jr. who united the various diverse ethnic groups of a nation to form a republic is by far racist and ignorant. This tells me that Armenian Supremacists are really full of hate against everything Turkey Related. Let us not forget that the AYF has a lot of similiarities to the Hitler Youth Movement. When a kid found out I was from Turkey, he flipped out at me and got angry. His behavior is not justified. It is because the AYF brainwashes people with racial supremacism like the Hitler Youth Movement. I have no problems with anyone of Armenian origin as my Dentist and Car Mechanic are if of that race. I also like to add that even people who support the “G-Word” allegations such as Dr. Taner Akcam made a statement about MKA condeming bandits who attacked civilians. Look at this page and check out the seventh quote on this page: I think it would be time to instead fill your mind with hatred and understand why people of different ethnic groups in Turkey, including even lots of Kurds (by the way Mustafa Kemals ally Ismet Inonu was a Kurd by race and became TR President). Even Turgut Ozal was an ethnic Kurd President. So, MKA embarked on a really important revolution and inspired a lot of leaders worldwide. Even Newt Gingrich, who might score a gig in the new USA POTUS administration spoke in high regard of MKA. You may not agree with what MKA did and I do not think he is perfect, but trying to depict him as a Hitleresque monster shows ignorance and narrow minded thinking. I hope you guys learn how to understand how it is like to be in other peoples shoes and practice empathy for once.

      • Sami, I read your comment carefully, and found some points in it. I understand empathy and am for it unequivocally. I want you to attempt to understand, why is this “hatred” not subsiding? I had to fight hard to eliminate the hatred, to understand, that common folks are common folks everywhere. I have not been indoctrinated, I just heard my grandmother’s narrative about the assassination of my grandfather by his devoted servant–either a turk or a kurd, when he tried to lock his mill on their way to exile. The killer, who my grandfather trusted because he fed his family generously, was indoctrinated by whom? I was told that my grandfather’s mill still exists in Malgara. Forget the mill. Forget the properties that he owned. Forget the gold coins that he was carrying in his belt which ultimately brought him to his assassination. I will always remember my grandmother’s sad face, rarely smiling, a saint woman, who lost her husband at 22, never married again, and raised 2 children by herself. I will always question, what happened to millions of people, and why are the inheritors’ governments not assuming the responsibility of their ancestor governments for the heinous crime. When someone is killed nowadays, psychologists and psychiatrists are involved to sooth the pain of the members of the family. Imagine, hundreds of thousands of the members of the families that were left stranded in every corner of the world, who counseled them? When you find the answers to those questions, perhaps it will be appropriate to discuss a civilized dialogue, until then–protests like this will happen anywhere to raise awareness of the world. Who owns the properties that the deported people left behind? Will you deny the legacy of thousands of Armenians–architects, military commanders, doctors, artists, merchants, and others who invested in Turkey all their talent and paved the way to modern reality of the country? Assuming Responsibility– no matter how hard it is, cleanses history, they say. Germans did it, and moved forward. Hitler’s crime is despicable, and no apology will erase the harm that was done to the jews. But the German Government has no responsibility– their ancestor government assumed responsibility– and made the amends. What has modern Turkey done? Indoctrinate its citizens to a level that a handful of them sees the necessity to explore other sources? The responsibility lies on the Turkish government, not the turks. And yes, I did have a turkish student, whom I treated fairly, told him my grandmother’s story, and not a word more– he did his own research and explored the other side of the story- and I saw the bewilderment in his eyes, to say the least. I am not a historian, and trust Napoleon’s words about history to be a sharp description of History as a subject. But the memory of personal loss travels through generations– who empathizes with the descendants of the massacred?

        • I understand your pain my friend and yes a lot of people die due to some tragic circumstances. I would not want to deny the suffering your ancestors. But time to look at things at a more balanced, fair solutions to create closure to this long and lingering question. Trying to interrupt lectures and get youth organizations to act rude during such lectures will not have people listen to your side of the story, but instead, it will cause people to be much more uncomprimising in their stances. Next time if you guys feel like you disagree and do not agree with such lectures, ask questions to moderators and have a more civil debate instead.

      • Sami
        Merhaba Samir, Turkey is a soveirgn nation? Are you sure about that? Seems to the world you are at war with each other more than anything.
        AKP vs. HDP,
        Erdoganists (Islamists) vs. Gulenists.,
        Kemalists vs. Gulenists.,
        Kemalists vs. Minorities,
        AKP vs. PKK
        MHP vs. HDP
        and so on and so on……
        Whew what a Thanksgiving this will be. ….just in time for the main course.

  • There is a group of Armenian youth (probably paid by some organization) going from Turkish event to Turkish event trying to distrupt it. This meeting could have been on the subject of “endangered bird species in Turkey”, and these people would have been there to protest. I am not exagerating. We have seen them attack Turkish folk dance performances before. GO FIGURE…

    • To be honest, I have to say that the AYF is no different then the Hitler Youth Movement and it causes young people to be brainwashed with hateful racism. I have suffered racial discrimination by a former AYF member.

      • Sami,

        I doubt that you even know what fascism or the Hitler Youth were. Few survived the war.

        But, putting that aside, your supposedly anti-fascist sympathies should be directed against the government of Turkey, where the tiny flicker of a developing free press was extinguished, and where elected representatives are incarcerated. Turkey more and more is becoming a victim of the tyrant 44 per cent of its citizens adore.

        As for what the AYF did at the lecture: reasonable minds can differ. Turning one’s back upon an apologist for Ataturk is a form of civil disobedience. I disagree with the tactic of preventing an author from speaking.

        However, the Consul General of Turkey was also present. He serves a criminal government, part time ally of ISIS, which, like its predecessors, is also genocidal and tyrannical. I support confronting and shouting down these enemies of freedom, and murderers of those of us who are not taught racial superiority in school, as you and all of Ataturk’s children were (“Happy is he who can call himself Turk” – did you recite this bit of crap as a kid?).

        Turkey is an enemy of the west and the United States. She has allowed tens of thousands to cross her borders to join ISIS, and her government has helped supply the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria with weapons. That is why Erdogan is shutting down Cumhurriyet – its editors broke the story. There is much to dislike about Trump, but he will stop kissing the tyrant’s ass, because our military realized a decade ago that Erdogan is a terrorist-lite.

        Your country is infected with Islamism. 33 per cent of your citizens tell pollsters they support Isis. Your leader is a terrorist – lite. And you are upset with some college kids here?

        • In all fairness, Mr. JDA – NATO did a good job of destroying Turkey and forcing Erdogan to comply with orders to take in Wahabists from the NATO Gladio armies some largely trained at NATO backed Gulen Turkish schools worldwide. Of course, Erdogan is no saint but he is not the bad ugly monster or only bad guy in this sad chapter of Turkey. NATO/CIA Gladio B have kept a grip on Turkey creating turmoil with the people – keeping them divided and hating each other means they are weaker and easy to control.
          Erdogan plays a good game of chess, he was smart moving out of the Western NATO camp and with the Russian, Iraniang eastern Camp. Erdogan knows NATO has a target on his back and that Turkey/AKP/Erdogan is the next country they will topple with internal turmoil. Gulen Movement was designed for this very purpose to keep things “murky in Turkey” they are their own worst enemy – last week American diplomats called for the last of the American families and personnel in Turkey to leave. What Tsunami does NATO/USA have planned for the Turks?
          Check mate Erdogan you played the last round brilliantly. Just destroy Gulen and go out a hero. They already have your replacement selected.

    • I find it interesting you would compare an Armenian Students Organization to the Hitler Youth Movement. It seems that comparison has already been made between the Gulen Youth Platform and the Hitler Youth Movement. Oh and about the Turkish folk dances, that the Gulenists were teaching American children as “Turkish” …yes we do take issue as they were Greek, Armenian,Assyrian and Kurdish dances being passed off as Turkic. I highly doubt Ghenghis Khan, the Seljuk Turks, Ughyur Turkic Mongolian tribes were dancing to Missrolou, and the “Kolbasti’ Taking our culture and claiming it as yours is well lying about history which apparently many of you Turkified Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians & Kurds are good at – stealing property, wealth and the very culture you plundered it from. BTW It’s Basturma and Armenians of Van taught you how to make this when you invaded from Central Asia . Enjoy the video on Hitler oops I mean Gulen Youth platform the soon to be ex Educational guru of Turkey (I reserve calling Gulen a “Scholar” as he only has a 4th grade formal education)

    • Bulent;
      You mean we could actually be paid for setting the record straight and defending our ancient history that BUILT what today is known as the Republic of Turkey (est 1923) Tell me, how I can get money for something that I passionately believe in and will fight for with my last breath and that is TRUTH.
      I am second generation American of Armenian ethnicity, I am proud of how my grandparents who were orphaned came to California with nothing and built this state into a strong economic powerhouse and EARNED the respect of fellow Americans /Californians as hard working good Christian people.
      We excelled in the last 3 generations in every aspect of Californian history and economics. We are embeded and indebted to this State and Country for giving us that opportunity as survivors of and descendants of Genocide.
      You cannot change the inroads we have made in politics, law, movie industry, academia, agriculture and successfully setting up schools, cultural centers, and promoting culture wherever we live from the local opera companies to ballet to fantastic restaurant owners. There is no end to the success Armenians have done in California and USA.
      You don’t get to come into California and call our dead ancestors liars and and call our cultures you stole “Turkish”. Anyone educated knows that TRUE Turkic people come from Central Asia – I hardly doubt your ancestors were on the steps of Central Asia Genghis Khan territory making wine, or writing books – let alone learning to sing in a choir and rolling grape leaves into delicious cuisine.
      They were too busy slaughtering villages, making orphans and stealing woman as sex slaves in Anatolia, middle east, europe, N. Africa and beyond.
      Sounds like today’s news hasn’t changed much.

      “No fruit grows where a Turk has traveled”

  • FYI – trying to shut down a visiting speaker at Chapman (or ANYWHERE in the U.S.) is a heinous act and should not be tolerated. Our campus values FREE SPEECH above anything else. You may schedule your own events and invite your own audiences. You may protest peacefully outside an event put on by a speaker or about an issue you disagree with. But you may NOT disrupt or invade a talk or lecture and try to shut it down. The University will not tolerate this, and you will be removed (as happened here). EVERYONE on this campus, including invited speakers whose views may be disagreeable to you, has a right to SPEAK AND BE HEARD. Protest peacefully — but do not disrupt, ever.

    • “Our Campus ” sorry but you don’t own Chapman University and they have far more Armenian, Greek, Assyrian and Kurdish students and taxpayers than you pseudo Turks who are not even Turkic but Turkified.
      Chapman University belongs to the people and since most of the Turkified people – aka Kemalists are not even American born they have not paid near enough taxes to our educational institutions to make any claims of what would be tolerated or not. If you need any further answers about tolerance of the right to public protest you should review the bylaws of the University and laws of the United States of America. It was very peaceful until you got reactionary and out of your seats to attack the young boys. the video speaks very clearly about the Kemalists that sprung out of their seats spitting, cursing and punching. Then having the audacity to bring out a flag of Turkey in an American teaching institution shame on you, just like the Gulenists. Should we put American flags in all the classrooms in Turkey? oops I forget Erdogan is closing them down along with the media very disruptive.
      BTW- Panther78 trying to pass yourself off as some sort of Chapman University official is very low of you. About as bad as trying to pass off Ataturk the Hitler of the Ottoman Empire that died very young from liver disease (too much booze) as some sort of hero of your sad fake country that is less than 100 yrs old.
      Ataturk did adopt an Armenian orphan, learn about the facts here – something that most of the Kemalist in the room don’t want to admit the blood in their veins is largely Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, Bulgarian and other lands the sword of the Ottoman reached. In fact, they don’t even realize how many Armenians were actually sitting in the audience right next to them. Enjoy Kemalists “Sabiha Gokcen Armenian Adopted daughter of Ataturk” (Ataturk was born in Greece Thessalonika )

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