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The Young Turks: Time for a Name Change

Justin Stark

Posted on March 12, 2020 02:47

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If a former holocaust denier refuses to identify the party responsible, one might still believe they're a denier or at least sympathetic to the Nazis. Given Cenk Uygur's history of denial and failure to mention The Young Turks as the perpetrators during discussions on the Armenian Genocide, Uygur's claim that the name of his company having nothing to do with the perpetrating party of said genocide is hard to believe. If the company practiced what they preach, they'd change their name.

"Cenk Uygur" by Gage Skidmore (CC-SA by 2.0)

 

One of the biggest online media outlets is The Young Turks, an outlet that labels itself as “the home of progressives.” To those familiar with World War I history, does this name sound familiar? The Young Turks happen to be the same name as the political movement responsible for the Armenian genocide. The Company’s founder, Cenk Uygur, has encountered pushback with the name, but he insists it was not chosen with the genocidal movement in mind. Does that make it okay?

Uygur’s history with denying the Armenian genocide has been a complex one. Although he makes it out as some stupid thought he had in his younger years, the topic still seems to be a touchy one when brought up on the show. Even when apologizing, he seems to tip-toe around the issue and never mentions The Young Turks by name.

What does Uygur think of the "Young Turk" name? Well, he sticks to the old use of the word, meaning a progressive or one advocating for change. This is a term that came before the political movement that committed atrocities during World War I. However, the justification that the term meaning a progressive person came before the genocidal movement is hypocritical to their usual take on similar issues. The defense is weak even by a societal standard as well.

We all recognize the swastika as symbolic of Nazi Germany and anyone seen using one in a logo or on their person would be immediately thought of as a member of a murderous ideology. But remember, the symbol didn’t always have that meaning. Before Hitler used it as a centerpiece for the Nazi movement, it was a positive ancient symbol, often being associated with good fortune. But, someone with that on their shirt would have a tough time justifying it to everyone giving them disapproving looks.

Two things The Young Turks have given comment to on their show are "Pepe the Frog" and the "O.K. hand sign," both of which are now declared hate symbols. On their show, they criticized a clothing brand for a denim skirt that had a vague depiction of Pepe on it. In their video on two Turning Point USA members being fired, they mention their use the now racist hand sign as an indicator of their racism.

The swastika, Pepe the frog, and the O.K. hand sign are examples of something that once was good, harmless, or ordinary, that was repurposed by bad actors to now mean something else. Those at The Young Turks would likely agree that we should refrain from using these symbols due to their new, more well-known purpose. How is this any different with The Young Turks?

The Young Turks have grown to a well-known media organization making a name change a tough decision. If they stood on principle and Uygur really flipped his beliefs on the Armenian genocide, he’d be willing to call his show something, anything else.

Justin Stark

Posted on March 12, 2020 02:47

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The Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur talks media, movements, and the 2016 election.

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