Retraction and Apology Issued to Professor Guenter Lewy

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the summer 2008 issue of its Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, was part of a network of persons, financed by the Government of Turkey, who dispute that the tragic events of World War I constituted an Armenian genocide. We now realize that we misunderstood Professor Lewy's scholarship, were wrong to assert that he was part of a network financed by the Turkish Government, and were wrong to assume that any scholar who challenges the Armenian genocide narrative necessarily has been financially compromised by the Government of Turkey. We hereby retract the assertion that Professor Lewy was or is on the Government of Turkey's payroll.

To our knowledge, Professor Lewy has never sought to deny or minimize the deaths of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey; nor has he sought to minimize the Ottoman regime's grievous wartime miscalculations or indifference to human misery in a conflict earmarked by widespread civilian suffering on all sides. What he has argued in his book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, and elsewhere is that the present historical record does not substantiate a premeditated plan by the Ottoman regime to destroy because of ethnicity, religion, or nationality, as opposed to deport for political-military reasons, the Armenian population. In this view, he is joined by such distinguished scholars as Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton University. As additional troves of archival information come to light, Professor Lewy advocates greater study of this contentious subject.

We deeply regret our errors and offer our sincerest apologies to Professor Lewy.

Professor Lewy adds the following comment:

"The SPLC has made important contributions to the rule of law and the struggle against bigotry. Thus I took no pleasure in commencing legal action against it. But the stakes, both for my reputation as a scholar and for the free and unhindered discussion of controversial topics, were compelling. It must be possible to defend views that contradict conventional wisdom without being called the agent of a foreign government."

SOURCE Southern Poverty Law Center



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