When thinking of the name The Young Turks, most North American readers think of the political news and commentary YouTube channel run by Cenk Uygur. It’s one of the most long lasting controversies for the group, that they named themselves after a reform movement in the Ottoman Empire that sought to take over the government.
As explained by Stephan Pechdimaldji in a guest blog for TheWrap last year, “As a grandson to survivors of the Armenian Genocide, I find the name reprehensible and highly insensitive. It’s one of the reasons why the Armenian-American community has campaigned relentlessly and pushed Uygur to change the name of his show to no avail. Sticking to his guns, Uygur has defended the name and has insisted that the name of the show has nothing to do with the Armenian Genocide.”
By coincidence there is a British record label with the same name, and they’ve decided to rebrand. First spotted by Sky News, the music firm formally announced the change, in order to officially distance themselves from an ethnic cleansing that killed a million people.
Today we’re changing our name to Young. pic.twitter.com/G3IXbCLTI6
— Young (@young_) April 6, 2021
As explained by company founder Caius Pawson, they then did some cursory internet research and thought it invoked the “solidarity of youth” well known in rebellious teenagers.
They added, “However we were unaware of the deeper history of the term and, specifically, that the Young Turks were a group who carried out the Armenian Genocide from 1915 onwards. Through ongoing conversations and messages that have developed our own knowledge around the subject, it’s become apparent that the name is a source of hurt and confusion for people.”
Young concluded by saying they’ve made a donation to the Armenian Institute in London, and noted that April 24 marks the anniversary of when the 1915 Armenian Genocide first began. The Los Angeles Times editorial board recently released a piece urging President Joe Biden to formally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Something no US President has done since Ronald Reagan.