December 1, 2008, Washington , DC - On November 17, 2008 Professor Guenter Lewy filed a defamation suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc., and writer-editor David Holthouse in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia . The suit is being supported by the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, which seeks to preserve and promote open discourse about issues significant for Turkish Americans, including the characterization of the events bearing on the World War I deaths of Ottoman Muslims and Armenians. Among other works, Professor Lewy is author of The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide ( University of Utah Press , 2005), which concludes that the evidence to support the popular allegation of genocide in the Armenian case is inconclusive.

The defamation claims pivot on twin false assertions made by Defendant Holthouse in an article published in the Summer 2008 issue of Intelligence Report entitled, “State of Denial: Turkey Entices U.S. Scholars, Law Makers to Cover Up Armenian Genocide.” The first was the false statement that Professor Lewy was on the payroll of the Government of Turkey in exchange for compromising his scholastic integrity in disputing the Armenian allegation of genocide. The second was that Professor Lewy deceived his readers or audiences by failing to disclose the money he had received from the Government of Turkey to shape his view of the Armenian claim. The false statements also insinuated that Professor Lewy had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to register with the Department of Justice as a mouthpiece for the Government of Turkey. Professor Lewy is seeking damages to clear his good name and to send a message that sham accusations of being on the take is not an acceptable substitute for reasoned and civil debate over genuine historical controversies. The climate of intimidation, coercion and worse that confronts anyone who quarrels with the Armenian view of the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire must end.

Professor Lewy is being represented by attorneys Bruce Fein and David Saltzman on behalf of the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund.

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