NEW YORK — On February 28, the CBS weekly news magazine program “60 Minutes” aired a segment titled “The Battle Over History” about the Armenian Genocide and the legacy of its denial by the Turkish state. The segment included an on-site investigation of Armenian mass graves in the Der Zor dessert now in Syria, accompanied by Armenian-American historian, poet and author, Peter Balakian.
Within the broadcast and in its official CBS transcript, Balakian stated to CBS News Correspondent Bob Simon in reference to Armenians in 1915 that, “Like the Jews of Europe, the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire had a dominant role in commerce and trade, they were highly educated, many of them.”
Many members of the Armenian-American community were abuzz about the broadcast in advance of the program; they were mostly happy with the presentation of the facts, which did not give much weight to Turkey’s standard Genocide denial.
“What happens from the spring of 1915 on through the summer is a well orchestrated project of government planned arrests and deportations,” he added.
Later in the segment, Simon confronted Nabi Sensoy, Turkey’s recalled ambassador to Washington, stating, “We were in Syria, sir, and we scratched the sand and came up with bones. How can you argue with that?”