The Maxime Gauin File: Inventing an Historian

[Note de la Rédaction : les articles que moi-même et mon équipe mettons à disposition sur le négationnisme radical suscitent un fort intérêt parmi les chercheurs en sciences sociales et en psychiatrie.  Récemment, Arthur McMannee a souhaité que j’ouvre mon blog à une analyse qu’il a produite. La voici donc.]

By Prof. Arthur Mc Mannee, lecturer at the Sylvester University, Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia

Maxime Gauin shakes hands with Numan  Kurtulmuş, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey

Maxime Gauin shakes hands with Numan Kurtulmuş, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey

Up to now, I refrained to express myself about an unusual character trolling numerous websites and social media with endless flawed reflections about Turks, Armenians and the related Armenian genocide. This person is named Maxime Gauin. I refrained both because it seemed counterproductive to give any visibility to this person and his revisionist theses and because he was – and still is – mostly unknown and certainly unrecognized in scholarly circles and especially among English-speaking ones.

Nevertheless, this time I decided to react to his latest attack against a distinguished scholar and beloved friend of mine, Taner Akçam. This attack was not the first one, as Gauin has viciously attacked other prominent scholars and journalists such as Vahakn Dadrian, Yves Ternon, Israel Charny, Vincent Duclert, Fuat Dundar or Hasan Cemal and Le Monde’s Guillaume Perrier. Let me put it bluntly: I have no intention to discuss the senseless logorrhea produced by Maxime Gauin on a daily basis because it would be useless and because – honestly – I would not able to do it: actually, Maxime Gauin’s production is such a mix of half-truths, bluff lies, nonsense and off-topic remarks that one cannot but reject it as a whole. It is definitely inappropriate for any scientific reaction and I’m not far from subscribing to Taner’s Akçam indirect comment: This falls under psychiatry.

No convincing C.V.

Therefore, the only possible way to be fair with this person and his production is to stick to facts. Fortunately, Maxime Gauin immodestly provided us with enough details to be quite accurate on his actual curriculum vitae. He has a Master’s Degree (M2) in contemporary history, earned in 2010 with a dissertation about farmers’ trade unions under the French 3rdRepublic. But, as far as we know (and we would have known it otherwise, with regard to his bigheadedness), he never passed any competitive exam though he occasionally suggests he was a student at the elite Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. Indeed it appears that he attempted twice to pass the prestigious Agrégation but without any success. I don’t know personally if he failed the exam or if he did not turn up but, in the end, it is quite significant that he can boast none of the academic achievements that are expected from History teachers in French secondary schools, let alone universities, and that he finally left France and Europe for Turkey.

This move can hardly be deemed as a step forward as, most of the time, Turkish students are rather drained by European universities rather than the other way round. Maxime Gauin’s former University – Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne – is actually ranked as the 1st French University in Humanities and the 16th worldwide whereas Turkey’s universities are just not ranked at all !

Actually, Maxime Gauin claims to be a PhD candidate at the Middle East Technical University and a “researcher” at the “Center for Eurasian Studies”, both located in Ankara (Turkey). A couple of comments may be made on these points. First, the so-called “Center for Eurasian Studies” is in no way a University or a research institution but one of Turkey’s semi-official think-tanks whose mission it is to keep alive this State religion called “ataturkology” (atatürkçülük) and to deny the Armenian Genocide accordingly. It is also worth mentioning Maxime Gauin is even not referenced as a member of the team on the website of this institution led by former ambassadors and other retired diplomats. Second, Maxime Gauin has apparently been a PhD Candidate for more than five years, a considerable period in which his scientific output has remained remarkably poor. For instance, rather than introducing himself as having “published articles in peer-reviewed journals (including the European Journal of International Law)”, he should have said honestly that this article in the European Journal of International Law is the only one he published in a peer-reviewed journal (a journal which is moreover not specialized in history but in law) and that it was just a response to someone else’s article.

Therefore, according to his very own criteria, Maxime Gauin could hardly be deemed as an historian and certainly not as a specialist in Ottoman history. As a matter of fact, some months ago he did try to publish a French textbook entitled “Le dossier arménien: l’invention d’un genocide(The Armenian file: the invention of a genocide) (ISBN 978-2-08-135445-6 – 9782081354456) but this was finally refused by the publisher. I took inspiration from his nauseating title for the heading of this article.

Tarnishing Armenians by any means

In fact, most of Maxime Gauin’s writings are far from being scientific papers and consist in rancorous pieces of blogs usually posted by third-rate propaganda websites. They generally aim at smearing Armenians by piling up unrelated events such as the ASALA terrorist attacks, resistance to Ottoman oppression, possible threats to Human Rights in Armenia, Turkey’s NATO membership, the 70’s-dated link between PLO and Armenian organizations, Iran and – why not ? – Global warming. In this regard, my esteemed colleague Baskin Oran deemed him as “more Turk than Turks”, i.e. one of the staunchest promoters of Turkish ultra-nationalism and, as such, as an [involuntary] ally of the Armenian Tashnaks against any just and lasting settlement of the Turkish-Armenian dispute.

Sometimes, Gauin’s articles are openly signed but most of them appear under various pseudonyms, or even through proxies, but the peerless Gauin rhetoric remains recognizable. I will disclose neither these blogs nor these pseudonyms for so as not to advertise Gauin’s nonsense but one can check for instance how “Lucrèce” and “Dussardier” were finally banned from most of the Armenians-related articles on Wikipedia.

This said, one can notice that his strategy has changed in two ways. For some time he has been increasingly trying to disseminate the idea that Armenians would be anti-Semitic. In this regard, he has been faking philo-Semitic feelings, for instance by following many Jewish – or more precisely Zionist – Twitter accounts and Facebook groups. He has also started publishing on blogs hosted by Israeli media such as The Times of Israel or The Jerusalem Post. In these papers, sometime with some complicit co-authors, he has emphatically commended the alliance between Turkey and Israel or between Azerbaijan and Israel. He has also written some vituperative libels against well-known liberal Jewish scholars such as Yair Auron.

These schemes were denounced by many Jewish intellectuals and significantly by Mrs. Rima Varzhapetyan-Feller, the head of the Jewish community of Armenia. Mrs Varzhapetyan-Feller actually wrote an article and an open letter to David Harris, Executive Director at AJC Global Jewish Advocacy, to “reveal the falsehoods in the writings of Gauin, Murinson, and Gut” and “their attempts to present Armenia as an anti-Semitic state [which] are doomed to failure for their apparent lack of any reliable facts”. In this vein Gauin also recently moved to strengthen his support from Azerbaijan. Two or three non-excluding interpretations may be given to such a move. On the one hand, he may try to take advantage of the alleged Israeli-Azerbaijani military alliance. On the other hand, he may have found in Baku a more unconditional support for his thoughtless extremist allegations in as much as a smarter Turkish diplomacy may have been eventually discredited by his grotesque positions. And finally, he could have also found some grant from the oil-rich authoritarian country whereas Turkey may be paying less. As a matter of fact, he recently went to Baku to introduce himself to some obscure committee and one can expect that Azerbaijan will be soon the new frontier of his personal “Conquest of the East”.

Maxime Gauin in Baku at the Folklore (!) Institute

Maxime Gauin (2nd left) in Baku at the Folklore (!) Institute

A fuzzy political position

The question arises as to which are – if any – Maxime Gauin’s true political convictions. A swift glance on his connections and references seems to indicate his proximity with some leftists of a special kind, i.e. the so-called “Workers’ party” of Dogu Perinçek and of his son Mehmet Perinçek. This worker party is an alleged Maoist organization but with deep nationalist bents. Clearly, denying the Armenian Genocide has become its main purpose, something that has been obvious since Mehmet’s Perinçek’s famous denialist speeches in Switzerland and the law cases that followed.

However, Mr. Gauin himself declared he abhorred leftists and said on many occasions that he considers himself as a “socialist” in the French meaning of this word, i.e. a sort of social-democrat. Nevertheless, his socialism apparently stops where the recognition of the Armenian Genocide starts. Actually, he bluntly insulted many prominent French socialist leaders – including President Hollande – for their moves to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Gauin defends Alparslan Türkes

Gauin defends Alparslan Türkes

One must admit that denying the Armenian Genocide and spreading anti-Armenian racism is the main political line held by Mr Gauin. In this regard, he is quite close to the Turkish far-right embodied by the MHP, as rightfully noted by Armenian activists. On Facebook and Twitter, Mr. Gauin indulged in an open tribute to the MHP and its notorious founder Alparslan Türkes. He seems that he is also sufficiently close to “Grey wolves’” militia to attend their festive meetings. In a recently appeared video, one can see Mr Gauin (in a red coat) singing out loud and making the sign of the Grey wolves in the fascist mob gathered for a concert by nationalist singer Mustafa Yıldızdoğan.

Check this stunning video – Maxime Gauin (red coat, center of first ranks) singing at loud in a Greywolves performance

Behind Armenophobia… Antisemitism

Nevertheless, Mr. Gauin does not seem to have any firm affiliation when it comes to Turkish affairs. For instance, he recently deferentially shook hands with Numan Kurtulmuş, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey and a staunch AKP henchman. It did not happen by chance. Numan Kurtulmuş is a not just any AKP official and his political genealogy is quite significant when compared to Maxime Gauin’s. During an undated interview given to Hürriyet when he was still the leader of the Felicity Party and thus a competitor of Erdogan (probably prior to 2000), Kurtulmuş termed the AKP “a conjectural party”, reproaching it with its lack of “ideology or a certain paradigm”. On the contrary, he once defined his own organization as having a “National View” and he made a clearly appreciative – though implicit – reference to the Young-Turks’ regime – the very one which committed the Armenian Genocide.

Even more significantly, in the same interview, Mr. Kurtulmuş declared that “Anti-Semitism arguments are part of Zionist propaganda” and that “Turkey is not anti-Semitic but strongly anti-Zionist”, a classical argument of … anti-Semitism! Coming to Christians and Armenians, he also declared that “there is no Muslim country that uses the word ’gávur’ (infidel). Gávur does not mean non-Muslim, it means the one who behaves cruelly, who is an imperialist” concluding that “the Armenian issue is all political provocations”.

Maybe this kind of profession of faith that sounds close to Mr Perinçek’s one and is obviously approved of by Mr. Gauin, will help to give a more comprehensive understanding of Mr. Gauin’s position and aims, though it will barely help him gain any academic status.

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