Foreign Minister Gul Shocked To See TIME DVD on his Flight
by Harut Sassounian
Gul and members of his delegation were returning to Turkey on February 11, after spending several days in Washington, D.C., lobbying against the pending Congressional Resolution on the Armenian Genocide. On their Lufthansa Airline flight, they discovered that the TIME magazine issue handed to them included a DVD as well as a full-page announcement on the Armenian Genocide. Gul was reportedly very upset that Armenians were carrying out propaganda activities even on his plane. He said he would conduct an investigation.
After the delegation's return to Ankara, Ozlem Cercioglu, a member of the opposition CHP party, made a parliamentary inquiry, asking the Foreign Minister if he had taken any diplomatic initiatives against the DVD being in TIME magazine. She said that the Armenian-American Diaspora is now expanding its "propaganda" campaign to the air!
Cercioglu wanted to know if the Foreign Minister had contacted U.S. officials asking them to remove such "anti-Turkish materials" from these flights. She also wanted to know if it was proper for Americans to exert pressure on Turkish passengers in such a manner?
We presume that Gul will respond to this parliamentary inquiry at a later date after investigating the circumstances of the insertion of the DVD on the Armenian Genocide in TIME magazine. His aides will hopefully inform him that the DVD and the full-page text was placed in the February 12, 2007 issue at TIME's expense in response to the denialist DVD surreptitiously inserted by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce in the June 6, 2005 issue of Time Europe.
Foreign Minister Gul may also find out that the one million dollars spent by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce backfired on the Turks and caused TIME magazine to spend around a million dollars of its own to counter the false Turkish claims on the Armenian Genocide. Oktay Eksi, a prominent Turkish journalist, expressed his dismay that TIME magazine's actions were precipitated by the unwise and costly efforts of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce. "Some of the things we do just wind up making the situation messier," Eksi lamented in his Hurriyet column.
In recent days, various Turkish groups have initiated an e-mail campaign trying to get TIME magazine to apologize for distributing the DVD on the Armenian Genocide. Their actions, sometimes, have had comical consequences, resulting in a total waste of their efforts. When one Turkish website asked its members to send e-mails to TIME magazine to complain about the insertion of the DVD on the Armenian Genocide, it provided them the wrong e-mail address. They were told to write to The Times (London) daily newspaper rather than TIME magazine.
After receiving a large number of e-mails from Turks complaining about the Armenian DVD, the exasperated editors of The Times (London) published the following note in the Feb. 15 issue of the newspaper: "The Times has received a slew of e-mails from angry Turks, who are in fact complaining about TIME magazine. On it February 12 issue, TIME issued a documentary DVD about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, in its European edition -- an act that has prompted an e-mail campaign alleging that Time's action has 'distorted the truth.' Presumably TIME itself has received more complaints." Significantly, the editors of The Times of London are referring to the Armenian Genocide as such, without any qualification.
Another Turkish website, http://www.gucbirligi.org, urged its members to send protest e-mails to TIME magazine. Even though this time they were provided with the right e-mail address, the sample e-mails they were given may not have been ideal, to put it mildly. Here is an excerpt:
"I just want you to know that you or the persons who own the company are just being a part of an old propaganda which was made up by the Armenian lobbies to weaken Turkish Republic and force it to pay big compensations in the long term like the Germans for what they did to the Jews during the World War 2. I don't know who is that Armenian sympathizer or Armenian in your corporation [who] pushed Time Magazine to do such thing. But I know that this is just wrong. I want to tell you that from now on neither Time magazine nor any other publication related to your group will be purchased by me or by the work place that I am responsible or will be responsible in the future. This may not be much, but at least in the future we will not have to lay our eyes on totally biased and racist pieces of paper that are sold as a magazine."
The Turks are just wasting their time and energy complaining about the Armenian DVD. What the Turkish public and officials do not know is that after going through a grueling 18-month long negotiations with Armenian groups in the Europe and the U.S. and incurring a huge expense to make amends for the Turkish DVD, the last thing TIME executives would want to do is reopen that subject again!