New Revelations Contradict TIME’s Claims on Turkish DVD

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New Revelations Contradict TIME’s Claims on Turkish DVD


By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

Nov. 24, 2005


The editors of TIME recently apologized for placing a Turkish denialist DVD in the June 6, 2005 issue of the European edition of the magazine.


In their apology, the TIME’s editors stated that they erred in accepting the Turkish DVD as a paid insert. They said that due to their failure to review the DVD, they were not aware that it contained a “documentary” denying the facts of the Armenian Genocide. They also said that the DVD presented a distorted view of history and did not meet its standards for fairness and accuracy.

TIME repeated its apology twice: once in a letter dated September 2, 2005 to the Switzerland-Armenia Association, and the second time in the Oct. 17, 2005 issue of the magazine’s European edition. Here is the full text of TIME ’s apology:

"We regret distributing the [Turkish] DVD as part of TIME's European edition and are very sorry for the offense it has caused. The so-called 'documentary' portion of the DVD presents a one-sided view of history that does not meet our standards for fairness and accuracy, and we would not have distributed it had we been aware of its content. Unfortunately the DVD was not adequately reviewed by anyone at TIME because it was believed to be a benign promotion piece. I can assure you that we have changed our review process and will be much more vigilant in the future. We apologize to the Armenian community, and to our readers."


There are three problems with this apology:


1) If the editors were truly apologetic for their error and sincere in their claim that they were not aware of the content of the Turkish DVD, why would they now, after knowing its content, mail copies of the June 6 issue along with the DVD to those requesting a back copy?

2) Regarding the excuse that the Turkish DVD should not have been distributed by TIME because it presented a distorted view of history, why did TIME’s European edition then accept to publish two full-page ads denying the Armenian Genocide in its August 10, 1987 issue? A similar cast of characters was involved in both cases: the Turkish Chamber of Commerce was one of the sponsors of both the 1987 ad and the 2005 DVD.

3) Sinan Aygun, the Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of the Commerce and the sponsor of the DVD, last week contradicted the assertion made by TIME’s editors that they did not know the content of the DVD. Aygun told the Turkish media that TIME executives, despite their denials, were fully aware of the content of the DVD. Aygun did not hide the fact that his objective was to influence European public opinion on the Armenian Genocide, and not to promote tourism in Turkey, as it was suggested.


Aygun disclosed last week that he had submitted a copy of the DVD to TIME officials several months in advance of its eventual distribution by the magazine. He said that after inspecting the DVD, Luca Rosa, the Director of Advertising for the magazine, sent him a letter dated Feb. 21, 2005, approving the DVD (CNN-Turk, Nov. 12, 2005). Reacting strongly to TIME ’s apology and the assertion of its editors that they had no knowledge of the content of the DVD, Aygun said: “they are lying” (http://www.Turknorthamerica.com; Nov. 13, 2005).


In an earlier announcement, Aygun made the amazing disclosure that Turkey’s General Chief of Staff had approved the DVD for distribution through TIME (Vatan newspaper, June 16, 2005). Aygun was forced to make this revelation in order to defend himself from criticisms made against him in the Turkish press after the EU Rapporteur for Turkey, Camiel Eurlings, had said that the DVD would create a negative reaction against Turkey’s EU membership (http://www.atonet.org.tr). Aygun also revealed that the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism had prepared the DVD (Sabah newspaper, June 2, 2005) and that a small group of anonymous businessmen, whom he considered “heroes,” made the DVD possible (http://www.wowturkey.com).

The three revelations outlined above raise serious questions about the sincerity and credibility of the apology issued by TIME’s editors. In order to set the record straight, TIME must:


1) Destroy all undistributed copies of the Turkish DVD, so they cannot be sent out to those asking for a copy of that particular issue;

2) Disclose all internal documents shedding light on the approval process for this DVD as well as copies of all contracts and communication with Aygun;

3) Take disciplinary action against those employees who either did not review the DVD or reviewed it and subsequently misled their superiors by feigning ignorance);

4) Agree to disseminate free of charge an objective DVD on the Armenian Genocide, prepared at the expense of the magazine, in order to undo the damage caused by the Turkish DVD;

5) Donate the payment it received from the Turkish Chamber of Commerce to a charitable organization that actively works for the affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.


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