Turks Complain to the N. Y. Times

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By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

May.12, 2004

As expected, the Turks are lashing out at The New York Times for announcing last month that it would henceforth refer to the Armenian Genocide simply as genocide, without any qualifiers.

In a letter to Bill Keller, the Executive Editor of The New York Times, the President of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Ercument Kilic, expressed his "disappointment" over the paper's decision to describe as genocide "the misfortune of the Ottoman Armenians." After listing a series of falsehoods, Kilic urged the Editor "to reconsider" his decision, stating that "the image of The New York Times as a neutral and impartial medium has been seriously tarnished." As I had suggested in an earlier column, the more the Turks complain to The New York Times, the more they help publicize the Armenian Genocide.

Already, the newspaper's new guideline has resulted in a lengthy and very positive article on the Armenian Genocide, in the April 26 issue of the prestigious New Yorker magazine. Writer Gary Bass recalled that Bill Keller, the Executive Editor of The New York Times, referred to the Armenian Genocide as genocide back in 1988 in an article he wrote during his time at the paper's Moscow bureau. Bass reported that during a phone conversation last month, Keller told him: "It seemed a no-brainer that killing a million people because they were Armenians fit the definition [of genocide]."

In the weeks ahead, the Turks, with their complaints, will probably cause more such positive articles to be written on the Armenian Genocide in many other major newspapers and magazines.

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