Erdogan Questions Integrity of New York Times

NEW YORK (Combined Sources)–Following the New York Times’s refusal to publish a declaration prepared by 36 Turkish nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) denying the Armenian genocide–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting on June 13 with the paper’s Editorial Board.

In a rejection letter to the Turkish NGOs–the New York Times advertising department wrote–"We believe that the Armenian genocide took place. Therefore–we do not find it right to publish your advertisement."

Erdogan criticized the newspaper for "its paradoxical and erroneous justifications."

In that meeting–the New York Times questioned Turkey’s postponement of an unprecedented conference on the Armenian genocide that was to be held at Bogazici University in Istanbul–and criticized Justice Minister Cemil Cicek’s remarks about the Turkish scholars that were scheduled to participate.

Minister Cicek–speaking on the floor of the Turkish Parliament–called the Turkish scholars "traitors" and accused them of "stabbing the Turkish nation in the back."

Erdogan said that Cicek’s statemen’s represented his personal viewpoint and not that of the Turkish government. "I stated that there is no legal barrier against such an Armenian conference in Istanbul. I support such a conference although I do not agree with the notions that were to be expressed," Erdogan clarified.

Reminding the editors of Turkey’s "goodwill" as it allowed scholars access to its archives–Erdogan invited the New York Times to visit the country and study the "open archives."

Zaman Daily reported that the editors had "difficulty in answering Erdogan’s question" and announced that they would state their reply later.

The prime minister’s spokesman Akif Beki said the editors "merely listened" to Erdogan’s remarks. "Then they said that they would study the said advertisement–as well as the refusal by the head of the advertising department–and would inform us of the results of their evaluation."

Turkish sources reported that The New York Times editors assured Erdogan that they would "include his statemen’s in upcoming articles."

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