NY Times refuses publishing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation ad
The ad was carrying the slogan “Unite Us, Not Divide Us"
The New York Times has rejected an advertisement from a Turkish-American advocacy group calling for the reconciliation between Turks and Armenians on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 incidents.
The newspaper said the advertisement would be seen as a denial of "great historical events that re [sic] generally accepted as facts."
Michael Hayden, a group sales account manager for the newspaper told The Anadolu Agency that he "wanted to get the advertisement into the paper just as bad as our client," but he was told by the newspaper's legal team that he was "going against what our editors have been writing in the last five years."
The full-page open letter from the Turkish American National Steering Committee urges the U.S. government to refrain from politicizing the issue and instead promote peace and solidarity between the two nations.
"The people of Turkey and Turkish Americans recognize the suffering of all these people on this centennial, including the Armenians, and we grieve for each and every life cut short and family suffered," reads the advertisement.
A peace and solidarity walk is scheduled to be organized Friday in Washington, according to the ad that also carries the slogan “Unite Us, Not Divide Us."
Meanwhile, İbrahim Uyar, co-chair of the Turkish American National Steering Committee, told The Anadolu Agency that he was "very disappointed" at the New York Times' decision not to print
"We thought the U.S. was a country which is truly free with regards to the freedom of the press.
We thought that its media had an impartial approach, that they recognized the rights to speak of everyone. We've seen that this is not the case," he said.
He said the same advertisement is currently displayed on 110 public buses in the Washington area, as well as on billboards across the city.
The ad, which appeared Thursday in Washington Post, says, "There is no academic consensus. Indeed, a substantial number of international scholars have declined to label the 1915 events as genocide, instead finding a multitude of causes of suffering with widely varying outcomes for Armenian populations depending on location and rebellious activity."
The politicization of these disputed allegations "not only tarnishes the memory of the dead, but also thwarts the ultimate objective: reconciliation between Armenians and Turks," according to the letter.
The 1915 events took place during the World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted.
The relocation by the Ottomans of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties. Turkey does not dispute that there were casualties on both sides, but rejects the definition of "genocide."
Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of archives to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.