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PRESS RELEASE
December 8, 2008

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ABOUT US
The objective of the Assembly is to coordinate the activities of member Turkish American associations and individual members of the Assembly for the purpose of presenting a more balanced view of Turkey and of the Turkish people, and emphasizing the importance of enhanced understanding between Turkey and the United States. [more]

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By becoming a member you will be part of a network of Turkish-Americans and friends of Turkey who care about the historic relationship between the two peoples and who are aware of the crucial role each one of us plays in strengthening the relationship and promoting an accurate and fair picture of Turkey and Turks. [Join ATAA]

 

Contact Information:  
Nurten Ural, President, ATAA
Onur Isci, Projects Coordinator, ATAA
Phone: 202.483.9090
E-mail: assembly@ataa.org

ATAA sends Protest Letter to PBS

To the Producers of Frontline and PBS Network,

In a similar vein with Andrew Goldberg’s “The Armenian Genocide,” which many PBS stations aired in April 2006, the recent short documentary by George Kachadorian – Turkey: A Family Erased – amounts to little more than a paid advertisement for a single view on a genuine and unfinished historic debate.  Likewise, it adds little new to the study of the underlying controversy.  It is simply unremarkable and supports highly predictable theses.  Nevertheless, the broadcasting of this documentary disturbed the Turkish-American community to the utmost degree.

As you may know, historians and legal scholars who are experts on the late Ottoman Empire, who have actually conducted the archival research and who are skilled in the languages necessary, do not share a doctrinal view on this issue.  For example, the following are among those respected experts who reject the label of genocide to describe the events of the period in question:  Bernard Lewis, Stanford Shaw, David Fromkin, Justin McCarthy, Guenther Lewy, Norman Stone, Kamuran Gurun, Michael Gunter, Gilles Veinstein, and William Batkay.  This is not an exhaustive list.  The ATAA will gladly provide more at your request.

By no means does the ATAA seek to deny Armenians their voice to tell their story as they perceive it.  Yet many Armenian Americans work tirelessly to ensure that their view of history is the only view that is known.  If rewarded, these efforts will harm the fundamental right of all Americans, not just Turkish Americans, to learn about an historic controversy from a plurality of viewpoints and to reach their own conclusions.  Denying viewers the ability to observe the panel discussion following the program would clearly violate PBS' standards of balance and objectivity and would eliminate the open dialogue that, as you have noted, is a crucial part of serving our democracy.
 
Repeatedly showing documentaries reflecting on a single viewpoint vis-à-vis this complicated chapter in historical scholarship, while displaying a reluctant attitude or no interest at all on the other side of the same tragedy, which affected both Armenians and Muslims, is prejudicial. The PBS mission states that programs are aired that demonstrate multiple perspectives on such issues; PBS is also supposed to consider underserved audiences (i.e., Turkish-Americans), in making its broadcasting decisions.  What galls us most, however, is that PBS, partially with taxpayer funds, has been turned into an accomplice in the “Armenian genocide” industry.  Until PBS broadcasts a program that places the genocide issue in its proper historical perspective, it is failing in its mission as a publicly funded media organization.

We wholeheartedly hope that you will also consider airing programs that portray other important dimensions of Turkey's compelling history and urge you to consider airing programs that present views on both sides of the story on Armenian genocide allegations.  The ATAA can help suggest quality programming in this regard, much of which already exists and is ready to be aired. 

The ATAA is a District of Columbia tax-exempt, non-profit corporation comprising more than 50 local Turkish American community associations. Established in 1979, the ATAA promotes the interests of Turkish Americans in the United States.  Among its goals is to ensure a balanced and accurate portrayal of Turkey and Turkish Americans in government, the media, and the public at large. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Nurten Ural
President
Assembly of Turkish American Associations


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