Sunday February 3, 2013
Setting the record straight
WE seek to make several clarifications to the article, Land before time (Star2 on Saturday, Jan 19) by Louisa Lim.
The writer may have intended to share her experiences and promote Turkish tourism, but despite the many positive aspects of her article, there are phrases that may mislead the Malaysian public on sensitive issues in our country.
Lim repeatedly refers to the Southeastern Anatolia Region as “Turkish Kurdistan” although there is no such territory existing within the borders of the Republic of Turkey.
On the other hand, the New York Times article which listed Kurdistan as No 34 on its list of 41 places to travel in 2011 (travel.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/travel/09where-to-go.html?pagewanted=3), which Lim refers to in her article, talks about an “Iraqi Kurdistan”.
Lim also wrote, “Southeastern Turkey (or Turkish Kurdistan, if you like) ... this landlocked region is PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) territory and a no-man’s land.”
This is totally untrue and misleading as it gives the impression that the Southeast Anatolia Region is governed by the PKK not the Republic of Turkey.
Moreover, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) is listed as a terrorist organisation by a number of states and organisations, including the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Conference of which Malaysia is a member.
The article was illustrated with a photo with the caption, “Syriac Christian population was almost annihilated during the Assyrian genocide in World War I”.
This is untrue and offensive as it accuses a country of directly or indirectly committing one of the worst crimes against humanity without any grounds.
Although our state authorities seek professional historians’ help to enlighten the controversial phases of history based on scientific facts and documents in an attempt to discover the historical realities, unfortunately others do not display the same approach.
If Lim had visited our Embassy prior to her trip, she would have experienced the tolerant environment first-hand which results from the democratic culture where people are unbiased and open to criticism that is based on facts and documents.
It would have been our pleasure to assist her to fulfill her duties.
The Turkish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur