ANKARA, January 15: Publication of Today's Zaman was launched in a glorious ceremony. The event was attended by a select group of invitees, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, ministers and diplomats. In reference to the salience of the contribution from the new publication, Prime Minister Erdogan said that the launch of Today's Zaman's publication would serve Turkey's interests and make contributions to its worldwide promotion. At the event, the excitement of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was seen in his eyes. Gul underlined that Today's Zaman would draw
extensive attention and become a point of reference shortly.
Today's Zaman was launched at a ceremony on Monday night attended by a select group of invitees including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, State Minister and chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan, Education Minister Hüseyin Celik, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Güler and State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen as well as ambassadors from the diplomatic missions of a number of countries. Erkan Tan hosted the ceremony at the Ankara Sheraton Hotel, where guests expressed satisfaction with the visual presentation of the new publication's mission and vision.
Sharing the excitement of the Today's Zaman staff present, Prime Minister Erdoğan said the newspaper would aid Turkey in its quest to assert itself on the world stage.
Foreign Minister Gül's excitement could be seen in his eyes. Gül underlined that Today's Zaman would draw much attention and become a reference in short time.
Recalling that Ekrem Dumanlı, CEO of Feza Gazetecilik A.S., had showed him the initial drafts months ago, Erdoğan said that he already knew the publication would be a success and further congratulated those who contributed to this endeavor.
'Today's Zaman will be a breath of fresh air'
Plurality in the media is of great importance in a democratic society, said Erdoğan. For this reason, he said he felt the publication of Today's Zaman was important.
"Today's Zaman will increase the richness and diversity of the Turkish media. Such a strong publication with a substantial content will add strength to the attempts carried out to promote Turkey in the world. It will be a window for diplomats who closely follow Turkey as well as foreign public opinion. I see this in Today's Zaman. Turkey has experienced a dramatic image revolution in the last four years. Yet, it is evident that we have a problem concerning effective promotion of our country in the world. We better understand it from the prejudices of other nations towards Turkey. Despite the efforts, we still ask, 'Are we still there?' With its principled and constructive publication, Today's Zaman will contribute to the promotion of Turkey, the Turkish nation and to overcoming the biases and clichés about Turkey."
Gül: Today's Zaman will contribute to Turkey's proper recognition
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, who took the stage before Erdoğan, expressed excitement and pleasure with the publication of a Turkish paper in English. Noting that he has been planning to publish a weekly or monthly bulletin to properly introduce Turkey to foreigners, Gül also stressed that Today's Zaman would fill that void.
"We will do our best to support this endeavor. I see the rise in the number of papers published in English in Turkey to three as a signal of Turkey's importance and greatness. Foreign politicians and economic circles are following what is going on in Turkey. Our country became worthy of being followed. Rest assured that you will achieve a high volume of circulation. You will be followed with interest, and sometimes you will also be quoted by others."
Dumanlı: We will push for world standards
Ekrem Dumanlı, CEO of Feza A.S. and editor-in-chief of Zaman daily, recalled that by the time they were celebrating their 15th anniversary on Nov. 3, 2001, they had promised that Zaman would push for global journalism standards. Noting that his remarks back then were met with skepticism, implying that Turks would not show any interest in a high-quality paper, Dumanlı further added that their success had proven that the Turkish nation deserved the best.
Special thanks to Erdoğan
Dumanlı said: "We invited a number of guests to our anniversary six years ago. Some did not show up despite our insistence. We felt resentment back then because we did not expect special favors from anybody. All we wanted was emotional support for the paper. I would like to offer a special thank you to a very special person who attended that meeting and gave an eloquent address. That day he was excited about the founding of a new political party; today, he administers this beautiful country. I would like to thank our Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who honored this evening."
Keneş: We will be the bridge that reflects all colors of life
Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş said they had designed the paper to be a bridge between people. The inability to communicate plays a big role in the emergence and spread of prejudices, said Keneş. He also added that Turkish culture has not received the special attention it deserves and that unless Turkey is able to express itself, indifference toward Turkey would perpetuate.
"Today's Zaman, determined to convey Turkey's realities to the international stage, was designed to reflect all colors of life, and not as a publication only with columns and a diplomatic content."
A night marked by excitement, shared by all in attendance
Today's Zaman has set its goal to become the largest Turkish paper published in English. Domestic and foreign papers and news agencies expressed great interest in the Today's Zaman ceremonial launch.
Ankara Bureau Chief for Xinhua News Agency Zheng Jinfa, noting that they have been awaiting Today's Zaman for a long time, said he would follow the paper on a regülar basis. Turkey representative for Guangming Daily paper Yudong Li underlined that Today's Zaman would add richness to English-based papers. Al-Manar TV reporter Hassan Tahrani and IRNA reporter M. Sadegh Zonouzi also attended the occasion. Even before its publication, Today's Zaman had received a number of cooperative offers from various agencies and newspapers.
The event also hosted Ankara Governor Kemal Önal, Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek, Kecioren Mayor Turgut Altınok, a number of parliamentarians, ambassadors and mission chiefs.
Remarks by guests
Ministers and diplomats in attendance shared the excitement of Today's Zaman staff. Former Foreign Ministry spokesperson and Turkey's Ambassador to Israel Namık Tan: "Today's Zaman will contribute to Turkey's diversity."
"Publications in English are essential to reaching to the foreign world as well as to foreigners residing in Turkey. Hence, we meet the new publication with great pleasure. We believe it will be an achievement. We wish it long life."
Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Turkey Dr. Mohammad R. Al-Hussaini: "I will follow it regülarly."
"It is a good idea. Now we have three papers, each with a different perspective. I believe Today's Zaman will be more successful than the others. What will distinguish it is its transparency and integrity. Hopefully its news will meet the demands of the individuals as well as the envoys. First thing first, I will buy the paper; I will be a regülar reader."
Moroccan Ambassador to Turkey Abdallah Zagour: "I will definitely follow"
"I think it will give the most up-to-date and accurate information on what is going on in Turkey. It will present a different perspective on politics and daily events. Today's Zaman will reinforce the media structure in Turkey. I will definitely follow the paper.
Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Pinhas Avivi: "We anticipate that Today's Zaman will separate the facts and events from opinions."
Indian Ambassador to Turkey Chitra Narayanan: "Congratulations! I would like to see more news on economy and economic relations in the new publication."
Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik: "I am glad on behalf of my country"
There has been a growing need for a paper that will disseminate Turkey's arguments to the world in the era of globalization. Such a paper will fill a deep void in Turkey. I am glad on behalf of my country that such a quality paper is now out."
State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen: "I am very happy"
"I think it will be a paper that will attract attention from foreign businessmen. I am very happy with such a publication since it can be followed often by foreigners, foreign diplomats and other foreign figures. I wish you success."
Chief negotiator and State Minister Ali Babacan: "It will make an enormous contribution to Turkey"
"Turkey is rapidly integrating with the world. The entire world pays attention to Turkey; it has become a focal point of Europe, the US and Asia. Economic and political developments in Turkey concern the whole world. So coverage of those developments in an English paper published by a domestic publisher is pretty important. It will make substantial contributions to Turkey. In addition, it will provide a service as well as different perspectives for foreigners residing in Turkey. I think it is a good service for Turkey."
Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Güler: "Now, Turkey will be better understood"
"It just feels good to know that Turkey will be promoted abroad through a paper published in an international language. It will make major contributions to the understanding of Turkey. Turkey and the Turkish nation will now be better understood."