Zaman daily celebrates 25th anniversary in House of Lords

Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece (L) and Justice Minister Lord Tom McNally (R) (Photo: Today's Zaman)

June 01, 2012, Friday/ 05:20:00

Turkey’s Zaman daily, the best-selling Turkish-language newspaper with a daily circulation of over 1 million, celebrated its 25th anniversary in the UK’s House of Lords on Thursday.

A reception held in the House of Lords to mark the paper’s 25th year came as Today’s Zaman’s sister paper concluded its “Türkiye’de Zaman/Time in Turkey” photo exhibition, a collection of photographs of present-day Turkey by world-famous photojournalists. The exhibition was moved to London after traveling around Turkey on the occasion of Zaman’s 25th anniversary.

With the participation of 25 internationally renowned photojournalists, including American artist Steve McCurry, known for his “Afghan Girl” portrait, the project aimed to portray everyday life in Turkey. Each photographer worked mostly on the topic assigned to them, although some continued working on subjects they had previously started on in Turkey.

McCurry worked mostly in Bursa, photographing the sema, a ritual of the whirling dervishes, and American photographer Carolyn Drake worked on football, taking photos of stadiums and training grounds. Italian artist Paolo Pellegrin photographed a traditional Kırkpınar oil wrestling tournament in Edirne, while Anders Petersen snapped photos of Turkey’s minorities. “Time in Turkey” will be making an appearance in Paris, Moscow, New York and other art capitals throughout the world.

On Thursday, the first and only member of the House of Lords of Turkish origin, Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece, held a reception at the House of Lords. The guests in attendance were Tom McNally, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and the minister of state for justice, Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman Keith Vaz, Turkish Consul General in London Ahmet Demirok and other members of parliament, academics, artists and journalists.

Ece described Zaman as a “success story,” while McNally attached importance to the values Zaman advocates. “Zaman Media Holding is playing a very constructive role in the world,” McNally said.

Speaking at the reception, Ergin said he was a law student when Zaman was first published and that the newspaper has played an important role in helping consolidate Turkish democracy. He added that Turkey’s democracy is “stronger” because of Zaman’s support and that the newspaper has made significant strides. According to the Turkish minister, the newspaper is using the “language of dialogue” to carry out “proper journalism.”

Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı said his newspaper is advocating a marriage between Islam and democracy and stated that he believes that rather than a clash of civilizations, dialogue will prevail in the world. Dumanlı added that the three major values that Zaman supporters adhere to are: the compatibility of Islam and democracy; support for Turkey’s membership bid in the European Union, which will serve peace; and faith that dialogue will win over the clash of civilizations.

McNally said in his speech that the values of Zaman supporters and advocates are very important, adding that Zaman opted for a smarter way to mark its 25th anniversary with a photo exhibition. He said one photograph is worth more than a thousand words. The British justice minister added that Dumanlı was being modest in his speech and that Zaman deserves plaudits as a media outlet that is being published in several languages in a number of countries. The photo exhibition will remain in London until June 8.

French photojournalists Claudine Doury and Reza started taking photos for the exhibition in December 2010. The final photographs were taken by McCurry, a Canadian, in October 2011.

The first exhibition was held in İstanbul’s Taksim Square in seven locations. Titled “Türkiye’de Zaman,” a 420-page book featuring photos was released in January of this year. Other photographers included in the project were Anders Petersen, Eric Bouvet, Paolo Pellegrin, Nikos Economopoulos, Harry Gruyaert and Guillaume Herbaut.