To: New York Times Editor:
Dear New York Times Editor:
Emily Eakin reviewed Dr. Arnold Ludwig’s essay King of the Mountain in Arts Section of NYT on June 29, 2002. Although she quotes Dr. Ludwig as having said “the numbers reflect a leader’s impact on the world, not his personal virtue”, she adds her personal misperceptions in presenting Dr. Ludwig’s essay. She states “The scale’s real overachievers, however, are for the most part a motley crew of despots and tyrants” among whom she includes Kemal Atatürk and distinguishes FDR as “American president”. Well, Ataturk was the first “Turkish president”. In numerous publications about him he was identified as a humanist, democratic and peace-making leader that left a strong imprint in social and political history. No leader would be called a leader if he did not have the determination to realize his/her vision, in addition to other necessary attributes for leadership.
If Ms. Eakin was not knowledgeable enough on the subject she must have consulted relevant publications on the matter. For one, she could have read Dr. Garrett Sheldon’s recent book Jefferson & Ataturk: Political Philosophies (P. Lang, 2000) wherein Ataturk is found as Jefferson, Washington and Franklin all combined in one. The NYT, as the most prestigious paper of the nation, is expected to be much more careful than this in checking the credibility of its contributing authors.
We find this misinformation of the public through your credible medium very alarming, particularly at a time when our country is at war with fundamentalist terrorism. As you may be well aware many syndicated columnists wrote after 9/11 (also in NYT) how Ataturk’s reforms could be a model for countries inflicted with radical Islam. Articles such as Ms. Eakin’s not only do not reflect the whole truth, but also do disservice to national interests in our struggle for international peace.
The Executive Board of The Ataturk Society of America