Top-selling U.S. newspaper New York Times found itself at the heart of a debate over coverage of a terrorist attack that hit Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue on Sunday. Social media users expressed anger over the newspaper's account of the blast, which they say focused on the city's tourist area rather than expressions of sympathy with the people of Türkiye.
"Of the tens of millions of tourists from around the world who visit Turkey each year, many spend time in the area where Sunday’s bombing took place,” the newspaper said in a tweet, referring to Istiklal Avenue, the scene of the bombing.
One user, Marcos Moschovidis, called the coverage "cold reporting.” "Focusing on tourism (and thereby implicitly saying the whole country is not safe) instead of on the innocent dead and injured is truly horrific and cold reporting.
"Also, I can’t recall that when there are shootings in the US in popular areas, tourism is mentioned in headlines,” said Moschovidis. Another user compared the blast to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York.
"Imagine a newspaper in Turkey talking about the impact of the act of terrorism on the tourism industry in America when the twin towers were hit ...You guys are so despicable!” the user commented. Nazgul Kenzhetay, a journalist, rebuked the reporting, saying it was "discrimination.”
"What discrimination! It's not a tourism problem, It's a human crisis. These people died, no matter what their citizenship. It's important to be human before being a journalist,” she said.
A Turkish celebrity, Berna Laçin, was also among those who raised criticism, calling the tweet "racist.” "Shame on you! Delete this racist post now NYT!” she wrote on Twitter.
The attack, perpetrated by the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian wing YPG according to initial findings of a Turkish investigation, claimed six lives.