- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2003

NPR needs public support

Your recent coverage of philanthropist Joan Kroc’s bequest to National Public Radio (“Kroc widow wills $200 million to NPR,” Nation, Nov. 7) accurately reported how much her generous donation will benefit NPR in terms of establishing a strong and secure endowment.

Though Mrs. Kroc’s gift will be enormously helpful, it is not a magic wand for public radio. The public radio system — which includes more than 750 independent stations and NPR — still faces the daily challenge of funding about $800 million in cumulative annual budgets. This gift will produce revenues equal to only about 1 percent of the total costs of public radio.

Public radio has seen enormous growth in audiences in the past decade, but costs to serve this growing audience have outstripped revenues. These have been trying economic times for public radio, and many critical needs remain unmet. Mrs. Kroc’s magnificent gift has inspired a broad conversation about the current and future financial health of public radio, particularly local NPR member stations. This conversation includes the ongoing need for continued private and government support for local public radio stations.

We ask public radio’s listeners to support their public radio stations — WETA and WAMU — locally. They are critical sources of news, information and ideas for millions of Americans.

KEN STERN

Executive vice president

National Public Radio

Washington

‘Tis Greek to me

Once again, Tashin Ertugruloglu, the so-called minister of foreign affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, in his Forum column “Greek Cypriot Arrogance Stymies Talks” (Sunday), set forth his false and inaccurate positions in a time that seems critical for positive movement on a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. Mr. Ertugruloglu represents an entity not recognized by the United States and the international community. Mr. Ertugruloglu’s articles constantly misinform the readers of The Washington Times, and we need to be clear about that. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not a recognized entity, and any opinions conveyed on its behalf have neither political legitimacy nor credibility.

The issue is that Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and since then has been illegally occupying 37 percent of the island despite the condemnation of the international community and numerous U.N. resolutions. The United Nations, the United States and the European Union strongly support the unification of the island, but it is Turkey’s and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s intransigence that impedes the communities from finding a solution to the problem. The Greek Cypriots have agreed to negotiate on the basis of the Annan Plan, despite its flaws. Mr. Denktash and Turkey still refuse to negotiate on the basis of the internationally accepted framework of the rule of law, and they try to find half-measures to impede the solution, such as the partial lift of the illegal restrictions on movement by the Turkish side.

Ambassador Thomas Weston, the State Department’s Cyprus coordinator, stated May 8 that the limited opening of the Green Line that separates Turkish and Greek areas, and the moves associated with it, “are not a settlement. These moves do not and will not solve some very basic issues …. The only path to settlement is a settlement.” On Sept. 3 in Brussels, he also stated, “Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue.”

Any responsibility for the situation in Cyprus and the stalemate concerning the peace talks belongs exclusively to the Turkish side and Mr. Denktash; Mr. Ertugruloglu’s claims are simply false, and they misinform your readers.

NICK LARIGAKIS

Executive director

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

Saving face

A picture of Imam Ali appeared on the front page of your paper Nov. 15. If we Americans are to win the war against terrorism, we need to do so by being sensitive to the cultural and religious values of the majority of the Muslim population all over the world.

First, the picture of Imam Ali, who is regarded with great reverence by all Muslims, had no relevance to the article that was published below the picture, “Bush reassures Congress about Iraq.” How the publishers of this well-respected paper linked Imam Ali, who was the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad, to the war on terrorism, President Bush and Congress baffles the mind.

The Washington Times also should have exercised some caution before deciding to publish the picture. Islam does not allow widespread publication of pictures or posters of any prophets or members of their families. The pictures are especially prohibited from appearing in newspapers because newspapers often end up in garbage or even may be used to fold an order of fish and chips.

We may have won the battles against terrorism. However, in order to win the war on terrorism, we need first to understand, learn and respect the value systems and religions of the world so the majority of the people can start to respect and understand us.

ALI QURESHI

Sterling


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