A highly controversial post on the National Geographic’s Resource Library titled “Mar 28, 1930 CE: Istanbul, not Constantinople” received widespread condemnation for claiming that the name Constantinople remained “long after the Greeks and Romans were forced out by the indigenous Ottoman Turks in about 1299.” The historically inaccurate assertions made by National Geographic were debunked in article by Greek City Times on Tuesday, and the news quickly spread like wildfire with many social media users saying they were cancelling their subscriptions to the 131-year-old magazine.
The claim that the Ottoman Turks were indigenous to the area and the Greeks were forced out in 1299 is a ridiculous assertion considering the Greeks had been in Constantinople for 2000 years prior to the Fall of the City in 1453, and not in 1299. Rather 1299 is when the Ottoman Empire began to rise. The Ottoman Turks did not enter Europe until the middle of the 1300’s. The Ottoman Turks are descended from the Oghuz Turks who originated from today’s Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, ridiculing claims that they were indigenous to the area of Constantinople.
Greek-American organisation Hellenic Leaders said National Geographic published “a post with such glaring inaccuracies” and that “Facts matter. Please make the appropriate corrections to your post.” This was preceded by my own Tweet in which I called for the American magazine to fix their historical revisionism. Pressure mounted against National Geographic, with Tuesday’s Greek City Times article even being translated into Albanian and Greek media condemning National Geographic.
It appears that National Geographic certainly noticed the virality of their historical revisionism following the publication of Greek City Times’ debunking article and have completely removed the post. Any search for “Mar 28, 1930 CE: Istanbul, not Constantinople” or link to the post is now met with a message:
“PARDON ME. The page you are looking for may not exist, or we may be experiencing an error. We’re terribly sorry, but please visit our homepage at natgeo.org to see what’s new.”
National Geographic did not respond to any correspondence made by Greek City Times, explain their claims that the Ottoman Turks were indigenous to Constantinople, nor did they apologise for their historical revisionism. However, it is clearly obvious that they did notice and succumb to pressure from the massive denouncement of their claims on social media, online media and community leaders.