US television network CBS has sent a letter of apology to Turkey, saying the channel would review its broadcasting processes in order to prevent such errors in the future. Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun protested over the US TV network’s mistake earlier.
US television network CBS has sent a letter of apology to Turkey for falsely identifying Istanbul, the country’s largest city, as part of Greece in a recent report about Russian warships travelling through the Turkish Straits.
“This graphic that incorrectly showed Istanbul as a part of Greece and not Turkey was rectified once we were aware of the mistake,” CBS’ administration said in the letter on Wednesday, addressed to the Turkish Communications Directorate.
It added that the channel would review its broadcasting processes in order to prevent such errors in the future.
The news division of CBS, one of the four major US television networks and once home to such revered journalists as Walter Cronkite, has traditionally been its crown jewel.
On Tuesday, Turkey Communications Director Fahrettin Altun had protested the network’s error, saying he hoped it was an “honest mistake” before demanding an apology.
“We hereby protest your organisation’s misrepresentation of Turkey’s borders – which we hope, was an honest mistake – officially and unequivocally,” he had written in a letter.
“We expect your organisation to take necessary measures in order to prevent a similar mistake from being made in the future and to refrain from taking any steps that could challenge our county’s territorial integrity as well as an apology regarding yesterday’s events.”
A brief history of İstanbul’s many names
The city of İstanbul has had many different names over the years. According to the Roman writer Pliny the Elder (lived c. 23 – 79 AD), the city that is now known as İstanbul was originally a Thracian settlement known as Lygos. Sometime around 657 BC, though, a group of colonists from the Greek city-state of Megara came along and founded the city of Βυζάντιον (Byzántion) on the site.
The city remained known as Byzantion for nearly a thousand years. Like most of the rest of the Greek world, Byzantion came under Roman domination in around the second century BC. Nonetheless, like the rest of the eastern Mediterranean, it remained very culturally Greek; most of its inhabitants continued to speak the Greek language, identify as Greeks, and practice Greek culture.
In 192 AD, the city of Byzantion supported Pescennius Niger’s claim to the throne of the Roman Empire, leading the emperor Septimius Severus to sack and burn it. Upon taking the throne, he refounded the city, renaming it Augusta Antonina after his son Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who later became the emperor we know as “Caracalla.” Caracalla, however, turned out to be a bad emperor in the eyes of the Roman public, so the name quickly reverted back to Byzantion after the emperor’s assassination in 217 AD.
Then, in 330 AD, the Roman emperor Constantine I made Byzantion into the new capital of the Roman Empire and renamed it Nova Roma, which means “New Rome” in Latin. After Constantine I’s death, the city became known in Greek as Κωνσταντινούπολις (Kōnstantinoúpolis), which literally means “Constantine City.” The name Byzantion remained in use, but Constantinople became the primary name of the city.
The city of Constantinople remained the continuous capital of the Byzantine Roman Empire for around nine hundred years. It quickly became the largest city in the empire. By around the ninth century AD, whenever someone in the area around Constantinople wanted to say that they were going to Constantinople, they would simply use the Greek phrase εἰς τὴν Πόλιν (eis tḕn Pólin), which means “into the City,” since everyone knew that, when they said “the City,” they meant Constantinople.