By Esra Kaymak Avci
The Turkish embassy in the U.S. on Monday demanded an apology from a major U.S. news network for an “utterly unacceptable” and "false" report regarding a recent coup attempt in Turkey.
"[Kyle] Griffin's report that during the July 15 coup attempt Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan requested asylum in Germany was absolutely false, unacceptable and had no credible supporting evidence whatsoever," the embassy wrote in a letter to NBC News.
"We demand NBC News and Mr. Griffin to issue a formal apology for this unacceptable conduct."
The embassy said it is "outrageous" that such sensitive information about the well-being of the Turkish president was unprofessionally handled, and shared publicly without first checking first the validity and credibility of the source.
The letter comes after the New York-based producer for The Last Word show on the MSNBC network, tweeted during the overthrow attempt July 15 that he received a scoop form a U.S. military source. "Senior US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany,” Griffin told his 5,700 followers on Twitter.
The letter describes Griffin's tweet as "highly irresponsible" and said it contributed to the already "high amount of misinformation" on social media.
Media outlets, including The Washington Post, used Griffin’s tweet in their reports as millions of residents heeded Erdogan's call to defeat the coup attempt by taking to the streets.
The tweet has since been deleted but neither has Griffin nor NBC News "thoroughly acknowledged its mistake nor issued an apology for that," according to the letter from the Turkish embassy.
Reporters at the independently-funded Newsbud online news outlet posted a YouTube video last week that demanded Griffin and NBC News officially apologize to Erdogan and the Turkish people by Monday.
Anadolu Agency was unable to contact Newsbud about the status of its request for an apology.
If an apology is not issued by that time, Newsbud has urged its reporters and others, activists and those in the Turkish diaspora plan to demonstrate at the headquarters on NBC News in New York to force an apology.