What’s notable is the tremendously lopsided proportion of Armenian vs. Turkish coverage, approximately a one-to-five ratio, respectively. If we were to add coverage of Kurdish issues within Turkey, that ratio would become roughly one-to-ten. But I prefer to discuss the Kurds integrally as a nation, not based on the blight of occupation to which they’re subjected.
Why is there such disproportional coverage of things Armenian, vs. Turkish, by the newspaper serving the second largest Armenian community outside Armenia? To a point, this is understandable. Turkey’s population dwarfs Armenia’s approximately twenty-to-one. It is a rising power, economically and diplomatically, in its region. It straddles the crossroads of two continents and four or five civilizations (on occupied Armenian lands). It has conflicts with all its neighbors. Heck, let’s even give the LATimes credit for considering the interests of its Armenian readers in Turkish developments.
In addition, Turkey based, rather than broader issues also invite attention. Turkey’s elections have been fraught with tension as has its polity with the advent of an Islam-based party’s rise to power and its conflicts with the Kemalist secular/military establishment. Armenian related issues— Obama’s April 2009 visit and the apology movement —have earned coverage. The long-enduring process of joining the EU certainly merits reporting. Turkey’s internal militants, “deep state”, human and civil rights abuses and evolution, and relationships with neighboring states (especially Iran and Israel) all understandably are of concern to the world.
Yet, this doesn’t explain why we read about: hikers’ deaths in an avalanche, a Turkish soprano’s (whose fame rests largely in Italy where she lived) passing, floods, infants dying of infections, how great a place the country is to visit in Travel Section puff pieces (I’m not even addressing the “visit Turkey” advertising therein), i.e. human interest stories. It also doesn’t explain the pervasive pro-Turkey bent of the editorials and op-eds (not infrequently written by Turks) appearing in the paper.
Doesn’t Armenia have virtually all of these issues? What about Bulgaria? Romania? Syria? What about Turkey’s continued occupation of 40% of Cyprus? This pro-Turkish bias must end!
As I wrote last week, clearly we have a lot to do on the media front in general, and the LATimes, in particular. This is an important arena, though not the only one, where ideas and mindsets are formed.
Not only should our advocacy organizations be all over the media helping set the tone and agenda of coverage of things Armenian, but also of things Turkish. We now have enough people with the relevant and necessary competence to play in the media fray. We just have to organize and support them financially.