YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The hot topics of the Turkish press have been Bulent Ecevit’s health condition–and Cyprus and Afghanistan problems. Recently–however–a significant stress has been put on Armenia. These facts were mentioned at the June 17 roundtable in Ankara–with the participation of Armenian–Azerbaijani and Turkish journalists.
Three main speeches reflected the reaction of the Turkish press to the two other countries. It was emphasized that the Turkish press showed no negative reaction in connection with the opening of the Armenian representation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Istanbul–or with the negotiations of diplomats of the two countries–or providing the Armenian citizens with visa privileges for entering Turkey.
It was mentioned that in the nationalist press–an opinion sounds that Yerevan expects only economic profit from establishing relations with Turkey and that the latter expects responsive steps from Armenia. According to the Turkish press–Ankara is seriously inclined to improve its relations with Armenia–provided that the latter puts up with the past–leaving history up to historians–and agrees that Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbijan.
According to Azerbaijani mass media–instead of discussing its deman’s with Turkey–Armenia is trying to make Turkey recognize the Armenian Genocide. The deepening of anti-Turkish atmosphere in Armenia can be explained with the close connections of Armenian President Robert Kocharian and the ARF Dashnaktsutiun. The Azerbaijani press considers "the return of the territories seized by Armenia to Azerbaijan" as an utterly important preliminary condition for establishing Armenian-Turkish economic relations. In plenty of publications they speak about Armenian terrorism–which is represented as a part of international terrorism.
By introducing the position of the Armenian press–Armenian journalists accentuated the necessity of the protection of the Karabakh people’s right to self-determination–Genocide recognition–and elimination of the Armenian blockade.
During the discussions–an attempt was made to define the possible influence of the journalists as regards the amelioration of relations between the countries. All participants stressed the necessity of balanced and just publications in conditions of the presence of numerous problems.
The series of meetings within the framework of the program "Journalistic Initiative–2002" was arranged by the Yerevan Press Club–the Azerbaijani Union of Journalists "Yeni Nesil," the Association of Diplomatic Journalists of Turkey–and Turkish Democratic Fund–with the support of the Open Society Institute.
Within the framework of the program–Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists visited the editorial office of a number of Turkish mass media–which represent three large news holdings of the country and have different political directions. Unofficial meetings were also organized with both well-known Turkish journalists and deputies and representatives of diplomatic circles.