TOPICAL: AKSAM CORRESPONDENT FINDS HERSELF IN A TICKLISH SITUATION

Yeni Musavat
18 Nov 2009
Azerbaijan

Nagehan Alci: `Hundreds of e-mails full of hatred began to flow into
my mail box from Azerbaijanis'

A scandal, caused by correspondent Nagehan Alci of Turkey's Aksam
newspaper following her visit to [Azerbaijani breakaway] Nagornyy
Karabakh via Armenia, is being solved now. Armenian media outlets
reported that in an interview with Armenian TV correspondents, she
said: "We made a mistake in Turkey. Karabakh is 100 per cent Armenian
land and we realized you are fully determined against compromises on
this land."

In his turn, the editor-in-chief of Aksam newspaper, Ismayil Kucukkaya,
expressed his confidence that Armenian media outlets distorted Alci's
words: "Indeed, if she said so, then she took a very wrong step."

In yesterday issue of the newspaper, N. Alci published an article to
shed light on the issue in question. The article, also republished
by vesti.az website, said: "Actually, my article should have started
with the following sentence: "For four days here, I am in a place
where cellular telephones do not work, a daily access to the internet
is only for 30 minutes. Isolated from the rest of the world, I am
listening to intriguing stories. I shall soon share my impressions
with you. But...I'd better begin from scratch. Last Friday I was in
Stepanakert. This is the capital of Nagornyy Karabakh occupied by
Armenians. The Azerbaijanis call it Xankandi. The city is not that
big. Here we are staying in one of the two hotels. On the second day
of our stay here we were called by a representative of the local TV
channel: "We are greeting you from Artsakh TV. You are welcome to
our city. We'd like to interview you."

I agreed to this proposal after pondering that refusal from the
interview would be misinterpreted in this small and sensitive
province. They asked what I was thinking about their region. I replied
this way: "I see only Armenians live here and it is governed by them."

I did not say anything else and did not make any comments on belonging
of Karabakh and its history. And why should I? I was there only to
see everything with my own eyes. The clip where I was featured was
shown on the [local] TV channel. It turned out that everyone watches
a single TV channel here and I was very popular in the city. I was
recognized on the street. Even in mountainous villages wherever we
went, people immediately began to speak amongst themselves. I only
understood a word of `television'".

Up to this moment, everything was normal, this even entertained me
to a certain extent. Nevertheless, on the second day, things took a
turn for the worse. In the twinkling of an eye, hundreds of e-mails
full of hatred began to flow into my mail box from Azerbaijan. All
of them were from my Azerbaijani friends. At the outset, I did not
understand what was going on. It turned out that Armenian websites
carried materials on the report where my words were distorted,
alleging that I said Karabakh was 100 per cent Armenian land. Of
course, my words were sold like hot cakes by Russian and Azerbaijani
news portals. As a result, as an ordinary journalist, I became guilty
for an international crisis. What can I say, dear readers. Those who
are familiar with my pen know well that my aim was only to write what
I saw there. I was not about to come up with any explanations and
have not done so. I hope soon I shall as an author of interesting
reports but not as a "hero of an international crisis".