Today's Zaman
May 29 2012

A group of Turkish and Armenian journalists are traveling throughout
Turkey, Armenia and Georgia from May 24 to June 6 in order to gain
first-hand insight into their neighbors and to report in-depth about
Turkish-Armenian relations from the field.

The group is scheduled to visit six places in Turkey: İstanbul,
Malatya, Kayseri, Cappadocia, Ankara and Kars. Following these visits
in Turkey, the group will travel to Armenia, where they will spend
a week visiting cities and villages across the country, including
Gyumri, Goris, Sevan and Yerevan.

Organized by the Global Political Trends Center (GPoT) of İstanbul
Kultur University in partnership with the Yerevan-based Eurasia
Partnership Foundation as part of the Support to Turkey-Armenia
Rapprochement project and funded by the United States Agency
for International Development (USAID), the Turkish-Armenian Media
Reporting Bus Tour aims to establish a network for future reporting
on Turkish-Armenian relations.

The group of 15 journalists started their tour in İstanbul on
Thursday, visiting the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in
Kumkapı and the Hrant Dink Foundation, which was established in 2007
after the assassination of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink,
who was shot dead outside his newspaper's office in ~^i~_li on
Jan. 19, 2007.

Nora Mildanoglu, a member of the foundation, stated that Armenians in
Turkey are not stuck in the past, adding that they want to develop a
positive dialogue. "Internal dynamics are very important in Turkey. I
believe that Hrant Dink's assassination changed the dynamics in
Turkey. Ten years ago, no one spoke about their origins. Now, people
in Turkey are questioning their origins," said Mildanoglu, adding that
change should not come from above but below. Mildanoglu also said
that the problems between Armenians and Turks should not be solved
by third parties and that both countries should discuss their problems.

The journalists also met with Rober Kopta~_, editor-in-chief of Agos,
a weekly newspaper printed in both Turkish and Armenian.

Following their visit to İstanbul, the journalists traveled to
Malatya, Dink's birthplace, where they had the opportunity to visit
old Armenian settlements and meet Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.

Serdar Boyacı, who is a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent and the
head of the Malatya Armenians' Organization (HAYDER), welcomed the
journalists on Saturday and informed the group as to the situation of
Armenians in Malatya as well as his organization's work regarding the
Armenian cemetery there. Boyacı stated that there are approximately
60 Turkish Armenians living in Malatya, adding that his organization's
main goal is to restore the old Armenian churches there, including
the Ta~_horan Church, which is approximately 800 years old.

The journalists also met Nilufer Kısak, head of the Diyarbakır-based
women rights foundation the Women's Center (KAMER), in Malatya. Kısak
informed the group as to the projects her organization is working on
in partnership with the Hrant Dink Foundation.

The Turkish and Armenian journalists' third destination was Kayseri,
where they were accompanied by Dr. Aslıhan Dogan Topcu, an advisor
for the documentary "Kayseri Ermenileri" (The Armenians of Kayseri).

They visited one of the oldest churches in Kayseri, the Surp Krikor
Lusavoric Church, and the province's Armenian quarters, including
Efkere and Talas, on Sunday. The group then met with Dr. Mehmet Metin
Hulagu, director of the Center for Strategic Research at Erciyes
University (ERUSAM) and a member of the Turkish Historical Society