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ANKARA: Turkish, Armenian Journalists Pay Visit To Malatya, Kayseri

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  • ANKARA: Turkish, Armenian Journalists Pay Visit To Malatya, Kayseri


    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