Date: Fri, 24 Oct 97 16:24:59 CDT
Positive and Negative Stereotypes in the Media of Seven Balkan Countries
By Mariana Lenkova, Greek Helsinki Monitor, August 1997
The Project "Balkan Neighbors" involves teams which monitor the main print media in seven Balkan countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. The Project, coordinated by ACCESS, a Sofia-based NGO, started in October 1996 and is funded by the Open Society Institute, Budapest. On the basis of the monthly national reports, Mariana Lenkova of the Greek Helsinki Monitor is responsible for the preparation of regional summaries. This summary is based on the August reports from Greece, Turkey and the FRY.
August is characterized by restrained optimism about the future of ALBANIA.
"Something is changing in Albania" (K. 24/8). At the same time the opposition press shows particular skepticism. "Certain pro-government newspapers have acquired the habit of describing non-existent diplomatic triumphs achieved by the government. For example, they insist that Greece will build the new Albania, whereas it is well-known that the recent disturbance has led to economic destruction most of the Greek enterprises which have invested in the neighboring country. They present the recent agreements as a confirmation of the Greek business penetration into Albania, whereas the only substantial penetration is that of the hundreds of thousands of Albanian illegal immigrants into the disintegrated Greek labor market. Legalization of their presence in Greece means exportation of the Albanian unemployment and social problems into our country" (E.T. 14). Historical evidence is brought forth in order to demonstrate the inability on the part of the Albanians to be protagonists in the new developments. "Whichever method of study is chosen by anybody for a period in history, it will prove particularly difficult to decide with certainty with regard to the roots of the Albanian nation and, consequently, with regard to the Greek element with its very strong presence and influence within the limits of the geographical area populated by the Albanians. It is true that, during the 19th century, when the Balkans were shaking by the explosion of national consciousness which resulted in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Albanians were the last ones who achieved to be self-determined collectively as a nation and, to a great extent, to shake off their feudal relations, their state was established only on the 28th November, 1912. )From this standpoint, certainly the Albanians were at a disadvantage compared to Greece and the Greeks as well as compared to the Serbs and the Italians, since they were able to form their state entity much later than they did" (Ex. 14). The interest in the Greek minority is profound. "What if the government in Albania has changed. What if Greece makes everything possible to assist the friendly Albanian people. What if only warm words are heard from Athens and Tirana... The Albanian consulate in Athens gets annoyed when we call the Greeks in Albania, Epirotes from the North. A distinguished Athens lawyer stated that he speaks on behalf of an Epirote from the North client of his, only to be immediately criticized: "There are no Epirotes from the North, sir, we will not cut Albania in half". The upgrading of the Greek-Albanian relations in its full grandeur..." (Ap. 29). The developments in the minority's party - Omonia - are also covered this month. "Those opposing the Lambovitiadis leadership declare that Omonia should become "an organization of all the Greeks and not of a group of cadres and other centers", which will function in the framework of the Albanian state and will constitute "the will of all the Greeks in Albania and it will not consider as traitors those Greeks who have been elected in parliament or are politically active through Albanian parties" (K. 13). The reactions "regarding a BULGARIAN minority in Greece" continue as an echo from Bulgarian President Stoyanov"s visit. "Enough of us pulling our pants down -not only for the Turks- but for the Skopjans and the Bulgarians, and on the other hand ...blustering, for internal consumption. If the Bulgarian President, Petar Stoyanov, were to make any hints about a "Bulgarian minority", we should make hints about the Greek Sarakatsani. And so on and so forth also with regard to the greatly talkative Mr. Kiro Gligorov!" (A.T. 1). Unforgivable is the apology extended to the Turks for the years of oppression suffered by the Turkish minority in Bulgaria. "The new President of Bulgaria has apologized to Ankara. Surely, the man receives orders from the USA, but has he not wondered, even if once, whether throughout history the Turks have apologized for the atrocities they have committed against Greek populations. Eventually, they will get us to call Zhivkov to mind..." (E.T. 3). Macedonians are Bulgarians - an equation which emerges from a lot of references but also from the statements made by the Greek President. "The dispute of the Bulgarians with Skopje is continuing and the scathing joke often heard in Sofia from Bulgarians" lips is typical of the situation. Kiro is the king of the Gypsies in Bulgaria and fairly well-known in his country. "What is common between our own Kiro with the Kiro of Skopje" (they mean President Gligorov), the Bulgarians ask the rhetorical question, and they hasten to reply: "Our Kiro speaks Gypsy and Bulgarian. K. Gligorov - only Bulgarian" (Eth. 3/8). "A voice from a bloody epoch which got burnt in its fire, Zhivkov's [Bulgaria"s communist leader] voice, does not cease to remind to fair and sublime people, the ulcer, the deceit, the monstrosity which was set up in the heart of the Balkans; the falsely named Macedonia of the "Calm" one, which was stood on its feet by Stalin (and Tito). And which is fostered with care by the Americans and the Germans." (El. 22) Yet, apart from the personal views of the Greek press reporters and associates, the impressions produced by the positions held by the Greek President are much stronger. "In essence, this state has rejected its national identity. Because, if we want to be fair towards history, those who live today in the so-called Skopje state are not Macedonians. This is a name which they have obtained for reasons of policy and expediency since the epoch of the late Tito. In essence they are Bulgarians. They have reached the point of accepting the Bulgarians in 1941, with great ceremonies, with Bulgarian flags and uniforms. There is no Macedonian language. It is nothing more than a creation." (El. 31)
The month sees the cultivation of a climate of intransigence with regard to the name of neighboring MACEDONIA. "In its last issue, the French magazine "Paris Match" has a special supplement on Skopje, where there is a fully spread reference to "Macedonia", to its contribution in the political stability in the region and to the opportunities for profitable investments. Of course, nowhere is there a reference to "FYROM" nor is there any reservation recorded on the internal instability caused to Skopje by the all powerful -and, according to information, armed- Albanian minority. Of course, these people are only doing their job. The problem lies at the hands of the Greek politicians who have not succeeded in coping with a small and sickly state. And you kind of get seized by feelings of melancholy, when you see K. Gligorov standing victor at the diplomatic battle against the most powerful country in the Balkans" (A.T. 22/8). "Many questions have been raised in Northern Greece by the off-handedness and the hasty initiatives of some official bodies in promoting the inter-border cooperation between Greece and Skopje, under the guidance of the Simitis" government. Today, in the theater at Drossato in Kilkis, meetings are taking place with the participation of the Skopjans. Specifically, once more and without having clarified the name under which the Skopjan officials represent their country, community presidents from Kilkis and the mayors of Doirani and Yevgeli from the neighboring country, proceed into holding a joint meeting on Greek territory at Doirani" (Ap. 22/8). The name issue is also correlated with the Macedonian minority in Greece, as well as with the internal problems which Macedonia faces. "Even in the "progressive" establishment of the ponderous national stupefaction, it is now a common secret that "the Macedonian People" do have a name but do not exist. Slavs and Albanians kill each other in the multination medley of Skopje, where various other national minorities, even bought over zombies from Romania, act also in a liquidationist manner. (...) Just a month ago, Skopje was confronted once more with an existential problem. And what did Gligorov do then? He demanded immediately international recognition for "a Macedonian national minority" within the Greek Macedonia. And official Athens? A clinic for national fractures. Be quiet, Skopje is in danger!" (A.T. 29/8). However, the predominant feeling is that of Greece"s superiority vis-a-vis its neighbor. "Greece is the only significant country bordering with Skopje and it supports it in its development, and the only one which has no other problem with it beyond that which we are discussing in New York. That country will have to consider very seriously the outcome of these negotiations, namely, lest we reach the conclusion that it is not worth occupying oneself with Skopje and its population" (V. 31, statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Th. Pangalos). The statements of the leader of the Albanians in Macedonia, A. Xhaferi, are a legitimization of the Greek positions. "Referring to the relations of FYROM with the neighboring countries, A. Xhaferi accused the President, Mr. K. Gligorov, for usurping "the historical and cultural heritage of the other Balkan countries" giving as a characteristic example "the self-evident historical antiquities of Greece and Bulgaria." The leader of the Albanian speaking community concluded by pointing out that "there is no real but only fictitious "Macedonism", because "it attempts to be constructed on the basis of a myth" which "has been created by K. Gligorov and his friends" (K. 13/8). "Now, of course, the question is asked, what is the character of this country, if this country -rather, this state, because the word country is too heavy here- can remain united with so big differences, if it can hold out undivided no matter how much the great powers are trying to do this" (Ap. 3/8).
ROMANIA: the "bad" past of the Greek-Romanian relations is called forth due to the recent events in Albania. "Crucial and "tormenting" questions"; " We have accepted even Romanians as a military mission in Gjirokastra and Korce. We are hopeful that they will not consider the Vlach-speaking Greeks living there as their ancestors!" (A.T. 8)
The relations between the SERBS and the Croats are analyzed at length when the former lost a football game to the latter. "Serbian lamentation", "The net of shame", "Disaster" were some of the headlines in Serbian newspapers with regard to the smashing 5-0 of Belgade"s "Partisan" by Zagreb"s "Croatia" in the Champions" League. Serbia experiences a drama. A defeat, yes; it is included in soccer. Exclusion too. But not by the Croats" (Ap. 1). Milosevic"s return to the political limelight is seen as something rather disturbing, because "The Serbs had reversed their international reputation as a nation of indignant nationalists and they seemed determined to create a better democratic future. Not any more. Suddenly, Milosevic was once again at the position of the driver..." (V. 3/8). "Why, for example, only Karadjic was characterized as a war criminal, whereas, from some moment on, S. Milosevic was "declassified"? Is it perhaps because, after having triggered the nationalist volcano in post-Tito Yugoslavia, Milosevic co-operated opportunistically with the West in order to maintain his powers? Why is Germany permanently annoyed only by the Serbian (indisputable) crimes? Whenever the Croats kill, do the Germans happen to look the other way?" (N. 22/8). "But this (Milosevic"s) "policy" will be paid for by the next generations also, in the form of a permanent destabilization in the area, a return to anachronistic nationalist ideologies, to fascist views and to primitive hatred. This policy has led to the creation of a desert in the heart of Europe, to the blocking of democratization and of political and economic reforms. This "policy" produced new unresolved contradictions, which lead to a new vicious circle of conflicts and bloodshed" (El. 26/8). The problems in the Greek-Serbian relations created by the Schengen Treaty, also come to the forefront. "Our embassy in Belgrade invokes the Schengen Treaty, when it delays the visas of the Yugoslav tourists who want to come to our country. The same things are heard in Moscow, Sofia and Bucharest, when Slovenes, Croats and Skopjans come with minimal formalities. Could it be, Mr. Pangalos, that we make it difficult for our traditional friends or those to whom we send the largest exports? However, when all these discover neighboring Turkey -which fawns on them without asking for any visas- then it will be too late to bring them back" (E.T. 11/8).
A profound climate of discontent and pessimism for the affiliation between TURKEY and "Denktash"s pseudo-state." "Turkey is scornful of the rules. It signs them and then it tramples upon them" (K. 7/8). "The affiliation agreement between Turkey and the pseudo-state of R. Denktash is simply indicative of the political primitivism characterizing the regime which was established in Ankara through the intervention of the armed forces, in order to avert the sliding of the country towards Islamism and bring it closer to the West" (K. 7/8). "Surely, we did not wait for Turkey"s action the day before yesterday, in order to discover that the political-military establishment in Ankara which scorns at international law, at UN decisions and resolutions as well as at the discussions under way resolving the Cyprus issue. Neither did we cherish the illusion that the signing of the Madrid agreement meant that Turkey had at last decided to change its tactics, abandoning the provocativeness and implacability which constitute the major features of its foreign policy" (Eth. 8/8). The image of a "barbarous and anti-democratic" Turkey comes to the forefront again and again. "Turkey may attempt to appear as a European country, the Americans and the Europeans may shut their eyes before Ankara"s extreme Islamist positions, on many occasions, however, they cannot shut their eyes before the Turkish brutalities. A church from the epoch of the Venetians situated between the occupied villages of Aheritos and Prastios in Famagusta has been turned into a sheepfold. The news was published in the Turkish-Cypriot newspaper "Ortam" which also prints a photograph of the desecrated church, whilst it points out that the so-called antiquities department of the pseudo-state is not interested in its protection" (A.T. 7/8). "They crow over, they cry out "get us" and they laugh ironically. Of course not, they are neither Mladic nor Karadjic, who, after all, have fought for their fatherland on the first line. They are the Turks. The Turks of Attilas, the Turks in Kurdistan. ... Those war criminals and peace criminals, those who gore the Kurdish children, those who kill Solomos, Isaac, who murder in Cyprus every day" (A.T. 23/8). "Turkey never observes agreements... Now, what can I tell you... They are ignorant of history, thugs, traitors of peace, traders upon the rights of the people... And they are disrespectful towards international conventions" (statements made by E. Yiannopoulos, Minister of Justice, El. 25/8). This month, it is characteristic that quite a few times a parallel is drawn between the political leadership in Turkey and Hitler"s regime. "Like Hitler, Ecevit believes in a peculiar socialism which is not internationalist but is permeated by profound racist and nationalist elements" (A.T. 21/8). "Turkey functions like Hitler in the 1930s towards Central and Eastern Europe, with a structural expansionism, and an appeasing way of dealing with it strengthens this aggressiveness" (El. 24/8). However, a number if citizens" initiatives for the promotion of Greek-Turkish relations come as bright exceptions. "Art sets up a bridge of friendship for Greece and Turkey" (Ap. 22/8). "It is evident that the persistence in preserving the belief among both the peoples that they cannot live peacefully, if not [the belief] of hostility for each other, constitutes a common element in both countries. Obviously for pedagogical reasons." (El. 25)
The way in which the Greeks understand themselves as well as their neighbors can, to a certain extent, be taken as a starting point in order to see their attitude towards the INTERNAL MINORITIES. "The historical course and, in particular, the origin of our people has to be illuminated, because many are those who, being full of inferiority complexes and feelings of failure and inability, want to demean us nationally, historically and culturally by inventing non-historic, inept, unsubstantiated arguments which serve interests of foreign peoples who attempt to meet their political needs by stealing histories in order to present them as their own. Until now, this has been the case with our neighbors whose aim was and still is to have a way out to the Aegean Sea and, more generally, to the Mediterranean. In general, since Greece has always been a bridge for a geographical junction between Europe and Asia, the aim of all the peoples who have passed and still want to pass through has been a commercial, political, economical and military aim. (...) They have named us Turks, Slavs, Jews, Romans... You can imagine the hatred and complex!" (Ap. 17). Against the background of this attitude, there are reactions and negative commentaries on the forthcoming repeal of Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code. "The modernizers" government is proceeding at full speed towards repealing Art. 19 in an attempt to serve Turks, "Macedonians" but also Albanians (on a more long-term perspective...). And you can be sure that not only will the agents of Turkey and the "children of the Aegean Sea" come back, but they will also claim fortunes" (E.T. 3/8). "Thrace is in danger of becoming filled with Turks. A fact which will upset the population balance in the area to the detriment of our country and to the benefit of Turkey"s expansionist aims towards achieving autonomy for the area" (E.T. 3/8).
In relation to the MACEDONIAN minority, the month does not show any change of attitude. "In Florina, the Skopjanophiles of the "Rainbow" are pushing it a bit too much. One of them stole in at the press conference of the ministers of Culture of Greece and Skopje, and "threw" the provocative question: "Is there a selective treatment with regard to the movement of artists from the neighboring country?", thus implying that those who are so-called "Macedonian" refugees do not have a free passage. Fortunately, being a Macedonian, Venizelos understood the "trap" and he replied accordingly. However, should the government and the local society of Florina isolate these anti-national "voices." (E.T. 25)
On the occasion of the State Department"s report on RELIGIOUS freedoms in Greece, a reporter in A.T. (2/8) comments: "While the notorious Americans "look for a needle in a haystack" in relation to violation of human rights, they continue to violate the rights not only of the Blacks, Porto Ricans, Mexicans and Cubans. They criticize the Greeks who see with a "suspicious eye" the Jehovah"s Witnesses -who refuse to serve their fatherland-whereas they do not ...allow [them] to enter a bus!..."
With regard to the forthcoming legalization of the illegal IMMIGRANTS who live and work in Greece, the negative reactions in the press show an increasing rise in numbers as well as in frequency of appearance. "A new wave of mass illegal immigration in sight. From the moment that the government accepted a procedure for the registration and at least the temporary legalization of the Albanian illegal immigrants in Greece, a great incentive has been offered to the wretched and suspects of the neighboring country for coming to Greece to get registered and legalized!" (E.T. 6/8). "An invitation to ...prospective Albanian illegal immigrants (in addition to the 300,000 who are already enjoying hospitality on Greek territory) was extended, yesterday, by the minister for Foreign Affairs, Th. Pangalos, in Tirana, who committed himself publicly on immediate legalization of stay for at least twelve months, to all those who will hurry and "get registered", without even establishing the legality of their entry into our country!" (E.T. 6/8). "The stay of the illegal immigrants in Greece disorganizes the labor market, causes the phenomenon of social disintegration and creates objective conditions for the manifestation of xenophobia and racism. The "easy" solution for both governments is the exportation of the wretched Albanians to Greece and the support to the Albanian economy by the immigrants" foreign currency in drachmas. The correct solution, however, is the drastic reduction of the Albanian illegal immigrants in Greece" (E.T. 3/8). "Most [of the immigrants] come from neighboring countries, Albania, Skopje, Bulgaria, Turkey. Many are Muslims and they will rapidly pass under Turkey"s influence and guidance, no matter which country they come from. Also, there are many Romanians, and Romania already claims a minority in Greece, meaning the Greek Vlachs! Namely, we, ourselves, construct large and hostile minorities in our country which, very soon, will create problems similar to those of the Muslims in Thrace and they will try to cut off pieces of our fatherland and annex them to their own fatherlands." (Ap. 13, in a letter from reader V. Mitropoulos). In a particularly racist style, a reporter in N. (30/8) reviles at the foreign domestic assistants in Greece. "There is also a category of domestic assistants who, despite the fact that they have never in their lives seen a vacuum cleaner, already from the first day claim wages equal to an employee employed for the first time and, moreover, they also count in all allowances. If they happen to speak some Greek words, then you pay ... a thousand drachmas per word. With regard to cohabitation? It is true hell. When a domestic assistant from this category initially turns up, it is as if she came from Biafra. However, when she leaves, it is with some difficulty that she can pass through the door. She wears clothes from the open-air market and, after a few months, her wardrobe has been fully renewed with models from fashion houses. She eliminates everything that she has destroyed and only after she is gone you discover that in a little while you will not have even one glass to drink water from, or pillowcases, half the underwear. If she is ... hard-working, she cleans silverware with wire-wool. If she is good-for-nothing, she grimes the window-panes and you just try whether you can get them back to normal. So, this class of working people is likable, but at least we will have to get paid in order to train them. And, moreover, [we should be paid] a salary increased with mental health allowance. Enough of this...". The issue of illegal immigration is invariably related to the rise of criminality in Greece in recent years. "In many villages, the "foreigners", Albanians, Romanians, Asians, overbalance the local population which is continually shrinking. During the day, they flood the coffee-houses, and during the night, they often set up gangs which do not leave even "the oil in the church oil-lamps". They speak about robberies with injuries, about kidnappings, burglaries, cattle-stealing etc. which never reach publicity, because the local correspondents have got tired of concerning themselves day in day out with routine events" (E.T. 4). "It is not accidental that simultaneously with the invasion of the immigrants from the North and the East, criminality also skyrocketed. The Greeks in the borderlands live under a regime of democracy under occupation, with the Albanians" gangs coming in and out, while other gangs dominate also the Basin. Circuits of Albanian, Russian, Bulgarian and Romanian criminals indulge in orgies all over the country, in the absence of any resistance. What is there left to do? What else than self-defense!" (E.T. 20). Nevertheless, among the scant exceptions to the above rule, the following commentary by a reporter of A.T. (7/8) can be included: "Poor Albanian brothers of ours, economic refugees under savage exploitation and extreme disdain, water the Greek soil with their fertile sweat and, at times, they get gathered in police vans like mad dogs and they get deported from the official border door, only to come back frightened to death through the window of the mountains. On Albanian territory, Greek gangsters with sonorous posts in the Greek consulates rob them for a "visa." Besides, this is the reason why the Greek security people kill each other in Gjirokastra in the share-out. Every day they share among themselves millions from the poor man"s meager means. And what is happening at the borders with the real gangs of the Albanians? Quite simply, they are Greek-Albanian gangs and they practice the ancestral tradition of the joint brigand"s life. But "all the wrong loaves are made by the daughter-in-law" in the oven of Greek hypocrisy."
Guide to Newspaper initials: Ad.T. Adesmeftos Typos (center-right); Ap. Apogevmatini (center-right); E.T. Eleftheros Typos (center-right); El Eleftherotypia (center-left); Eth. Ethnos (center-left); Exousia (center-left) Ex.; N. Nea (center-left); V. =3D Vima (center-left, Sunday equivalent to Nea)
ALBANIA has lost its appeal to the Turkish press after the multinational force, which included a Turkish regiment, whose presence in the country has promoted the image of "Turkey as a big power" left the country. Yet, Necati Ozfatura of Turkiye published three articles which evidence that the theme of "atrocities committed against Muslims under the Communist regime" (T. 12). "Evil alliance against Albania"; "Dr. Sali Berisha was once the adored one of the Albanians. Because he was sympathetic toward Islam, following the "bankers affair" Greece, Italy and Serbia exploited the rebellion to disorder the country, manipulating Orthodox and Catholic Christians living in Albania."; "Foundations of the massacres and catastrophes lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina over the recent years were laid by the Berlin Treaty of 1878. Under the Berlin Treaty, the Albanians (because they were Muslims by majority) were divided with unnatural borders between the states of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, and even Greece. Since the 1878 plans were designed to perish the Albanians through genocide and assimilation, and to proselytize them to Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism." (T. 21). "Attempts to divide Albania" ;"The victory of the rebels is temporary. Change of balance in Albania will affect the whole of the Balkans, and Turkey cannot remain outside an inevitable war. What"s done in Albania cannot be undone. Great tasks are incumbent upon Turkey. Political support should be supplemented with economic and military aid. Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sandjak, and Western Thrace are outposts of Turkey." (T. 27)
Generally, BULGARIA is pictured as the "best neighbor", which has very serious problems with her other neighbors and whose foreign policy draws criticisms both abroad and at home. "Even beyond good neighborliness"; "Who could have predicted that a Bulgarian President would come to Turkey and apologize for the oppressive actions of the 1980s? Who could have divined that a Turkish aircraft would carry Bulgarian staff officers, and a treaty of military cooperation would be signed between the two countries? Who could have forecast that Turkish and Bulgarian authorities would cooperate in combating terrorism and ensuring frontier security? Such gestures and actions that were impossible even to imagine four or five years ago are now realities. Truly, we have now no problems with the "neighbor." There is mutual understanding and a blooming friendship. Wish such were the case with our other neighbors." (M. 1). Yet, a residual perception of a country with "organized crime" accompanies Bulgaria"s image, in which respect it is considered as even excelling Turkey. "Bulgarian Mafia pays no heed to rank" (C, 28). This article relates that an expensive jeep owned by a visitor of the Bulgarian Premier Ivan Kostov was stolen by the local Mafia while privileged friends were on a vacation trip.
The increasing interest of the US press in the Turco-GREEK relations provides strong material for the Turkish dailies. Interviews of Turkish and Greek leaders are widely covered. Premier Mesut Yilmaz"s interview for Newsweek includes reconciliatory remarks concerning the issue of the Aegean continental shelf, while the one published in The Washington Post has the opposite tone ["Athens" mind gets confused;" "International law cannot be applied in an issue like the Aegean which has very particular conditions." (T. 6)]. Such oscillations in the perception of foreign relations are common for both the political class and the media, somewhat confused under the influence of conflicting trends in domestic policy. "The problems with some of our neighbors are not of the kind permitting easy solutions. Especially those existing with Greece. Presently, however, there is a certain dialogue and other attempts aimed at resolving the disputes between Ankara and Athens" (M. 28). The weight of nationalistic taboos in both Turkey and Greece in the reproduction of each other"s images causes even petty problems to bring the word "war" into circulation. In August a statement of Greek Chief of General-Staff Atanasios Zoganis asserting that "a minor clash can easily be transformed into a major crisis, and that though Turkey and Greece are two NATO members, there exists the risk of a war between the two countries" is interpreted by the Turkish press in the following way: "The pretext of armament: "Turkey" (M. 30); "We can engage in a war with Turkey" (H. 30). On the other hand, "We do not arm ourselves against Greece. We are situated at a very critical geographical location near the Caucasus and the Middle East. We use our military might in the direction of our targets set within the NATO, and with the purpose of ensuring stability and deterrence in the region. If Greece spends 12.8 billion dollars for armament by using Turkey as a pretext, Greek citizens will call an account for that. We have to solve our problems through dialogue. Turkey is by no means engaged in an armament directed against Greece" (H. 25, statement by Turlish Defense Minister Ismet Sezgin). Negative comments that appear in the Greek press also contribute to the disapproving perception of Greece in Turkey. Turkish press is especially intolerant of references made in the Greek press to the lower democratic standards in Turkey, though Turkish papers frequently discuss this issue themselves. In other words, Turkish press takes as its maxim a Turkish proverb translating as "one"s broken arm remains hidden in one"s sleeve," which is representative of the prevalent attitude of the public at large. The press designated as "Athenian rage against Turkey" (H. 8) the interpretation by the Greek Foreign Minister of the conclusion of an agreement between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot government, envisaging integration in economic and military fields, as a proof of "how Turkey was far from being fair-minded and democratically-oriented." "Problems likely to arise due to the resolution to accomplish an integration between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have the potential to transcend the limits of the relations between the Greek Cypriot government and the TRNC, and to escalate the Turco-Greek tension." (Z. 11). Indeed, the Cyprus issue is omnipresent again. "Let Cyprus divide into two"; "If you want it to appear somewhat clear-cut, divide Cyprus into two. A rapprochement between two separate states will be much more easier in the future" (S. 15). "Since talks in Glion produced no results, and since this made clear that the status-quo in Cyprus is hardly to change, today there is no prospect of a solution to the Cyprus problem. As a matter of fact, the Greek side (including the Athens government) does not hide what kind of solution they dream of, as they put the accent on the military dimension. The air base in Baphos is part of this dream. They can keep on dreaming, if they wish to so much." (Z. 17). Amid these traditional articles, there is a very self-critical one which says that "For years Turkey has reduced the Cyprus issue to a problem of security. The prevailing reasoning takes Turkey and Cyprus to be dependent on each other for their security. Though such assessment is not invalid, the perception of security simply as a territorial relation and its interpretation only in a military context betray the inability to comprehend the changes in the contemporary world. For, while globalization discounts the importance of geographical frontiers, it is engaged in assigning the regional leaders of the future. Nations that decline to solve their internal problems and settle their relations with their neighbors in mutual understanding lack such a chance." (R. 21)
MACEDONIA is not covered very extensively. Still, there are some interesting articles. "Does Macedonia face the risk of dismemberment?"; "Accession of a Socialist government to power in Albania following the general elections do not permit this country to engage in an adventure against Macedonia, while the other neighbour, Bulgaria, exerts efforts to ameliorate the difficult economic situation in the country. Greece, the most dangerous and aggressive neighbour of Macedonia, on the other hand, is unable, as a member state of both the NATO and the EU, to embark upon an overt initiative directed against the country." (T. 22). A news item headlined "Turkish is banned in Turkish villages" provides a good example of the perception by Islamist dailies of the circumstances in the Balkans. "In Macedonia Muslims are more populous than the Macedonians. However, their varying ethnic origins and especially the discord between Albanian Muslims and Muslims of other ethnic origins, render them powerless as against the Macedonians. Even the Albanian Muslims are divided among themselves into three sections. There is an incessant strife between the anti-Ottoman nationalists with even fascist leanings, the moderates, and the Islamists. Under these circumstances, Macedonians, holding a monopoly over the Socialist regime, seek to alienate the Muslims from their ethnic origins." (Ak. 22)
The major topic around which Turkish dailies cover SERBIA is related to the incidents that broke out in Bosnia due to the Bosnian government"s noncompliance with the Dayton Agreement. "Death throes of peace in Bosnia" (YY 6). "The aim is to halt the operations staged to arrest war criminals in Bosnia-Herzegovina, by disturbing and manipulating Muslim people of Bosnian origin in Sandjak. We are worried of the possibility that the unbearable oppression and provocation directed at the people of Sandjak could precipitate into an armed conflict. Such case may entail catastrophic results affecting the whole Balkans" (T.11). Yagmur Atsiz of Yeni Yuzyil (11/8) displays "radicalism" in assuming tension and revulsion widespread in the former Yugoslavia to be an almost "genetic" datum, and provides indications of how the "other" is being construed on a "wholesale" manner. "Though Serbs and Croats mortally hate each other, their hatred for the Muslim Bosnians whom they call "Turks" is even greater." Referring to the different roles that Plavsic assumed during and after the war in Bosnia, and calling her an "abject personality," Atsiz jumps to an inference concerning the place of Turkey in Europe, arguing that Turkey"s yearning for integration with Europe will imply to come to terms with people like Plavsic. "An absolute "yes" to economic and cultural rapprochement, and an absolute "no" to political integration. I cannot accept Turkey"s becoming a vassal principality of Brussels!!!"
In August the Turkish press discusses the KURDISH problem in connection to the erroneous policies that the former Turkish government pursued. "The PKK dwindles at home, but grows abroad"; "Though the PKK lost ground in the military field, it gained a much more influential role in Turkish policy as compared to the past. The extremely erroneous policy followed by the Turkish state has been instrumental in the advent of such a state of affairs. The shutting down of political parties that collect the votes of the Kurdish electorate and their exclusion from the Parliament; the suppression of the moderate Kurdish groups. All these played in the hands of the PKK. Unrivaled, the PKK remained erect as the sole organization that can speak on behalf of the Kurds." (S. 19, 20/8). In short, the Kurdish problem remains a problem on which the relevant actors cannot speak in complete clarity. The deeper dimensions of this problem get more and more enmeshed, making it resistant to solution, because it is degraded to a problem of "internal security." At the same time those who cannot express themselves become increasingly radicalized. Though the NGOs and the press organs level criticisms at the policy followed in the past, they still fail to provide constructive criticism of the current policies or to offer solutions.
Guide to newspaper initials: H H=FCrriyet; M Milliyet; S Sabah; YY Yeni Y=FCzyil; T T=FCrkiye; Z Zaman; D Demokrasi; C - Cumhuriyet; A - Aksam; YS - Yeni Safak
ALBANIA is covered in a detailed way, with a particular emphasis on the difficult reconstruction of the country. Both independent and official media express cautious optimism concerning better Albanian-Yugoslav relations after the new government took power in Albania. "Albania, its neighbors, as well as the wider international community, would profit most if Berisha"s departure and the coming to power of the new political rulers would be accompanied by a true turn in Tirana"s policy. In practice this means, among other things, the normalization of relations with Serbia and with the FR Yugoslavia. From the Yugoslav side this offer was made long time ago." (...) "In the past, instead of that option, Albania was constantly instigating the Kosovo-Metohijan separatism, accusing Serbia and the FRY at the same time for the alleged violation of human rights and various other invented sins." (P, 5). "In those circumstances the mother country [Albania] can be mostly constructive if it doesn"t instigate secession and unreal appetites and if it pushes towards dialogue and understanding. Premier Nano announced exactly that road." (V.N. 8) BULGARIA"s image is predominantly positive. "To cut it short, our eastern neighbor demonstrates a tourist industry, in which everything is made to please the guest. Kindness everywhere, at every moment, is the shortest description of what awaits you at the Golden Sands resort, apart from the sea, the sun, the excellent food and the wide selection of drinks." (N.B. 20). Thus stories with critical tones could not spoil this image because these articles were written either by non-Yugoslav journalists, or they describe some texts from Bulgarian media: Reuters" story on car-theft in Bulgaria (N.B. 9-10); Novosti"s description of the disappointment in Bulgarian democracy, according to a public opinion poll (16/8), etc.
Although there are no exclusive events or news coming from GREECE, the FRY media correspondents write at length about every single detail of the Greek political, social and economic life. This is a sign that Greece is generally considered an interesting country to write about, but also a friendly country whose habits (good or bad) are taken for granted. Apart from this kind of amusing stories, the press has several articles about the Yugoslav Foreign Minister"s visit to Athens. The differences of coverage in Politika and Nasha Borba are considerable, but they have nothing to do with Greece, or someone"s attitude towards it. All this is more a question of the attitude towards the Yugoslav government. Thus, while the former newspaper exaggerates the significance both of the particular event and of the Greek-Yugoslav cooperation in general, the latter does exactly the opposite. In a quarrel with Italy, Greece is supported by the FRY media, though only implicitly. "Provocation" from Rome"; "Hellenic nerves touched" (P. 28).
The coverage of MACEDONIAN affairs is, as always, very extensive and detailed, including not only "hot" topics of inter-ethnic relations in the country, or the regime-opposition controversies, but also everything else that Macedonian press writes about. The correspondents from Skopje are very careful in not adding their own comments, so their texts, as well as the headlines, are almost exactly the same as in the original Macedonian sources. "Future without frontiers" (V.N. 3). "The celebration of St. Ilinden brought together Yugoslavia and Macedonia" (P. 3). In a careful and only implicit way, the Yugoslav newspapers take the Macedonian side in the Macedonian-Bulgarian quarrels. "A new attack from Sofia on Macedonian independence." (N.B. 7). "Nova Makedonija accused Sofia for unrest on Meckin Kamen and claims: BULGARIA IS INSTIGATING "INTERNAL AGRESSION" IN MACEDONIA." (D.T. 7)
There are two lines of presenting ROMANIA and especially its political class. The first one is over-critical towards the new Romanian government. "Caranists (...) have begun to impose their own party course to the government. And it consists basically of the historical revanchism, i.e. of anachronic restoration of the state of affairs in Romania of fifty years ago - the return of the monarchy, the giving back of all nationalized factories and apartments to former owners, as well as the restoration of the large estates in agriculture." (P. 7). The second one, however, is almost blind to the Romanian leaders" faults and full of praises for their achievements. "The "de-Sovietization" of the court system completed" (N.B. 27). "[contemporary Romania is] an open and democratic society"; "the European and democratic orientation of citizens" [will not be] "put in question for the sake of irrational nationalistic quarrels." (V. 16). Politika again mocks at and criticizes the claim of official Bucharest that Romania does not belong to the Balkans, but to Central Europe. "They run away from the Balkans as devil from incense. God save you if you say to some Romanian politician that he is from the Balkans, i.e. that he is "Balkan." He will be deeply insulted. Despite their ancient and widely recognized civilization and world contributions, the Balkans have been just a pejorative word here for the last few years." (P. 26)
All texts on TURKEY are written in a professionally correct way, with no comments whatsoever, even in the cases when one would expect at least some criticism towards Turkey (e.g. as regards Turkey"s relations with Cyprus). The change of commanders in the Turkish Army finds different explanations in different papers. While to Politika (5/8) this is "a regular change in the army, since one group of generals got retired." (P. 5), Vecernje Novosti (5/8) implicitly accuses the new Premier Yilmaz for sacking people who helped him come to power: "He seems to have turned the page now: the one who hits you with bread, you hit him with a stone"
One should pay attention to the enlarged electoral propaganda of the Serbian government, which includes the INTERNAL MINORITIES issue, too. Inter-ethnic relations are once again portrayed in "rosy colors." "The Left guarantees national equality" (D. 8); "The highest standards for minorities" (D. 27). Sulejman Ugljanin and the whole leadership of his MUSLIM National Council of Sandzhak are presented in a very bad light by the regime-oriented newspapers, which try to completely discredit the Muslim political leadership in the eyes of its followers and voters. Independent press continue to quote directly Ugljanin"s criticism of the Serbian regime. All this is particularly important on the eve of the September parliamentary and presidential elections. "National exclusivity of the SDA - fatal."; "I am a muslim [note the small "m"] and I know what fraud is. I hope that the person who deceives me once will find his house burnt down, to the one who does this twice, I wish that both his and my houses burn, and if he deceives me three times, let only my house burn. SDA has deceived us and thus should happen no more. The policy of exclusivity will not pass." (P. 29). "Serbia is a "thorn in the side" of the "Muslim National Council" leaders, although their mouths are full of democracy and Europe. They would like, they say, to approach Europe, but "undemocratic" Serbia is allegedly standing in their way. They forget that one cannot reach democratic Europe by praising balists, the notorious servants of Hitler and Mussolini" (V.N. 24). However, the independent newspapers present "the other side of the story" as well. "We need only yellow ribbons, since we are in the camp." (D.T. 5). "The message of authorities to the Bosniaks: HUMULIATION." (D.T. 2) Attacks on the ethnic ALBANIAN political leadership in Kosovo (always called "a secessionist one") is to some extent replaced by the genuine pleasure expressed by the official Serbian media with the cutting of international support to the politicians of the Kosovar Albanian movement. Those newspapers rejoice also because of internal conflicts within the leadership of this movement. "Stop to the independence of Kosmet"; "If he wants further American support, the Kosovar Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova will have to give up his sweet dream of independent Kosovo, out of Serbia and Yugoslavia" (V.N. 22). "No country in the world, including Yugoslavia, can tolerate neither terrorism, nor such "freedoms" that a part of the territory of one sovereign state is declared a "republic", nor that a leader of one political party presents himself as a "president." How those efforts end, one can best see from the examples of the USA and Turkey, where they deal with separatists fiercely, even in front of cameras." (P. 25). Independent press, on the contrary, writes about the real, everyday problems of the Albanians: school boycott of Albanian pupils (N.B. 30-31), the violation of rights of an Albanian who has been living in Belgrade for twenty years and is not allowed to hire a store: "He is a representative of a national minority, but he is not a person" (N.B. 25).
The policy towards ethnic HUNGARIANS from Vojvodina has not change. The common people and their everyday problems are completely forgotten, while political leaders are the focus of attention. The regime media enjoy the quarrels between the two strongest (among the six) ethnic Hungarian parties, and implicitly support Pal Sandor [President of the Democratic Association of Vojvodina"s Hungarians], while attacking Joszef Kasza [President of the Union of Vojvodina"s Hungarians]. "Kasza is bothered by anything Serbian" (V.N. 25). "Each of the leaders claims that his idea of protection [of minorities] is the best and wants to cash that from his sponsors. And when on the eve of the elections they get afraid of the voters, they try to get together and that"s all" (D. 10).
Some bitter words are heard against the Democratic Union of the BULGARIANS in Yugoslavia. "[the Union] cannot be legitimate representative of the Bulgarian national minority" (P. 27). "Bulgarian nationalists" (P. 27). Nasa Borba (5/8) dedicates a whole page to the ROMA and to the attitudes towards them (not hiding racism found in opinion polls). It also publicizes in its 23-24/8 issue a reader"s letter, which criticizes the paper for using the pejorative term "Shaban" for Gypsies in a reportage from a concert.
Guide to newspaper initials: VN Vecernje Novosti ; P Politika; DT Dnevni
Telegraf; D Dnevnik; NB Nasa Borba; V Vreme; N Nin; M Monitor.