By Hrant Aleksanian in Stepanakert and Karine Kalantarian
A group of Turkish journalists made a brief trp to Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday to meet with the unrecognized republic’s president, Arkady Ghukasian. In a rare interview with the Turkish media, Ghukasian reiterated his position that any peace accord reached by Armenia and Azerbaijan will not take effect unless it is endorsed by the NKR leadership.
He said official Stepanakert must become a party to peace negotiations if the continuing international efforts to settle the conflict are to succeed. The journalists, who flew to the Karabakh capital from Yerevan the same day, also met with Naira Melkumian, the Karabakh foreign minister.
Among them were correspondents of two leading Turkish dailies, “Hurriyet” and “Cumhurriet,” as well as the English-language newspaper “Turkish Daily News.”
The trip was organized by the Yerevan Press Club which last year began contacts with one of Turkey’s media association as part of a cooperation program funded by the US government.
The journalists will hold meetings in Yerevan on Monday with leaders of Armenia’s main political groups represented in the parliament. Officials said President Robert Kocharian has turned down their request for an interview. A presidential spokeswoman, Hasmik Petrosian, argued that Turkish reporters that have met with Kocharian in the past “distorted” his comments.