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Poll Shows Distrust Between Armenians, Turks


(AFP) - The majority of Turks and Armenians distrust and dislike each other, with both describing the World War I massacre of Armenians as a major obstacle to normalizing ties, according to a poll published Monday.

The survey, part of a major project looking at prospects for dialogue between the two nations, was carried out by an Istanbul-based think tank and an Armenian research centre among 1,219 Turks and 1,000 Armenians.

More than 51 percent of Armenian respondents and 33 percent of Turks interviewed said the two peoples "generally did not like each other". Just under one percent of Armenians and 14 percent of Turks expressed a wish to get on well with one another.

Almost 69 percent of Armenians associated negative words with Turks -- among them "bloodthirsty", "barbarian" and "enemy" -- while 34 percent of Turks had a negative view of Armenians, some describing them as "enemy" and "prejudiced". Only nine percent of Armenians and 11 percent of Turks had a positive view of each other.

Seventy-nine percent of Armenians described bilateral ties as "very bad" or "bad" while 45 percent of Turks described them as "neither bad nor good". Only 37 percent of Turks described bilateral relations as "very bad" or "bad".

An overwhelming 95.5 percent of Armenians saw huge obstacles to normalizing ties and 82 percent listed claims of genocide as the biggest hurdle. Some 37 percent of Turks agreed that there were major hurdles, but only 19 percent saw the genocide claims as the core of the problem.

Almost 88 percent of Armenians and 65 percent of Turks said they were in favor of establishing diplomatic ties, while 63 percent of Armenians and 51 percent of Turks supported the re-opening of border crossings.
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