Greek-Turkish Media & Academy Forum convenes in Istanbul

The need to formulate a positive agenda that will be presented jointly by Greek and Turkish media was highlighted at the Greek-Turkish Media & Academy Forum held in Istanbul on Thursday.
The need to formulate a positive agenda that will be presented jointly by Greek and Turkish media was highlighted at the Greek-Turkish Media & Academy Forum held in Istanbul on Thursday.

Establishing permanent channels of communication as well as consultation mechanisms between the media professionals in both countries was also emphasized.

Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) President & General Director Aimilios Perdikaris, 'Kathimerini' newspaper Executive Editor Alexis Papachelas, national broadcaster ERT correspondent in Istanbul Yiannis Mandalidis, and 'Kathimerini' and 'Skai' correspondent in the same city Manolis Kostidis were among those who participated on the Greek side.

In addition, professors Constantinos Filis, Kostas Ifantis, Sotiris Serbos and Panagiota Manoli also attended.

In his intervention, Perdikaris highlighted the key role national news agencies play in terms of a positive agenda as basic providers of news content, based on "the duty to truth" they have that requires they remain strict about presenting the news rather than proceeding to comment on them.

He also observed that often in the mass media of the two countries positive developments are downgraded in favor of promoting extreme statements that do not add to the resolution of what de facto divides Greece and Türkiye at political and diplomatic level.

For this exact reason, he added, dialog and communication between news professionals is significant in order to mitigate the mutual distrust of public opinion, and he referred to issues that concern both Greece and Türkiye in common, such as the climate crisis and dealing with natural catastrophes, or the migration issue. In addition, in terms of the social media and their role in Greek-Turkish relations, Perdikaris noted that they hide traps because of anonymity, and news agencies are called upon to contribute decisively to cross-checking information and its validity.

Kathimerini's Papahelas proposed setting up mechanisms of communication among journalists and mass media in Greece and Türkiye, in order to bring them closer and to serve as a 'safety net' in possible crises. He specifically said that this can be achieved with programs of journalist exchanges between Greek and Turkish mass media, like those of college student exchanges, and by establishing a line of communication among directors of the most important media outlets of both countries, introducing mutual visits of executives, and having the executives attend editorial meetings, and so on.

Speaking on behalf of Anadolu Agency, Deputy Director General Yusuf Özhan pointed out the significance of cooperation between the two national news agencies, and their ability to directly communicate between them. He also referred to three elements that affect Greek-Turkish relations negatively when portrayed by the two countries' media: misunderstanding, misinformation and mistrust, calling them 'the three Ms'.

TRT World Director Bora Bayraktar referred to the positive developments in Greek-Turkish relations both presently and in the past, and he too underlined the need to support these relations through the promotion of the positive agenda by the two countries' mass media.

In the second segment of the discussion, academics referred to how their communities in Greece and in Türkiye approach the matter. They agreed that they can decisively help in shaping the positive agenda so that it can contribute in overcoming past traumas.

The event was organized by Foundation for Türkiye Studies (TAV) and the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA).