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Azerbaijan and Armenia

April 21, 1993

The news item reads "Armenia Forces Seize Key City in Azerbaijan" (April 4). One day later we find the column by Elena Bonner. The news item gives a detailed account of the battlefield victories of the militarily superior Armenian forces in a war that they started against Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet empire. Ms. Bonner in her article claims that an "ethnic cleansing" is being carried out by the Azeris against the Armenians and calls upon the world to help.

For someone who is not familiar with the politics of the region, such contradictory reports may be rather confusing. But for Turks who have been the targets of relentless Armenian propaganda for over 70 years, all this is very normal. Ms. Bonner, herself an Armenian, is doing what Armenians have done very effectively throughout their history in every conflict they had with their neighbors. Rules of "public relations" sometimes call for painting yourself as the underdog, as the victim in a given conflict. You may be beating the Azeris using the powerful war machine you inherited from the Russians. You may be capturing and controlling 10% of the Azerbaijani territory as the April 4 article pointed out. But then, in the Western media you propagate the myth that you are being killed, mutilated and beaten by Azerbaijan.

Armenians may think this is good PR, but they should realize that in the long run they have to live with their neighbors. Turkey, from the beginning of this conflict, tried to stay neutral. Thousands of tons of food stuff entered through Turkish territory into the land-locked Armenia. Turkey and Armenia were negotiating an agreement for Turks to supply 25% of Armenia's electricity need when the latest attacks into the Azeri territory took place. Armenians cannot expect Turkey to help them if they continue this aggressive behavior against their neighbor Azerbaijan.

BULENT BASOL, President

Assembly of Turkish American Assns.

Washington

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