Turkey blunders with Armenian radio

ISTANBUL – The Armenian radio station which Turkish state broadcaster TRT put on the air last week is not understandable to Turkish Armenians: the broadcasts are in a dialect spoken only in Armenia. It seems it was not done on purpose, and an internal investigation has been announced into the matter, according to Friday’s Hürriyet newspaper.
The station was meant to improve communications between the state and the Armenian minority in Turkey. As well, it was intended to contribute to a thaw in – relations between Turkey and its neighbour Armenia, which have been strained over the last year. Armenians outside Armenia speak western Armenian, while the news readers of TRT speak eastern Armenian, the official language of Armenia. ‘Maybe the TRT could not find presenters who speak western Armenian’, a Turkish government official speculates. That sounds unlikely, even though it is true that the Armenian minority in Turkey is small, and even though many Armenians attend Armenian schools, many of them don’t speak Armenian fluently.

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