GJC-TASS Russian-Turkish Media Forum took place in Moscow

GJC-TASS Russian-Turkish Media Forum took place in Moscow

The media forum organized in Moscow in cooperation with the Global Journalism Council (GJC) and Russia’s official state news agency TASS has concluded.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended the forum held at TASS headquarters in Moscow via video message, while Russian Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova attended in person and made a speech. Delivering the opening speech on behalf of GJC, President Mehmet Ali Dim pointed out that the relations between Turkey and Russia are at the highest level in history and said, “As journalists of the two countries, we are in an effort to improve these relations, to contribute to the awareness of the two societies and to turn this into a gain for both countries.”


In connection with the forum, a photo exhibition “Cooperation between Russia and Turkey through the lens of the TASS news agency” was opened on the square in front of the TASS building. The exhibition featured photographs of visits to Russia from Turkey’s political and artistic world throughout history. A photograph of poet Nazim Hikmet was also on display. TASS Director General Andrey Kondraşov and GJC President Mehmet Ali Dim, as well as Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova and Grigori Karasin, Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian Parliament, cut the opening ribbon together. After visiting the exhibition, the forum started.


Speaking at the opening of the media forum on the main theme “The role of the media in strengthening Russian-Turkish cooperation” hosted by the TASS agency, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the role of the media is important in raising awareness of countries and societies:

“Unfortunately, fake news is very troubling for both Russia and Turkey, false information from some unhealthy sources, especially from the West, is served as true news, which we, as journalists of both countries, have to fight against.”

Grigori Karasin, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian Parliament, and Andrey Kondrashov, General Director of TASS Agency, also spoke at the opening of the forum and emphasized the importance of cooperation between Turkish and Russian media.


GJC President Mehmet Ali Dim, who made the last speech at the opening of the forum, gave information about the historical process of relations between Russia and Turkey. Stating that they will endeavour to develop the Russian and Turkish media on the basis of cooperation and solidarity, Dim said:
“Today, relations between Turkey and Russia generally follow a smooth course based on strategic partnership, economic cooperation and dialogue. In fact, in the last 1.5 years, Turkey has chosen the path of dialogue with Europe and America regarding Russia’s ongoing operation in Ukraine instead of excluding Russia. In this way, it has been humanity that has benefited from the co-operation of the two countries. In September 2018, I attended the 20th World Russian Media Congress in New York. At that meeting, I requested that the next meeting be hosted by the Global Journalism Council (GJC) in Turkey. As a matter of fact, in October 2019, GJC hosted the 21st World Russian Media Congress in Turkey with the participation of more than 150 Russian-speaking journalists from TASS news agency spread over 50 countries. This is how we started the dialogue of the media and journalists of the two countries. Such relations are like planting a sapling in the soil. If you do not water it, that sapling will dry up. In this regard, I need to open a separate parenthesis for my friend Mikhail Gusman. In October 2019, this bridge of friendship was established in October 2019, and it is he who participated in our workshop and award ceremony in Alanya in October last year, and finally visited our Istanbul office at the beginning of this year and invited us to today’s meeting. In other words, we planted a sapling together and this sapling continues to grow and bear fruit every day. We hope to come together frequently to talk about what we can do as Turkish and Russian journalists to serve the interests of the two countries and two societies and to serve humanity, first regionally and then globally. We invite at least 10 colleagues from Russia to our international media workshop in Alanya on 2-5 November. We can also host the World Russian media congress again. Fake news is an annoying issue for both countries, but it is difficult to prevent it. We will give the best answer to them by continuing to practice our profession with ethical and universal journalistic rules. I would also like to thank the TASS agency in the person of Mr Kondrashov, the general director, and Mr Gusman, his deputy, for hosting us so well.”


GJC Vice President Bülent Aydemir gave detailed information about current Turkish-Russian relations in his speech in the second part of the forum moderated by GJC Deputy Secretary General Benan Kepsutlu. Explaining that Russia has become Turkey’s indispensable friend and strategic partner, Aydemir said, “The productive relationship that started on the axis of tourism and trade is developing more, especially in the field of energy, and the media is contributing to this development.”


GJC founder and veteran newspaper writer Yavuz Donat also spoke about the relations between Turkey and Russia throughout history and said, “Since the 1950s, whenever Russia and Turkey have gotten closer, there has been either a coup or a memorandum in Turkey. Because this rapprochement disturbs the West and especially the US. The July 15 coup attempt is a continuation of this series.”


In his speech, Cengiz Özdemir, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ekotürk TV, stated that as a TV channel, they are ready to cooperate with Russian TV channels and said, “There may be cultural, artistic and social similarities or differences. In this regard, we, as media organizations, can meet at a common point. Our doors are always open to our Russian colleagues with our TV channel.”


Anadolu Agency (AA) Executive Board Member Oğuz Karakaş stated that TASS and AA have good relations and reminded that the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Association of News Agencies, of which TASS is also a member, will be held next week in Istanbul, hosted by AA.

Stating that the relations between Russia and Turkey have been very strong throughout history, Karakaş said, “These relations have left deep traces in the fields of politics, economy and art.” Explaining that the media relations of the two countries are also dynamic, Karakaş said, “We want to take these relations to the next level as much as possible. We are very happy to see that these relations are becoming more positive day by day. We especially hope that the cooperation between TASS and AA will increase further in the international arena with new projects. We already believed at the beginning that our relations within the framework of the European Union of News Agencies and the Asia-Pacific Union of News Agencies would be a starting point for this goal.”


Russian journalists also took the floor in the part of the forum moderated by Mikhail Gusman. Alexander Klein, Director of the World Russian Press Union Foundation, stated that the foundations of friendship between Russian-Turkish journalists were laid by the Global Journalism Council  and said: “We would like to thank Mr. GJC President Dim. He invited us to Turkey and for 4 days in Ankara, Kayseri, Cappadocia and Alanya, we visited your country and held our 21st congress. This is an unforgettable memory in our memory.” Yevgeniy Bekasoy, chief editor of Rossiya 24 TV, also took the floor and said that he loved Turkish TV series and especially remembered Çalıkuşu and Muhteşem Yüzyıl TV series. Other Turkish and Russian journalists also made speeches emphasizing the cooperation between Turkish and Russian media and the importance of journalists’ friendship. On behalf of the Presidential Communications Directorate, Hacı Murat Terzi, Press Attaché of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, and Uğur Keleş, TRT representative in Moscow, also attended the forum.


Leonid Slutskiy, one of the important political figures of Russia and Chairman of the State Duma International Relations Committee, hosted a working dinner in honor of the GJC delegation. Speaking at the dinner, Slutskiy emphasized the importance of Turkey for Russia. Describing himself as a lover of Turkey and Alanya, Slutskiy said, “I have a long-standing friendship with former Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. We meet frequently and we also come together in Alanya. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this level of cooperation between the Global Journalism Council and TASS. I know that this cooperation will bring very useful results for both countries.” Answering the questions of journalists, Slutskiy also expressed his love for President Erdoğan.


In the evening, the GJC delegation attended the reception organized by the Moscow office of Yunus Emre Institute. At the reception hosted by Dr. Mehmet Ülker, the Moscow director of the institute, the activities of the institute were explained. During the reception, which also included a music concert, guests were served open buffet food and drinks consisting of Turkish-Russian delicacies. The reception was attended by TASS senior officials as well as Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar.


GJC delegation was received by Ambassador Mehmet Samsar at the Turkish Embassy residence in Moscow. During the reception, which was accompanied by Turkish coffee, a fruitful conversation was held on Turkish-Russian relations.


On the last day in Moscow, the GJC delegation visited media organizations. During the visit to Rossiyskaya, Russia’s longest-established newspaper, the delegation met with General Director P. A. Negoitsa and discussed the current state of journalism and the development and function of the media in Russia. In the last evening, the GJC delegation had dinner with Andrey Kondrashov, General Director of TASS Agency and his deputy Mikhail Gusman.


Meanwhile, on behalf of the GJC delegation, GJC President Mehmet Ali Dim presented Zaharova, Karasin, Kondraşov, Gusman and Slutskiy with a commemorative plaque made of Turkish traditional ceramics, GJC’s official publication Global Media magazine and GJC pennant.


The journalists who came to Moscow and participated in the GJC-TASS joint media forum were as follows:

  1. Mehmet Ali Dim, KGK President
  2. Yavuz Donat, GJC Founder, Sabah Newspaper columnist
  3. Cengiz Özdemir, Chairman of the Board of Ekotürk TV
  4. Bülent Aydemir, GJC Vice President, Habertürk
  5. Oğuz Karakaş, AA Executive Board Member, Coordinator
  6. Ahmet Furkan Şahin, AA Foreign News Editor
  7. Benan Kepsutlu, GJC Deputy Secretary General, Haber Global
  8. Tansel Can Emzikli, Haber Global Cameraman
  9. Merih Ak, GJC member, NTV
  10. Burak Uygun, NTV Cameraman
  11. Hayati Arıgan, GJC Board Member, Spokesperson
  12. Nalan Yazgan, GJC Board Member, Cumhuriyet writer
  13. Nurcan Demirtaş, GJC member, Hürriyet Newspaper Editor
  14. Ahmet Coşkunaydın, GJC Foreign Media Assembly Vice President, Economy Writer, Dünya Newspaper
  15. Esra Öztürk, GJC Council Member, Al Jazeera commentator)