Armenian Anchorwoman in Turkey Presents News in Native Tongue

ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)—Melisa Boz is a 25-year-old Armenian in Turkey. What brings her into the media spotlight is the fact that she is doing something no one else has done — until now. Boz presents news in Armenian on SU TV, known by many as an “Alevi channel.”

The young woman, who received threats before the television program began airing, said she gets her courage from the government and the democratic initiative process. “At the time of earlier governments, I would not have dared do something like this. But I trust the government now,” she said.

In her program, Boz presents news not only on Turkey but also news that concerns Armenia and Turkish-Armenians. “If I can contribute to peace between the two countries, I will be very happy,” she says. Boz, who was the interpreter for the Armenian national soccer team at last year’s Turkey-Armenia soccer game in Bursa, said the Armenian players liked Turkey very much.

Police officers responsible for providing security to the team were very kind, Boz said. “The police officers became friends with the players and the delegation and even played backgammon together with them. The police officers acted like a part of the initiative and represented our country very well. I was very proud of my country that day.”

After she was chosen from a pool of applicants to become an anchorwoman, her family started to receive threats, she said. “My family was concerned because their daughter was in the public eye, but I was not afraid at all. If it is brave to go on television, then yes, I am brave. But I would not want to commit an injustice to any of the many older people that have struggled on this road. The Agos daily has been publishing in Armenian for years and we lost an important person, Hrant Dink, on this road. I get my courage from them. I think I finally trust my government,” Boz said.

Boz, whose family is from Sivas, went to Yerevan to attend university after graduating from high school. While there, she majored in English language and literature. The young woman also said she was excluded and made to feel like a foreigner during her five years in Yerevan, noting that she was different in the way she dressed, styled her hair and talked. She explained that she always defended Turkey in Yerevan and added: “Some Armenians didn’t think Turkey was a developed country and considered it backward. They always asked me questions about Turkey. At first they would get mad at me because I always defended Turkey, but as they got to know me, their views about Turkey changed.”

While Boz has not experienced any major form of discrimination in Turkey over her ethnicity, she has encountered some upsetting attitudes. “For example,” she says, “if a Turk says, ‘I am sick and tired of this city’ when getting off a crowded bus after being stuck in traffic for several hours, no one gets mad or says anything to that person. But when I say it, they tell me, ‘If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.’ This offends me because this is my country, too. Where else am I to go?”

Noting that her parents never told her even a single negative story about problems between Turkey and Armenia, Boz explained that her father always says that “a child should not be brought up with enmity and hatred. This is not healthy.” Proud of her Armenian identity, Boz said she takes her mother’s advice on being proud of who she is.

Boz’s mother tells her to “never hide the fact that you’re Armenian. A person who likes others will have developed an affinity toward Armenians.”

Recalling that her mother could not dare listen to Armenian music 20 years ago, Boz said she believes they can live more freely today. The democratic initiative plays a major role in the expansion of freedoms, she said, adding that both SU TV and she have the courage to present news in Armenian as a result of the initiative. The young woman, who presents news every day between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m, prepares the program herself.

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18 Comments

  1. Robert said:

    This is what I’ve been talking about as being the major difference between dashnak and non-dashnak Armenians! Non-dashnak Armenians are true and sincere people. I have several friends who are non-dashnaks, who’s family members were openly massacred by dashank rebels and traitors during WWI. They have no love for dashnaks and refuse to even speak with any dashnak that they come across. I have listened to their grandparents and the horror stories they told me years ago, about how the dashnaks came into their villages in Anatolia, demanding that the non-dashnaks help them murder innocent Turks and Kurds. When they refused, the dashnaks murdered the non-dashnaks and destroyed their village, leaving few survivors (who later documented everything. These are in the archive in Turkey), which included my friend’s grandparents. They taught me how to spot a dashnak, especially by the way they hold themselves in a conversation and what they tend to focus on. Some of my friends live in Glendale and have shown me the death threat letters that their parents have received from dashnaks, saying to “keep their filthy [(sic) “shoun shan vorti”] mouths shut”! I have found that I will speak with a dashnak Armenian (I’m not rude), but the odds are good that I wouldn’t be able to trust them enough to have them become a friend. That’s just a sad fact which they have brought amongst themselves. I believe that both nations would like to establish relations, but when we see how hate-filled the dashnaks are, even against their own government in Yerevan, how could anyone in their right minds want to deal with dashnaks that would murder you the first chance they got!

    • hrair said:

      Wow robert, my azeri friend, you really believe that any dashnak is going to leave any trace of evidence by writing a letter and threatening someone to keep their mouth shut! The funniest part of your comment is the way you compose that sentence keep their filthy  “shoun shan vorti” mouth shut, in either Western or Eastern Armenian it just not a way an Armenian would comment. I find that funnier than a bad SNL episode. What turkish archives, remember in the 30’s when the turkish government sold most of the Ottoman archives to the Bulgarian government to as recycled paper? Guess you missed that one huh! The comical statement that you typed in your last sentence could be easily disproven, you’re still alive!  FYI, don’t be so threatened by the dashnaks we helped you get rid of your sultan, you owe your existence to the ARF.

    • Ferhat said:

      Every single word here from this turkish grey dog is G A R B A G E, mixed with T  A L L   L I E S.
      Ferhat

  2. raffi said:

    it’s a great thing to hear Turkish news in  Armenian an hope they won’t kick you off your spot when  Turkish national Anchorwoman  be able to do your job  . HHHH

  3. John said:

    Hey Robert,
    You should go to our own United States Archives where you will find over 40,000 pages written on the “Systematic Armenian Race Extermination” all written in real time as it was happening. The truth is that in 1915 under the guise of war you Turks decided upon genocide against the Armenians and carried it out. It is estimated that a total of 1.5 million died as a result. Most all were unarmed civilians whose only crime was being Armenian. By the way you can include the Assyrians and the Greeks to those your people murdered. Your stories of Dashnaks and traitors are pure Turkish fiction created by your governments to avoid any responsibility. You Turks are the most racist and need to come to terms with your true past before “spotting any Dashnaks”.  Last if you really read this article you would know that this brave Armenian soul has been getting death threats in typical Turkish fashion for just speaking Armenian. Armenians are not you enemy but your own history is.

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  6. Alex Postallian said:

    She could be a turk disguised as an Armenian.The turkies are very good at deception and LYING.

  7. Mego said:

    Roberteem, man your really confused , this has nothing to do with your Dashnak phobia .
    I suggest that you admit yourself to a I.G.D.C ( I’m a Genocide Denielist clinic ), good luck ,hope your next reply will present a cured Roberteem, or whatever your name is .

    Get well soon.

  8. Houri said:

    How did you manage to turn this into an ARF vs Haga-ARF? 

    I think it is great that she is doing what she is doing and more power to her!  But her age shows… She is extremely naive about trusting her “democratic” government.  And to her parents – teaching history is not teaching hatred… 

  9. edwarddemian said:

    I am not a tashnag  nor a tashkinag. But for sure there is no R in Tashnagtzutiune.  However, I have noticed that those Tashnags that you seem to hate and know so well, are the very same ones that raise their chilldren to speack, read and write Armenian, raise them with values profound enough for those children to volunteer and die for the nation in places like Artzack, and in the streets of  Los Angeles, or Lisbon, and in countless small towns in Europe , the Midle East, Africa, North and South America, Singapore, Australia.   The Tashnag Armenians have hardly any representation in the North and South Poles.  But all those other, Ramgavars, or Haymanahaivans, Chezohs (another word for coward in Armenian), their chilldren long ago assimilated, have no activities to speack of, no facilities, no active gomideh’s.  Just a few excentric dinosaurs flapping their lips about bygone glories and how badly the Tashnags behaved. Sour grapes for lost oportunities. Long ago, the overwhelming majority of politicaly involved Armenians have chosen the Tashnag party as their Idillic model. No, I am not a Tashnag, nor have I ever belonged to any of the Diasporan Armenian political parties, but I call it as I see it.

  10. Kiazer Souze said:

    To Robert: My grandfather’s brother was in the Turkish army fighting in the front. He was subsequently, disarmed, sent to a labor camp, starved and then burried alive. Just because he was Armenian. He wasn’t a traitor to the Turkish army.

    That was the ultimate betrayel. So, before you go spewing your Turkish propaganda, go read the US archives as someone suggested. The ultimate betrayal came from the Turks such as your grandfathers.

  11. Ferhat said:

    Armenian Weekly knows something about this turk, who calls himself “Robert,”  since it keeps tolerating this turks vulgar references for the Dashnak party.
    Does Armenian Weekly know who this turk is?
    And why tolerate his anti-Dashnak rhetoric?
    Strange, if Armenians don’t care about a turk calling and humiliating  an honorable Armenian political party, then why all the fight against turkish injustices?
    Just yesterday, this dirtbag was being nice to the Armenians, and now he is putting you all down.
    I’d say, throw this filth out of here and now…
    Ferhat

    • Ferhat said:

      Forgot to mention one thing here….
      turkey DEMOCRATIC?  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahah

  12. manooshag said:

    Hye Ferhat,  too enough of the ‘duman’, obviously a youth with plenty of time on his hands and
    enjoys the attention… OR perhaps robert and duman are one and the same – gaining more ]space  for each side of his mouth…  Manooshag

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