3278) Armenian-Turkish Citizens’ Mutual Perceptions & Dialogue Project, Yerevan-Istanbul, 2004

The debates surrounding historical relations between Armenians and Turks or the “Armenian question,” have become an important issue in various European countries and the USA in recent years. This increasing international attention to the question of Armenian-Turkish relations has made it clear that the sound discussion of this issue in Turkey and Armenia is both necessary and obligatory.

In Turkey, the “Armenian question” has generated two interrelated sets of issues. The first aspect is the demand for greater transparency by some segments of Turkish society. Among intellectuals, this demand has spurred initiatives for a re-evaluation of Turkey’s accepted history, as well as a drive to foster dialogue between Turkish and Armenian communities. The second issue, seen in both countries, is that the increasing prominence of the Armenian question has also triggered reactionary tendencies feeding into the reaffirmation of national identity and the formation of an inward-looking national polity.

Source: Armenian Genocide Ballyhoo

The “Armenian question” in Turkey and in Armenia is of course rooted in the particular historical and social dynamics of each country. However this issue has not developed over the last many decades completely independent of relationship between Turkey and Armenia and the phases of national identity formation that Armenia and Turkey have undergone throughout their history. In other words, the “Turkish” and “Armenian” questions that exist in both countries are mutually constituted and fed from each side. Due to the lack of dialogue and resulting prejudices, the two countries have failed to develop a mutually beneficial relationship of cooperation, including normal travel and trade relations.

The end if the bi-polar world order, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, led to massive restructuring in Eastern Europe and the republics of the former Soviet Union. The ensuing period of reconstruction and reformation had created effects that reverberated well beyond the former communist countries. Placing the Turkish-Armenian question within the larger context of geopolitical and economic transition reveals the complexity and multi-dimensionality of the issues at stake.

Armenia’s economic transition and the Karabagh conflict between Armenians and neighboring Azeris intersect with Turkey’s domestic and international problems and policies. As Turkish society continues to struggle with issues of national identity and social memory, the question of geo-strategic balance in the region contributes to the myriad obstacles to the development of friendship, trust and trade between Turkey and Armenia.

Despite the numerous interests and conflicts that divide these two countries, dialogue remains the most important first step towards a solution to these problems. Although each country is very much concerned with the other, the level of knowledge and information that passes between Turkey and Armenia is minimal. And the information that does cross the physical and political borders is often distorted by mutual prejudices. Such prejudices are further reproduced and exacerbated through indirect channels outside the societies of the two countries; that is to say, third party groups that are outside of the local realities effectively perpetuate the misunderstandings between these societies.

If a comfortable relationship between these two countries is to be established, the first step will be to combat the perpetuation of prejudices through promotion of greater transparency. To achieve these aims, both parties must work to better understand the other. It is important that both sides communicate with each other directly, without the intervention of outside groups/

As these international ties become established, the phases of “acceptance” and “recognition” will become more possible at the societal level. Dialogue between Turkish and Armenian communities within Turkey has the potential to reverberate in positive ways at the international level. The establishment of dialogue at multiple levels is an important step in combating the mushrooming of mutual prejudices.

In line with the goal of increased understanding explained above, and as an initiative coming from Turkish and Armenian researchers, we carried out this exploratory project focusing specifically on mutual perceptions in Turkey and Armenia.

We know that the findings of our research are far from giving a complete image of these perceptions. We know also that, in order to understand deeply the historical reasons of the conflict and move toward reconciliation we must take first steps together towards our goal. The results of this study do not point to any answers; the information we gathered may not be pleasing to all readers or easy to incorporate into political discussions of the issue. But in doing this research we have remained true to the principles of science and trust that the results will more fully inform the ongoing dialogue between the people of Turkey and Armenia. Despite the challenges of this project, the joint effort made by the Turkish and Armenian teams testifies to the fact that cooperation between the nations is possible...



( Ankara, Turkey said...

This initiative is already prejudiced towards the Turks, and means nothing except applying psychological pressure on the Turks, tragically depending on unreal and distorted facts!

Every reasonable world citizen will easily pay attention to the sharp contrast between the Armenians and the Turks who suffered from the WWI no less than the Armenians. Such that:

A group of Turkish intellectuals held an apology campaign last year. Likewise, a similar and mutual apology campaign was tried to be held by Dr. Armen Gavakian from the Macquarie University in Sydney, who is also co-chair of the Turkish-Armenian Dialogue Group.

The prepared petition would read "I apologize to the Ottomans and Turks for murders committed in the name of the Armenian people and I empathize with the feelings and pain of the Ottomans and Turks’

However just a few days later we learned that ‘Oath of Asala' which is a branch of Armenian terrorist organization Asala declared that they would spare GAKAVYAN's life in case he abandoned this apology project and disclosed the names of the people who urged him to do so, according to the Armenian newspaper "Azg",


2.While Karapetyan, the Armenian murderer and criminal of Orly Airport massacre was welcome as a national hero in Armenia (see above), when Hrant Dink was murdered, Turkish people, president, all members of government, bureaucrats from all levels, journalists sincerely mourned and condemned the murderer.

Millions of Turkish citizens gathered in his funeral ceremony and shouted as ‘We are all Armenians, We are all Hrant Dink’ with tears.

Including the annual Press Freedom Award of Turkish Journalist Association, Hrant Dink was awarded with many prizes, after his death..

Remember that the Armenians established outlawed terrorist organizations ASALA, JCAG (Justice Commandos for Armenian Genocide) and ARA (Armenian Revolutionary Army) and performed dozens of murders and hundreds of terrorist activities and gave rise to death of 70 people (39 of whom being innocent Turkish diplomats), made 524 people be wounded; pledge 105; bombed a lot of places for 208 times during 1975-1986.

In neither of the funerals of the murdered Turkish diplomats, no Armenian held placards on which it was written:’We are all Turks’ ‘We are all Kemal Arikan, Bahad?r Demir, Selçuk Bakkalbasi, Haluk Sipahioglu, Galip Özmen’.

None of our innocent diplomats were rewarded with ‘Annual Reward of Peace, Brothership or Friendship’ by the Armenians. No Armenian shed tears. Just the opposite, as we heard in a conference of Richard G Hovannisian, held in Florida Atlantic University, on April 2, 2008, Armenians did not hide their sorrow for not murdering more Turkish diplomats!

3.Additionally, 100 000 illegal Armenian immigrant workers who are Armenian citizens are working throughout Turkey, at present.

Now, please World citizens, stop and think for a while:

Who needs pressure to understand the other??

Who gains what, while launching such initiatives while 'Armenian genocide' issue had already become a worldwide economic sector?

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