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News > Pan-Armenian News > Turkish President's visit to Armenia must not be a public relation show or photo opportunity

European Armenians will be cautiously following the visit of Turkey's President Abdullah Gul's to Armenia. The European Armenian Federation – which represents the voice of the European Armenian communities – believes that relations between Turkey and Armenia must be fundamentally improved. The Federation is however watchful of Turkey’s actual agenda in this visit, given the country’s record of counter-productive policies in this realm.

“We would have hoped that Gül’s visit to Armenia reflect an actual willingness on the part of the Turkish authorities to put an end to Turkey’s anti-Armenian policies” stated Hilda Tchoboian, chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

The European Armenian Federation calls upon Abdullah Gül to seize the opportunity of this visit to Armenia to leave its mark on history by bowing before the Armenian Genocide Memorial of Dzidzernagapert a tradition long honoured by foreign dignitaries visiting Yerevan.

“It would be extremely concerning if this visit were only a photo opportunity without true measures to restore Turkey’s image; Similarly, it would be dangerous if this initiative were motivated only by the desire to reinforce Turkey’s position in the Caucasus,” added Tchoboian.

European Armenians, as all Armenians worldwide, expect from Turkey:

- The formal recognition of and reparation for the Armenian Genocide and the end of the official Turkish policy of denial of this genocide,

- The unconditional lifting of the blockade of Armenia and the establishment of normal neighbourly relations with Armenia in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations,

- The end to the policy of bypassing and excluding Armenia from all regional cooperation programs – chiefly energy and transport – in compliance with Ankara’s commitment in its application to EU membership,

- The end of its support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and of its military support of this country through the massive supply of weapon and military expertise,

- Recognition and respect of the cultural and socio-political rights of the Armenians in Turkey, including those who have been forcibly turkified and islamized; restitution of assets confiscated by the Turkish government during the Genocide to their rightful heirs, especially churches, monasteries and sacred grounds of the Armenian Church.

“All Armenians worldwide are still waiting for the Turkish Willy Brandt. Gül’s visit will be credible and worthy of attention only if the Turkish president is strong enough to engage in this historical path of repentance and reparation of the Armenian Genocide,” concluded Tchoboian.

The European Armenian Federation calls upon the European Commission and Council and upon the European Parliament to watch carefully the developments that could follow this visit, in order to have, beyond its surface, an accurate and objective understanding of its real significance in Turkey’s anti-Armenian policies.
Press Release from:

European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy
Avenue de la Renaissance 10
Brussels, 1000
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Contact : Varténie ECHO
Tel. / Fax. : +32 (0) 2 732 70 27

Online text: http://eafjd.eu/spip.php?article467

The European Armenian Federation is the biggest and most influential Armenian grassroots organisation in Europe.

Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2008 (4695 reads), comments: 1
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Posted by Socrates Arakelyan on Monday, September 08, 2008

I want to congratulate the leaders of both countries on this historic step and commend them on their courage, good will and strength in making this important step in face of strong opposition which will hopefully open the doors to a new diplomatic and bilateral relations.

Whilst this may only be a sporting event, in today’s turbulent world where international organisations are struggling to maintain peace, improve diplomacy between countries, achieve stability, sport seems the only effective and practical platform to achieve such goals and this demonstrates that Armenia is willing to improve its relations with its neighbours through mediation and dialogue as this is what diplomacy, building bridges to guarantee peaceful coexistence with our neighbours is about. 

This step is not only important for the Armenian nation in that it will open a more effective dialogue on the most important issues to the Armenian nation - the recognition of Genocide, followed by removal of trading embargos, border blockades, successful diplomatic resolution of Nagorno Karabakh problem and the end to information war waged by both of our neighbours but also the Turkey and the Turkish government, who are on the historic path to join one of the most democratic alliances in the world – the EU.

We have to continue fighting for the recognition of genocide, however, we must also focus on the future of Armenia and strengthen its society, economy, communities, institutions and improve relations with its neighbours as it is only through strength, unity and effective diplomacy we will have a voice on the international level.

Armenians contributed significantly to the Turkish culture throughout history and continue to do so today by Armenians that live, work and travel to Turkey for holidays or business and we have many Turkish friends and colleagues amongst us, and we should extend this friendly and professional approach to international relations.

Hopefully this visit won’t be restricted to politicians only but will also encourage other Turks to visit Armenia .

Whilst this game was played at international level, the leaders of both countries must now play this game at the domestic level and there will only be winners in this game.

The foundation blocks have been laid down and successive governments and peoples of both countries should take the necessary steps to enhance on this.

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