The meeting brought together a number of distinguished opinion makers and media professionals from Turkey and Armenia. The list of participants included Ambassador Yalim Eralp (Turkey); Ambassador David Hovhannisyan (Armenia); Mr. Mehmet Ali Birand, renowned Turkish journalist, political commentator and writer; and others. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie L. Yovanovitch, EPF Director Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, and GPoT Director Mensur Akgun welcomed the participants with opening remarks.
“The meeting today is part of a process to help lay a foundation for greater regional integration, something we believe to be very important that will lead to enhanced regional stability and enhanced economic cooperation and development in the two countries,” said Ambassador Yovanovitch. She noted that experiences in other countries show that civil society actors, individually, but more often, collectively, have come to play a new and important role in conflict resolution around the world. “Any activity, whether at the elite, middle-range, or grassroots level, aimed at transforming the cross-border relationship, contributes to progress and to an atmosphere more conducive to conflict resolution, and we hope that this initiative will bring us one step closer to improved dialogue and cooperation between Armenia and Turkey,” she said.
The meeting was part of EPF’s USAID-funded “Days Two and Three in Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement” project, which seeks to build ties and to develop mutual understanding among Armenian and Turkish peer groups in the non-government, media, and business sectors, helping them to contribute strategically to state efforts to build relations between the two countries. The discussions did not focus on Armenian-Turkish protocols but rather elaborated on the entire range of recent Armenian-Turkish developments. A special emphasis was made on what should be done within Track Two Diplomacy efforts to advance the process of normalizing Armenia-Turkey relations.
EPF Country Director Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan said: “It is important that despite the current tense political situation, our colleagues from Turkey are visiting Armenia for Track Two Diplomacy discussions. We see that Turkish civil society is making a genuine effort to overcome any roadblocks on the way to normalization of ties between our two countries. We in Armenia support these efforts.”
- Document featuring media coverage of the two-day policy discussions
- Trailer of the round-table held at Yerkir Media TV as part of the policy discussion