|05ISTANBUL1867||2005-10-27 11:49:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Consulate Istanbul|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 001867
1. (C) Summary: Turkish-Armenian "Track Two" efforts
continue to chip away at old attitudes. A New Jersey-based
Armenian Orthodox Church official was pleased with his
reception in Ankara during a recent visit, and plans to
organize tours to Turkey with diaspora Armenians next year.
"Alternative Armenian Conference" participants created an
e-mail "list serve," including U.S.-based Armenian academics,
to maintain their dialogue and debate. A glossy women's
magazine targets Turkish and Armenian women, focusing on
topics of mutual interest. These efforts notwithstanding, an
analyst at one Istanbul think-tank told us Turkey's Armenia
policy cannot evolve at the expense of the Azeris, in the
absence of progress on Nagorno-Karabakh. End Summary.
"The Diaspora is not Monolithic"
2. (C) Reverend Father Papken Anoushian of New Jersey's
Armenian Orthodox church and Noyan Soyak, Vice Chairman of
the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC),
told pol/econoffs October 5 about Anoushian's recent visit to
Ankara, where he met with the Turkish MFA's Huseyin Avni
Bicakli and Huseyin Avni Karslioglu, and AKP Vice-Chair Reha
Denemec. Anoushian shared with them his desire to mobilize
support for Turkey's EU accession in the diaspora, and to
build a platform for cooperation. He spoke of bringing a
group of 50-60 to visit Turkey next year, and is considering
how the Armenian diaspora in Europe can assist Turkey's
lobbying efforts with the EU (Turkey needs some help in this
area, Soyak pointed out). Soyak claimed the Armenian
community in the U.S. is more diverse than one might think,
and that more progressive diaspora elements are ripe for this
kind of mobilization. He allowed that he is pleased with the
ongoing restoration project on Akdamar Island (ref A), but
said serious work must be done in Ani, where he claimed a
sub-standard renovation approach was being slapped together.
Track Two in Print
3. (U) The Turkish and Armenian Women's Magazine -- a
glossy, professional, and relatively expensive (USD 3.50)
quarterly -- will offer its third issue later this year.
Turkish publisher Sule Kilicarslan told poloff in August that
the magazine, with a circulation of 15,000, serves as a
bridge between women in the two countries because it "doesn't
get into politics," but focuses on common regional interests.
Articles in the next edition will reportedly focus on the
Akdamar restoration, a Galatasaray-Yerevan University
exchange program, the Hatay Meeting of Civilizations, an Ara
Guler photo exhibit and city profiles of Mardin, Turkey, and
Gyumri, Armenia. Kilicarslan has her own communications
company and is the Chair of the Eurasia Cultural and Social
Development Association. She received support for the
project from American University's Center for Global Peace,
but her first Armenian partner experienced (unspecified)
"pressure" in 2003 and pulled out of the venture.
Kilicarslan is pleased with her new Yerevan-based joint
publisher, Gohar Dubost, who also owns a communications
company, and will spend at least one day in Yerevan with her
as each new issue is planned. Among the top destinations of
courtesy copies of the magazine are the Turkish Parliament
and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
Track Two On Line
4. (C) Led by University of Michigan's Muge Gocek, a number
of presenters at the Alternative Armenian Conference (ref B)
formed an e-mail "list serve" after the conference, and have
included U.S.-based Armenian academics in their
communications, as well. Representing University of
Minnesota, the Royal Military College of Canada, the
Massachusetts-based National Association for Armenian Studies
and Research, Istanbul's Sabanci University, and Ankara
University's Political Science Faculty, this bi-communal
electronic community has discussed issues ranging from
whether only Turks, or Armenians, too, should sign a petition
in support of Hrant Dink (ref C); whether Orhan Pamuk
backtracked on his comments in his recent CNN-Turk interview;
and whether one participant should be criticized for using
the term "bilateral fetishism," as it suggests a moral
equivalence between those seeking recognition of genocide and
those opposing it. Finally, a Michigan-based professor, part
of a Turkish-Armenian group that has been studying together
the events of 1915-16 for some time now, expressed his
gratification that "a small ball that...started rolling in
Chicago five years ago has picked up a lot of steam..."
Conferences, and more conferences
5. (C) Conferences on "Armenian" issues are on the rise.
Istanbul University -- accusing the "Alternative" conference
of being one-sided -- announced its intent to organize a
"more balanced" conference next year. (Note: Hrant Dink has
said he will not participate in that event. End note.)
Kayseri's Erciyes University will reportedly hold a symposium
in April 2006 entitled "The Art of Living Together in Ottoman
Society: Turkish-Armenian Relations Sample." (Comment: It
may be no coincidence that Kayseri is FM Gul's home town and
recently hosted EU Enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn. End
Not So Fast...
6. (C) TESEV's Mensur Akgun told visiting EUR/SE Director
Doug Silliman October 13 that despite the breaking of taboos
and the current perception of motion, the GOT must continue
to be cautious on Armenia. To take the initiative and
announce an opening of borders is not as easy as it might
appear, he claimed, even if the GOT wanted to be bold. It
has as much to do with a larger set of issues related to
Turkey's Russia policy, as it does with the "genocide"
question and getting over the past. Opening to Armenia at
the expense of the Azeris simply cannot be done, he claimed,
hoping that the Minsk group would continue to make progress
toward a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and allow these
interdependent issues to move forward.
7. (C) Comment: Despite the unlikelihood of major bilateral
breakthroughs between Turkey and Armenia any time soon, the
Turkish public may be more prepared when this eventually
happens, as a result of increasing openness here to dialog on
Turkish-Armenian relations and related topics. End Comment.