Business Council Picks Up Where TARC Left Off

The Turkish Armenian Business Development Council cochairmen Arsen Ghazarian and Kaan Soyak started the new year where the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission left off. Although the TABDC was established five years before TARC–TARC was able to attract the attention of the interested international community–something that TABDC was never able to before. Today with the demise of TARC–the businessmen hope to reconcile Turks and Armenia’s believing that if they can create friendly relations among the people of Armenia and Turkey–the governmen’s will follow. However–in attempts to establish friendly relations with Armenian and Turkish civilians the TABDC neglected to consider the significant issues that prevent any political normalization of relations between the two countries. "The Turkish – Armenian dialogue process is entering its 5th year. For many years–Armenia’s and Turks of good will have been advocating the wisdom of cooperation. What has been achieved so far–gives us hope and strength for the future," writes the TABDC press release.

The private organization hopes that its efforts will bring the two countries closer together–"We believe that there is still a pressing need to cultivate direct ties and that there is much room for collaboration. We are convinced that the two separate processes of diplomatic rapprochement and civil initiatives–must go hand in hand." However–according to statemen’s made by numerous Armenian government officials and political parties–no reconciliation is possible without Turkey’s admission of the 1915 Genocide and without the end of the blockade. Turkish officials have also stated in the past that they will never admit to the Genocide and will not end the blockade. Turkey’s government officials recently announced that they will renovate an existing military base in Azerbaijan and station troops and military officials there. With a military base in Azerbaijan–Turkey will have a decisive impact on the Karabakh conflict as well. Therefore–as long as these issues remain unresolved–there can be no amount of "civil initiatives" that can override the decisions made by a democratically elected governmen’s.

Unless these issues are addressed and resolved by the governmen’s of Armenia and Turkey–the TABDC or other "TARC" like organizations’ efforts will continue to be futile. These reconciliation organizations continue to attempt–"to foster exchanges at the people level–which is essential for friendly relations…Dialogue and interaction between public organizations and business associations are a pre-requisite for establishing mutual understanding–handling sensitive issues and achieving prosperity in our region." However–if the Turkish people continue to deny the Genocide–than inevitably–the Armenian people will continue refuse to establish friendly relations.

The Council calls for "concrete actions and attainable objectives. A pragmatic approach can highlight the mutual interests of both Armenia’s and Turks and have a direct and lasting impact on public opinion. Deeds are more important than speeches." While this may be true–the governmen’s of the two nations must implement those deeds–in order for there to be a true reconciliation.

"As fear is widespread–nothing can be taken for granted. Dialogue requires courage and building trust and confidence is essential." In any reconciliation–trust and confidence are the most important factors to achieve reconciliation–as was seen in TARC. After the Turkish members deceived the Armenian members–the organization was dissolved–proving the point that unless there is trust and confidence in each other–there can be no reconciliation.


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