ANKARA—Turkish-Armenian Daron Acemoglu, citing his ongoing academic career, declined an appointment by Turkish foreign minister, Ahemt Davutoglu as Turkey’s permanent representative at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in Paris, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
At a press conference in London Wednesday, Davutoglu clarified his appointment, which was reported to have been Turkey’s ambassadorship to France.
“Mr. Acemoğlu said he felt honored and that it would be an honorable mission for him as a citizen of the Republic of Turkey and as an academic. However, due to his ongoing academic studies he said he would respond positively to this offer in the coming years,” Davutoğlu told reporters at a press conference in London late Tuesday, Hurriyet reported.
“It is impossible for us to distinguish between the citizens of the Republic of Turkey on the basis of ethnicity or religion. We can appoint anyone eligible to represent Turkey,” Davutoğlu said. “The main criterion for us is the eligibility,” added Hurriyet.
Critics see the offer as an act to save face against allegations of mistreatment of minorities in Turkey. Government spokespersons claim they want to normalize relations with Armenia in accordance with Turkey’s so called “zero conflict” policy with its neighbors, reported the Greek Reporter.
Dispatching a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent to Paris can be seen as something that would send a very strong message to the Armenian Diaspora, commented Hurriyet.
Acemoğlu’s ability to contribute not only to Turkey’s economy but also to the global economy makes him “a Turkish citizen we are proud of,” Davutoğlu said. “As an academic, I have long followed his success.”
The foreign minister said he had consulted with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before making the offer, adding that Gül also called Acemoğlu to discuss the matter.
Acemoğlu is currently Professor of Applied Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and winner of the 2005 John Bates Clark Medal. He is said to be a good candidate for a future Nobel Prize in economics.