ANKARA—Etienne Mahchupian, an ethnic Armenian journalist in Turkey, has been appointed as a senior advisor to Turkey’s new prime minister and former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Mahchupian (born 1950 in Istanbul) writes as a columnist for the Turkish newspapers Taraf and Zaman. Mahchupian also headed the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos weekly from 2007 to 2010, following Hrant Dink’s assassination. He was earlier a member of the Wise People Committee, a public-private committee which was set up in 2013 to elaborate proposals for resolving the “Kurdish issue.”
Turkey’s Sabah news agency describes the move as an attempt toward thawing relations between Armenia and Turkey.
The publication says that Mahchupian received the proposal directly from the prime minister last week and that Mahchupian accepted.
Davutoglu reportedly praised Mahchupian’s contribution to Turkey’s democratization and civil society building efforts, attaching importance to his constrictive position on state and public issues.
A graduate of Boğaziçi University, Mahchupian studied chemistry and later economics at the University of Ankara, where he lectured as a professor until 1980. From 1980 to 1996 he worked as an entrepreneur, heading various businesses.
Mahchupian said following his appointment that he is hopeful that he can contribute to the development of Turkey in a new direction in his new position, Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
It has been noted that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Etienne Mahchupian have been closely acquainted for some time, including when Davutoğlu was foreign minister. Davutoğlu told media representatives that he made the decision on Mahchupian’s appointment for his “intellectual identity”.
Mahchupian said that he will support the Turkish Prime Minister by carrying out works in the direction of “democracy,” “government and public relations” and “minorities.” Mahchupian is the first non-Muslim person among the Advisors of the Turkish President and Prime Minister.