Global Political Trends Center (GPoT), together with Armenia-based Eurasia
Partnership Foundation (EPF) and Yerevan Press Club (YPC) held a three-day-long conference entitled “Armenia-Turkey Policy and Media Discussions”, and a cultural tour at Istanbul’s Heybeliada (Halki Island) and Istanbul Kültür University between July 11th and 13th, 2011.
The event was part of the USAID-sponsored “Support to Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement” project, which seeks to support Armenia-Turkey rapprochement by facilitating engagement between civil society groups, establishment and development of business partnerships and regional professional networks, and enhance understanding between the people, for peace and economic integration. In this regards, GPoT, YPC and EPF brought together about 30 prominent Armenian and Turkish academicians, think-tankers, journalists and civil society representatives in Istanbul’s Heybeliada for a panel discussion, in addition to a cultural tour in Kınalıada.
The Conference started on July 11th, 2011 at the Merit Halki Palace Hotel in Heybeliada, Istanbul with the opening remarks of Mensur Akgün, the Director of the GPoT; Boris Navasardian, the President of Yerevan Press Club; and Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, the Country Director of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. The opening remarks were followed by the first panel, during which the speakers discussed the future of the rapprochement between the two countries in the light of the “Elections in Turkey, Protocols and New Global Realities.” Richard Giragosian, the Director of the Regional Studies Center, was the discussant of the panel that was moderated by Sylvia Tiryaki, the Deputy Director of the GPoT.
There were two panels on the second day of the Conference on July 12th, 2011. During the morning panel, the discussants, Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, Senior Fellow from the Center for Civilization and Cultural Studies from the Yerevan State University; and Osman Kavala, Head of the Board of Directors of Anadolu Kültür Foundation, gave their remarks on Prospective Confidence Building Measures regarding the Armenia-Turkey Relations. Boris Navasardian, the President of the Yerevan Press Club, moderated the panel. The second panel of the day was on “Turkey’s Foreign Policy in the Light of the Latest Developments in the Middle East.” Ali Resul Usül, Associate Professor from Bahçeşehir University; and Davit Hovhannisyan, Director of the Center for Civilization and Cultural Studies in Yerevan State University, had an active discussion on the mentioned topic. Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, the Country Director of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, moderated the panel.
A cultural program in the afternoon followed the panels. The participants, after a short boat trip, moved to Kınalıada, another of the Prince's Islands, an island known for its Armenian influence, population, and heritage. In this regards, visits have been conducted to the Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Church and the Summer House of the Karagözyan School of Kınalıada. The participants moved to a restaurant for dinner after their cultural program on the island.
On the third day of the Conference, on July 13th, 2011, the participants departed from Heybeliada for Istanbul Kültür University. The 4th panel of the Conference, which was conducted at the University, was on “Media Bias Research Results and Turkish Parliamentary Elections of 2011.” Yavuz Baydar, the columnist from Sabah Daily; Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, the Deputy Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies; Gökçen Karanfil, Associate Professor from İzmir University of Economics’ Faculty of Communication; Sevda Alankuş, Dean of the İzmir University’s Faculty of Communication; and Mikayel Zolyan, the Project Coordinator of the Yerevan Press Club, were the discussants of the panel that was moderated by Sylvia Tiryaki. The Conference participants attended the reception and dinner in Istanbul Kültür Univeristy following the 4th panel.
The three-day long conference and cultural interaction program, facilitated a significant interaction between the distinguished opinion-makers, journalists, think-tankers, academicians and civil society representatives from Turkey and Armenia. Both sides had the chance to better observe the problems and prospects of the relations, as well as contributing to the elimination of the bias approaches towards each other.
To download Summary of the roundtable discussions click here.