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A NEW ERA FOR TURKEY AND ARMENIA

PRESS RELEASE 12,10,2005

October 3rd was a historic day for Turkey and for the European Union as it marks the official launch of negotiations that should lead to Turkey joining the European Union. The Turkish Armenian Business Development Council welcomes this decision and looks forward to the long period of negotiations ahead of us as a unique opportunity for the citizens of the EU and of Turkey to come to know, and learn from, one another.

The talks ahead are likely to be difficult at times. Yet the obvious reluctance of significant sections of the European public to envisage Turkey’s membership of the European Union cannot be overcome through traditional diplomatic arm-wrestling or geopolitical arguments. Turkey does not seek to join the European Union out of fear of rejection, but because it genuinely aspires to being part of the European project.

We therefore look forward to seeing the Turkish Government and Turkish civil society embrace their EU counterparts with self-confidence, and a genuine aspiration to joining a human community spanning the European continent.

Armenians are a part of that community. The government of Turkey can and should use this historic moment to reach out to the Armenian Diaspora of the European Union and generate goodwill among them: they are citizens of the European Union and will be sharing the European home with Turks. Turkey must urgently engage with the Armenian Diaspora and actively transform its relationship with them, just as the Armenia Diaspora should now seek to engage with Turkey. Such a move would undoubtedly gain Turkey many other friends in the process.

The Republic of Armenia is also aspiring to be the part of the European Union. It is self-evident that a cooperative relationship between both countries would serve both their interests, and greatly advance their EU ambitions. Turkey has established no relations yet with its small neighbour, and the issue is bound to plague the accession process. A powerful country, a recognised democracy, Turkey must recognize that a benign policy towards Armenia is an effective and lasting way to enhance its influence and prestige. A policy shift in this respect would be a sign, not of weakness, but of sound policy-making.

The TABDC looks forward to a period of creative problem-solving, and stands ready to assist in the process where it can.

TABDC-EU

TABDC EU (BELGIUM) :Tel : 32 (495) 77 08 67.

TABDC (TURKEY) : Tel: 90 (212) 236 00 17 Fax: 90 (212) 259 72 51

TABDC (ARMENIA) :Tel: 374 (10) 35 11 80 Fax: 374 (1) 35 12 40

TABDC (USA) :Tel: 1 (516) 869-7525 Fax: 1 (516) 365-0560

Web site: www.tabdc.org

Email : tabdc@tabdc.org

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