Monday, September 14, 2009

TCA Position on the Turkey-Armenia Dialogue

The Turkish Coalition of America welcomes the initialing of two important protocols between the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, which lay out a framework and time table for the two governments to establish diplomatic relations and develop bilateral relations.

TCA recognizes the United States Administration’s and President Obama’s personal commitment to normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia and to supporting dialogue between Turks and Armenians. In this context, TCA calls upon Congress to lend its unambiguous support to the ongoing process. We appeal to members of Congress interested in Turkish-Armenian relations to play a constructive role in advancing the goals of peace and stability in the region, as well as dialogue and harmony between Turkish Americans and Armenian Americans.

There are great benefits to be gained for generations to come if Armenians and Turks are encouraged to increase economic and political cooperation and rediscover their deep cultural ties, derived from a thousand years of peaceful coexistence.

TCA strongly believes that Turkey and Armenia can indeed look to the future and leave assessments of their tragic history and mutual suffering to historians and other qualified experts. In this context, TCA reiterates its strong support for an international commission of authoritative specialists with access to all relevant archives, including those of Armenian organizations that remain closed today. We see such an effort as the fairest and, indeed, the only method for assessing the past, which will pave the way for reconciliation between the two people, in lieu of politically charged legislative or executive declarations by third parties. This initiative enjoys the strong support of the Turkish American community and was voiced to President Obama in a February 2009 letter, signed by 50 Turkish American organizations nationwide.

While resolving the outstanding issues between Turkey and Armenia will certainly improve regional conditions, TCA also calls on all interested parties to reinvigorate their efforts to end the illegal Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan's territory and end the plight of nearly one million refugees in Azerbaijan. A just and lasting solution to this conflict is as essential to peace and stability in the region as any element of the recent Turkey-Armenia protocols.

Finally, the Turkish Coalition of America extends its hand of friendship to all Armenian groups who wish to work together to rediscover the bonds of centuries old kinship between the Turkish and Armenian people. We take pride in announcing a TCA grant for one hundred scholarships for American college students of Armenian descent for a semester-long study abroad program at any Turkish or Turkish Cypriot university.

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