When we set off for Yerevan on a scheduled midnight Armavia flight this Thursday, we saw something we had not seen since long ago on a flight between İstanbul and Yerevan. Instead of men and women carrying several bags, probably goods to be sold in Armenia, as is customary on these biweekly scheduled fights, there were a number of journalists from the Turkish press.
The Turkish president’s landmark trip to Armenia will offer an opportunity for a review of bilateral ties and diplomatic challenges, something that will make the visit more than merely a symbolic
President Abdullah Gül’s visit to Armenia has generally been applauded by the various strata of society. The two exceptions are our nationalist opposition parties: the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Armenia-Turkey World Cup Qualifier, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008
Perhaps one of the most historical moments of recents years in Armenia has been and gone. Amid high security, Turkey beat Armenia 2-0 in a World Cup qualifying match in Yerevan attended by both the Armenian and Turkish presidents. Thankfully, the game passed without incident, although there was significant jeering from the crowd whenever Turkey had the ball. Regardless of the result, however, some seeds were sown to contribute towards improving ties between the two estranged neighbors. The Associated Press reports on the match.
We attended the Greek Festival in Cranston last night and had some great food and listened to live music while our kids danced and played for hours. A copy of the Festival program book found me at one point and as I was pawing through it I noticed an advertisement by a local deli/grocery which sells foods of the "near east". In the full page ad were the flags of the countries which I presume were the target audience: Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Armenia.. but no Turkish flag.
Boston GlobeSoccer diplomacy’s goal
Turkey’s Crisis and FutureMIT CIS strong>Dogu Ergil
Little wonder that many people — including in the two countries themselves — view the outbreak of "football diplomacy" with amazement.
The outstanding results of the "zero problems with neighbors" policy that Turkey has been pursuing for the last five or six years are obvious. Until recently Turkey saw itself as a country "surrounded by enemies" and devised its foreign policy based on this perception, but today Turkey has created a "chain of peace" around itself.
Soccer’s ability to mobilize feelings of nationalism and bring together large crowds around a single slogan is perhaps related to this sport’s ability to reflect societal character. For example, in basketball, the sole determining factor is the quality of the trainer and the players.
President Abdullah Gül paid a visit to Yerevan on Saturday to watch a World Cup qualifier match between the national teams of the two countries that Turkey won 2-0, the first president to visit Armenia in the history of Turkish Republic.
The ball is rolling. It did not seem to matter much who won the game between Turkey and Armenia. The 90-minute match, brought Turks and Armenians closer, if not to resolve every issue that holds them apart, at least to face each other and talk on very friendly terms.
When in April 2007 the Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced the nomination of Abdullah Gül for the presidency, I did not think it was a good choice, mainly for the risk of political crisis it posed.
Abdullah Gül’s historic visit to Yerevan brings much-needed credibility to Turkish foreign policy in its attempts to mediate between parties in conflict in the region. Let me explain what I mean.
In these days when we are starting to see the effects of the hot conflict in the Caucasus and the ensuing cold competition in relations between Russia and Turkey, we see that these relations are troubled, independent of the first one, by another crisis: the one over customs procedures.