Normalisation through cultural intervention | EUNewsletter

Normalisation through cultural intervention

23 July 2014
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On 18 July a presentation of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process” programme was held in Yerevan. The Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, delivered a welcoming speech, in which he stated that the EU strongly supports the resumption of the currently suspended normalisation process between Armenia and Turkey: ‘We are actively contributing to security stability and cooperation in the South Caucasus. The EU strongly believes that dialogue between the societies of Armenia and Turkey is fundamental as a sustained, strategically necessary step towards the future normalisation of relations and eventual reconciliation’.

Communications Coordinator of the Programme, Burcu Becermen, talked about the perception of the programme in Turkey: ‘Individuals and civil society organisations from Turkey from different walks of life and from different regions have shown great interest in the overall programme. They have taken part in outreach meetings and are contacting us on a daily basis to get engaged in programme activities so that they can travel to Armenia to get to know their neighbours and learn more about its people and culture. Given the fact that the border is closed by Turkey and that there is very low awareness level among citizens of Turkey about their neighbours, this demand indicates that civil society in Turkey is in favour of normalisation’.

Speakers spoke more in details on the social, cultural, economic and political developments that could positively influence Armenia-Turkey relations in the coming months. The Executive Director of Eurasia Partnership Foundation Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan emphasised the increasing role of civil society in confidence building and advancing economic and human interactions between the two countries: ‘Several hundred thousand, if not millions, of citizens of Turkey are building civil society there on a daily basis. This involves actions that move Turkey towards a more democratic society; this also means that a good deal of these people are trying to re-evaluate their past and fill in gaps in the national memory’.

The Consortium partners include Civilitas Foundation (CF), Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), Public Journalism Club (PJC), Regional Studies Center (RSC) from Armenia; and Anadolu Kültür, the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (hCa), and Hrant Dink Foundation from Turkey. The implementing consortium will hold other presentations of the programme in Yerevan and in Istanbul in early summer 2015 to share its achievements and the lessons learned with Armenia- and Turkey-based stakeholders.

The EU-funded “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process” programme was launched on 1 January 2014. The most remarkable results of the programme over the initial six months of implementation include, but are not limited to, 57 sub-grant scheme applications from the two countries, more than 380 applications for travel grant opportunities, interest from 88 organisations in Armenia and Turkey in hosting a fellow from the neighbouring country, and more than 60 jointly elaborated film projects. These results undoubtedly indicate considerable interest in both societies in establishing dialogue.

Normalisation through cultural intervention

On 18 July a presentation of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process” programme was held in Yerevan. The Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, delivered a welcoming speech, in which he stated that the EU strongly supports the resumption of the currently suspended normalisation process between Armenia and Turkey: ‘We are actively contributing to security stability and cooperation in the South Caucasus. The EU strongly believes that dialogue between the societies of Armenia and Turkey is fundamental as a sustained, strategically necessary step towards the future normalisation of relations and eventual reconciliation’.

Communications Coordinator of the Programme, Burcu Becermen, talked about the perception of the programme in Turkey: ‘Individuals and civil society organisations from Turkey from different walks of life and from different regions have shown great interest in the overall programme. They have taken part in outreach meetings and are contacting us on a daily basis to get engaged in programme activities so that they can travel to Armenia to get to know their neighbours and learn more about its people and culture. Given the fact that the border is closed by Turkey and that there is very low awareness level among citizens of Turkey about their neighbours, this demand indicates that civil society in Turkey is in favour of normalisation’. Speakers spoke more in details on the social, cultural, economic and political developments that could positively influence Armenia-Turkey relations in the coming months. The Executive Director of Eurasia Partnership Foundation Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan emphasised the increasing role of civil society in confidence building and advancing economic and human interactions between the two countries: ‘Several hundred thousand, if not millions, of citizens of Turkey are building civil society there on a daily basis. This involves actions that move Turkey towards a more democratic society; this also means that a good deal of these people are trying to re-evaluate their past and fill in gaps in the national memory’. The Consortium partners include Civilitas Foundation (CF), Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), Public Journalism Club (PJC), Regional Studies Center (RSC) from Armenia; and Anadolu Kültür, the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (hCa), and Hrant Dink Foundation from Turkey. The implementing consortium will hold other presentations of the programme in Yerevan and in Istanbul in early summer 2015 to share its achievements and the lessons learned with Armenia- and Turkey-based stakeholders.

The EU-funded “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process” programme was launched on 1 January 2014. The most remarkable results of the programme over the initial six months of implementation include, but are not limited to, 57 sub-grant scheme applications from the two countries, more than 380 applications for travel grant opportunities, interest from 88 organisations in Armenia and Turkey in hosting a fellow from the neighbouring country, and more than 60 jointly elaborated film projects. These results undoubtedly indicate considerable interest in both societies in establishing dialogue.