The ADL USA delegation meets with Turkish Ambassador Ecvet Tezcan
The General Consul of the Republic of Turkey in New York, Omer Onhon, had
contacted several Armenian organizations and had invited their representatives to
meet a high level Foreign Ministry official, Ambassador K. Ecvet Tezcan, who
is on a whirlwind tour in the United States.
Reaction to this surprise invitation was varied. The ADL District Committee
of the Eastern US and Canada, in consultation with the Central Committee,
decided to respond positively to the invitation and met with the Turkish diplomat
on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 at the offices of the Turkish Mission in New York.
The Consul General was also in attendance.
We believe that outstanding major issues between Armenians and the Turks can
only be resolved through sustained talks and negotiations.
We also believe that eventually agreements could be reached between the
governments of Armenia and Turkey.
The meeting was held on an open agenda, all the while assuming that a first
such contact could not produce a meeting of minds.
The ADL representatives stated that they had accepted the invitation to hear
what had motivated the Ambassador to undertake such a daring mission.
It was also stated to the Ambassador that after his initial remarks we would
like him to express his views on all of the outstanding issues separating the
two neighboring nations.
Ambassador Tezcan stated that in light of Turkey's possible accession to the
European Union and on the eve of delicate negotiations with the government of
the Republic of Armenia, he wished to listen first-hand to Diasporan
Armenians' positions and thinking.
The ADL representatives outlined their positions on the issues of the
Armenian genocide, Turkish blockade of Armenia, peaceful settlement of the Karabagh
problem, the plight of the Armenian community in Turkey and also the condition
of architectural monuments in historic Armenia, which is part of Turkey today.
Ambassador Tezcan responded to all the questions in a most diplomatic
language, avoiding making any concrete statement. He only intimated that relations
with Armenia may take a positive turn in the near future and that the winds of
change may move from the Middle East to the Caucasus region. He wished to
witness improved relations between Armenia and Turkey in the forthcoming years.
Although not expressed in so many words, Turkey's aspiration to join the
European Union necessitated the establishment of normal relations with its
neighbors and that Turkey would assume a critical role when the US decides to extend
the new world order to the Caucasus.
Frank, direct and concrete assessment was made of outstanding issues and the
Ambassador stated that he had decided to learn about those assessments
directly from Diaspora Armenians rather than third parties, which has been the
practice during the last 80 years.
As long as Armenians keep the right perspective and they do not entertain
illusions, these discussions may constitute concrete steps towards more
substantial changes in the relation of Armenia and Turkey.
We believe that the Armenian public is entitled to know what has transpired
in such meetings and that is why this release has been issued to keep all
ADL District Committee of Eastern US and Canada
June 12, 2003