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06 04 20 - Armenian Conference to Discuss Dialogue not Genocide Allegations
NATIONAL 04.20.2006 Thursday - ISTANBUL 13:00
By Sezai Kalayci, Istanbul Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - ANNETTE mALIKIAN
Remembered mostly for the so-called genocide allegations, the Armenian issue will be taken up from a different angle at a conference organized by Erciyes University.
Turkish Armenians Patriarch Mesrob II, who had refused to answer questions related to the issue, will join the gathering to discuss the peace process of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
Professor Metin Hulagu, deputy dean of the Faculty of Science and Letters of Erciyes University and head of the organization committee, said Mesrob II rejected previous invitations, but what persuaded him this time was their aim: “We plan to talk about peace and dialogue between the two nations.”
Another remarkable aspect of this symposium is that those who had spoken harshly on the matter will now talk about how to manage co-habitation of Turks and Armenians.
The three-day conference organized by Erciyes University is titled “The Art of Co-Existence in Ottoman Society: The Case of Turkish-Armenian Relations.”
Hulagu says the Patriarch’s refusal of previous invitations is understandable, “He naturally refused the invitation from a conservative city of Anatolia where the atmosphere was tense. We showed special consideration for his decision due to such concerns, and for when Mr. Mesrob visited Kayseri two weeks ago. I spoke with him about the symposium and its content, and he accepted an invitation when we assured him that we planned to focus on peace and dialogue.”
Professor Hulagu assured politics will not be discussed at the conference. “We want to emphasize peace and tolerance. We want to demonstrate how Armenian and Turkish societies lived together for centuries. If we had not attempted to address such a topic the Patriarch would not have joined the meeting.”
The professor reminded that nobody had touched on the topic of peace in relation to this issue so far. He said they plan to conduct a similar symposium to take place in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia are underway.


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