NEWS // 

Open up to your neighbors!

23.09.2008

The war in Georgia has left the countries of the South Caucasus struggling with substantial risks and challenges. As a consequence of the recent crisis, which further exacerbated an impasse created by the existence of the protracted conflicts, the region is deprived of a vital vain to transport goods through the countries of the region. That is a matter of our strongest concern. The railroad running through Georgia is practically useless today because of the destruction of the bridge near Gori, whereas reconstruction is being delayed for different reasons. This situation and its consequences threaten to deprive people in our countries of their basic rights and endanger their hopes for stability, security and prosperity.

This crisis should make us assess the situation realistically and initiate a new age of cooperation. The Governments in Ankara, Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan have a unique chance to prove their credentials of good neighbors willing to contribute positively to the regional peace and stability. We request them to take a collective action and unblock immediately railroad communication networks in the region.

We made our own calculations that we would like to share with the public. Any train can reach from Samsun on the Black Sea coast of Turkey to Yerevan in 34 hours, to Tbilisi in 36 hours and to Baku in 49 hours. From Mersin, which is on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, it will take 37, 39 and 52 hours respectively. This simple. The railroad can become functional in few hours, once a political decision is made.

Thus, we urge to open the Turkish-Armenian border at least for 10-15 days to address the urgency in the Caucasus.

For years we have been engaged in Track Two Diplomacy projects and have been able to build excellent working relations with our colleagues across those borders. Having enjoyed the positive experience of cooperation, we would like to take this opportunity to call upon the Governments in Ankara, Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan to reconsider their positions on that matter. We urge our leaders to demonstrate their statecraft in these times of turbulence and uncertainty and prevent possible escalation of distrust in this region.

Signatories:

  1. Tevan Poghosyan, International Center for Human Development, Armenia
  2. Noyan Soyak, Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council, Turkey
  3. Natela Sakhokia, Strategic research Centre, Georgia
  4. Rauf Rajabov, Editor-in-chief of «3rd View» of Analytical-information agency, Ambassador for peace, Azerbaijan
  5. David L. Phillips, Columbia University, Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Human Rights, Co-Director, Study Group on U.S.-Russian and Georgian Relations, the USA
  6. Dr. Murat Cagatay, GAYA Research Institute, Turkey
  7. Kaan Soyak, Turkish Armenian Business Development Council, Turkey
  8. Arsen Ghazaryan, Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen (Employers) of Armenia, Armenia
  9. Artush Mkrtchyan, Chairman, Caucasian Center for Proposing Non-Traditional Conflict Resolution Methods, Gyumri, Armenia
  10. Guran Abashidze, Caucasus Business and Development Network, Tbilisi, Georgia
  11. Burcu Gultekin, Associate Research Fellow Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
  12. Aline Ozinian, Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council, Armenia, Caucasus Business and Development Network, Turkey
  13. Klara Galstyan, Director, Gyumri Development Foundation, Armenia
  14. Levon Barseghyan, “Asparez” Journalist Club, Gyumri, Armenia
  15. Alu Gamakharia, Caucasus Business and Development Network, Kutaisi, Georgia
  16. Ashot Mirzoyan, Director, City Research Center, Gyumri, Armenia
  17. Karen Mkhitaryan, Chairman, Caucasian Institute for Peace Problems Research, Gyumri, Armenia
  18. Ararat Harutyunyan, Founder “Hayraqakhak” weekly newspaper, Gyumri, Armenia
  19. Betty J. Sitka, American University, Center for Global Peace, the USA
  20. Stepan Grigoryan, Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Armenia
  21. Sevan Nişanyan, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
  22. Osman Koker, Editor in Chief, Birzamanlar publishing, Turkey
  23. Serdar Kasakyan, Phd, Turkey
  24. Dr.Cengiz Aktar, TDN, Columunist, Turkey
  25. Cholpon Nogoibaeva, President, Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  26. Maria Prohaska, Director, Center for Economic Development, Bulgaria
  27. Hilary Richardson, Ireland
  28. Gagik Makaryan, Republic Association of Employers, Armenia
  29. Luisa Sargsyan, Atlantic Council of Canada, Canada
  30. Vahan Kololian, Chairman, Mosaic Institute, Canada
  31. Alidad Mafinezam, Director of Research of the Mosaic Institute, Canada
  32. Gayane Sargsyan, Forum for the 21st Century Leaders, Armenia
  33. Ed Safarian, Toronto University, Canada
  34. Irina Ivaskina, project manager, Latvian Transatlantic Organization, president, Latvian Transatlantic Youth Club, Georgia
  35. Ece Erbuğ- GS University, Turkey
  36. Aghasi Harutyunyan, Phd, Armenia
  37. Hasmik Tamamyan, Masters, Armenia
  38. Philip Gamaghelyan, Imagine Program for Conflict Transformation, Boston, the USA
  39. Dr Arcadie Barbarosie, Executive Director, Institute for Public Policy, Moldova
  40. Jeff Lovitt, Executive Director, Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS)
  41. Unal Unsal, Ambassador (Ret), Turkey
  42. Antje Herrberg, Crisis Management Initiatives, Brussels
  43. Aghavni Karakhanian, Institute for Civil Society and Regional Development(ICSRD), Armenia
  44. George Zarubin, President, Eurasia Partnership Foundation, the USA
  45. Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, Country Director, Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Armenia
  46. Nouneh Sarkissian, Managing Director, Internews, Media Support NGO, Armenia
  47. Rok Zupancic, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  48. Osman Kavala, Anadolu Kültür, Turkey
  49. Sehbal Senyurt (belgesel film yonetmeni), Turkey
  50. Bulent Arinli (belgesel film yonetmeni) , Turkey
  51. Yalcin Ergundogan (Journalist/writer) , Turkey
  52. Gilles Devers / Avocat au Barreau de Lyon, France
  53. Prof. Dr. Okan Akhan, Turkey
  54. Ergin Cinmen, Turkey
  55. Hikmet Acun, Turkey
  56. Ragıp İncesağır, Turkey
  57. Ibrahim Kaboglu,Professor of Constitutional Law, (Marmara Universitesi), Columnist (BirGun) , Turkey
  58. Markar Esayan/Taraf, Turkey
  59. Esra Mungan, Bogazici University, Turkey
  60. Mehmet Atak, Turkey
  61. Prof. Dr. Okan Akhan, Turkey
  62. Ergin Cinmen, Turkey
  63. Neşe Erdilek- Sosyolog, Turkey
  64. Ergun Gümrah/iletişimci, Turkey
  65. CIGDEM MATER UTKU/ANADOLU KULTUR PROGRAM KOORDINATORU, Turkey
  66. Doc. Dr. Serdar M. Degirmencioglu, Psikolog, Turkey
  67. Murat Özgünay, Turkey
  68. Nilgun Uygun, Ph.D. Department of Cultural Anthropology Duke University, USA
  69. Kuvvet lordoğlu, Turkey
  70. Zafer Kıraç/Sosyal Kültürel Yaşamı Geliştirme Derneği Yönetim Kurulu Başkanı, Turkey
  71. Koray Doğan Urbarlı, Turkey
  72. Erdal Karayazgan, Turkey
  73. Aynur Hayrullahoğlu, Turkey
  74. Gündüz Mutluay - Yayıncı, Turkey
  75. Kostas Eftimiyadis, Turkey
  76. Nuri Ödemiş-Barış Aktivisti, Turkey
  77. Caner Canerik/Gazeteci, Turkey
  78. Mebuse Tekay, Turkey
  79. Ferhat Kentel/Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
  80. Çiğdem Yalçın Pamukçu /Helsinki Yurttaşlar Derneği Üyesi, Turkey
  81. Dr. Timur Akçalı, YTÜ, Turkey
  82. Melek Ulagay, Turkey
  83. Ayda Manukyan, Turkey
  84. Yalçın Ergündoğan /Gazeteci, yazar, Turkey
  85. Firuz Kutal - Graphic Designer, illustrator, Turkey
  86. Hasan öztoprak, Turkey
  87. Erkan ŞEN/Genç Siviller, Turkey
  88. Yalçın Ergündoğan / Yalcin Ergundogan (Journalist/writer) , Turkey
  89. Kemal ISIKTAS, Turkey
  90. Oya Baydar, Turkey
  91. Aydın Engin, Turkey
  92. Profesör Kenan Mortan, Turkey
  93. H. Jale Meric, Greenville NC, USA
  94. Dr. Rana Nergis Öğüt/ODTU Mimarlık Fakültesi, Turkey
  95. Mine Koçak, Turkey
  96. Celalettin Can, Turkey
  97. Gozde Avci, Turkey
  98. Zeki Kentel Hurses / columnist, Turkey
  99. Neşe Düzel/taraf Gazetesi, Turkey
  100. Erol Özkoray (yazar), Turkey
  101. Abdulhalim Dede- gazeteci, Turkey
  102. Ural Manço/Insan ve azinlik haklari icin Turk azinlik hareketi, Turkey
  103. NİLÜFER ARIAK/AKDAN DANIŞMANLIK, Turkey
  104. Yrd. Doc. Dr. Sevilay Celenk/AU ILEF, Turkey
  105. Murat Aksoy, Turkey
  106. Efrah Ceyhan, Turkey

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