BEIRUT, Lebanon—Leaders and members of Armenian National Committee (ANC) chapters of the Middle East gathered in Bourdj Hammoud, Lebanon, Sunday for a one-day conference that addressed the current challenges facing Armenians in the Middle East, given Turkey’s efforts to exert political influence in the region, reported the Aztag daily.
“At this juncture, taking into consideration the political developments in the region and given Turkey’s growing penetration in the region, we decided to organize this conference in order to consult with one another and discuss this issue,” said Middle East ANC director Vera Yacoubian.
Yacoubian explained that the conference’s goal was to develop a new strategy in light of Turkey’s increasing presence in the region and how that reality can impact ANC activities in the Middle East.
The ANC leader emphasized that even in Lebanon, where the Armenian community is an integral part of Lebanese society, Turkey’s recent overtures foreshadow growing challenges and obstacles for Armenian communities and ANC efforts, similar to other Middle Eastern countries.
The conference participants, which included representatives from Syria, Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf regions, discussed the pursuit of the Armenian cause in the Arab world, where there are varying approaches and challenges. The imperative for the pursuit of Armenian issues was emphasized by all participants of the conference.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau member Levon Mkrtchyan was on hand to address the importance of the conference given the increasing level of Turkey’s anti-Armenian posturing and its manifestations in Turkey’s dealings with its neighboring states.
Mkrtchyan pointed to the so-called neo-Ottomanism, which has become a driving point for Turkey’s foreign policy and the importance of that approach within the Arab world. He emphasized that, more than ever, there is a need for concrete approaches when working in countries that have played host to genocide survivors.
He said the Armenians of the Middle East must be able to defend the community’s historic rights, but take into consideration the sensitivities and approaches within each country.
Turkey’s growing role, as well as its close relations with the Arab world, poses new challenges for the Armenian people. This, the conference concluded, requires a focused and committed approach to the pursuit of the Armenian cause in this area of the world.