An article appeared in the Hurriyet newspaper on June 23, 2020 addressing the outcomes of the June 16 five-hour Presidential High Advisory Board meeting. Following is the English translation of the article by Nurhan Becidyan.
In order to respond to one of Turkey’s main foreign policy issues, i.e. allegations of genocide against the Armenians, it was suggested to develop and form “a new autonomous and civilian structure.” This was the agenda of the High Advisory Board meeting, chaired by President Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdogan gave instructions for necessary work after the briefing.
ON THE BEŞTEPE [Presidential Office] AGENDA
According to the information obtained, the proposal to develop a new strategy regarding the Armenian Genocide claims came up in the agenda three months ago when new lawsuits were filed in US courts by Armenians. However, the meeting was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and was held in the past few weeks.
IT WILL DETERMINE THE NEW STRATEGY
The Presidential High Advisory Board was briefed by the owner of the proposal Cemil Çicek and presidential advisor Seyit Sertçelik. At the meeting, it was expressed that there is not a single institution that deals directly with and develops Turkey’s strategy regarding the Armenian claims and arguments. It was also stated that depending on the topic relevant ministries were engaged, but a holistic policy had not been developed.
[RELATED: Dr. Taner Akçam’s statement on the imperative need for Armenian Genocide research at North American universities]
THEY CANNOT BRING TO THE JUSTICE DISTRICT
In the briefing, it was emphasized that the Armenian lobby had not brought the genocide allegations to the International Court of Justice due to the possibility of rejection, but recently had changed their strategy. It was stated that the lobbying efforts were focused on calling it a crime against humanity instead of genocide. The report prepared with the participation of five universities was also discussed at the meeting. President Tayyip Erdoğan, while also participating in the proposals, ordered the completion of the work as soon as possible.
AN INDEPENDENT INSTITUTION WILL BE CREATED
At the meeting, it was stated that this issue, which used to be followed by the National Security Council, was taken away from that institution after the amendment of law in 2015, and it was given to the Prime Ministry Recent History Research Center. After the Prime Ministry was abolished this institution’s function was eliminated. It was stated that there is a need for an institution whose only job would be to look at the issue from all angles and not only politically, but would also include cultural, historical, propaganda and legal aspects. It has been decided that this institution will be an autonomous, independent civil structure that is not directly related to the government and the state.