Soccer Diplomacy Between Turkey And Armenia

A hundred years of hate and conflict separate people in Turkey and Armenia, but the cold winds of anger may have been blown away because two leaders sat down in a stadium to watch a soccer match between teams from their nations. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Turkish President Gul enjoyed a friendly afternoon at a soccer match and began the process of peace and reconciliation between their nations. Both men are committed that future generations will not have to live in fear and hate because they intend to find a way to achieve peace between the two peoples. “I believe my visit has demolished a psychological barrier in the Caucasus,” said President Gul. Both men promised to work together to normalize relations between their nations.

The leaders avoided any discussion of the genocide committed against Armenians a hundred years ago and focused on issues of today. Ironically, Turkey was among the first nations to recognize the independent nation of Armenia, but the legacy of the genocide proved too strong for a reciprocal feeling.

Perhaps, it is time for a commission of scholars from both nations to develop educational materials that deal with the genocide just as German educators have created numerous educational lessons for teaching about the Holocaust. If German and French educators can jointly work on new versions of the origin of World War I, certainly Armenian and Turkish educators can work on their past relationships.

  • Shurale

    This article demonstrates a rare case when a sport contributes to peace between two countries. Too often in the past politics overrode the peaceful role which sport supposed to play in the international level, just remember Olympics 1972.