ACCORDING TO TURKOLOGIST ARTAK SHAKARIAN, RECEP ERDOGAN'S AND PETROS SHIRINOGLU'S MEETING WAS MERELY A BEAUTIFUL PR ACTION

Noyan Tapan
March 31, 2010

YEREVAN, MARCH 31, NOYAN TAPAN. According to Turkologist Artak
Shakarian, Petros Shirinoglu who is considered the head of Turkey's
Armenian community is one of Turkish Prime Minister's close friends,
and their recent meeting was a very beautiful PR action. As the
Turkologist mentioned at a March 31 press conference, R. Erdogan
had a problem of raising his image after his statements made in his
interview to BBC, which were criticized by the international community,
as well as by many Turkish figures.

"That meeting was allegedly organized at P. Shirinoglu's suggestion.

However indeed they tried to show the whole world that Ankara is in
a dialogue with the Armenian community, they have no problems," A.

Shakarian said. In his words, P. Shirinoglu also declared that it
was he who formerly provided wrong information to the Prime Minister
saying that 170 thousand Armenians live in Turkey.

According to A. Shakarian's observation, indeed Turkish Armenian
community's leader is not P. Shirinoglu but the Patriarch. According
to him, Agos newspaper's late editor Hrant Dink was the informal
leader but after his murder there is no one to take his place. "R.

Erdogan wants to himself create Armenian community's leader as it is
not beneficial for Turkey if there is someone like H. Dink," A.

Shakarian said.

Speaking about the elections of the Armenian Patriarch of
Constantinople the Turkologist said that there are two candidates,
leader of the Gugark Diocese of Armenian Church Bishop Sepuh Chuljian
and Archbishop Aram Ateshian. According to A. Shakarian, A. Ateshian
enjoys Ankara's confidence. As to Bishop S. Chuljian, according to
the speaker, there is an opinion that the latter can be a uniting
link in case close Armenian-Turkish relations are established.