Students to initiate partnership

Students to initiate partnership

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Students to initiate partnership

Armenian and Turkish students have agreed to start exchange programs. DAILY NEWS photo/Emrah GUREL

Turkey and Armenia’s student councils signed a protocol on Jan. 21 to initiate a student exchange program and promote other academic activities between the two countries. Signed by Turkey’s Student Council and Armenia’s National Students Association at a forum organized at Istanbul’s Galatasaray University, the protocol is considered a significant step toward breaking the ice between the countries.

The protocol mainly aims at promoting academic research and collaboration between Armenian and Turkish universities, along with student exchange.

“As youngsters, we believe that some taboos must be broken and that problems stem from a lack of dialogue,” Turkey’s Student Council head Nihat Buğra Ağaoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that they had worked on the project for about a year. “We are trying to implement something that has not been attempted before. You face difficulties if you try to make a change, no matter where you are. We saw that the Armenia Student Council also favored the project. We are young, so we should act bravely in order to create change.”

As 1915 incidents is a delicate and painful issue for both countries, it brings to mind that Armenian exchange students coming to Turkey may want to conduct research into that subject. However, Ağaoğlu does not think this will cause any problems.

“We do not want to discuss the past incidents. 1915 should be revised by historians. Anyone could speak differently when they act with nationalist feelings. We have to deal with the subject in a scientific way, and the solution lies in the hands of historians,” he said.

Ağaoğlu also denied that the project would cause nationalist reactions from the Azerbaijani and Armenian diasporas.