Turkish Armenian Protocol Agreement.

Photo: NY Rotarian, Kaan Soyak, second from the right , at our breakfast meeting held earlier this year where he kept members informed of the progress being make in Turkish- Armenian relations.

New York Rotarian, Kaan Soyak, co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council, emailed New York Rotarian's on a minute-by-minute update of the historic accords signed between neighboring Turkey and Armenia on Saturday, October 9th. Kaan who has worked for nearly a decade in promoting more commercial activity as a bridge toward peace between the two countries noted that the accord opened a brand-new chapter in the two countries’ relations, which have been troubled by genocide allegations for more than one hundred years ago. The signing ceremony took place at the University of Zurich.

“There has been a lack of confidence between the two countries and nations and the protocols will draw the two peoples closer to each other. The region does not have the luxury of waiting another 15 or 16 years for the normalization of the ties is crucial for stability in the Caucasus,” said Soyak.

As reported by The New York Times, The United States, along with France and Russia, played a key role in prodding the two sides to come to terms. President Obama placed an encouraging call last week to the president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, while Mrs. Clinton was in regular touch with leaders of both countries.

The first protocol, which will establish diplomatic ties, and the second, on the further development of relations, are accompanied by an appendix that sets a clear timetable for the implementation of both. The agreements envision the opening of the border within two months after the second protocol goes into force, although this step requires approval from the parliaments of both countries and their presidents.