The Regional Studies Center (RSC) hosted an insightful discussion on 27 March with visiting Professor Cengiz Aktar as a special guest speaker, offering his insightful analysis of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey and providing a comprehensive overview of the longer history of Armenia-Turkey relations since Armenian independence, as well as addressing the specific role of Azerbaijan in the process.

This event was organized in partnership with the Hrant Dink Foundation and participants consisted of representatives of the diplomatic community and international organizations in Armenia, including diplomats from the European Union Delegation to Armenia, the Embassies of Austria, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom, among others.

In addition, the event was also attended by independent analysts, such as Dr. Armine Margaryan, and local experts Georgi Mirzabekyan from CivilNet, Dr. Gor Petrosyan from the Caucasus Institute, Armenuhi Nikoghosyan and Valya Martirosyan from the Hrant Dink Foundation, Marusya Lezhneva of the Hume Foundation and Mariam Jamalyan from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ).

Dr. Aktar is currently hosted by the American University of Armenia within HDF’s Turkey-Armenia Fellowship Scheme which is supported by the EU in the framework of “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process: Rapid Response” programme.


Aktar is a professor of Political Science presently hosted at the University of Athens EKPA-Turkmas. He is a former director at the UNHCR, specializing in International Humanitarian Law and Asylum Policies. He is known to be one of the leading advocates of Turkey’s integration into the EU. He was the Chair of European Studies at Bahçeşehir University-Istanbul. In 1999, he initiated a civil initiative for Istanbul’s candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture. Istanbul successfully held the title in 2010.

Dr. Aktar also headed the initiative called “European Movement 2002” which aimed at putting pressure on the lawmakers to speed up political reforms necessary to begin the negotiation phase with the EU. In December 2008, he developed the idea of an online apology campaign addressed to Armenians and supported by a number of Turkish intellectuals as well as over 32,000 citizens of Turkey. In addition to the EU integration policies and refugee/migration issues, his research focuses on politics of memory regarding ethnic and religious minorities and on the history of political centralism. His latest essay, The Turkish Malaise was published, in addition to English, in French, German, Greek and Italian.

As an independent “think tank,” the Regional Studies Center (RSC) offers a regular series of analytical briefings to provide a concise assessment of the most significant trends and developments in Armenia and the broader region.