Hrant Dink Foundation, in cooperation with the Berghof Foundation and the Chrest Foundation, has initiated an Armenia-Turkey Expert Dialogue Group in order to build on the civil society momentum and to prepare a list of confidence building measures aiming at the normalisation of relations between the two neighbours.

A group of experts from Armenia and Turkey, with background in politics, academia and civil society, have come together in Yerevan on October 24th-27th, 2016; in Istanbul on December 12th-14th, 2016, in Yerevan on June 12th-14th, 2017 and in Istanbul and Ankara on October 16th-18th, 2017.

During these meetings, the Dialogue Group strongly identified its main focus as the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey. The Group discussed and acknowledged that there should be distinction between normalisation and reconciliation. The Group defines normalisation as a process based on a series of confidence-building measures between the two neighbouring countries, whereas reconciliation is seen as a broader concept, arriving at a mutual understanding about the past. The Group also believes that in both formats, the methods and participants of the exercise should be different.  As a result of these discussions, the Group has decided to focus its work on the normalisation process, acknowledging the fact that there cannot be any reconciliation without normalisation.

The Dialogue Group members have started their joint work by inviting subject-specific experts to analyse the lessons learned from previous initiatives in Armenia-Turkey normalisation including the protocol process as well as comparative confidence-building experiences from the region and around the world. The Group continued its work by mapping the existing obstacles in various fields as well as by having brainstorming sessions about the opportunities, with a view to exploring appropriate confidence building measures.

The Group plans to continue holding further meetings and share some recommendations in 2018, in an effort to offer constructive avenues for normalisation.