By Aram Arkun
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Usually the Mirror reports on Armenian efforts to rally American political and economic support for Armenia. This time, I thought it would be interesting to see how one of Armenia’s neighbors, the Republic of Turkey, does it, especially in light of the dramatic events of the recent failed coup and its aftermath. On July 21, the Washington DC based American-Turkish Council (ATC) sponsored the US-Turkey Innovation Summit at Harvard University’s Knafel Center. Its stated goal was “connect private companies, universities, and government institutions to facilitate partnerships in research and development, and address related topics including innovation ecosystems, methodology, risk and legal considerations.”
Indeed, American and Turkish government officials and various industry specialists as well as academics spoke at the event, which appeared to be attended by as many as 150 people of various professional backgrounds, including representatives of the Swiss government and of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Intriguingly, perhaps the two most famous speakers, including the keynote speaker, were a Greek-American and an Armenian-American.
Sponsors included the Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey in Boston, the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of the Prime Ministry of the Republic of Turkey, Turkish Airlines, dFA (a Turkish engineering and consulting company) and Uber. MassChallenge was listed among the media partners, though it is primarily a nonprofit accelerator supporting entrepreneurs and startups in various industries both in the US and abroad.
According to its website, ATC is a bilateral non-profit association “founded in the mid-1980s by US diplomats personally devoted to the US-Turkey relationship. ATC staff continue to emphasize the friendship and professionalism that has shaped the bilateral partnership for decades.” At present it has evolved into a business association with large multinationals as well as smaller American and Turkish firms in 15 business sectors as members. Its website declares that it “exists to help member companies achieve their bilateral business and investment objectives and to facilitate stronger US-Turkey relations.”