Cheese's Role in Turkey-Armenia Diplomacy
Armenians and Turks have found an alternative to formal, or track one, diplomacy: cheese diplomacy. Cheese is often the catalyst for dinner parties and wine tastings, but who knew it could become the sole medium for communication and cooperation between two countries?
Less than 70 kilometers, or 45 miles, apart but separated by a border that has been closed for nearly two decades, cheese makers in Gyumri and Kars, along with colleagues in the nearby Georgian town of Ninotsminda, produce and market a “Caucasian cheese,” invented by Mr. Mkrtchyan in 2008 to foster cross-border cooperation.
“My cheese diplomacy actually preceded the soccer diplomacy between our countries,” Mr. Mkrtchyan said Monday as he walked into a meeting in Istanbul organized by Support to Armenian-Turkish Rapprochement, an umbrella group for like-minded activists from Turkey and Armenia.