The Construction of the Tiflis-Aleksandropol-Kars Railway (1895-1899) is a narrative that seeks to create an understanding between the Armenia and Turkey communities. These communities have been heavily affected and divided by past conflicts. However these communities share commonalities such as culture, music and traditions which can be used as tools towards rebuilding a relationship. Thus, Professor Candan Badem and Dr. Sonya Mirzoyan focus on illustrating past cooperation and shared culture in order to reconcile the present tensions.
“Our common goal has been to use historical narrative as a tool for overcoming the controversy surrounding our shared past. We believe that relations between Armenians and Turks in the Ottoman Empire involved not only conflict but also cooperation, good neighborliness and common life experiences. We also share the objectives of the IHJR; namely, to increase trust between Armenian and Turkish historians, cultural experts, civil society leaders and others interested in improving cultural ties and historical understanding, strengthening the Armenian-Turkish dialogue about culture and history and, thus, deconstructing some of the historical myths that continue to hinder reconciliation efforts between Armenians and Turks”.
This shared narrative retraces the history and socio-political dimensions of the construction of the Tiflis-Aleksandropol-Kars railway in 1895-1899; it aims to provide divided societies with a basis for dialogue on their shared heritage. Because the region was considered to be a crossroads of cultures at the time and experienced a high influx of migrants under the new Russian rule, the construction and exploitation of the railway serves as a focal point for exploring the previously peaceful coexistence and integration of multiple cultural identities.