Recently, the Caucasus has been in the news. The conflict in Georgia has put the area on the map of the world media.

Today, there will be yet another reason why the Caucasus may be in the news. Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, has accepted an invitation from his Armenian counterpart, Zerzh Sargsyan, to travel to Armenia to attend the World Cup qualifying soccer match between Armenia and Turkey.

Many of Glendale’s residents who trace their origins to Armenia will be watching with interest how the events surrounding the match unfold. Needless to say, they will also be interested in the results.

There are differing views on the invitation and Gul’s visit to Armenia by the Armenian community.

Some may argue the invitation should have never been extended to the Turkish president. The followers of this view will also contend that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide should have been a pre-condition for the visit. Furthermore, they may rightfully be concerned about the free photo opportunity Armenia may be providing the Turkish president through this visit.

Others will argue that any positive dialogue needs to be rooted in human interaction. The supporters of this viewpoint will contend that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide should not be a roadblock to normalized relation between the two countries. The fact is that recognition has not actually been a precondition, but Turkey has insisted on closing its borders with Armenia since the beginning of the self-determination movement in neighboring Karabakh.

Call me apolitical, but I think there are realms in life that can be apolitical. And that can be the field of sports and competition. Sports give people and individuals a chance to compete and challenge one another in a fair and unbiased atmosphere.

I am interested in one thing: a swift victory by the underdog, Armenia.

May the best team win? Well, let me take that back. As much as it may hurt me to say this, the Turkish team is superior to Armenia’s.

So, how about this: May the best team on that day win? Or better yet, may the most passionate team win.

This is one of those matches that is called a derby in Europe. In such a match, the technique, style and quality of the teams are not as much of a factor.

Passion for a win becomes the determining factor in derbies. This is an opportunity for the team from Armenia to give their economically humble (or humbled) people a reason to celebrate. Ultimately, the team who wants it more will be triumphant in this match.

I am hoping it will be the team in red, blue and orange.

 PATRICK AZADIAN is a writer and the creative director of a local marketing and graphic design studio living in Glendale. He may be reached at

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