Armenia-Turkey border may open only in case of consent between Turkey, Russia - politician

11:56 • 26.12.17



The closed interstate border between Armenia and Turkey may open only in case Turkey and Russia reach consent over the issue, according to Arman Melikyan, a former foreign minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh).


In an interview with Tert.am, the politician warned of possible hazards to Karabakh which he said may pay “the heavy price of mutual concessions” (by handing over two thirds of its territory to Azerbaijan).


“I am fundamentally against the opening of the border at such a price,” he said, describing that kind of possible scenario as a transaction aiming to depopulate Armenia and turning countries into military polygons.


Asked whether the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which Turkey cited as a precondition to opening the border and normalizing bilateral relations, still matters for the country, Melikyan said he doesn’t think Turkey has any reason to make any haste in the process. “Given that Armenia’s foreign policy is predominantly inclined to react [to processes rather than take a specific action], Turkey is for now absolutely free to discuss matters directly linked Armenia’s future with Moscow or Washington rather than Yerevan,” he noted.


According to Melikyan, the Armenia-Turkey protocols, signed in Zurich (Switzerland) back in 2009, were “impotent from the very outset” as they did not offer the necessary guarantees towards promoting a progress. “The signatories used them to exercise pressure upon each other and voice mutual accusations. Nevertheless, Turkey gained certain political dividends from their non-signing and non-ratification,” he added.


The politician also highlighted the potential hazards stemming from the documents. “Those protocols, virtually, reiterated Armenia’s official assertions to Turkey that Yerevan recognizes the Treaties of Moscow and Kars. Hence that gives Turkey the freedom to speak – without even ratifying the protocols – that Armenia’ recognizes the territorial integrity of Turkey and also Azerbaijan (at least as far as Nakicevan is concerned) and cannot therefore have any territorial demands.


“Turkey will thus be able to use the protocols as long as Mr Serzh Sargsyan will be the ex-officio head of the Armenian Government, a scenario which is highly likely today given his status as the head of the parliamentary majority party  [the Republican],” Melikyan said.


He also stressed the importance of developing a new agenda to lay the foundations of a modernized dialogue (to later allow for practical steps towards building a new model of bilateral relations). “To secure this outcome, we need serious professional work, which I believe, the Armenian authorities are not ready for at the moment,” he added.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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