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New hope for Armenia

By Messenger staff
Friday, September 12
The recent visit to Armenia of the Turkish President has given a new impulse to possible developments in the region and the granting of a transit role to Armenia.

The opening of the border with Turkey could bring multiple benefits to Yerevan: Armenia would no longer be isolated from regional economic activities, it could possibly substitute Georgia’s transit function and Baku and Tbilisi would not be the only economic leaders in the region. Opening the border would also obviate the need for the Karsi-Akhalkalaki railway route. The Gumri-Karsi railway could be reactivated.

Armenian political analyst Vigen Akopian thinks that if this is to be the case Armenia will have to make certain concessions. The bottom line would be to create security zones around Karabakh and withdraw the Armenian troops from there. Akopian goes further, suggesting the construction of a pipeline in the north of the country to pump Azeri oil to Turkey, because he believes the Georgian corridor is no longer so secure. The analyst also thinks that as Armenia has a nuclear power plant and receives natural gas from Iran it is not out of the question to talk about Armenia becoming a new energy transport hub in the near future. He suggests that the warming of relations between the two countries should be brokered by Russia.

However there are other opinions about the recent visit. Director of the Strategic Research Centre Ararat Armen Aivazian points out that there will be certain preconditions under which Turkey will open its border with Armenia. The most important will be Turkey’s economic expansion in Armenia. Since the Armenian economic system is very fragile, this will mean Turkey will swallow the country’s economy. Aivazian also thinks that if the border is opened Armenians will migrate to Turkey and Turks to Armenia.