meeting by the Foreign Ministers sparked speculation..
"Talks about possible reopening of Armenian-Turkish border became
more serious especially after the war in Iraq," says Suren Baghdasaryan,
a Turkish expert at the Institute of Scientific Studies of the National Academy
of Sciences of Armenia.
Baghdasaryan says that the United States' renewed interests
in the Middle East compel the superpower to encourage open borders so that there
may be better access and control.
Meetings this summer have led some to
speculate that border discussions have intensified and that resolutions to disputes
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Armenia met
in June in Madrid (though Minister Vardan Osakanian down-played any possibility
of changes in border status) and also in June a meeting of the Armenian-Turkish
Reconciliation Committee (June 5-6 in Istanbul) spoke about the seriousness of
the issue of reopening the border.
At a news conference on September 16,
Oskanian re-stated his position, saying: "Since the beginning I have always
been approaching this issue very carefully and I have never had great expectations."
Media in both countries have fueled speculation of a resolution and are
expectant of some related news following this week's United Nations General Assembly
in which the Armenian and Turkish ministers were expected to meet again.
to statements earlier this year by Turkish Prime Minister Rejep Erdogan, the Turkish
media was speculating that the Armenia-Turkey border would have been opened by
the end of last month.
In Armenia, comments by Minister of Defense Serzh
Sargsyan were also optimistic. According to him, the reopening of the border is
a question that will be solved in a matter of months.
Minister of Transport
and Communication Andranik Manukyan was optimistic too. He stated that he has
confidential information that the Turkish side has constructed a new railway station
next to the Armenian border. According to him, "Even today Armenia can already
start accepting cargo."
However, according to "Mediamax",
during the meeting that has recently been held between the Minister of Foreign
Affairs of Azerbaijan Vilayat Guliev and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Giul
the latter told reporters that, "Turkey is not going to reopen the border
with Armenia." Giul said that Sargsyan's optimism "doesn't correspond
However, at the end of August, Erdogan stated in Kars
that Turkey is ready to make a step towards Armenia, however, "our adverse
party must demonstrate understanding." His statement was directed at the
genocide question, to which he added, "let historians deal with genocide."
One of the ruling coalitional members of Armenia, the Dashnak Party, is
against reopening the borders on such conditions. Vice Speaker of the National
Assembly Vahan Hovhannisyan, a Dashnak, said that opening under those conditions
"will directly threaten our national interests".
Hovhannisyan, Turkey wins more if the roads are opened. "If Turkey thinks
that in case of unblocking the roads they cede us something then why for the economic
concession do they demand a political concession from us? Why do they demand from
us to forget about genocide?"
Other coalitional parties, Hanrapetakan
and Orinats Yerkir, are of completely different opinions. In particular, Aremnia's
Minister of Trade and Economic Development, of the Hanrapetakan party, says that
reopening of Armenian-Turkish borders "will induce economic activity in the
region and will contribute to the development of competition. The presence of
the alternative transport route can encourage the cheapening of the Georgian route
and consequently it will encourage the increase of the import of some potentials."
leader of Orinats Yerkir, Speaker of NA Artur Baghdasaryan has a global approach
to the issue of border reopening. He is for establishing relations with the Turkish
Parliament because "the European Union is for that as well". According
to Baghdasaryan, cooperation between lawmakers will lead to the establishment
of diplomatic relations between these two countries.
A press release from
the Turkish-Azerbaijanian Media Research Center said that 11 of 15 questioned
Turkish journalists were against reopening the border. Many of them explained
their position with Armenia's demand on recognition the genocide.
America, Ross Vardanian of the Armenian Conference of the USA told media that
if denying the genocide is a precondition for opening the border "it will