Yerevan reportedly making case Turkey no longer has reason to keep border with Armenia closed

By bne IntelIiNews February 10, 2021

Yerevan believes that given the changes in the Nagorno-Karabakh status quo, Ankara no longer has any reason to keep its border with Armenia closed, Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan was quoted as saying by TASS in an address given to Armenia’s parliament on February 11.

"Turkey should gradually resume normal processes under the international community’s pressure. I mean that there are no more reasons to keep its border with Armenia closed. As you know, the border closure stemmed from the status quo in Artsakh [the name used by ethnic Armenians for the internationally unrecognised self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh], which was changed by force. Turkey has no more reasons to keep the border with Armenia closed," Ayvazyan was cited as pointing out.

Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations and, according to Armenia’s top diplomat, "no processes are under way" for opening their border.

Ankara armed and strongly supported Azerbaijan in the six-week Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that took place last autumn. It resulted in a Russian-brokered ceasefire under which Baku made substantial territorial gains. Presently, Armenia and Azerbaijan are involved in tripartite efforts with Russia to unblock economic and transport links between their countries and between their countries and Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey, meanwhile, is jointly running a ceasefire monitoring centre with Russia. Located on Azerbaijani territory, it is expected to deploy drones to help observe the keeping of the peace.

In 2009, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey signed protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations and the principles of bilateral relations, but the documents have never been ratified. On March 1, 2018, Armenia declared the protocols null and void.

Armenia, an impoverished nation of towards 3mn people with a GDP of around $13.5bn, potentially stands a lot to gain from the opening of its border with Turkey, a country of 83mn with a GDP of around $750bn.

As things stand, Armenia has been busy clearing Turkish products of the shelves of its supermarkets. They are largely being replaced with Iranian alternatives, with the embargo against Turkish items seen as an official response to the aggressive support Turkey gave Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh showdown of last year.

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