Armenian-Turkish border might open much earlier than anyone pictures

By opening the border, Turkey actually declines to support Karabakh conflict settlement, which, generally speaking, is nothing new.

Once again USA raises the question of opening the Armenian-Turkish border. Nothing new, in general: every time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the region, in negotiations with the Armenian and Turkish leaders she necessarily puts forward the need for opening the border. This time she accused Turkish opposition, particularly Leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, of delaying and hindering the ratification process of Armenian-Turkish Protocols on normalization of relations.

PanARMENIAN.Net - “When I asked the government statesmen why the Parliament doesn’t discuss the Armenian-Turkish protocols, I was told that CHP is against the ratification of the protocols,” Clinton said. Such a response from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is quite natural; Erdogan couldn’t have said otherwise. But, for some reason, Kilicdaroglu said he was not in the know.

Kilicdaroglu expressed his surprise towards Clinton’s statement saying: “Government doesn’t provide any information concerning the protocols. We learn about these protocols only from the media. It is surprising for us why the ruling party should accuse us. They form a majority in the parliament, so if they want, they can introduce the Protocols and pass them.” This sounds somehow childish and too implausible. It turns out that this prominent Turkish politician knows nothing about the protocols and about the foreign policy of his country, in general. The calculations of the Turkish side are comprehensible: Turkey will open the border sooner or later and this is necessary not as much to herself or to Armenia as to the “Swiss-American” peacekeepers, who were unable to complete the process started. However, the opening will be done on Turkish terms. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has already declared the border may soon open for cross-border traffic and trade.

Turkish media strongly circulates information about opening a new office of the Turkish Airlines (THY), a strong partner for the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Thus, according to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Istanbul – Los Angeles and Van–Yerevan flights will soon be launched. Though, for some reason, the report says “it is necessary to reconstruct the Zvartnots airport in Yerevan”, so that it can receive the flights. This statement is totally incomprehensible, as the airport “Zvartnots” is the most modern in the region and can receive any aircraft. So, only this part of the article is enough to conclude that all the information is just a fancy, child of the brain, intended for external use. A few months ago similar information was spread by Turkish media, which was later denied by Yerevan. According to Armenia’s Civil Aviation Department, the leadership of Turkish Airlines has not addressed Yerevan with a request to open an office.

Azerbaijan could not stay aside, declaring that though she hates interfering in the internal affairs of a third country, she has to express her disagreement to opening the border, as it “contradicts the national interests of Azerbaijan”. Baku’s concern is understandable: by opening the border, Turkey actually declines to support the Karabakh conflict settlement, which, generally speaking, is nothing new. The assurances of Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu on Turkey’s readiness to continue defending the interests of Azerbaijan in achieving a just settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict cost nothing. It’s time Baku lived with the reality. It may well be that Aliyev and his associates know about it, but they prefer to rend the air with claims of “fraternal friendship”. In 1921, opening the Embassy of Azerbaijan SSR in Istanbul, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk talked a lot about brotherhood, friendship and support. He did it, because the Bolsheviks gave him Armenia, provided the Turkish army with armaments and paid him 5 million rubles in gold... Let us note that the assistance to Kemalists was huge, while Soviet Russia, as history claims, lay in ruins. Times have changed, and the portraits of Ataturk hanging in all the institutions in Turkey do not reflect the current policy of AKP. And the current Turkish policy is neo-Ottomanism and Islamism, against which Ataturk fought so hard.

As for opening the Armenian-Turkish border, it might happen much sooner than anyone could ever predict. But the question is whether Armenia needs it or not. This question has received no answer for two years now. Closing the border at the request of Azerbaijan in 1993, Ankara was guided by emotions rather than by reason. Now it’s not time for emotions. Prime Minister Erdogan is a sound politician and he knows what he needs. If he needs Armenia and not Azerbaijan, he will make his choice despite everything, even the Turkic solidarity.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
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