Turkish President’s Visit to Armenia Unlikely to Entail Soon Opening of Borders: Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 4 September / Trend corr. E.Tariverdiyeva, V.Zhavoronkova, R.Hafizoglu/ Experts believe visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Armenia is unlikely to entail soon opening of borders between the two countries.

"It is early to speak about opening of borders, but given slyness of Armenian politicians, that can take place as time goes by," independent Turkish political scientist Mehmet Bekaroglu said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul will visit Yerevan on 6 September on the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to watch a football match between the national teams of the two countries within the selection stage of World Championship 2010.

There are no diplomatic links between Turkey and Armenia and the border between the two countries has been closed for recent 15 years. Analysts consider Gul's visit to Yerevan to be an opportunity to normalize the relationships between the two neighbour countries, through opening of borders will not be settled in near future.

For a long period Armenia has been in partial economic blockade due to closed border with Turley and Azerbaijan. Therefore, now Armenia will make a compromise to open a part of the borders.

"For Armenia it is important not only to resume diplomatic relations but also to open borders between the two states," Bekaroglu, former MP of the Turkish Parliament, told Trend in a telephone conversation from Istanbul.

Anyway, one issue remains unsolved - how much is Turkey ready to open the border?

"A visit is not beginning of negotiations," European expert of Caucasus Svante Cornell said. "That should be taken as nor more than a gesture," co-director of the Stockholm Institute of Security & Development Policy Svante Cornell said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Stockholm. According to him, Turley will not change its hard political policy towards Armenia and it is not the time to open Turkey-Armenia border.

That can be the beginning, a rather serious endeavour to solve, at least partially, the problems between Turkey and Armenia or to commence negotiations in this connection, Azerbaijani political scientist Rasim Musabayov said. "I think Gul's visit to Armenia to watch football match will not be followed by opening of borders a month or two later," Musabayov said to Trend by telephone.

This needs certain level of diplomatic relations. This process will also help to become part of dialogue and it will be an attempt to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations. But I do no think it will taken place any time soon, he said.

According to Turkish political expert Bekaroglu, Turkey has a principal position on Armenia and Yerevan will make any concessions to restore relations and such development of events can lead to opening of borders in future.

Opening of borders will provide Armenia with a chance to revive economy of the country and Armenia can even give up exaggeration of "genocide" for this purpose but only until those it will revive economy to the necessary level, he said.

The official Ankara have stated repeatedly that the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and giving up policy of international recognition of "genocide" against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I when some nearly 1.5mln people were killed, can serve as a ground for restoring diplomatic relations with Armenia.

West played a big role in normalizing relations between the two states, expert said.

The crisis around South Ossetia necessitates the opening of borders between Turkey and Armenia for the barter among region states, Joseph Pennington, chargé d'affaires of US in Armenia said to media in Yerevan. No other state, but only US is interested in opening of borders and normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey, Caucasus junction portal reported.

Turkey made this move not under its own will, but under US influence as the war in Abkhazia and South Ossetia seriously affected economy of Armenia, Cornell said.

"West understands only restoration of relations with Turkey can help to revive economy in Armenia," Cornell said.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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