YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–A senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) echoed findings of a study conducted by the Armenian-European Policy and Legal Advice Center (AEPLAC)–a research center funded by the European Union–which concluded an open border with Turkey would do little to give a strong push to Armenia’s economic development.
Vahan Hovhannisan–who is the vice chairman of Armenia’s parliament and a member of the ARF Bureau–stressed however–that Turkey must eventually lift its blockade of Armenia–in aspiring to join the European Union.
The blockade was instituted in 1993–in the heat of the Karabagh conflict. It resulted in a total shutdown of land and air communications between Turkey and Armenia.
Speaking to a gathering of the Third Pan-Armenian Youth forum–taking place in Yerevan–Hovhannisian added that the border is open from the Armenian side–and that Armenia has nothing to offer to Turkey in return of its opening the border.
"We cannot give up what Turkey deman’s. It deman’s that Armenian forces leave Karabagh. In addition–Armenia cannot drop its demand for the recognition of the Armenian genocide. That process is in place even without Armenia’s participation," said Hovhannisian–citing the recent passage of Armenian genocide legislation by Venezuela. "Armenia’s role was minimal."
AEPLAC’s findings run counter to the opinion of Western donors and some members of the Armenian government who say that an open border would help restore the Turkish-Armenian rail link and give Armenia alternative routs to take its products to other markets.
Currently over 90 percent of Armenia’s external trade is carried out through Georgian territory.