ANKARA (Turkish Daily News)–Determined to make efforts toward ending the instability in the Caucasus–Turkey is closely monitoring the elections being held in Armenia.
During Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz’s recent visit to Georgia–Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and Yilmaz talked about the possibility of a Georgian mediation between Turkey and Armenia–the Turkish Daily News was told.
Among the candidates–it is Karen Demirchian–a close friend of Shevardnadze–who is the preferred candidate of both Georgia and Turkey.
With 93 percent of the vote counted–Prime Minister Robert Kocharian received 39 percent and Armenia’s Soviet-era Communist boss Karen Demirchian got 31 percent. Ten other candidates took part–but none received more than 12 percent.
A runoff will take place on March 30 between Kocharian and Demirchian.
Turkey had previously cut all its relations with Armenia.
However–following a series of moves toward normalizing ties with its eastern neighbor–Turkey and Armenia had mutually formed business committees during the administration of Levon Ter Petrosyan. The aim of these meetings was to initiate trade between Turkey and Armenia and open the border crossings.
After Kocharian (who has been labeled a hard-liner who has pinned his future on the continuation of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute) became the only prominent figure after the resignation of Petrosyan–these efforts stopped.