By Ali Mustafayev
Since Turkey announced its intention to ink customs deal with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), it has prompted public and political debates regarding status of the Turkish-Armenian border.
The Turkish-Armenian border has been shut since 1993. The occupation of the Azerbaijani territories by Armenian Armed Forces, ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis and Yerevan’s claims to recognize the so-called ‘Armenian genocide’ were the reasons for the closure.
Although the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Armenia signed protocols on normalization of the ties back in 2009, Ankara’s demand to free the occupied regions of Azerbaijan as a point of the agreement was refused by the Armenian side and the deal was undermined.
As Yerevan is desperately looking for different ways to get out of the isolation, the country began to dream of rapprochement with Turkey through the EEU, the member of which is Armenia.
Armenian media began to disseminate reports about soon opening of the Turkish-Armenian border -- the only land border between Turkey and the EEU customs area stressing that any deal between Turkey and the Russian-led trade bloc would have to be backed by all EEU member states, including Armenia.
Turkey’s former minister for EU affairs Egemen Bagıs, commenting on the issue, emphasized that opening of the Turkish-Armenian border is out of the question.
“Turkey will not take any steps that could hurt Azerbaijan's interests,” Bagıs told Trend, adding that, the two countries are strategic partners.
For years, Ankara conditioned any improvement in bilateral relations with Yerevan on Armenian troop withdrawals from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani MP Elman Nasirov believes that opinions that the treaty between Turkey and the Eurasian Union may prompt an initiative to open the Turkish-Armenian border are baseless.
Noting that the Turkish government has not yet approved signing of any customs deal with the EEU, Nasirov added that even if Turkey intends to make such a step, it doesn’t mean that the border with Armenia will be opened.
“It is impossible. President of Turkey Recep Tayyip has repeatedly announced that the border with Armenia will remain closed until Armenia puts an end to the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories and Armenian troops are withdrawn,” he said.
Nasirov reminded that Armenia's declaration of independence, the state emblem and its constitution contains territorial claims against Turkey.
“Therefore, Turkey's borders with Armenia can not be opened,” the MP said, noting that Armenian reports have no real basis.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
More than two decades have passed since the ceasefire agreement. For all these years, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been supposed to find a solution by peaceful means. However, the reluctance of Armenia does not let to end the conflict and to restore peace in the South Caucasus.
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