Renewing Roads in the Caucasus

Turkey and Armenia are tantalizingly close to opening diplomatic relations, and may re-open their border — which has been closed since 1993 — by the end of 2009.

The BBC says,

They are to hold six weeks of domestic consultations on the move [to have diplomatic relations] after which their parliaments will vote on it, their foreign ministries announced.

FIFA has helped, again according to the BBC:

Anticipation of a diplomatic breakthrough has been growing ahead of a planned visit by Armenian President Serge Sarkisian to Turkey on 14 October.

He is due to attend the return leg of a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries.

Swissinfo is chuffed at the local angle:

Historical foes Armenia and Turkey took a step toward reconciliation on Monday by announcing they would launch final talks aimed at establishing diplomatic ties.

Both sides said in a joint statement, also signed by Switzerland as mediator, that they expected the talks to take six weeks and to end with an agreement setting up and developing diplomatic ties.

If both parliaments approve the protocols that emerge from these talks, the border would open two months later. I saw signs of this development earlier in the year, and wrote a bit more analysis when the two countries announced their framework for normalizing relations, back in the spring. The Armenian Ambassador to Georgia has apparently been a regular visitor to the Turkish Ambassador to Georgia, so these talks are proceeding along a number of tracks and are probably getting quite detailed.

I don’t think that Armenians have been able to visit Mr Ararat since before the Soviet period. (Anyone with more historical knowledge care to enlighten me?) That might change by the end of this year.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Political issues by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

1 thought on “Renewing Roads in the Caucasus

  1. Armenians can and do visit Mount Ararat but they have to travel through Georgia or fly to Istanbul (there are flights from Yerevan to Istanbul) as the Turkish border is closed.

Comments are closed.