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How many times has Pashinyan “opened” the border with Turkiye in 2023?

October 31 2023, 23:00

Speaking at the meeting on the 2024 draft budget, Nikol Pashinyan addressed a number of issues, including Armenia’s relations with Turkiye. Pashinyan expressed hope to sign agreements on the opening of a checkpoint on the Armenian-Turkish border in the near future. “At this stage, it is planned to open it for citizens of third countries and holders of diplomatic passports,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The very familiar phrase “on opening the border for citizens of third countries” was used again. Pashinyan is not the first Armenian official to express hope for the “speedy opening of the border between the two states.”

Thanking Turkiye for its support, Cavusoglu even called Armenia a “brotherly country”, and Mirzoyan said at a joint press conference that Armenia and Turkiye had agreed to restore the border bridge in Ani.

After returning from Ankara, Mirzoyan said at a government meeting that a decision was made to speed up the process of opening borders with Turkiye.

Already in March, Ararat Mirzoyan went further and stated that Armenia and Turkiye had agreed to open the border for third-country citizens before the start of the tourist season, that is, until the summer of 2023.

This April, the Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Special Representative for negotiations with Turkiye Ruben Rubinyan said that the Armenian side is working on the technical equipment of the checkpoint in Margara, located on the border with Turkiye, with the aim of launching it before the summer of this year.

At the end of June, the same Ruben Rubinyan expressed the hope that Turkiye would fulfill the agreement on the opening of the land border.

And now we are approaching the end of fall, when it is Nikol Pashinyan who expresses hope that “the agreements on the opening of the border between the states will be fulfilled.”

From February to the end of October 2023, a number of events occurred, indicating that the real goals of official Ankara are in no way connected with the opening of borders with Armenia.

During this time, Ankara fully supported Azerbaijan and the blockade of Artsakh, and then expressed its full support during the military aggression of the Aliyev regime against the Armenians and ethnic cleansing in Artsakh. Turkiye has asked the IAEA to stop the activities of the Armenian nuclear power plant.

A delegation of the National Assembly of Turkiye met with representatives of the so-called “community of Western Azerbaijan”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkiye expects Armenia to fulfill its promises on the Zangezur Corridor, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, in parallel with Erdogan’s statements, said that “they (Azerbaijanis – ed.) will return to Zengezur.”

After the fall of Artsakh, Armenia presented a new “regional mega-project” called the Crossroads of Peace, and Pashinyan, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, spoke not only “about the centuries-old history of Armenia’s relations with Turkiye and Azerbaijan”, but also about the advantages of exploiting the territories of Armenia for communications between Turkiye and Azerbaijan. However, as the political scientist Sergey Melkonyan correctly noted, Nakhichevan is quite convenient as a “trade crossroads”, while Armenia will remain at a “regional dead end”.

On October 26, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk said that Zangezur is not being considered within the framework of the North-South project due to Armenia’s unclear position. Considering new communications between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Iran, it will become clear that Pashinyan’s “Crossroads of Peace” threatens to turn into a complete dead end.

To sum up, we can say that the opening of the border with Turkiye desired by Pashinyan and the implementation of the “Crossroads of Peace” project remain unattainable goals for now. “Unblocking Armenia” was the main slogan with which Pashinyan went to the 2021 elections.

More than two years have passed since the elections, the election promise has not been fulfilled, and the preconditions of Turkiye and Azerbaijan are gradually increasing.