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Armenia and Turkey are reconciling. What is Georgia to expect?2009-09-01 23:20
Ankara and Yerevan are coming together. Through the intermediary of Switzerland, the six-week consultation on the "internal political consultations" has started today. Such decision speaks of the new geopolitical realities in the Caucasus. The issue is rather complicated: political and economic interests of all the regional countries are too much interlaced. The experts' opinions vary. The GeorgiaTimes correspondent tried to find out in what way the friendship between Abdullah Gul and Serzh Sargsyan is going to affect the Georgian economy, which transit function can be called unique because of the closed Armenian-Turkish border.
The topic of the coming consultation is the preparation for the signing of two documents: "Protocol on establishing diplomatic relationship" and "Protocol on developing bilateral relationship". According to the joint statement made by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Turkish republic and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, the participants of negotiations have "done a lot of work aimed at normalizing bilateral relations and their development in a spirit of neighborliness and mutual respect, thus contributing to peace, stability and safety in the whole region".
"Both the parties have reached tangible progress and mutual understanding in the process and have agreed upon the overall context of normalizing bilateral relationship that is satisfactory for both parties. The roadmap is defined in this context. The agreed basic grounds provide positive perspective for continuing the process", - the Armenian MFA statement says.
Of course, no one is talking about opening the borders so far; however, there are certain prospects as to this point. According to RIA Novosti, while commenting upon reaching an agreement between the two countries about the start of consultation on the establishment of diplomatic relations, Head of the Turkish MFA Ahmet Davutoglu has stated that today, Turkey is not planning to open the border with the neighboring Armenia. "The purpose of Turkey is to maintain the best possible relations with its neighbors and establish a stable and universal peace in the Caucasus", - Davutoglu told in his interview to NTV company.
The dialogue between Armenia and Turkey that started in September 2008 caused Baku's suspicion. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in respect of Nagorny Karabakh resulted in Turkey having closed the border with Armenia. Finally, on 6 September 2008, President of Turkey Abdullah Gul paid his first visit to Yerevan at the invitation of President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan to jointly watch the football match between the Armenian and Turkish national teams in the context of the 2010 World Championship qualifying cycle. The meeting of the heads of the two neighboring countries also took place there and was called "a historic event" in Turkey. The visit got the name of "football diplomacy".
However, there are a lot of people in Armenia who treat the Armenian-Turkish thaw skeptically. Many people believe that Armenia made excessive concessions in respect of the Turks, having got nothing significant in return. Besides, the issue of mass murder of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 is still the main obstacle on the way of normalizing the relationship between the two countries. Turkey is strongly opposed to defining the bloody events of the beginning of the century as genocide, while Armenia is insisting upon it. However, in the opinion of the Armenian leader, the evaluation of the common historical past should not interfere with rebuilding of the relationship.