Nothing will change in region after opening borders between Turkey and Armenia: Georgia’s former minister of economy

Nothing will change in the South Caucasus region after opening borders between Turkey and Armenia, since the routes of energy supplies will not change without solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Georgia’s former minister of economy, a senior fellow at the Fund for Strategic and International Studies of Georgia, Professor Vladimir Papava.

“As though Turkey had no relations with Armenia, I do not consider it possible that the Azerbaijani government will agree upon any projects on energy resources transportation through Armenia without the return of occupied territories and Nagorno-Karabakh, Papava told Trend Capital. – So, from an economic point of view, nothing will change in the region with the opening of borders.

Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the protocols Ankara-Yerevan in Zurich on October 10. Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey have been broken due to Armenia’s claims of an alleged genocide, and its occupation of Azerbaijani lands. The border between them has been broken since 1993.

According to Papava, prior to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the opening of borders between Armenia and Turkey would be important, since the shortest route linking Azerbaijan with Turkey passes through Armenia.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7 districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France, and the U.S. – are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Many say that for Turkey it is important to have alternative transportation corridors, but on the other hand, now nobody will build new pipelines, said Papava.

In reality, already there are pipelines – Baku-Supsa, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, said Papava.

“If to talk about Nabucco gas pipeline, in which, ideally, Azerbaijani gas should participate, the new gas can go through the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline,” said the expert.

The Nabucco pipeline worth 7.9 billion Euros is expected to deliver gas from Azerbaijan and Central Asia to EU countries. Pipeline construction is scheduled for 2011. Maximum capacity of the pipeline will amount to 31 billion cubic meters per year.

For the integration of the Turkish business into Armenia, according to Papava, there is a danger that there it will face a large number of Russian companies, which have already occupied a certain niche.

However, it needs to consider that after opening borders, a large stream of Armenians will pour into Turkey to seek job, he said.

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