Kars-Akhalkalaki Rail: Construction Starts with Bloody Developments

KARS-AKHALKALAKI RAILROAD: CONSTRUCTION STARTS WITH BLOODY DEVELOPMENTS
VARDAN GRIGORYAN

Hayots Ashkhar Daily
Published on July 26, 2008
Armenia

The dramatic events that occurred in Javahk on the eve of the official
launch of the construction of the Kars-Akhalaklaki railroad testify to
the fact that the Turkish-Azerbaijani peaceful economic initiatives are
going to end in a bloody battle for us, the Armenians.

It is more than obvious that the conflicts which started in Akhalkalaki
on June 17, prior to the beginning of the construction of the Kars
Akhalkalaki railroad, are the result of the primitive provocations
initiated by the Georgian intelligence services. They pursued a goal to
demonstrate the Georgian government’s decisiveness in realizing the
construction of the railroad on the territory of Javahk.

Therefore, no matter to what extent the methods of struggle chosen by
the `United Javahk’ company corresponded to the new developments in the
region, the activists of the organization could not but act as
`scapegoats’ in the given spectacle.

This testifies to the fact that starting the construction of the
Turkish section of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad is fraught with the
threat of introducing `highly-explosive’ elements in the situation of
the region, which is tense, as it is.

Georgia is in the focus of Russia’s serious political-military
pressures which will reach their culmination before December 2008, a
period when the official Tbilisi anticipates obtaining full rights to
NATO membership. And it is not absolutely accidental that at the time
when the Georgian, Azeri and Turkish Presidents were laying the
foundations of the new `Silky Road’ in Kars on the 24th of July,
large-scale military trainings were being held in the countries
situated to the north and south of Georgia.

The existing situation makes the Armenian leadership avoid the
temptation of making hasty assessments on the recent developments.
However, it is necessary to keep in mind that there has never been any
serious economic and technical justification for the construction of
the Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad. This is a lever of political pressure
against Armenia. The high-flown words delivered by the top figures of
Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan are, as a matter of fact, a simple veil
for the whole civilized world.

With the purpose of `embellishing’ them more, the Turkish President
announced in Kars that the given project was open to all the countries
of the South Caucasus. Along with the hint obviously directed to
Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan implicitly remind about the well-known
preconditions they have imposed on our country.

So what `open projects’ do the Turks and Azeris speak about in a
situation when Armenia is offered to put aside its historical
recollections and achievements in order to participate in them?
Clearly, such propaganda show is initiated with the purpose of
maintaining `one’s own image’ in the atmosphere of the non-official
Armenian-Turkish relations which have livened up recently.

Thus, before the year 2011, a time when it is planned to hand over the
Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad for operation, the territory of Javahk may
serve as a means for exerting pressure upon Armenia and organizing
political provocations. The Azerbaijani company which has undertaken
the responsibility of carrying out the construction will be certainly
involved in such provocations as this may serve as a tool for spoiling
the Armenian-Georgian relations.

The Turkish intelligence services will also initiate active work in
Javahk in an attempt to drive a wedge in the Armenian-Georgian
relations, speeding up the return of the Turkish-Meskhets.

Georgia in turn will find itself in an ambiguous situation because, by
making its territory a theatre of geo-economic experiments containing
obvious elements of bluff, it will sooner or later have to taste the
bitter fruits of such tricks.

Moreover, no matter how much the countries launching the construction
of the Kars-Akhalakalaki railroad may try to advertise the economic
`advantages’ of their project, it is becoming more and more obvious
that they will need new financial resources for accomplishing the
activities in time. Today, it is already clear that the project will
`swallow’ 600-700 million US Dollars instead of the previously
announced sum of 400 million US Dollars, but the expenses will not be
limited to that.

Disguising the construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad behind the
signboard of a large-scale economic program, Turkey is introducing
elements of internal tension in the region. And the following question
comes up: who is it advantageous to? Armenia and the Armenian diplomacy
are required to do their utmost to prevent the launch of the
construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad from developing into a
proper occasion for clashes and arrests in Javahk. It is necessary to
win time, at least till the end of the current year when certain
clarifications are expected both in the Russian-American relations and
in Georgia’s plans for NATO membership. It is also quite possible for
such clarifications to be accompanied by the weakening of the current
tension around Abkhazia and South Osia.

In conditions of the current unfavorable geo-political developments,
the most important thing to do is not to become a `party’ to the
`competition’ of the interested superpowers and at the same time, win
their approval with regard to the issue of raising the blockade of
Armenia. This will be followed by the moment when they will attach
importance to the role and significance of the Armenian factor in
suspending Turkey’s program aimed at invading the South Caucasus.

We believe that at the beginning of 2009, Armenia and the Armenian
diplomacy will be given the opportunity to undertake active and
initiatory steps for overcoming the circle of blockade and provocations
resulting from the construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad.

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