ARMENIA CAN BECOME ONE OF REGIONAL ENERGY HUBS IN CASE OF OPENING BORDERS WITH TURKEY
17.02.2010 18:39 GMT+04:0
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish civil society seems to be the main pushing
force behind the ratification of the protocols in Turkey, Dr. Sargis
Ghazaryan, Senior Research Fellow at European Friends of Armenia
"As we know, according to the provisions of the protocols, Turkey
should open its border with Armenia in two months time after their
ratification. Consequently, the real political question is whether
Turkish government will contribute to their ratification by the
Parliament in a reasonable timeframe, or would instead artificially
postpone the vote up to the next legislature, thus killing them?
Normally, when the executive needs to contribute to the passage of a
legislation, it sets up positive communication campaigns countrywide,
it organizes vote simulations inside its majority in the Parliament
and engages civil society in order to raise awareness. I haven’t seen
that happening in Turkey. Paradoxically, while from the very first
day after the signature of the protocols official Ankara was adopting
a logic of "what is mine is mine, what is yours is negotiable",
Turkish civil society seems to be the main pushing force behind the
ratification of the protocols in Turkey.
As for the geopolitical value of an open border with Turkey, if its
short term economic effects are properly managed, Armenia should
use it to move forward in making sure it is integrated into the
trans-regional energy networks. Moreover, Armenia can become one of
the regional energy hubs considering the EU willingness to include
Iran in Nabucco. The importance steel and coal had in the post-war
European integration, hydrocarbons can have in the transformation of
the post-Soviet conflict-torn and segmented the South Caucasus.
The EU needs to upgrade its involvement in this most decisive stage
of the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement and contribute to demolishing of
the deepest and tallest wall of Europe.
To sum up, yes, Turkey can open the border this year, and it is in
Turkey’s best interest, too. What Turkey needs in order to go down
that road is vision.
The ratification of the protocols and full implementation of their
provisions are a necessary condition to overcome geography and
to unleash the real potential of Armenia and eventually, of the
South Caucasus. The success of such a process can put an end to
nationalism and populism and boost diversity, multiculturalism and
cosmopolitanism," Sargis Ghazaryan told PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
The Protocols aimed at normalization of bilateral ties and opening of
the border between Armenia and Turkey were signed in Zurich by Armenian
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet
Davutoglu on October 10, 2009, after a series of diplomatic talks
held through Swiss mediation.
On January 12, 2010, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of
Armenia found the protocols conformable to the country’s Organic Law.
The Nabucco pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline from Turkey
to Austria diversifying the current natural gas suppliers and delivery
routes for Europe. The pipeline attempts to lessen European dependence
on Russian energy. The project is backed by several European Union
states and the United States and is seen as rival to the planned
Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project. At the same time there
are some doubts concerning viability of supplies. The main supplier
is expected to be Azerbaijan in cooperation with Turkmenistan, Iraq
Preparations for the Nabucco project started in 2002 and the
intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary
and Austria was signed on 13 July 2009. The project is developed
by the consortium of six companies. The pipeline is expected to be
operational by 2015 and it will carry 31 billion cubic meters of
natural gas per year.