NATO will hold a military drill in Armenia between September 11 and 17. In a story published originally by Turkish language Radical and d by Hurryiet the author quotes anonymous diplomatic sources concluding that the border between Turkey and Armenia will be opened on this occasion to bring in machines for the drill.
However, the newspaper continues, this will not be an official opening. It does not say the border will close again after the drill, but says the border will serve humanitarian purposes and will operate under special arrangement.
Earlier this month the the governor of Kars was asked by the higher central authorities about how long it would have taken should the border open. The answer was one month. This request of information created "public excitement in Kars," Radical writes, pointing that the border opening is equally needed for the regions of the eastern Turkey to boost their economy and trade with Armenia and improve living conditions in Eastern provinces of Turkey.
"Although the Turkish-Armenian border is not open yet due to serious political problems, Turkey will allow preparations for such a humanitarian assistance drill when requested," Radical writes and concludes that this joint drill will help to mend ties between Armenia and Turkey.
Turkey has unilaterally closed its border with Armenia, blockading the country, because of its support to Azerbaijan. The irony is that Turkey requests Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza while blockading Armenia itself.
In 2009 Armenia and Turkey signed two protocols aimed at normalizing relations and opening the border. However, there was not enough political will in Turkey to realize the project by ratifying those protocols in parliaments. Turkey conditioned normalization with Armenia to latter's relations with Azerbaijan. Armenia says the protocols have no relations to a third party.
Now the process is in a deadlock. Observers hope the September events and the opening of the border for a humanitarian purpose may help to move the process forward and mend ties between Turkey and Armenia.
Written by Armen Hareyan