Armenia has always been ready to have an open border and established diplomatic relations with Turkey in one second, deputy speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia and the latter’s special representative in relations with Turkey, Ruben Rubinyan told the RFE/RL Armenian Service, stressing that Armenia is constructive in this matter.
According to Rubinyan, Turkey, however has not yet taken that step.
Below is an excerpt from the interview with Ruben Rubinyan.
Are there already direct cargo transportations between Yerevan and Ankara?
The opportunity is open. And if the relevant businessmen want to take advantage of this opportunity, they can. The last meeting that took place was not between special representatives, but there was a technical meeting at the border, in Margara, and the condition, suitability of the Margara bridge was studied, samples were taken bilaterally, and now we are at the stage of that study, after which it will be clear how we move forward. Also, our proposal to open the land border for diplomatic passport holders remains on the table, and we are waiting for the response from the Turkish side.
When there is already an official conclusion about the bridge, according to it, the timeframes can be specified. But, of course, if it is determined that the bridge is suitable for immediate use, in that case there will be no technical reason left for not opening the border immediately for citizens of third countries. And if this does not happen, it will mean that there will be a political reason, whereas there cannot be a political reason, at least on the part of the Republic of Armenia.
Mr. Rubinyan, by the way, what is the logic of opening [the Armenia-Turkey border] for third countries?
Naturally, Armenia has always been ready to have an open border and established diplomatic relations in one second. Moreover, by saying ‘always,’ I mean since 1991. But since the Turkish side, at least until now, has not taken that step, some steps have been discussed that can be a means of strengthening certain confidence; and, in that context, there was a proposal from our side and that proposal was accepted. By the way, the proposal of direct air cargo transportation was also made by the Turkish side and was accepted by us. The meaning is to give an opportunity to open the border in any case, even partially, which can intensify the tourist movement, etc.
Is a meeting with Turkey's special representative [Serdar] Kilic scheduled in the near future?
At the moment, no.
What is the main obstacle that is delaying the normalization [of Armenia-Turkey relations]? Do they say, "Sign a peace treaty, then?"
The main obstacle is that Turkey has not yet taken this step. Armenia is ready to have a completely open border and diplomatic relations with Turkey tomorrow.
I was referring to the condition which even comes from [Turkish president] Erdogan's lips from time to time.
Various and contradictory statements are often made from Turkey. For example, they also say that Turkey goes to this process without preconditions, but on the other hand, statements are made that contradict these statements, but in any case, Armenia is constructive.