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The Closed Armenia-Turkey Border: Economic and Social Effects, including those on the People; and Implications for the Overall Situation in the Region


The closure of the Turkish-Armenian border in April, 1993 has generated grave costs to Armenia. A re-opening of the border would benefit greatly Armenia’s economy and society, even if some economic sectors may suffer from external competition. The opening would also favourably impact Armenia’s political development and open the way to the county’s full integration into the region. Turkey also loses significantly from the closure, while having much to gain from a policy reversal. In particular the opening would yield significant benefits for the underdeveloped province of Kars, as well as raise the competitiveness of the port of Trabzon. A reopening of the border would also have beneficial effects on the wider region, including the South Caucasus, Russia, the Black Sea, Iran and Central Asia. The major gains would be in terms of economic efficiency, achieved by integration, reducing transit fees and opening new markets. Turkey’s isolation of Armenia has alienated Yerevan further, disqualified Ankara’s role in mediation efforts over Karabakh, and more complicated and imperiled Turkey’s ties with Russia and the EU. The case for opening the border is strong, when viewed from all perspectives. How could this win-win situation be brought about in the face of interlocking and highly sensitive political problems? The EU could contribute greatly to incentivize and support these successive steps by making an effective use of its accession process with Turkey and the inclusion of Armenia in the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Studio preparato dall'Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) per conto della commissione sugli Affari esteri del Parlamento europeo nell'ambito dell'accordo tra la Trans-European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) e il Parlamento europeo.

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