1517) Border Politics: Geopolitical Implications Of Opening The Turkish-Armenian Border*, Asbed Kotchikian

Boston University, January 2005


Since the independence of Armenia in 1991, relations with its western neighbor Turkey, has been on the agenda of the country’s successive administrations. After an initial warming up of the relations, the Turkish-Armenian border was closed for traffic. The economic arguments put aside, the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border also poses political implications which could influence not only the politics of both countries but also the overall geopolitics of the South Caucasus. Thus if Armenia and Turkey normalize their relations, a shift in the balance of power in the region would occur. This paper is an attempt to raise and examine the political issues related to the Turkish-Armenian border opening and the implications that it could have on the political outlook of Armenia as well as the geopolitical realignment in the South Caucasus.


Armenia, Turkey, Political Relations . .


Since their independence, the countries of the South Caucasus have tried to chart their foreign policies in a new environment of international and regional system. The lack of independent and sovereign experience to conduct foreign policy for these countries has made the foreign policy formulation process a task reliant on factors such as historical experience, perceptions of other actors’ intentions, domestic constraints and to some extent geopolitical realities.

In the case of Armenia, historical experience and domestic politics played an important role in determining the new republic’s relations with its western neighbor Turkey. During the initial independent phase, the new Armenian leadership under President Levon Ter-Petrossian was very keen on establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey to counterbalance the Russian influence as well as to obtain an outlet towards the West for the infant republic. However despite the initiatives of the Armenian government to normalize relations with Turkey several factors rendered their attempts futile.

The factors influencing the Turkish-Armenian relations are multifaceted.

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Border Politics - Geopolitical Implications Of Opening Turkish-Armenian Border.pdf


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