Political scientist, Founder and President of the Modus Vivendi Center Ara Papyan, Republican MP Shirak Torosyan, economist Vilen Khachatryan and economic analyst Hayk Gevorgyan took part in the discussion “The Political and Economic Impact of the Regulation of Russia-Turkey relations on Armenia” at Media Center.
“Taking into account Turkey's anti-Armenian policy, the Russian-Turkish rapprochement can be harmful for us. Therefore, we must be very careful and vigilant and make so that the rapprochement is not directed against us," Torosyan said.
He expressed confidence that the relations between Russia and Turkey can never be good globally and reach a strategic level.
“These two countries have very conflicting interests in the region, which are sometimes put aside, pushing ahead more important issues of the moment. But it is strictly temporary. Proof is the recent developments in the Middle East, during which the interests of Turkey and Russia clashed and they threw away the economic and financial interests and clashed in the Syrian crisis. But over time Turkey recognized that it begins to suffer much economically and the main reason for Erdogan's apology is that," MP said.
Ara Papyan thinks that the main reason for restoring Putin-Erdogan dialogue is the isolation between the two countries in relations with the West.
“Now he began to play with it, what had once been done in 1920s. At that time again two isolated states tried to get closer, and it was quite successful for Turkey, but for us, Armenians, unfortunately, quite unsuccessful. Therefore, I fear that the same scenario could be repeated now. If then the guarantee for reconciliation were Kars province and Surmalu, now it will take place at the expense of our interests - Karabakh. And Lavrov’s plan to give in five districts instead of stable condition is the worst option. Because if we started from territories in exchange for status, then it turned into territories in exchange for peace, they now have the option territories in exchange for a more stable situation. Therefore, I have no optimistic forecasts in Karabakh issue, especially as a result of the Turkish-Russian rapprochement on this,” he said.
Speaking of the economic impact of restoring Russian-Turkish relations in Armenia, economist Vilen Khachatryan noted that the economies of Armenia and Turkey can not be compared because of differences in their scales. "Turkey's GDP is 720 billion dollars while in Armenia it is 10.5, the volume of imports and exports is also incomparable. However, he noted that during the Russian-Turkish strained relations, export growth rates were recorded . In 2015 we were able to export products worth 244 million dollars and during 5-month period in 2016, the export comprises US $ 132 million," Khachatryan said, adding that Armenia's economy is heavily dependent on export volumes from Russia.
The economist noted that Iran has strengthened its position in the Russian market by signing contracts to export agricultural products to the Russian Federation. According to him, Armenia could benefitfrom all this by 10, 20, 30 million USD, including due to the increase in tourist flows.
"But we know that Russian tourists mostly prefer to stay at sea, and we do not have sea. Of course, I do not exclude that growth might be here, but it can not be considered a significant factor for our economy," he concluded.
Economic analyst Hayk Gevorgyan, referring to official statistics, noted that Armenia won from the deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations.
"For example, vegetable exports to Russia increased dozens of times, particularly tomato, but the official statistics is not so much trustworthy, because we do not know how much it was re-exported, that is how many tomatoes were brought from Turkey, reformulated in Armenia, changing the documents of country of origin and exported to Russia. It's not bad if they were able to do it, the same thing was done in Azerbaijan, Belarus," he said.
Arevik Sahakyan, Program coordinator at “Media Center”
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