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Turkey’s Missed Opportunity

YEREVAN – Turkey, sadly, seems to be falling into the bad habit of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity in its relations with Armenia. But this failure of will and vision is only breeding wider regional instability.

In the two weeks before US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Turkey, there was almost universal optimism that Turkey would open its border with Armenia. But Obama came and went, and the border remained close.

Turkish-Armenian relations remain more about gestures than substance. Indeed, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dismissive recent statements hint that Turkey may even be backtracking on its plans to establish more normal bilateral ties.

Those ties have been strained since 1993, when Turkey closed its border with Armenia in solidarity with Azerbaijan in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. When Erdogan and Gul came to power in 2003, nothing changed. The border remained closed.