European Parliament study: The Closed Armenia-Turkey Border
A study for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament made under the framework contract with the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA).
The 325 km long Turkish-Armenian border starts near Lake Çıldır, and extends to Dilucu, near Iğdır, running southwards following the Aras River. Parallel to it runs the Kars-Iğdir road, flanked on both sides by Turkish and Armenian military zones. But this border is not simply a militarily patrolled “no-man’s” land. Between Digor and Tuzluca in particular, daily communication, exchange and assistance between Turkish and Armenian villagers and farmers is the norm. These basic facts point concomitantly to the serious costs generated by the current closure, as well as to the tangible gains to be reaped by all parties, instead, through cooperation. In this Policy Brief we assess the historical background and the issues at stake in the closure of the Turkish-Armenian border. In particular, we analyse the costs of the status quo and the potential benefits of an opening for Turkey, Armenia and the wider region. Finally we conclude by reflecting on how the EU, through its accession process with Turkey and its neighbourhood policy with Armenia could encourage the shift to a higher welfare equilibrium obtained by opening the border and normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations.