Georgia’s Former Deputy Foreign Minister Chechelashvili: “Armenia’s economic situation would not get better unless they open the border with Turkey.”

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It has been nearly a year over the Second Karabakh War between Azerbaijan and Armenia, started on 27 September 2020 and ended 10 November 2020, and resulted in Azerbaijan’s victory. Now, there are important signals on normalizing relations of the states in the region. The positive signals given by Azerbaijani and Turkish authorities about the relations with Armenia are giving hopes for solving problems permanently and open a way for regional cooperation.

The proposal to establish a platform of six, including South Caucasia countries after the Karabakh War, is offering crucial points. However, Georgia is not showing positive interest towards the platform, due to the inclusion of Russia.

In that sense, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM), is presenting the views of Georgia’s former Deputy Foreign Minister, former Minister of Economics and former Ambassador Valeri Chechelashvili, in the sense of the quest for regional cooperation.

Mr. Chechelashvili, how do you evaluate the relations of South Caucasian countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia?

I believe that everyone is expecting regional cooperation within Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. As already known, 44 days longing war, ended with Azerbaijan’s recovery of the significant part of her territories, accepted internationally: and creation of new status-quo in the region. This offers new opportunities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, also inclusion of Georgia, in the sense of strengthening economic cooperation. If Armenia takes the advantage of this, she will provide the significant percent of the economic development. In fact, in South Caucasia, the Azerbaijani, the Armenian, the Georgian, the Russian, the Ukrainian, the Jews, the Abkhazian, and the Ossetian are living together. However, there are only three states in that region. The states of the region are the main actors and should remain as they are.

Armenia believes that the normalization period between Ankara and Yerevan should be set apart from the Baku-Yerevan relations. What do you think about on that issue?

In fact, Turkey-Armenia relations are dependent on Azerbaijan-Armenia relations. The dialogue developed between Baku will offer new opportunities for starting positive relations with Ankara. Exactly, I believe that this development would turn to good purpose for Armenia. It is a chance for both countries in that region. It is impossible for Armenia to fix her economy while the borders are closed with Turkey. Armenia only opens her borders with Georgia and a small part of Iran. In these conditions, her economy would fail. In the region the triple communication would end up with the multilateral understanding. The economic and political stability would be provided only with that condition. If we manage to do that, the situation would be charming for all. Our nations would end up with prosperity that they desired for a long time. We should always remember that South Caucasia is our common home. For security of residents of this house we should always find a common language and cooperate with each other.

Mr. Chechelashvili, can you explain why Georgia did not accept to join the Platform of Six, proposed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

Since United States of America (USA) and European Union (EU) are not members of the platform, this would create the security deficit for Georgia. Georgia sees the USA and the EU as her strategic partners. That’s why, without them, it is impossible for Georgia to join this platform. While Turkey aims to provide stability and contribute to development, Russia may have a different attitude. Tbilisi government cannot take part in the same platform with Moscow, due to Russia supports the separatists in Georgia.

An interview on our website is the personal opinion of expert and may not reflect the institutional view of Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Research (ANKASAM).

The original of this interview is published on 08.12.2021, on The International Asia Today.

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Ülviye FİLİYEVA ERKEÇ-Lisans eğitimini Bakü Devlet Üniversitesi Gazetecilik Bölümü’nde tamamlayan Ülviye Filiyeva Erkeç, aynı zamanda Karabük Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden de mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, Aksaray Üniversitesi Kent Sosyolojisi Programı’nda sunduğu “Türk ve Rus Basınındaki Algılanışı ile Türkiye’ye Evlilik Yolu ile Göç Olgusu” başlıklı tezle elde eden Erkeç, Karabük Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı Bölge Çalışmaları Bilim Dalı’ndaki yüksek lisans eğitimini de sürdürmektedir. Filiyeva Erkeç, ileri seviyede İngilizce, Rusça, Avarca ve Azerbaycan Türkçesi bilmektedir.