Armenian deputy in Turkey demands opening of border gate with Armenia
An Armenian deputy from Peoples's Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey called on Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to step up efforts to open a border gate between Turkey and Armenia that was closed 30 years ago.
Garo Paylan of the HDP visited the Akyaka border gate in Turkey's easternmost province of Kars on Wednesday and said the opening of the gate will benefit not only Turks and Armenians, but also Kurds and Azerbaijanis.
"Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Turks and Kurds all belong to this region, and unfortunately they have grown apart because of the traumas we have experienced for a century. Now it is time for them to embrace each other," Paylan said.
Turkey and Armenia agreed last July to open the border gate to third-country nationals, but it is still closed to Turkish and Armenian citizens.
The two countries have never established diplomatic relations since Armenia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but hopes of normalizing relations between the neighbors glimmered after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and President Erdogan promised to open the border gate.
"What is the obstacle to opening this border?" Paylan asked, adding that by closing the border, everyone would lose, including Turks living in the region.
Paylan also said that if the gate is opened, it should also be named after the late Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated by an ultranationalist in Istanbul 16 years ago, because Dink was one of those who campaigned most for the opening of the border gate.