FM Davutoglu dismisses reports of possible Armenia border opening
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday dismissed prospects of opening the Turkish-Armenian border in the foreseeable future, calling media reports to that effect groundless. Commentators had speculated about this following recent reports that the Interior Ministry had asked officials in the border provinces of Kars and Igdir about preparations for a possible opening, including border gates and roads. But Davutoglu, speaking to reporters in Almaty, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting, said the inquiries actually concerned disaster preparedness, such as for an earthquake, and ways to deliver aid to victims. "There is no such thing as an opening of the border. There are no government plans for this and reports to that effect are wrong," Davutoglu told reporters. In related news, despite the stalled Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts, Turkey is planning to take part in an exercise in Armenia by NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC). Foreign Ministry officials last week said that Turkey will participate in the Armenia 2010 disaster response exercise on Sept. 11-17. The officials said the border may be opened temporarily during the exercise and solely for the purposes of the event.