Ankara Has Not Sent Instructions to Open Border, Says Provincial Governor

IGDIR, Turkey–The provincial government of Turkey’s Igdir province, bordering Armenia, said on Wednesday that it had yet to receive any official orders from Ankara to “make preparations for the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border.”

Speaking to a reporter from the Azeri Press Agency, Igdir governor Saffet Karahisarli said that “the government has not given an instruction to us to make preparations for the reopening of the borders with Armenia.”

“Being the governor I am unaware of it and I regard the reports on the reopening of the borders as speculative reports aimed at swaying public opinion,” he said. “I assure you that there is no program, budget or work in Igdir in connection with the reopening of the borders or the construction of customs office.”

Karahisarli’s remarks were in reference to reports indicating that preparations were being made to reconstruct the Alican checkpoint, which links Turkey and Armenia.

“One or two vehicles are seen on the Armenian side and the media points to that and says preparations are being made to reopen the borders. But the vehicles observed on the Armenian side are simply excavators. Armenians are carrying sand from the Arax River. They have been doing it for many years,” he said.

The governor said also that he had not noticed any actual work being conducted to repair the checkpoint, adding that the Alican checkpoint was last repaired ten months ago.

According to Karahisarli, the repairs are normal. “We want the Alican checkpoint, and all other checkpoints, to be up to modern standards. As time passes, the roads of the checkpoints decay and electric lines burn out.”

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