ARF Bill Seeks to Safeguard Armenian Land From Turkish Buyout

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation has secured a crucial government endorsement of its proposal to essentially ban Turkish and other foreign companies from buying land in Armenia’s border regions, it emerged on Wednesday.

The Armenia constitution and other laws do not allow foreign citizens to own land anywhere in the country. However, the ban does not extend to companies and other legal entities owned by foreigners.

Under a package of amendments to the Armenian Land Code drafted by the ARF, those entities would need a special permission from the government and the Defense Ministry to buy plots of land located up to 25 kilometers from the borders.

ARF lawmakers acknowledged on Wednesday that the amendments are connected with the possible reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border. The party has long warned that an open border could hurt the Armenian economy and jeopardize the country’s national security.

“It’s not just about Turkey and Turks,” said ARF Parliamentary Deputy Ruzan Arakelian. “It’s a matter of national security. A country is protected by its border regions, and our border regions can be at risk at any moment. You can acquire land not only through war.”

Another ARF deputy, Ara Nranian, said Turkey itself restricts foreign ownership of land. “In Turkey, ownership of land by foreign organizations is not allowed without the military’s permission,” he told RFE/RL. “Things are even stricter there.”
In a letter sent to the National Assembly last week, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan described the ARF bill as largely “acceptable” but said the Armenian government believes the proposed restrictions should be even tighter. He said they should cover not only land but also all “facilities needing special protection.”

What is more, Sargsyan suggested that the draft legislation should also apply to such facilities located all over the country and not only border areas, according to a copy of the letter obtained by RFE/RL. Sargysan also confirmed that the government is now looking into relevant Turkish legislation.

In an interview with RFE/RL late last month, Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian said the increasingly real prospect of border opening necessitates changes in Armenia’s criminal, civil and land codes. “When we study [Turkey’s] domestic legislation, we understand that whether we want it or not, from the viewpoint of a proper protection of the country’s security and citizens’ rights and freedoms, there will emerge a need to revise legislation,” he said.

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3 Comments

  1. Dino Ajemian said:

    If only Andranik, Dro, Kevork Chavush, Soorp Vartan were alive to hear this. What would they do? What a calamity. If there are no men left in the homeland to stop this turkish take over then the word Armenia and Armenian deserves to be stricken from books and erased from memory. The barbarians are laughing at the sheer weakness of the national consciousness of those who rule Armenia.

  2. Pat said:

    This is type of restriction on land purchase and encroachment by foreign entities is highly dangerous to Armenians everywhere. Kudos to the ARF for spearheading this initiative, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see the government officials in Armenia not only seeing the ARF’s point of view clearly but also augmenting this stance with the understanding that this type of legislation to protect our Hyerenik is only a starting point. Even stricter and more stringent guidelines must be put into place to prevent foreign government, companies, and institutions from making land grab maneuvers or buyouts of any type of Armenian property.

    Foreign investors must be respected but they must also be advised that they are “guests” of our nation, not permanent residents. Only Armenians can own Armenian land or property.

  3. Philip said:

    You know what our heroes would if they were alive? They would tell all Armenians to get off their asses and go back to their homeland, to protect, preserve our country, culture and identity and to nullify the protocols that were signed by people who think they know what is good for Armenia. Repatriation is what needs to be done, all Armenians!! REPATRIATION!!!!!!!

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