Armenia Expels Turkish Politicians

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Two Turkish minority party leaders were asked to leave Armenia on Friday after being questioned by the country’s security services over their border crossing claims.

Tuna Beklevic, the leader of the Turkish Guclu Turkiye (Powerful Turkey) party, and his deputy Baybars Orsek were asked by Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) to clarify their statements shortly after they claimed at a press conference in Yerevan that they and several other Turkish politicians crossed the border into Armenia on October 10 in protest against the border’s remaining closed one year after the signing of Turkish-Armenian protocols.

They, in fact, repeated their earlier claim reported by Turkish media on October 11. The story was later picked by Armenian media as well.

The Russian border troops that guard the Armenian-Turkish border then denied the Turkish media reports and said no violations of the border had occurred during the period in question.

The Turkish-Armenian border has been closed since 1993 when Ankara blockaded it out of solidarity with regional ally Azerbaijan that was then locked in a fierce war with the newly independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Armenia and Turkey embarked on a rapprochement process in 2008, which, stalled last year amid dwindling hopes for an imminent opening of the border.

“We crossed via a place located about 150 meters to the north of a bridge near the ruins of Ani where the river narrows and becomes shallow. There were candy papers on both sides of the river, which means that the path has been in use,” Beklevic told journalists in Yerevan.

Both men were visiting Armenia legally this time around.

The NSS told RFE/RL’s Armenian service later on Friday that neither could substantiate their claims while being questioned on that account.

It said the Turks were warned that their behavior is “unacceptable” and “were asked to leave the country immediately.”

Earlier, the Armenian Foreign Ministry turned down Beklevic and Orsek’s request for a meeting.

In a statement on Thursday, head of the Ministry’s neighboring countries department Karen Mirzoyan advised that “Turkish political groups advocating Armenian-Turkish normalization should turn to Turkey’s authorities” which, he said, “by artificially raising obstacles, did not agree to the ratification and implementation of the signed protocols.”

“That answer broke our hearts,” Beklevic told the media. “All we wanted from the Armenian Foreign Ministry was a cup of coffee or tea and wanted to share with them our approaches and hear their views.”

When contacted on the phone by RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Friday evening, Orsek said the two of them were on their way to Georgia, being escorted by Armenian National Security officials.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

10 Comments

  1. Z said:

    I deplore the way this turkish citizens were treated in armenia. They were of good will, out for a good cause. Armenia should have been more hospitable. Give them indeed a cup of tea, show respect, show hospitality. That’s how you win hearts, now they have broke their hearts, by being severe, unfriendly.
    It’s not their fault that their government has acted like that, they in any case are for the opening of the borders.

    I appologize to these turks if they weren’t treated in a good way by the gov officials..

  2. hayrenaser said:

    while on the surface this story seems to be about inhospitality,
    the deeper and much more troubling issue is the weakness of the border patrol,
    if two civilians are able to cross without being detected by the all the so-called impressive russian detection mechanisms, god only knows what the organized criminals are or have been up to so far…
    while the two turks were in armenia on a good will mission, they have broken the law, the border is closed and beyond the access of crossing, and the two countries are in a cold-war, therefore while not approving the armenian foreign mins. approach, i can understand their reaction

    • Z said:

      I don’t think that armenia is the kind of eldorado where people would want to go at any cost, even by crossing the border illegally. Nobody really wants to go to armenia. Elswhere I read that armenians prefer to go to vacation to turkey. So it’s quite the opposite.
      Armenia is not at cold war with turkey, bs, u seem 2b very unaware of the situation.

  3. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    I am ashamed by this behavior of our Armenians authorities. Those people from Turkey were our brothers. Unlike others of their countrymen they were very humble, very peaceful and very humane in the way they came to us with an olive branch. I am very touched by their kind gesture and very much in sympathy with their wish to mend the wounds of Armenian-Turkish relationships.
    I do not consider our neighbors both from the east or the west, be they Turkish or Azerbaijanis as enemies. On the contrary I’d go out of my way to show them how grateful we are on their willingness to make amends.
    I’d welcome them in our midst and always am willing to sit down with them and seek a solution to our long standing problems.

  4. AR said:

    Z:

    i understand what you mean, however, if you do a little research on beklevic’s political party, you’ll find that they are connected with the ruling party. And when I say connected, I mean they are a feeder group to the much larger islamist party. So the point is that representatives of the ruling regime in turkey should come to Yerevan and talk about the border opening, not an obscure youth party of ties to them.

  5. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Z.suppose to be not invited, great decistion,we don’t need them at all:)

  6. Krikor said:

    Z, do not forget the Turks Thiey are the ultimate politicians game palyers. You do not know thier real intent.
    Do not be fooled

  7. Krikor said:

    Arde Vast. Sice when we Armenians are brithers with the killers of my ancestors. You might be but not me. We can be neighbours bu NOT brothers

  8. Garo said:

    Brothers what are you saying? So whoever Turk passes the borders must sit down with the foreign minister for a cup of coffee? What does our foreign ministry stand for? International “Agoump” ??? These young Turks meant no harm, and i feel their concerns, but it’s not the Armenian government whom they should appeal their concerns, it’s their government.

  9. Kevo said:

    I don’t like politicians and I especially don’t like Turks… They breached our border through the crumbling ruins of Ani…I despise that….Imagine if several of our politicians did the same , arrived unannounced in Kars protesting the closed border and looking for a cup of tea…. wake up….Let them protest on there side of the border. A border that we must not recognize and must continue to dispute……

*

Top