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Armenian Entrepreneur Lobbies For Open Border With Turkey

YEREVAN -- A prominent Armenian businessman says that opening the border with Turkey would be a huge benefit for the Armenian economy, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Arsen Ghazarian told RFE/RL that Armenians would be able to "implement serious joint projects in the energy sphere" and open up "quite serious projects in the textile sector" if the border was opened.

As cochairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Council, Ghazarian says he supports an open border with Turkey because a resolution of the divisive Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would leave Armenia as a de facto trade link between Turkey, on one side, and Azerbaijan and Central Asia on the other.

Some Armenian politicians, business people, and economists fear that an influx of cheap Turkish imports pouring over an open border could hurt the country's fledgling manufacturing and farming sectors.

But Ghazarian says there "is not much enthusiasm" for Turkish goods in Armenia and an open border would allow Armenian businesses "even closer and cheaper" access to Turkish raw materials.