The closed border between Armenia and Turkey does not completely halt bilateral economic relations, the enhancement of which can enlarge and empower the pro-normalization constituencies on the both sides of the border.
In the past few years, many parameters of the economic and strategic framework in the region transformed, creating new opportunities and challenges for stronger cooperation. One of the most important of such novelties was Armenia joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which is expected to create a significant trade diversion impact, including potential impacts on trade with Turkey. Also, in line with its “Belt and Road” initiative, China plans to promote both “hardware” and “software” integration and economic connectivity over the Modern Silk Road.
Perhaps the most relevant project for Armenia within this initiative will be the construction of the Baku-Tblisi-Kars railway, which will provide a new railway connection for the landlocked country to Turkey’s Mersin Port on the Mediterranean. While the focus of TEPAV in ATNP I was on sectoral bilateral economic relation opportunities between Armenia and Turkey through Tourism and ICT sectors, with the on going fundamental alterations in the region TEPAV will pursue a more macro-level and regional approach in ATNP II.
The economic opportunity analysis will generate a comprehensive research paper exploring the new risks and opportunities for economic integration between Armenia and Turkey. Dissemination events in Turkey and Armenia will be organized to present the results and elaborate on the proposed policy measures and recommendations to overcome risks and utilize opportunities.
On September 13, 2018, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (UFSD) hosted a workshop on “Exchange of Best Practices in Plastic Waste Management between Armenia- and Turkey-based CSOs and Practitioners.” The workshop is part of a project that contributes to the development of cooperation between environmentalists, waste management practitioners, businesses and local authorities of Armenia and Turkey through sharing best practices in plastic waste management. The grantee, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with the Union of Diyarbakir Young Businessmen organized a 1-day workshop in Diyarbakir with participation of 20 representatives of local authorities, plastic waste management practitioners, environmental CSOs, businesses in the field of plastic waste separation and recycling from Armenia and Turkey. The workshop was followed by a study visit to Plastic Waste Recycling Plant in Diyarbakir, as well as a follow-up exchange workshop in Yerevan. Based on the results of the study visit and workshops UFSD will produce a booklet on the best practices of plastic waste management in Armenia and Turkey. The project will result in an increased awareness of stakeholders of the plastic waste management practiced on the other side of the border, as well as will provide an opportunity for networking between practitioners and businesses focusing on plastic waste management. Representatives of local authorities may consider replicating the best practices in plastic waste management in their own communities.
This activity took place within the framework of the Sub-grants Scheme implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation as part of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” programme, funded by the European Union and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.