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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 2,797 2,367 2,100 139
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 950 790 570 143
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Armenia


Update No: 337 - (30/4/10)

Armenia suspends normalisation of ties with Turkey
Armenian-Turkish relations are about as prickly and tricky as you can get. Armenia's ruling coalition has said it is halting the ratification in parliament of landmark accords on normalising relations with Turkey. It said it was because of Turkey's refusal to "ratify the protocols without preconditions", chiefly over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian hold-out in Azerbaijan.

Actually it is about something even more fundamental, an event that took place 95-6 years ago. The Turks committed a great crime. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915, when they were deported en masse from eastern Anatolia by the Ottoman Empire. They were killed by troops or died from starvation and disease.

Armenia wants Turkey to recognise the killings as an act of genocide, but successive Turkish governments have refused to do so. They are endorsing the view of a man they wisely refrained from allying themselves with in the Second World War, Adolf Hitler: "who now remembers the Armenian genocide?"

Well, thanks not least to Hitler himself, people do and it continues to plague normalisation of relationships between these neighbours.

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The countries signed a historic deal in 2009 to re-establish diplomatic ties. This seemed to offer a way forward, following a century of hostility after World War One. In October last year, Turkey and Armenia signed a historic accord normalising relations despite differences over the 1915 massacre.

What the aftermath? What is next?
Diplomatic moves to normalise relations have faltered recently.

The Armenian coalition decided to halt the ratification process of the accord signed in October last year after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would depend on a peace deal over

Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian statement said:

"Considering the Turkish side's refusal to fulfil the requirement to ratify the accord without preconditions in a reasonable time, making the continuation of the ratification process in the national parliament pointless, we consider it necessary to suspend this process," the statement said. "The political majority in the national assembly considers statements from the Turkish side in recent days as unacceptable, specifically those by Prime Minister Erdogan, who has again made the ratification of the Armenia-Turkish protocols by the Turkish parliament directly dependent on a resolution over Nagorno-Karabakh," it said.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to protest against Armenia's war with its neighbour Azerbaijan over the enclave, which is within Azerbaijan but under the control of ethnic Armenian forces.

World Interfaith Summit in Baku
The Azeris hosted a World Interfaith Summit in Baku in late April, which may have a bearing on resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Largely under the inspiration of Kyrill 1, Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, the religious leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan were brought together.

It was the first visit to Baku of Catholicos Garegin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. He was introduced to Azerbaijan's Muslim leader, Sheikh-un-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade and they had a 90-minute talk. He then met President Ilham Aliyev for a 60-minute talk. Very tight security was naturally maintained and there were no press conferences. But this sort of quiet diplomacy can yield dividends over time.

One concrete result is that it has been agreed to restore an Armenian church, ‘St Gregory the Illuminator’, hit by fire twenty years ago. Another is that a mosque in Susha in the enclave will be restored after wartime damage. These gestures of good will may yet lead somewhere.

Turn-around in the economy
The Armenian economy was devastated by the 1988-94 war and never properly recovered. It was devastated again by the global financial crisis of late, falling by 14% in 2009.

But it is picking up again this year, albeit slowly. GDP growth is estimated to fall in the 3-5% range this year. But it will not really recover until the world economy does itself. And with the present woes of Greece, Spain and others, that does not look like any time soon.

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