Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 123

Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosian and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian have received the chief of the General Staff of Greece, Gen. Atanasios Tsoganis, who paid a four-day visit to Armenia. Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisian signed with Tsoganis an agreement on exchanges of military intelligence and on training of Armenian military personnel in Greece. Armenia’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mikael Harutyunian, announced that, in addition, an Armenian commando unit will soon participate in a joint exercise in Greece soon. The agreement enlarges on one signed in 1996 in Athens by Sarkisian and his Greek counterpart.

Ter-Petrosian, who discussed "regional issues" with Tsoganis, stated that Armenian-Greek relations are based on "historic friendship and common political interests." Kocharian in turn asserted that "the geopolitical situation of both Armenia and Greece requires both of our countries to maintain adequately strong armed forces." Although those remarks alluded to Turkey, both sides asserted that their military cooperation is not directed against any third party. (Noyan-Tapan, June 19-23)

Ankara is likely to feel otherwise on the latter point. Armenia last year entered into military cooperation agreements with Turkey’s traditional rivals Greece, Syria, Bulgaria (whose leftist government subsequently lost power), and, reportedly, Cyprus, apparently aiming to encircle Turkey. Such a policy appears to exceed Armenia’s means, but, in conjunction with Yerevan’s close ties to Moscow and Tehran, nevertheless constitutes an irritant for Turkey. It also discourages Ankara’s attempts to circumvent Azerbaijan’s opposition to normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.

Turkmenistan Economic Plan in Trouble.