Next Armenian PM ‘unlikely’ to be anti-Russia: Expert

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    Armenia’s next prime minister is “very unlikely” to be anti-Russia, a Turkish expert said on Tuesday.

    "It is very unlikely for a prime minister — who is anti-Russian — to take the office in Armenia, which is almost entirely dependent on Russia in terms of military security and stability of its very poor economy," Oktay Tanrisever, a professor in the International Relations Department of Turkey’s Middle East Technical University, told Anadolu Agency.

    Tanrisever's remarks came a day after Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan announced his resignation following days of protests in the country.

    Protests erupted in Armenia following the nomination of Sargsyan as the prime ministerial candidate on April 13. They were joined by uniformed soldiers.

    After serving as Armenia’s president for two terms, Sargsyan was elected prime minister on April 17.

    He said the assumed pro-Russian Sargsyan was forced to resign by the street demonstrations organized by pro-Western political circles in Armenia.

    "However, the final political aims of the protestors and the amount of power and capabilities they will use within this framework is not clear at this stage," Tanrisever added.

    He said it was not certain whether a premier close to pro-Western groups will be elected in the next elections.

    Tanrisever also said the possible effects of Sargsyan's resignation on Turkey and Azerbaijan were not clear yet.

    Dialogue-based approach

    "Although there are no signals that Armenia will head towards a peaceful dialogue-based approach with Turkey and Azerbaijan within this conjuncture, following these developments, a new political outlook could also lead to the emergence of such an approach," he said.

    According to data retrieved from the World Bank, the level of poverty in Armenia rose by 2 percent since 2008, and reached about 30 percent.

    Unemployment rate is ranging between 16-19 percent since 2008 in Armenia. The official unemployment rate stood at 17.7 percent last year.

    The economy in Armenia, which has a population of about three million, grew by 7.5 percent in 2017 and it is expected to grow by 4.5 percent in the current year. Economic experts are convinced that this growth is not comprehensive.

    While the Armenian economy is largely dependent on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank credits, and Russia's aid, the energy sector of the country is being operated by Russia.

    The external debt of the country was $5.6 billion as of February this year, which is about half of its' GDP.

    Leading foreign trade partners of the country were Iran, Russia, European Union countries, Georgia, China and Ukraine.

    Since 1993, no direct trade between Turkey and Armenia was performed.

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