Summarizing Armenian reaction to the creation of the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation commission, “Azg” says most politicians and public figures in Yerevan pin no hopes on the initiative. Few of them trust the sincerity of the Turkish side, which is suspected of trying to derail international recognition of the genocide and improve its chances of joining the European Union by courting the Armenians.
“In fact, this is not a personal initiative,” Dashnaktsutyun Armen Rustamian tells “Yerkir.” Rustamian was among senior members of the nationalist party who met with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian on Wednesday to demand more clarifications on official Yerevan’s position on the issue. “There was serious preparatory work behind it, which is part of a certain plan already put in action. The foreign ministry can not be indifferent to all this,” he says.
“Yerkir” reports that another Dashnak leader, Hrant Markarian, urged on Wednesday Robert Kocharian to “overhaul his team” because it is highly unpopular. Addressing party activists in Yerevan, Markarian said: “Robert Kocharian is surrounded by a team which…does not enjoy popular sympathy. The president attributes this fact to the situation created as a result of the October 27 events and the need to have good relations with the parliament. This explanation, no matter how justified it is for a certain period of time, is not justified in general.” He admitted that as a party represented in the cabinet, Dashnaktsutyun suffers from widespread public disaffection with the authorities.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the festering conflict inside the National Democratic Union (AZhM). It says the Saturday meeting of the party’s political council could see a final showdown between Vazgen Manukian and rival members of the AZhM board. “It is evident that [Minister for State Property] David Vartanian is behind these intrigues. He is in turn encouraged by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian.” The paper says one of Vartanian’s deputies also affiliated with the AZhM has told Manukian “on Markarian’s behalf” to resign as party chairman in return for a senior government post.
Vartanian, meanwhile, denies any involvement in the AZhM scandal. Papers quote him as saying that “I don’t have any differences with anybody…If things continue like this I will be forced to leave the AZhM.”
But even “Zhamanak,” a paper controlled by Markarian’s Republican Party, points to the fact that most of the AZhM leaders that are at odds with Manukian are “linked with the ministry headed by David Vartanian in one way or another.”
“Robert Kocharian let the genie out of bottle with his statement that ‘a party is not property that can be bequeathed’,” writes “Aravot.” “The instant reaction of HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian was but a declaration of war on Kocharian.” The president has only made more enemies. And powerful ones. “Demirchian Junior will be more than a dangerous rival in the next presidential elections.” He is the most likely candidate to be put forward by the opposition alliance which is now in the making.