In an interview with “Aravot,” parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian decries the involvement of state prosecutors and “individuals having serious problems with the criminal code” in last month’s troubled by-election to the Armenian parliament in which his Orinats Yerkir Party was a top contender. In a thinly veiled attack on Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian one of whose protégés challenged the Orinats Yerkir candidate’s, Baghdasarian says: “The struggle must be between political forces, rather than between the prosecutor’s office and political forces. I am convinced that both the prosecutor-general and representatives of the prosecutor’s office are well aware of the existing constitution which directly forbids the law-enforcement bodies from interfering in electoral and political processes.”
Hovsepian’s agency must therefore mind its business, Baghdasarian adds. “I think nobody has forgotten the time when Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian was dealing with elections,” says the man who was first elected to the parliament in 1995 thanks to the backing of Siradeghian’s Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) party.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an extensive analysis of a new social class which it says has emerged in Armenia since independence. The paper calls its members “new Komsomols” who are ready to do everything to make a career. “Servility and groveling are the main instruments which help them make a living. Thanks to the same traits they later find themselves in various spheres of state governance -- the government, the tax inspectorate, the customs committee, the prosecutor’s office -- and assume an essential role in governing the country.” The paper says several top officials, including Artur Baghdasarian and presidential adviser Armen Gevorgian, are now vying for the leadership of this class. “Gevorgian and Baghdasarian are the same type of politicians…There is now a huge army of such young people in Armenia.”
The head of a Turkish think-tank specializing in Armenian issues tells “Azg” that his visit to Armenia did not live up to his expectations. “Armenia could have been in a better situation, while Yerevan could have looked nicer,” Hasan Oktay says. Oktay is cautiously optimistic about prospects of improved relations between Turkey and Armenia. He also believes that the main obstacle to their normalization is “imperialism.” “I call on the Armenian people and its intelligentsia to jointly contribute to the elevation of Turkish-Armenian relations to the level that existed in the good old times,” he says.
But as “Hayots Ashkhar” writes, Turkey continues to mislead the European Union by alleging that its offers of a “candid dialogue” are rejected by the Armenians. The paper says Ankara also remains adamant in denying the 1915 Armenian genocide and is unhappy with Oktay’s visit to the genocide memorial in Yerevan, describing him as one of Turkey’s most prominent genocide deniers. “The leadership of the Institute-Museum of the Armenian Genocide is also becoming drawn into Ankara’s latest propaganda provocation. Turkey’s official propaganda machine will soon spread around the world news of a dialogue between historians from the two countries.”