(Saturday, September 7)
“There are all the grounds to presume that Turkey may exploit the bitter Russian-Georgian standoff to further increase and enhance its presence in Georgia,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper claims that Turkey’s goals in Georgia include the expulsion of Javakheti’s Armenian population, the resettlement of Meskhetian Turks in the region, and the strengthening of Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijani minority. It says the Turks can now achieve those goals because of the Georgian government’s “short-sighted policy” towards Russia.
“Armenia has found itself in a really difficult situation,” writes “168 Zham.” “Whom to support? Its strategic partner Russia or immediate neighbor Georgia? It is so far managing to maintain a more or less neutral stance. But perhaps that may no longer be possible in the event of a further escalation of the [Georgian-Russian] relations.” The paper says Russia might well behave in a similar fashion if Armenia becomes as “disobedient” as Georgia.
“An anti-Georgian campaign in Russia that boosts Putin’s rating,” reads a headline in “Azg.” The paper cites an opinion poll which shows that Russians are worried about the possibility of armed conflict with Georgia. Their president’s approval ratings, meanwhile, are approaching an all-time high, reports the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” speculates that Karabakh leader Arkady Ghukasian’s possible decision to seek a third term in office would set a precedent for President Robert Kocharian. A senior Karabakh official has argued that the upcoming adoption of Karabakh’s constitution will mean a new countdown of presidential terms. “The latest developments going on in Karabakh lead one to think that Armenia too may be faced with such an issue after last year’s constitutional referendum,” writes the paper. It suggests that the ongoing “inter-clan bickering” could be part of a broader effort to make Armenians feel that Kocharian’s exit in 2008 would have “unpredictable consequences.”