(Saturday, January 20)
The murder of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink is the top story in Saturday’s Armenian newspapers.
“While fighting for Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian genocide, Dink has in reality fought more for democracy and freedom of speech in Turkey,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “In an interview with the Associated Press, Dink began to cry as he described how he is being hated by those of his countrymen who insist that he must not live in Turkey.” The paper also recalls Dink’s remark that he will never leave Turkey because that would constitute a “betrayal” of progressive Turks.
“It is obvious and undisputable that the murder of Hrant Dink was the work of those forces that are against normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and are doing everything to deepen the abyss between the two peoples,” editorializes “Hayk.” “Of course, Armenian and Turkish ‘patriotic’ extremists will make anti-Turkish and anti-Armenian sharp statements and once again feel satisfied.”
“The ethnic origin of the murder perpetrator does not matter,” Stepan Grigorian, a liberal analyst, tells “Aravot.” “In my view, what matters is who ordered the killing. I have no doubt that the mastermind is the force or the state which is against Turkey’s membership in the European Union and against improved relations between Armenia and Turkey.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” speculates that contrary to the widely held belief, Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian is not President Robert Kocharian’s preferred successor. The paper says Kocharian would like to be succeeded by Eduard Nalbandian, Armenia’s long-time ambassador to France. It says Russia will not object to Nalbandian’s candidacy because he is reportedly a Russian citizen and his father is a retired officer of GRU, the Russian military intelligence.
“Azg” cites a new opinion poll according to which 60 percent of Armenians plan to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The poll conducted by the Sociometer organization shows that only a third of eligible voters know who they will vote for. Those are mainly “politically active” people who read newspapers and follow political developments. “If we believe the findings of the survey, 9 percent of the country’s population is affiliated with political parties,” says the paper. The real figure, according to Sociometer chairman Aharon Adibekian, is lower.