“Azg” reports that the family of the slain Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink are seeking criminal proceedings against Istanbul police chief Celalettin Cerrah whom they accuse of deliberately botching the investigation into Dink’s January 19 murder. Lawyers for the family are quoted as saying that Cerrah was tipped off about the murder plot but did nothing to protect Dink.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says that Tuesday rally staged in Yerevan this week by the Aylentrank (Alternative) opposition movement “infuriated” senior government officials despite the fact that it was attended a small number of people. “And so they began thinking about how to counter [forthcoming] spring rallies,” claims the paper. It says General Hovannes Varian, deputy chief of the national police who led the brutal dispersal of an opposition rally in April 2004, has been tasked with doing something about that. After the Aylentrank rally Varian is said to have “rebuked subordinates for their kind treatment” of the demonstrators and instructed them to “get tougher.” Organizers of such rallies will now risk arrest, according to the paper.
“Generally speaking, it is wrong to pin hopes on any international structure,” Avetik Ishkhanian, chairman of the Armenian Helsinki Committee, tells “Hayk.” “In any small country, if the people decide to effect change, no international structure can impede them. On the contrary, it will support. For example, neither Russia nor Europe have any influence in South Africa. Only the U.S. has influence there. But when the people in Chile, Bolivia and Nicaragua decided to elect leaders vehemently opposed to the U.S., they succeeded.” Ishkhanian’s advice to Armenia is therefore the following: “Forget about international structures.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the main election-related concern of various politicians interviewed by it is a lack of campaign funds. “Unfortunately, one Russian political figure has noted with amazement that we are a very strange people,” parliament deputy Manvel Badeyan is quoted as saying. “Once in every five days somebody pops up and says, ‘Give me 3 million dollars so I can become president.’ Some go to Russia, others to America or Europe. But nobody is giving them that money. External support can be helpful if those people have a certain say, weight, and role in the society.”
Interviewed by “Aravot,” the head of Armenian Public Television and Radio, Aleksan Harutiunian, reaffirms his opposition to a recently enacted legal provision obligating all TV stations to broadcast Armenia’s national anthem at midnight. “I believe that it does not befit a country that wants to integrate itself into European structures,” says Harutiunian. “It is even ridiculous. You have probably seen [TV stations] interrupt an erotic film at night and air the Republic of Armenia anthem.”