(Saturday, April 4)
“Aravot” says that Armenia’s bargaining position in the negotiations with Turkey is weak not only for geopolitical reasons but also because of the domestic political situation and, in particular, “substantial restrictions on democratic freedoms, the existence of political prisoners, constantly rigged elections and a general atmosphere of distrust.” “Our sole factor in the game is the Diaspora, the Armenian lobby, which is certainly not enough,” says the paper.
“Hraparak” says that U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Turkey will be “decisive” for the possible opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. The paper says that whereas policy-makers and ordinary people in Armenia are waiting to see what impact the visit will have on the situation in the region, the Armenian-American community is mainly preoccupied with whether Obama will utter the word genocide on April 24.
“Zhamanak” says an open border with Turkey would create major economic opportunities for Armenia. “In that regard, one can only welcome the Armenian government’s initiative to improve Turkish-Armenian relations that would result in an open border between Armenia and Turkey,” writes the paper. “Furthermore, the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border, in terms of its economic significance and political importance stemming from that significance, is perhaps more than a recognition of the Armenian genocide by a third country, even if that country is the United States. At the end of the day, for an Armenian government the interests of the Armenian state must be a higher priority than a mostly symbolic genocide recognition.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the Armenian opposition and its imprisoned representatives will find it harder to disprove accusations brought against them after a Yerevan court’s decision to split the criminal case against them into six parts. The pro-government daily says the continued prosecution of these individuals is essential for preventing a repeat of last year’s deadly clashes in Yerevan following the May 31 municipal elections.
“168 Zham” claims that the resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian “continues to be on the agenda of the authorities.” “Moreover, the issues of the future prime minister and Tigran Sarkisian’s transfer to another post are already under discussion,” says the paper. “It is possible that the change of prime minister will take place before the elections of Yerevan mayor. Accordingly, government circles are discussing the possibility of appointing Karen Karapetian, the director of ArmRosGazprom who is fifth on the HHK proportional list for the elections of the Yerevan council, as prime minister.” The paper alleges that Sarkisian will be sacked if the authorities “come to terms with the inevitability of their defeat” in the upcoming elections.