“168 Zham” carries an article by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian in which he strongly criticizes the Turkish-Armenian draft agreements unveiled last week. In a separate commentary, the paper agrees with most of his points but sees ulterior motives behind the critique. “These statements can be considered Robert Kocharian’s reaction to the policy pursued by Serzh Sarkisian and a message that he [Kocharian] won’t mind, to put it mildly, trying to return to politics by using this,” it speculates. The paper also accuses Kocharian and Oskanian of attacking Sarkisian to also dodge responsibility for what it calls a failed policy on Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian, which is widely linked with Kocharian, has largely endorsed the Turkish-Armenian protocols. “For us, it is good that those protocols make no mention of Nagorno-Karabakh despite the fact that the Turkish side has repeatedly presented the issue as a precondition for Turkish-Armenian relations,” Tsarukian’s spokesman Khachik Galstian tells the paper. “We also find positive the formulation about the [Turkish-Armenian] inter-governmental commission.” Galstian says it is in tune with Yerevan’s insistence that a Turkish-Armenian study of the events of 1915 be conducted within the framework of such a commission.
Several newspapers report that police used force against hardcore fans of Armenia’s national football as they reacted angrily (but not violently) to its defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina in a game played at Yerevan’s Republican Stadium on Saturday. The police confiscated a huge banner accusing Armenian players of “disgracing” the nation and beat several fans in the process. The fans responded by chanting “Shame! Shame!” and demanding the resignation of Ruben Hayrapetian, the controversial chairman of the Armenian Football Federation.
“The law-enforcers apparently thought that what’s happening at the Republic Stadium is mass riots and that they must rein in the organizers,” “Taregir” editorializes sarcastically. The pro-opposition paper goes on to accuse the police of forcing Armenians to come to terms with the chronically poor performance of their teams and the broader notion of national defeat. “This is the worst and most despicable thing a policeman can do,” it says.