The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) confirmed on Friday that at least one of its leaders has met with Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian and urged him to block the implementation of Armenia’s controversial agreements with Turkey.
A top representative of the rival opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) said earlier this week that three Dashnaktsutyun leaders recently held secret talks with Harutiunian. Levon Zurabian portrayed that as a further indication that Dashnaktsutyun continues to maintain ties with Armenia’s government despite pulling out of the ruling coalition in April.
According to Armen Rustamian, the nominal head of the Dashnaktsutyun organization in Armenia, only one leading member of the nationalist party, Vahan Hovannisian, met Harutiunian. Rustamian insisted that the meeting was not secret and did not signify continuing cooperation between Dashnaktsutyun and the government.
“I consider such meetings very normal,” he said, adding that Hovannisian only wanted to “convince” Harutiunian that the controversial protocols on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations are unconstitutional.
“We can’t just hold demonstrations outside the Constitutional Court,” Rustamian told a news conference. The head of Armenia’s highest court “accepted our concerns,” he said.
The Constitutional Court is scheduled to start on January 12 hearings on the protocols’ conformity with Armenia’s constitution. Dashnaktsutyun plans to launch a new campaign of protests against what it calls a sellout of Armenian national interests ahead of the hearings.
A positive court verdict is a necessary condition for the ratification of the protocols by the Armenian parliament. Harutiunian raised eyebrows in October when he accompanied President Serzh Sarkisian on an early intercontinental trip aimed at promoting the Western-backed deal in major Armenian communities abroad. Harutiunian insisted afterwards that he took part in the trip in his private capacity and that his participation will not compromise his impartiality during the planned court hearings.