The Armenian press continues to comment on the de facto collapse of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC). Newspapers opposed to the initiative welcome the development, while proponents of a softer line on Turkey speak of a lost opportunity.
“History shows that when Armenians and Turks sit down to talk to each other and, after touching on various topics, turn to the Armenian genocide, it can be said for certain that their conversation will be over soon,” editorializes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The Armenian members of TARC, it says, were too late in realizing that they are used by the Turks. The US government, for its part, understood that the Armenian public is overwhelmingly against the initiative and tried to win its sympathy by having the International Center for Transitional Justice analyze the applicability of the UN genocide convention to the 1915 massacres. The center was supposed to come up with a “formula” that would satisfy both parties. But the Turks rejected even that, the paper claims.
TARC’s failure is a “pleasant surprise” for “Azg,” which is also very critical of the commission’s activities. The paper at the same time cautions that “in politics pleasant surprises may have unpleasant consequences.”
“Aravot” laments that “nobody in Armenia has expressed regret” at the TARC failure. “Dashnaktsutyun can now be at ease. Turkey’s [far-right] Grey Wolves as well,” it notes with irony. “There will be no reconciliation, there will be animosity, hatred and revenge.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that a leading attorney in the parliament shootings trial is angry at the behavior of the main defendants, Nairi Hunanian and his brother Karen. Their “impudence,” lawyer Marine Janoyan says, “has gone beyond all boundaries.” He says judge Samvel Uzunian must rein them in. Janoyan also sees a discrepancy in the brothers’ accounts of the October 1999 raid on the parliament. Nairi looks visibly edgy whenever Karen speaks. This, according to Janoyan, means that the younger Hunanian may say things which his brother does not want the court to know.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” meanwhile, snipes at the prosecutor-general’s office for its handling of the café murder case. As things stand now, the paper says, the victim of the crime might himself be blamed “for causing his death with his own ‘negligence’.” The trial of presidential bodyguard Aghamal Harutiunian will be quick, and there is now doubt that the man nicknamed Kuku will be back in the presidential guard before long.”
“Zhamanak” calculates that only twenty or so deputies will vote against the government budget next week. Those will include the Communists, members of the Yerkrapah Union, Artashes Geghamian and his supporters as well as several independent deputies.
But as “Iravunk” reports, “an active haggling [on the 2002 budget] is going on between the prime minister and some parliamentary factions.” The paper wonders that Andranik Markarian, who is again rumored to be sacked soon, could offer them in exchange for their votes for the budget.