“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments scathingly on Armenian intellectuals’ open letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, saying that they should have also raised their voice against the country’s grave domestic problems and the existence of political prisoners in particular. “Of course, it’s good that Armenian intellectuals, artists, scientists, heads of media outlets are acting with a joint initiative,” writes the paper. “But privately speaking, we don’t remember the same elite jointly speaking out in connection with the March 1 events and the continuing judicial terror that followed them and sending a similar letter to Serzh Sarkisian.”
Lragir.am wonders if Gul will bother to read the letter. “Of course, it’s a little hard to imagine that Gul will read that letter and will be so moved that he will immediately recognize the genocide,” writes the online journal. “It’s hard to even imagine that Gul will read the letter and start thinking about points made in it or, as the letter urged, will review his understanding of the interests of the Turkish people and adopt a totally different policy.” It also says that the letter contradicts the policy of the Armenian government that stands for an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.
Interviewed by “Hayk,” a senior member of the opposition Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), Hovannes Igitian, defends the latest criticism of Armenia’s government voiced by Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner. “I want to emphasize for the authorities that Hammarberg is not just an ordinary person but a whole institution,” he says. “The Council of Europe’s human rights commission has always made correct evaluations of political processes in Armenia and especially problems related to political prisoners.” Igitian also dismisses government loyalists’ claims that Hammarberg criticized the authorities during his recent visit to Yerevan under pressure from the Armenian opposition.
“In some cases, the police took such actions that were bound to provoke the protesters’ reaction,” Artsvik Minasian, a member of the Armenian parliamentary commission investing the March 1 unrest, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “At the same time it is evident that some radical [opposition] figures deliberately provoked clashes so they could accuse the police of using force. In this situation, the two sides were guided by their interests and violated the people’s interests.” Minasian suspects that both the security forces and the opposition were interested in the bloody denouement.
“Hraparak” says it is still not clear why the authorities amended Armenia’s law on referendums “so quickly.” The paper wonders if they are plotting “something bad,” saying that there is widespread speculation that President Sarkisian is preparing to put a Karabakh peace accord on a referendum.