(Saturday, October 3)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” views the expected joint staging by the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AFF) of a march towards the presidential palace next Friday to urge the authorities not to sign the draft Armenia-Turkey protocols “in the context” of the demand for the resignation of the foreign minister rather than the president.
The opposition paper ridicules this position and predicts that even after the protocols are signed, the parties will avoid making explicit demands for the head of state to step down. It writes: “The ARF and Zharangutyun will demand that Sarkisian should refuse to sign the protocols rather than step down. This position is to some extent understandable. But ARF Bureau representative Hrant Markarian recently dropped hints that even if the protocols are signed and ratified [by parliament], they will not make demands for Sarkisian’s early departure from office… Sarkisian can now rest assured that even after the protocols are signed, the ARF will continue to seek [Foreign Minister] Edward Nalbandian’s resignation with the ‘explanation’ that the minister signed the protocols secretly from Sarkisian. Then the ARF-Zharangutyun duo will demand that the parliament should not ratify the documents, then after the ratification they will seek the denunciation of the agreement and so on and so forth.”
Chairman of the Christian-Democratic Union and member of the presidential Public Council Khosrov Harutiunian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that “a serious discussion around the protocols is necessary to see whether any of the numerous possibilities of defending our national and state interests and providing security is rejected.”
“After that we should decide whether to ratify them or not. I think these protocols do not solve any problem, but simply open the window for the normalization of relations between the two countries.”
Head of Azerbaijan’s delegation to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Samad Seidov, who represents Azerbaijan’s ruling Yeni Azerbaycan party, answers questions posed by the Armenian daily “Azg”. Question: “Do you see the reflection of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in the [Armenia-Turkey] protocols and if you do, then how is it reflected?” Seidov’s answer: “I’d hate to go into details; I am a parliamentarian, not a Foreign Ministry representative. If the protocols or any other document fail to consider the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it is pointless to speak about their effectiveness. The issue here is not only about Turkey, but about the region in a broader sense.”
“Hayk” calls unconvincing even the assurances made by the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen that Armenian-Turkish normalization is not linked with the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process.
In its editorial, the paper writes: “Even after that, we are still convinced that these two issues are interrelated. Of course, they will rush to state that the protocols do not contain a line that would evidence that. We are not going to look for these points, because the numerous statements by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are enough. They say in plain terms – there can be no talk about the opening of the [Turkish-Armenian] border unless essential progress is made in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute – in other words, the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani districts.”
The paper also spurns the calls made by Armenian leaders to trust statements made on the Armenian end of the process that claim the opposite.
“We do not believe you for one simple reason – it would be naïve to believe those who rigged the elections. Unlike [Armenian President] Serzh Sarkisian and [Parliament Speaker] Hovik Abrahamian, Erdogan and Gul were elected and will also seek reelection from their people in the future. They cannot lie to their own people. If they do, they will be ousted from politics. And Sarkisian’s hope is his bayonets,” concludes “Hayk”.
“Aravot’s” editor writes: “Sometimes I get the impression that the authorities initiated all this debate with one concrete purpose – to show the whole intellectual incapacity and limited provincialism of our political elite, political analysts and intellectuals. The foreign ministers [of Armenia and Turkey] could have signed a three-line protocol on establishing diplomatic relations at once, couldn’t they? And no one in that case would look for subtext in the document. It was the publication of the protocols that enabled our elites to start cutting a patriotic figure and making emotionally charged speeches. What can you say when people speak about lost lands or the blood of victims? Nothing. I, for example, have the very same feelings, but I can’t understand what these feelings have to do with establishing interstate relations.”