(Saturday, February 10)
“Zhamanak” reports that businessman Gagik Tsarukian will only agree to a separate meeting with the presidential candidate Armen Sarkissian, which will not be attended by any of his aides or political allies. The paper wonders whether Tsarukian wants to “underline his status” or has some “very concrete issues” which he wants to privately discuss with Sarkissian. “That Tsarukian has or may have a circle of such questions is not only not surprising or unexpected but also quite logical given that he is a big economic player involved in politics,” it says.
A Russian political analyst, Alexei Malashenko, tells “168 Zham” that bellicose rhetoric has been the bedrock of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s long rule. “Since Aliyev cannot the present a serious political or economic program to the society or boast successes achieved during his tenure he needs to focus public attention on external challenges and the Karabakh conflict in particular, which is the number one issue of Azerbaijani foreign policy,” says Malashenko. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that in case of getting reelected Azerbaijan’s president will start a war or resort to other actions. I think that nothing will change in Azerbaijan’s policy.” In that regard he plays down the significance of Aliyev’s renewed claims about “historic Azerbaijani lands” being part of modern-day Armenia.
Another Russian analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, is quoted by “168 Zham” as saying that Aliyev’s decision to bring forward the date of Azerbaijan’s presidential election by six months means that “for the next few months the Karabakh issue will be removed from the Azerbaijani domestic political agenda.” He says that that the ruling regime will redirect the country’s resources into ensuring an election outcome planned by Aliyev.
“Aravot” laments a lack of unity in Turkey’s Armenian community which it believes has enabled the Turkish government to controversially keep its “stooge,” Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, in the post of the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul. The paper also says that the authorities in Turkey and other countries usually prefer to do business with “local chieftains having limited mental abilities.”