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Friday, 29 August 2008

Maturity of Armenian opposition: upcoming rally postponed till 12 September, sit-in protest ends ahead of Armenia - Turkey football game

Ter-Petrosyan led opposition announced its decision to postpone upcoming opposition rally from 5 September to 12 September and to end sit-it protest on the Northern Avenue from 31 August. Instead, there will be only “political walks” daily 7pm-10pm.

This decision which displayed maturity of opposition leaders was made considering current escalated geopolitical situation and complex developments in the region, and particularly upcoming visit of thousands of Turkish citizens (football fans) – and possibly Turkish president, for the first time ever – to Armenia for 6 September Armenia-Turkey World Cup qualifying football match. The importance of that game went well beyond sporting significance and considered a possibly key moment in opening up a new page in relationships between our countries.

Opposition does not want its actions to interfere in any way with the importance of developments in Armenia – Turkey relations and objective necessity by the authorities to take all the necessary security actions.

I can only welcome this decision and join opposition representative Levon Zurabyan in his call to people to avoid nationalistic provocations around football game and diplomacy. In the meantime, governing coalition member nationalist ARF Dashnaktsutyun party plans its rally on 2 September.

13 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

I welcome the decision too.

Anonymous said...

And I welcome not only the fact of postponement but mostly the way it was framed. bravo. This is the fact of understanding and welcoming common good!

Haik said...

The full text is found here:
http://www.payqar.org/am/5/item/612/

Anonymous said...

Maybe the postponement was so that they could cheer for Turkey in the upcoming game :)

me said...

Solid move. It's fascinating to see the contrast between this decision by the "traitors" of HHSh and the refusal of passionate "patriot" Dashnaks to call off their rallies in the 90s during the actual war in Gharabagh. There was a lot of debate about whether or not they should hold demonstrations against a war-time president; the interesting part of course was that they were never banned.

What's even more interesting is that the same dashnaks that would stand in front of Kino Nairi and rail against Levon during the war are now claiming that opposition demonstrations only destabilize Armenia and help the Turks/Azeris win.

Anonymous said...

ARF is a small party. They never managed to get more than 6% of votes. It is nice to know that Nazism is in weak grounds in Armenia.

As for the Opposition move. It was a well calculated one. We know that the governing banditocracy is ready to anything. Wouldn't be surprised if they started showing some footage on TV of some Turks joined the opposition rally.

Anonymous said...

And I wouldn't be surprised if the oppositionists welcome those pro-Levon Turks with open arms. Gullibility is unfortunately pretty solidly entrenched in many Armenians.

me said...

Way to speak for over 25,000 turks in labeling them as "pro-Levon." With Serjhik promising co-operation without any preconditions whatsover no less than 3 times during his last interview with a Turkish newspaper, he's left the famously conciliatory LTP in the dust in that department.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, there was me hoping that the fact that both Sargsyan and Ter-Petrossian want to see this match pass off without any political infighting to disrupt matters might have been reflected among their respective supporters.

It's a pity, with comments from both sides effectively resorting to comments framed in some kind of negative way to the idea of promoting better Armenian-Turkish relations.

Maybe we could all understand that on this matter, with the exception of the ARF-D, both the government and the opposition fully understand the potential for this match. They have decided not to disrupt this match in any way with internal political infighting.

Would be great if we could too. Still, if we don't, does it matter? For once both Sargsyan and Ter-Petrossian seem to understand just how important this match could be for Armenia.

On that, I applaud their decision to do many things to support that potential even if others don't.

Anonymous said...

me, Does this move you embrace Serj's diplomacy?

spm said...

I welcome the move by armenian authorities to invite Turkish president and start talking to turks, disrespect who are the authorities: SS or LTP. Opposition showed good will to let SS do the talking undisturbed. Bravo. The question is what SS is going to talk. Thats the most important thing now and requires huge diplomatic skills, erudition and strength. I am afraid, SS used to be sidekick for too long to be a good negotiator. He is used either to kiss ass of a superior or ignore the inferior.
Anyway, i will keep my fingers crossed.

me said...

Let me be very clear in my support Serjhik's efforts to establish and improve Armenian-Turkish relations: it is the only sensible thing he has done since usurping the presidency. However, I have to wonder if it is too little too late, and ask how many more such delays in accepting undeniable truths we can afford...My God, LTP has been saying this for HOW long?

Further, I just have to laugh a little at some people's change of heart on the matter. Not that long ago people were calling for LTP's head for suggesting we should have ties with Turkey; now that Serjhik has gone a step further and actually begged for them while insisting on no preconditions repeatedly to the point of embarrassment, people hail this as a great diplomatic breakthrough.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Further, I just have to laugh a little at some people's change of heart on the matter. Not that long ago people were calling for LTP's head for suggesting we should have ties with Turkey; now that Serjhik has gone a step further and actually begged for them while insisting on no preconditions repeatedly to the point of embarrassment, people hail this as a great diplomatic breakthrough.

me, and I was not one of them. Also, it's worth pointing out one thing. This is a success if it comes off and I think we should all welcome it, although I don't doubt the U.S. position on the matter is of as much importance if Gul comes.

While we can criticize Kocharian for not genuinely offering an olive branch to Turkey, for many years I was told by one pro-opposition journalist and analyst privy to details of private conversations between Sargsyan and a leading Diasporan figure that he has always maintained this view.

Regardless of what opinions we all have of Serge, he is not the same type of character as Kocharian and whether that's through weakness or actual personal choice, this move would be unlikely under Kocharian.

And as I've said, I welcome the move by BOTH the authorities AND the opposition to treat this with the seriousness it deserves. However, it's just a first step -- breaking the ice, I suppose -- the outcome of which will be based on two things.

Firstly, whether Gul comes, and secondly, whether the event passes without any serious incident. Personally speaking, I hope it's a success. Even without recent events in Georgia, improving Armenian-Turkish relations were of extreme importance.

After recent weeks, I think they are now more important than ever. Moreover, diplomatic circles are beginning to see Turkish-Armenian relations crucial to eventual resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Forget Bryza's perpetual "windows of opportunity," they're just words with few expecting any breakthrough. Have some improvement in Armenian-Turkish relations and Azerbaijan loses a few of its trump cards and Ankara can also have some influence on Baku.

Indeed, this was actually said to be main direction some diplomats were following in recent months, and there has been a LOT of activity in civil society as well as the government to back that up. Now we are waiting to see if any of it has or will pay dividends.

Blockaded on two sides, with problems on a third, I think that an open border would not just benefit Armenia in economic terms, but also in ending mentality of isolationism and pay dividends in other areas -- including democratization which a "seige mentality" is not helpful in contributing to.