Alterations in RA internal policy observed in view of diminishing
urgency of Armenia-Turkey rapprochement process
May 3-7 internal political events overview

Azerbaijan is incapable to resolve Karabakh conflict, an Armenian expert said.

May 8, 2010
PanARMENIAN.Net -

Instead of parrying Azerbaijan's bellicose statements, Armenia should
threaten itself, Levon Shirinyan said during a joint news conference
with Turkologist Artak Shakaryan on May 3.

`Return of any liberated region would be equal to treason,' he said.

Meanwhile, Artak Shakaryan didn't support the suggestion to issue
threats. `Armenia has an image of a country standing for peaceful
resolution of conflicts. This distinguishes it from Turkey and
Azerbaijan. Militant statements can damage our strategic plans,' he
said.

*

Political analyst Levon Shirinyan said that the statement by Turkish
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that the opening of the
Armenian-Turkish border is not sufficient for Turkey proves that it
wants to govern processes in the region. Turkey persistently wants to
be involved in regional processes and govern them, Shirinyan said
during a joint press conference with Turkologist Artak Shakaryan in
Yerevan.

In his turn, Shakaryan noted that the statement of the Turkish Foreign
Minister is not new; it is just a reformulation of previous
statements. "In Turkey's opinion, the opening of the Armenian-Turkish
border is senseless without the opening of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
border," the Armenian expert said, adding that it does not matter for
Turkey which border is opened first, it is important that the
processes develop and complete relatively simultaneously. "The
Armenian-Turkish relations will not reach a high level unless Ankara
changes its stance and the issue of the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations
is settled," Shakaryan stressed.

*

A meeting of the Public Council took place in Armenia on May 3, during
which the Armenian-Turkish relations and further steps were discussed.
Chairman of the Public Council Vazgen Manukyan stated at the meeting
that a better result could not be achieved in the Armenian-Turkish
process. "Armenia's involvement in the Armenian-Turkish normalization
was more important at this stage, than the border's opening, as the
Armenian-Turkish process has united all Armenians and facilitated the
Armenian Genocide international recognition," Manukyan noted. In his
opinion, though the Armenian-Turkish Protocols contain a provision on
mutual recognition of the borders, the document could not be better.

Manukyan stressed that now the Karabakh problem is a priority.

According to Manukyan, one should not expect Turkey to recognize the
Genocide. "I consider this stage to be positive, while the
continuation will strengthen our possibilities," said Manukyan, the
press service of the RA Public Council reported.

*

The Armenian-Turkish dialogue takes pause, according to Turkologist
Ruben Melkonyan.

`The process on normalization of relations has hit a deadlock, mostly
because of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Turkey,' Melkonyan
told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter on May 4.

As to ratification of Protocols, he noted that these have not been
removed from the agenda, as neither Armenia nor Turkey withdraw
signatures. `Should both countries demonstrate political will, the
Protocols can give a start to a new process. It's not ruled out that
they will be amended,' Melkonyan said.

*

Secretary of the Republican Party of Armenia parliamentary group
Eduard Sharmazanov said that drastic changes in the Karabakh conflict
settlement process are possible only if Azerbaijan recognizes
independence of Nagorno Karabakh.

`However, progress is unlikely as long as Azerbaijan keeps up warlike
rhetoric,' Mr. Sharmazanov told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

As for the possibility of resumption of hostilities by Azerbaijan, he
noted that Azerbaijan will not dare plunge into military adventure,
due to its previous "bitter experience."

`Launching new aggression against Karabakh will be fatal for
Azerbaijan," Mr.Sharmazanov said, adding that Armenia stands for
peaceful resolution of the conflict but is not afraid of a war.

*

Azerbaijan must get rid of its medieval mentality, according to Deputy
Foreign Minister of Armenia Shavarsh Kocharyan.

As he said commenting on recent statement by his Azeri counterpart
Araz Azimov, `As soon as Azerbaijan is ready to return occupied
Nagorno Karabakh regions and recognize NKR independence, Baku can ask
NKR for talks.'

`Co-Chairs suggest returning 5 occupied territories of Azerbaijan and
Lachin corridor, followed by Armenia's requesting official Baku for
time to return Lachin and Kelbajar,' Deputy Foreign Minister of
Azerbaijan Araz Azimov said in an interview with public television.

*

Three victories are celebrated in May, Armenian Defense Minister said on May 5.

`On May 9, we celebrate the victory in the Great Patriotic War,
liberation of Shushi and formation of NKR Defense Army,' Seyran
Ohanyan said during a meeting with students and teaching staff of
Yerevan State University.

Drawing parallels between the GPW and Artsakh war, Minister Ohanyan
said that there would be no victory in the Artsakh war but for the
heroic victory in the GPW. `Both the Great Patriotic and Artsakh wars
were imposed on us,' he said.

Upon completion of the meeting, Minister Ohanyan handed jubilee medals
to the GPW veterans, who were present.

*

The human factor is the most powerful weapon of the Armenian army, RA
Defense Minister stated on May 5.

`With selfless relations between soldiers and commanders, we will
always be winners,' Seyran Ohanyan said during a meeting with students
and teaching staff of Yerevan State University.

`Our armed forces are set a task to meet international standards and
become one of the most efficient armies in the world,' he said.

`Warlike statements can't guarantee a victory. The situation at the
Arstakh front is controlled thanks to the efficiency of the Armenian
army,' the Minister concluded.

*

Sardarapat movement participants issued an address to NKR people.

`Karabakh war participants can't turn a blind eye to measures aimed at
Karabakh conflict settlement. Status quo established in May 1994, as
well as the Armenian army are guarantors of safety and on
non-resumption of hostilities in Artsakh,' the statement emphasized.

Movement participants urged Karabakh people to disbelieve promises of
Turks and Azeris, who'll attack the moment they take Armenian army at
unawares.

*

NKR people's position, expressed at 1991 referendum, is the first
priority in Karabakh conflict settlement, Armenian Foreign Ministry
spokesman Tigran Balayan stated.

Commenting on official Baku's allegations on Armenia's `requesting for
some time to resolve Karabakh conflict' and `absence of clear
position' on the issue, the spokesman noted, `Armenia always remained
firm in its position. Azerbaijan is just wasting time; sooner or later
it will have to reckon with the free will of Karabakh people.'

As Tigran Balayan noted, failing to find understanding in their
destructive position, some Azeri officials can think of nothing better
than showing off in front of their own people through endless chain of
falsifications and saber-rattling, RA Foreign Ministry press service
reported.

*

The first stage of the Armenian-Turkish process is completed, Director
of Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute said on May 6.

`The dialogue failed because of Turkey, which preferred not to spoil
relations with Azerbaijan but couldn't suspend the process of
international recognition of the Armenian Genocide or make Armenia
compromise over the Karabakh issue,' Hayk Demoyan told journalists in
Yerevan on May 6.

`A new normalization process should begin with opening of the
Armenian-Turkish border and establishment of diplomatic relations.
However, it cannot be based on the Protocols signed in Zurich in
October 2009,' he said.

As to Turkey's claims to Nakhijevan, Mr. Demoyan said these are
groundless. `Turkey and Armenia have equal rights to Nakhijevan, since
the Treaty of Kars determining the fate of the autonomy was signed by
the Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR and Turkey. `Viewing Turkey's claims
as violation of international agreements, Armenia can address to the
International Court,' he said.

*

The Protocols on normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations are not
frozen but thrown into a wastebasket, according to Stepan Safaryan,
head of the Heritage parliamentary group.

`Initially, the Protocols were aimed to weaken the Azeri-Turkish
tandem,' he told a news conference in Yerevan on May 6. `With
suspension of the ratification process in the Armenian parliament,
Armenian-Turkish rapprochement can finally fail.'

Safaryan also said that under the circumstances, tensions in the
Karabakh process will grow.

`Turkey uses the Karabakh problem as a tool to gain political
dividends in regional issues but it can instigate Azerbaijan to launch
hostilities,' he said.

As to Armenia's domestic problems, he did not rule out early elections.

*

Azerbaijan will not start a war against Karabakh without superpowers'
support, according to former NKR Foreign Minister Arman Melikyan.

As Arman Melikyan told a joint news conference with LPA chairman
Hovhannes Hovhannesyan , `Today, negotiation process is being
conducted in accordance with Baku's wishes, so Azerbaijan will not
withdraw from the process. Still, Azerbaijan seeks to speed up
negotiations. Soon our authorities will see the necessity to change
current format of talks.'

Melikyan characterized Baku's statements on withdrawal of Armenian
forces from Lachin and Kelbajar as a mere wish on behalf of Azerbaijan
and Turkey.

`Yet, Karabakh territories can become an object of bargain between
Russia and Azerbaijan. However, neither Azerbaijan nor Turkey became
reliable partners to Russia, thus giving us a chance to maneuver,'
ex-FM stated. According to Arman Melikyan's forecast, active
negotiations will be continued for another 3-5 years.

Hovhannes Hovhannesyan, in turn, expressed doubts over the possibility
for Turkey to become OSCE MG Co-Chair. `Given US efforts to alter the
status quo, Karabakh issue might soon be resolved,' LPA chairman
concluded.

*

Representative of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Supreme Body, Chairman of the
RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Armen Rustamyan said
that though Iran is not an OSCE member, its invitation to the Minsk
group conference should not be excluded.

`Thus, Tehran might get involved in the Karabakh conflict settlement
process,' Rustamyan told a conference of Hay Dat Committees on May 7.

`The Russian-Georgian hostilities in 2008 generated new processes in
the region. Changes which may lead to formation of a new system of
regional security are taking place,' Rustamyan said.

He pointed out to Turkey's activity in regional processes, adding that
balance between Turkey and Iran needs to be reached. `We should
prevent changes in the OSCE Minsk Group format or any parallel
processes,' the MP said.

In Rustamyan's opinion, Kosovo's precedent and the 3+2 format,
established in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan -
South Ossetia and Abkhazia), create a favorable atmosphere for Nagorno
Karabakh, while Armenia should seize the opportunity and take action.

According to him, the initiated normalization with Turkey has resulted
in new challenges for Armenia and region, as a whole.

`Rapprochement has never been an issue referring to Armenia and Turkey
only. With superpowers involved in the process, Armenia should
correctly assess its national interests,' Rustamyan emphasized.

He added that the Armenian-Turkish dialogue was initiated to ease the
threat of war in the region. `However, statements on possible
resumption of hostilities have become even more frequent. Yerevan has
become a hostage of its own initiative through starting a dialogue
with Ankara,' he concluded.

*

Baku will not venture a war but if it does, Azerbaijan will become a
confederation, stated Bakur Karapetyan, the head of Shushi Foundation.

`National minorities in Azerbaijan are watching their time to rebel
against the authorities,' Mr. Karapetyan told a news conference on May
7.

`I am confident that Azerbaijan will not unleash a new war. The
country which lost a war will need at least 50 more years to get rid
of the loser syndrome,' he said.

*

RA ex-minister of defense, member of the Central Board of Hnchak
Social-Democratic Party Vahan Shirkhanyan said that if Azerbaijan
resumes hostilities in Karabakh, this country will be divided into 5-6
parts and it will be fatal for Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan's population has conceived long ago that Artsakh is in the
hands of its real master, Shirkhanyan told a press conference in
Yerevan. `The Azerbaijani army mainly consists of representatives of
national minorities, who hardly will sacrifice their lives for the
clan of Aliyevs,' he said.

*

On May 7, RA Ministry of Defense issued an address regarding yet
another upsurge of Azeri propagandistic hysteria caused by Seyran
Ohanyan's statement on Armenian Army's goal to be reckoned among the
strongest ones worldwide.

`Azerbaijan's hysteria aims at distracting the attention of local
community from mass deaths, suicides and violations often occurring in
Azeri Army.

Azeri response in understandable, as military and political
authorities can't shed their defeatist syndromes, continuing to speak
in the language of threats and slander.

Armenian Army is ready to defend its positions and respond properly to
enemy attacks,' the address said.


Arshaluys Mghdesyan / PanARMENIAN News