Monthly Archives: October 2009

Crime in Yerevan up 60 Percent?

I was just reading a news story published by RFE/RL about Yerevan police pledging to crack down on anyone heard to be making offensive comments against government authorities in public. It’s not clear what would necessarily be considered offensive coming out of someone’s mouth. As the article makes clear people like to shout, “Sergik, Get Out.” Maybe referring to him by this nickname his opposition created for him is enough to warrant being jailed by the police. It wouldn’t surprise me if that happens at the next opposition rally, assuming one will be held any time soon.

In any case, some interesting data was released in the article. In the first eight months of the year crime in Yerevan increased by 60 percent, with 4,700 cases registered by the police.  The Major-General of Yerevan’s police force Nerses Nazarian, stated that “The rise in crime mainly stems from the economic crisis and the socioeconomic plight.”

Strange that on the surface life in central Yerevan is much better than it was a year ago this time, and with the “economic crisis” shows of opulence and pretentiousness are on the rise along with crime. Also, it’s not exactly clear what kinds of incidents are being recorded as crime, other than cases that you read about in the press. What about oppositionists who are arrested based on nonsensical accusations, like they resisted arrest when eyewitnesses state otherwise or whatever else, are their presumed offenses considered crimes? If for instance next month I happen to shout out in front of a police officer that President Sarkisian is a [use your imagination] for allowing the border to open with Turkish preconditions, will that be considered a crime, even though thousands of people may share my opinion?

Apparently so. So much for freedom of speech and democracy.

Upcoming Talks on Karabagh Peace Process

President Serge Sarkisian is tentatively scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Ilham Aliyev next week on the sidelines of a summit of former Soviet republics to take place in Chisinau, Moldova. The OSCE Minsk Group met in Yerevan yesterday to form a game plan for the talks it seems, and they’re about to visit Karabagh. It will be US co-chairman Robert Bradtke’s first visit to the region unless I’m mistaken.

According to RFE/RL, the following is on the agenda for the next round of discussions, according to official sources:

handshakeSpeaking at a news conference in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Yerevan and Baku are as close to cutting a peace deal as never before. Davutoglu claimed that a team of OSCE experts is now visiting the Armenian-controlled Lachin district to delineate an internationally recognized land corridor that would link Karabakh to Armenia proper in the event of a peaceful settlement. He said they plan to complete the “technical work” in time for the Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting.

***

Official Baku reiterated on Thursday that it is ready to guarantee unfettered communication between Armenia and Karabakh but wants the Lachin corridor to remain an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan. “We can not accept unilateral use of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia,” the APA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov as saying. “The Lachin corridor will remain Azerbaijani territory even if it is given to Armenia for use.”

Citing unnamed diplomatic sources, Turkey’s “Hurriyet Daily News” newspaper reported on Thursday that Aliyev and Sarkisian have already made progress in determining “the width and status of the Lachin corridor.” “The deadlock is over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, but hopes are running high for a final settlement,” it said.

The paper also said Ankara has deliberately made sure that its agreements with Yerevan on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations are signed after the planned Armenian-Azerbaijani summit. It said the Turkish side feared that Sarkisian would otherwise sit down with Aliyev “in a more advantageous position.”

This is depressing news, no matter whether or not it is indeed true. I was always hoping that Karabagh would be annexed to Armenia along with the Lachin and Kelbajar districts in a final peace settlement, but this seems to be wishful, or rather naive, thinking. The peace proposals that have been laid on the table were always highly unfavorable for the Armenian side, and this new information, assuming it is indeed true, is very disturbing.

I don’t know what else to write about this process. I have written extensively about it on my other blog, Notes From Hairenik where I have expressed my thoughts and opinions. All I can say at this point is that I hope nothing is written in stone in Moldova.

Turkish Expansionism Taught in Istanbul Schools

A friend just sent a link to me pointing to an article that was printed in the Milliyet newspaper. The article divulges that the former Istanbul National Education Director, Ata Özer, distributed free educational CD-ROMs to students attending schools in Istanbul. Apparently all schools received the CD.

On the CD is an image of a map of a future, expanded Turkish nation in which the entire Republic of Armenia (as well as parts of Iraq) is incorporated into Turkey, thereby ceasing to exist. Georgia and Azerbaijan remain intact as independent nations.  See the map that’s posted with this entry.

Is this the future of Turkey? Where's Armenia on this map?
Is this the future of Turkey? Where's Armenia on this map?

I’ve been arguing repeatedly on this blog that this is what Turkey wants to happen, this has been on their agenda since 1915 at the onset of the Armenian Genocide. Full financial dependence on the Turkish economy and trade across opened borders, without the Armenian government laying claims to expansive borders that would be more in Armenia’s geo-strategic interests, will most likely ensure the future realization of this concept. If Armenia doesn’t stand up for itself now, it can easily fall under increased Turkish political and economic pressure with an opened border, no land claims, and no justice won with Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Since the youth of Turkey is being taught expansionism, not to mention genocide denialism, we can expect this challenge in at least 10 years after the ratification of the protocols.

This is not a sign of delusional paranoia, rather it is a likely outcome that the Armenian nation can stop now if it really wants to by pressing the Armenian authorities to reject the protocols before they are signed on October 10. The ball is in Armenia’s court.

If you read Turkish, click this link to see the original article.

If you want to translate the article into English, go to Google Translate.

  1. In the text box paste the URL of the original article.
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Time is running out.