Week’s topics: Karabakh issue and namaz in Ani

Review of September 25 – October 1 political events.

Political events in Armenia started with discussions on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, as usual.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Political analyst Sergey Minasyan said that the OSCE Minsk Group's upcoming Field Assessment Mission aims to keep up talks. “The visit to the security zone around NKR, as well as to Shahumyan and Getashen will allow Azerbaijan to justify continuation of the negotiation process in the eyes of its people prior to the November 7 parliamentary elections and the OSCE summit due December 1-2 in Astana,” Minasyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net eporter.

Member of the committee on foreign relations of the Armenian National Congress (ANC), Vladimir Karapetyan, has stated that the upcoming OSCE Filed Assessment Mission will have an impact on Karabakh conflict settlement process. “The Mission will visit almost all towns and villages in NKR and draw a report, which will encourage Azerbaijan for further distortion of facts,” Karapetyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. He labeled the Mission as the result of Armenia’s unilateral concessions. “Remember that Azerbaijan rejected the Council of Europe’s idea to dispatch a similar mission to Nakhijevan in 2005,” Karapetyan said.

Secretary of Heritage parliamentary group Larisa Alaverdyan said it’s strange that neither NKR nor Armenia requested the international mediators to send an assessment mission to the territories occupied by Azerbaijan. “The upcoming OSCE Field Assessment Mission can affect the Karabakh conflict settlement process if Armenia remains inactive,” told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. “The Minsk Group has taken up a course, which can hamper the conflict resolution,” she added.

The upcoming Field Assessment Mission of the OSCE Minsk Group in Nagorno Karabakh offers a possibility for Armenia to stress the necessity of holding a similar mission in the Armenian territories occupied by Azerbaijan, according to Artak Zakaryan, member of the Republican Party of Armenia. “The mission will offer an incentive to Karabakh talks,” he said. Commenting on NKR recognition, Zakaryan said that “recognition of Artsakh Republic’s independence can alter the logic of talks.” “Armenia will take this step only in case all other options are exhausted,” he said.

Manvel Sargsyan, senior expert of the Armenian Center for National and Strategic Research, said that recognizing NKR independence, Armenia will finally determine its status. “The authorities’ position on the issue is divergent. However, the opinion that recognition of NKR will hamper the peace process evidences that either people are completely unaware of the problem or they are afraid to take any step for the purpose,” he said.

ARF Dashnaktsutyun is developing its election campaign. “Conduction of unfair parliamentary election in 2012 will deprive Armenia of the possibility to continue reforms,” member of ARFD parliamentary group Vahan Hovhannisyan said. Asked whether the November parliamentary election in Azerbaijan can complicate the Karabakh process, he said, “Baku is a victim of formal democracy. The authorities and opposition are competing to look more aggressive and uncompromising in the Karabakh issue. This race has driven Baku into its own trap.” As to recognition of NKR independence by Armenia, Hovhannisyan said it’s an issue which demands unanimous opinion. “If on agenda, it should be passed by unanimous vote,” he emphasized. Commenting on the upcoming OSCE Field Assessment Mission, the MP slammed the Armenian authorities for not populating these lands with people who were forcibly expelled from Azerbaijan.

Director of the Oriental Studies Institute at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, professor Ruben Safrastyan said that with namaz in Ani, Devlet Bahcelu actually gave a kick-start to election campaign in Turkey. The upcoming struggle will be rather tough and anti-Armenian, for sure, Safrastyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. “The basic focus will be on problems of national minorities, first of all, on Armenians. The sad experience suggests that each similar pre-electoral campaign leads to stronger persecution of the Armenian community of Istanbul, which has neither rights, nor vote,” Safrastyan said.

The initiative of the leader of National Movement (MHP) Turkish opposition party, Devlet Bahceli to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani is a demonstration of anti-Armenian and nationalistic course that the party aims to push at the elections, according to Armenian expert Anush Hovhannisyan. “Bahceli’s Armenian roots are considered a brand of disgrace in Turkey. Turkish authorities allowed namaz in Ani to prove their tolerance,” she said. “By restoring several Armenian churches Turkey hopes to assume a noble posture on the threshold of Armenian Genocide 100th anniversary commemoration,” the expert noted.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan / PanARMENIAN News
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