Azatutyun.am – Opposition lawmakers on Thursday accused Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party of obstructing parliamentary hearings on Turkish-Armenian relations in order to avoid upsetting Turkey.
The hearings initiated by the main opposition Hayastan alliance were due to take place on Thursday, three days before the 107th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. The leadership of the Armenian parliament controlled by Civil Contract said on Wednesday that they will not be held as planned for “technical reasons.”
Artsvik Minasian, a senior Hayastan lawmaker, said he and his opposition colleagues were told that the parliament staff cannot organize the hearings because it is now busy preparing for a session of a Russian-Armenian inter-parliamentary commission slated for Friday.
Minasian dismissed the official explanation as unconvincing and illegal. He argued that the parliamentary statutes do not allow the leadership National Assembly to block or delay such discussions demanded by the parliament’s factions.
“We realized then that their decision is political,” said Minasian. “As we can see from their recent behavior on Armenia-Turkey relations, they are afraid of any thoughts containing demands [to Turkey.]”
“This once again shows that we are dealing with a government which is not only inept but also shows its readiness to cater for Azerbaijani-Turkish interests,” he told reporters.
Special envoys named by Ankara and Yerevan held earlier this year two rounds of negotiations aimed at normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations. They are expected to meet again in the coming weeks and months.
Armenian opposition leaders claim that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is ready to make sweeping concessions to Ankara in return for the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. In particular, they say, the Armenian government could agree to stop seeking a greater international recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide vehemently denied by Ankara.
Pashinian’s government and political allies maintain that Yerevan stands for an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian ties.
Turkey has for decades made the normalization conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan. Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu has repeatedly made clear Ankara is coordinating its ongoing dialogue with Yerevan with Baku.
In February, the pro-government majority in Armenia’s parliament rejected an opposition proposal to condemn a joint declaration adopted by the Turkish and Azerbaijani presidents during a visit to Karabakh last year. Lawmakers representing Pashinian’s party said that it would complicate the Turkish-Armenian talks.
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