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20 04 2008 - (Jabarian's Apr. 18 Column) -- 1) Armenia: A View From Yerevan; Ter-Petrossyan: Armenia's No. 1 National Security Threat; 2) SEE IT ON YOUTUBE! A Public Appeal by Armenian Americans for Stablility In Armenia
1. Jabarian's Apr. 18 Column
- Armenia: A View From Yerevan;
- Ter-Petrossyan: Armenia's No. 1 National Security Threat

-A Public Appeal by Armenian Americans for Stablility In Armenia
Armenia: A View From Yerevan - April 18, 2008

On April 5, I embarked on a journalistic mission to Armenia. Besides attending the presidential inauguration of President-Elect Serge Sargsyan, I went solo deep into the fabric of Armenian society to take the pulse of the nation. (Long gone are the Soviet days when an individual like me would have been "befriended" by a "guide", most probably an undercover KGB agent from the long-defunct Soviet Intourist tourism agency.)

On several occasions, in the early morning and late night hours I ventured out into the streets and into the taxis all by myself.

I am glad that I kindly declined several invitations by long-time friends to go to the numerous touristic locales. I had decided that during my one-week stay, alas a very short one, I would attempt to interact with as many members of Armenian society as possible.

By the end of my stay, I had taken 23 short and very short (a few blocks-long) taxi rides, striking conversations with all the taxi drivers that gave me rides. Thanks to the moderate to heavy traffic in the bustling streets and boulevards of Yerevan, those few blocks of rides lasted long enough for me to delve into meaningful brief "interviews."

Besides seeing several old friends, I met 45 new acquaintances. They included several walkers-by, restaurant servers, shopkeepers, bakers, students, senior citizens, office clerks, actors, artists, teachers, some fellow journalists, friends' friends and others.

Nearly seventy percent of my interlocutors were either employed or self-employed. About twenty percent were unemployed (The national unemployment rate is higher in the regions outside Yerevan). And the remaining 10% were retired citizens.

To their credit, most of my Armenian conversationalists were very outspoken about their personal opinions even during the presence of a "perfect stranger" like me.

The initial question presented to them was "Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future under the president-elect Serge Sargsyan?"

And this was their response – although these results are in no way a comprehensive picture of the social and economic situation of the entire country.

Despite the fact that, overall, eighty percent agreed that there are several social and economic injustices, sixty eight percent of them expressed guarded optimism. Their optimism was preconditioned by their expectation that President Serge Sargsyan's administration will speed up the rooting out of the corruption, and will introduce a higher level of transparency in the government bureaucracy.

The remaining twenty percent expressed pessimism. Of those pessimist citizens, nearly half expressed willingness to re-evaluate their position if President Sargsyan carries out a mere 25% of his plans presented in his acceptance speech during the special session of the Armenian National Assembly. The remaining ten percent stuck to their position in support of Ter-Petrossyan.

The overwhelming majority expressed disapproval of the riots and the actions of their instigators, Ter-Petrossyan's supporters.

Soon, more details and photos will be featured in a future issue of the twin publications of USA Armenian Life Magazine and Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly.

Ter-Petrossyan: Armenia's No. 1 National Security Threat

An eyebrow-raising report was recently published in Hayots Ashkharh and Golos Armenii dailies in Armenia. The report revealed that a secret meeting and a set of negotiations between former President Levon Ter-Petrossyan and the leader of the `Grey Wolves' (`Nationalistic Movement' Party) Alparslan Tyurkesh took place in March 1993. The Turkish 'Grey Wolves' are known for their ferocious animosity toward the Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Turkish Muslims, Assyrians, Iranians, Daghestanis, Arabs, Kurds, and the Alevis.

Despite the uncovering of several important details of the meeting in Hotel Grillon in Concord Square in Paris, several others remain unknown.

12 years after that meeting, Turkish `Milliet' published a series of articles in March and April, 2005 regarding the contacts and deals between Alparslan Tyurkesh and his son Tughrul Tyurkesh and former Pres. Ter-Petrossyan and his older brother Telman Ter-Petrossyan.

On April 12, Hayots Ashkharh wrote that according to information "from the Turkish side, Turkish Ambassador Bleda, Secretary of the Embassy Menter Shahinler, as well as the son of the leader of 'Grey Wolves' Tughrul Tyurkesh, and from Armenian side former Foreign Minister Vahan Papazyan and Jirayr Liparityan, considered as a `gray cardinal' in the administration of the former President, also participated in the before mentioned negotiations."

Hayots Ashkharh added: "As reported by Milliet, quoting Samson Eozararat, a little after the meeting the two sides discussed the issue of building a monument dedicated to the victims of 1915 (notice: not the Genocide of 1915, but simply '1915') on the Armenian-Turkish border. The most noteworthy thing is that they were planning to write: `We mourn for the pain we caused': in Turkish - on the side looking at Armenia, and in Armenian - on the side looking at Turkey."

The Hayots Ashkharh reporter questioned: "I wonder what pain did Armenians cause to the Turkish people? What crime did we commit, which is equal to the Armenian Genocide? Meanwhile it is not difficult to notice, that by participating in similar discussions and by giving his agreement regarding the construction of the above-mentioned monument, L. Ter-Petrossyan, as a President of Armenia, has, in fact, played into the hands of Turkey's foreign policy and advocacy and the latter is shamelessly introducing Turks as the 'victims of the Genocide and the Armenians' - as those who committed that Genocide."

In an April 2 interview with Hayots Ashkharh, Prof. Armen Ayvazyan, the director of "Ararat" Center for Strategic Research, referring to the March 1 Riots in Armenia, stated: "All that happened are not a mere attempt for coup d'état or 'colorful' revolution, but an even more dangerous, a premeditated attempt to instigate civil war and fratricide; ... Envision for a moment that if even a contingent or a group of soldiers fell to that propaganda; if their guns ended up in the hands of the rioters, a real war could have begun in the center of Yerevan between the [Armenian] armed forces. In that case, the number of the victims would have been immensely numerous. The aforementioned activities instigated by Ter-Petrossyan and his team illustrate the highest level of political irresponsibility."

He underlined: "Ter-Petrossyan's activities had reached a severely dangerous process threatening Armenia's security, potentially causing tragic consequences - fomenting internal mutiny in the Armenian Army; military confrontation; unjustifiable fratricidal war. This entire [episode was] taking place while a clear and present threat existed for a massive Azeri military invasion. And that in any situation would have no justification whatsoever."

In a follow-up April 3 editorial in Hayots Ashkharh, the Managing Editor Gagik Mkrtchyan underlined: "Let's agree, A. Ayvazyan was brutally honest toward certain pro-government politicians who are pathetically begging Ter-Petrossyan to start a dialog with them. He was so pitiless toward those deceptive dreams 'cherished' by these same people. So long as they repeat the word 'dialog,' the latter from now on will have to be forced to answer the following question: Dialog with whom, with those civil war instigators? With the one who is a threat to our national security?"

It is understandable that the Kocharyan government, in order not to be smeared by neo-cons in the West, as "a regime on a witch-hunt," refrained from conducting and making public an evaluation of his predecessor Ter-Petrossyan's regime by holding him personally and his cohorts responsible for the all-out looting of Armenia from 1991 to 1996.

But that backfired on the Armenian state very badly. After 10 years of "innocent" absence from the Armenian political arena, the widely discredited Ter-Petrossyan who was forced into resignation because of his several blunders as president, resurfaced literally unscathed.

Banking on the Armenian people's "short memory," he came back as an outsider. He criticized the Kocharyan regime as an outsider. Still as an outsider, he boastfully labeled Kocharyan and his main ally, then Prime Minister and presidential candidate Serge Sargsyan as "Turks and thieves." But he forgot that he was the one who begged Kocharyan to leave his presidential post in Stepanakert, Artsakh and come to Yerevan and serve as Prime Minister in order to bail him out during the waning months of his highly unpopular presidency.

Ter-Petrossyan even forgot that he ignited severe popular criticism when he offered to "return" sizeable chunks of the liberated territories of Armenian Artsakh to Turkic Azerbaijan (The "Republic Of Azerbaijan" was artificially created at the infamous dawn of the now-defunct Soviet Empire). He eventually succumbed to worldwide all-Armenian pressure and resigned.

He also conveniently forgot that it was because of catastrophic massive impoverishment under Ter-Petrossyan that over a million economically dispossessed Armenians participated in the exodus. Ironically for Ter-Petrossyan, under Kocharyan, the immigration statistics of the last few years reflect a positive movement of migration into Armenia.

The problem was that not only he forgot, but also a segment (about 20%) of the Armenian electorate forgot and once again fell for him. Thus, a segment of the disenfranchised Armenian voters entrusted their legitimate complains about very valid economic injustices to a discredited Armenian political "Grey Wolf."

In order to avoid becoming an unwitting contributor to a new potential disaster, the Armenian Judiciary must bring Ter-Petrossyan to Justice.



A Public Appeal by
Armenian Americans for Stablility In Armenia

The statement was broadcast live on TV in Los Angeles and around the world. It was read by USA Armenian Life Magazine Managing Editor Appo Jabarian, a member of the "Armenian Americans for Stablility In Armenia."

Soon after the deeply disturbing events of March 1, a group of citizens of Armenia, Tigran Kocharyan, Peter Maghdashyan, and Karen Vrtanesyan created an on-line petition condemning the riots by Mr. Ter-Petrossyan’s supporters.

On March 8, a group of Armenian American journalists, TV hosts, writers and activists, deeply concerned with post-election developments in Armenia, held its inaugural conference in Los Angeles. The group, called "Armenian Americans for Stability in Armenia," issued its first public appeal. The appeal reflects the online petitioners’ statement.

The appeal stated: "We strongly believe that now Levon Ter-Petrossyan is a direct threat to the statehood of Armenia. The feeling of revenge, personal business interests and affiliations are the motives behind Levon Ter-Petrossyan’s scandalous comeback. While we criticize our government for many weaknesses and faults we strongly believe that Levon Ter-Petrossyan is the last person in the world to be interested in strengthening democracy in Armenia."

The appeal concluded: "We call on the government of Armenia to conduct a thorough investigation and bring to fair trial all instigators of disturbances and civil unrest. With enough evidence of complicity immunity should be lifted from Ter-Petrossyan himself. In a true democracy, no one can be above the law."


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