WSJ: "Turkey and Armenia Pave Way for Historic Accords"

Turkey and Armenia could soon announce a deal aimed at reopening their border and restoring relations, the Wall Street Journal writes, citing “diplomats”, and saying the move could help “stabilize a region that’s increasingly important as a transit route for oil and gas”.
The WSJ also says the Turkish and Armenian governments have agreed on terms to open talks: opening and fixing borders, restoring diplomatic relations and setting up commissions to look at disputes, including one on the tense history between the two nations, according to the diplomats, all of whom declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.
I’ve highlighted a couple of curious words in the paragraph above. I’d be really interested to know what the “fixing” borders and setting up “commissions” – not just one “commission” is all about. Sadly, my numerous attempts to get a response from the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson failed today. Will try again tomorrow. Further on the WSJ writes:

Announcement of a Turkish-Armenian pact is also being influenced by Mr. Obama’s campaign promise to support a Congressional resolution that would recognize as genocide the Ottoman Empire’s 1915 killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in what is now central and eastern Turkey. 

A Senior Turkish foreign-policy official said the U.S. is trying to facilitate the agreement with Armenia. 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said on Turkish television last week he would discuss Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian “genocide” and relations between Russia and Georgia with the U.S. president, among other issues.

One date under discussion for signing the deal with Armenia, diplomats say, is April 16. 

The full story at the Wall Street Journal, which by the way, has a comments section with only 2 comments at this point, is here.

7 years have passed since closure of A1+

The most trusted name in Armenian broadcast news at the time, “A1+” TV channel was shut down on April 2, 2002 having lost its broadcast license in a competition held by Armenian National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR), a state licensing authority fully controlled by president Robert Kocharian.
“A1+” took part in 12 broadcast license competitions since than and lost all of them. After failed attempts to regain a license through NCTR-administered competitions or through the Armenian judicial system, “A1+” turned to the European Court of Human Rights, which, having considered the case, ruled on June 17, 2008, that the refusals to grant a broadcast license to “Meltex” LLC were a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention, i.e., of “the right of the applicant to freely impart information and ideas”.
Today, months after ECHR ruling, years of struggle by “A1+”, along with media and human right’s NGOs, numerous calls by the international community to settle the issue, “A1+” is still off the air, although it’s faithful viewers can still get it on “A1+” website, YouTube channel and blog.

"7 trial" pulled apart, "political" context stripped off

The controversial trial of ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s 7 prominent supporters de-facto ended today – separated into isolated cases by the ruling of judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan. The charge for “usurpation of state authority by force” was dropped, making the now separate cases against the oppositionists more “politically neutral”. RFE/RL carries the news:

The new twist in the so-called “case of the seven” resulted from the newly enacted amendments to Articles 225 and 300 of the Armenian Criminal Code used against the prominent supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The articles deal with provocation of street violence and “usurpation of state authority by force” respectively.

The judge ruled, that the seven oppositionists should stand separate trials for “provoking mass disorders and violence”, while the charge of “usurpation of state authority”, which was the main charge politicizing the case, was dropped. 
While this means, that the trials will continue beyond the deadline of PACE April session, it also means, that the opposition will have fewer arguments in claiming that the seven oppositionists are “political prisoners” at the PACE’s upcoming session.
It will also disperse the “high profile” cloud from the case, making it harder for the society to follow.
All of this looks like a thoroghly considered plan for putting the oppositionists in jail for good (BtW: Shant Harutyunyan’s case had been suspended earlier in March while he undergoes psychiatric examination).
It also signalls the decisive stance of the authorities to punish political dissidence as the country heads into Yerevan’s municipal elections.

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