“In a damning indictment of Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian accused President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday of scuttling U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide and gaining nothing in return,” RFE/RL reports. Addressing thousands of supporters rallying in Yerevan, Ter-Petrosian charged that Sarkisian’s apparent acceptance of a joint Turkish-Armenian academic study of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire amounted to “genocide denial.”
Ter-Petrosian, ever criticized for his ‘pro-Turkish’ politics, claimed that Turkey misled Yerevan and Washington into thinking that it is about to lift the 16-year blockade of Armenia in order to stop U.S. President Barack Obama from describing the 1915 massacres as genocide. Obama, indeed avoided the ‘genocide’ word in his April 24 statement, which came less than two days after the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministries said they have agreed on a still unpublicized “roadmap” for normalizing relations between the two estranged nations.
There’s wasn’t much else of note in Ter-Petrosian’s 40 minute speech. The usual predictions of economic doom and gloom, social unrest, which was followed by accusations about the “trial of seven“.
The rally certainly wasn’t overcrowded. I’ll avoid estimates, but ‘several thousand’ and certainly ‘below ten thousand’ seem reasonable.
The mood was cheerful. Lot’s of colorful Armenian flags and excited young people were around. The day was sunny and many were looking for shade. I left just after Ter-Petrosian’s arrival – was going to receive his speech in the mail anyway.