Controversial Ter-Petrosian criticises Armenia-Turkey 'roadmap'

Ter-Petrosian makes his way through the rally
Ter-Petrosian makes his way through the rally © Artur Papyan |

“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.

Armenian National Congress rally in Yerevan, May 1, 2009 © Artur Papyan |
Armenian National Congress rally in Yerevan, May 1, 2009 © Artur Papyan |

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. I think the highlight of the importance of Trade Union movements in his speech could be mentioned.
    I hope one day we will see co-operatives and trade unions in Armenia.
    Yesterday a very important thing happened in the USA 55% of Crysler is now owned by UWA Trade Union that is, by the workers themselves.

    1. Payqar, the United Airlines is owned by the employees, too. UA has had the same issues as the rest of the airlines – bankruptcy, cost overruns, bad service, you name it. Ownership by the employees does not mean a better product or service, and it does not mean a profitable business either.

    2. Yeah – I found that Trade Union part intriguing, however – Ter-Petrosian brushed over it rather quickly. I’ll wait and see what ANC makes of Trade Unions in the future, to see if this was just an empty promise or something seriously political.
      Moreover, somethings LTP said about government regulation of economy sounded rather controversial too – as HHSh in my perception has always been a Libertarian political force, while his speech indicated more socialist trends. Again – let’s wait and see if it has a continuation… (I’m all for socialism when it comes to Armenia)

      1. His presidential program also had many socialist ideas in it which was one of the reason for my continued support for him.
        I guess the organizations that you mentioned don’t have a proper organizational structure and methodology. It is a matter to have a proper culture in the organization, give the sense of pride and ownership and hence involve the workers directly in educated decision making.
        A simple thing, would not you work with more dedication if you know that the profit will be shared with you?

  2. I must note that we received throughout the day alerts about restrictions in travel from the regions to Yerevan, which clearly became one of the factors affecting the number of rally participants:

  3. It is not about the program. It is a pattern with LTP. As a new president, LTP was against the constitution, was against the army, was against liberation of territory and then in retrospect claimed each of the successes as his.
    In other words it is not about any principle, it is simply petty politics. And it is exactly why his popularity will never rise above the simmer that is the “anyone but those in power” undercurrent in society.

  4. LTP’s mention of trade unions (arhestaktsakan miutyun) is very interesting indeed. First of all it is interesting because you don’t find ANY mention of trade unions in his earlier speeches until now. And Observer rightly notes that it was “intriguing” and LTP “brushed over it rather quickly”.
    Why? Have you ever seen any color revolution scheme that included campaign debates around trade unions? Nope. This is because color revolutions are not designed to bring democracy. If LTP was truly thinking about democratizing Armenia he would have spent 90% of his time creating trade unions staring from 1998.
    Trade Unions are the spine of any true democratic state. They are the guarantor of an educated and informed voting during the elections. A society that lacks mature trade unionist movement should not vote at all. Also, trade unions prevent populism and BS during electoral debates.
    In other words if Armenia had trade unions there would never be a March 1. Why LTP started talking about them now? Because he was informed that taxi drivers are forming one. This means that his constituency is running away and he needs to catch up.

  5. Armen
    Encouraging the Trade unions was in his program from January 06 2008.

  6. 1. Ներքին քաղաքականության բնագավառում Հայաստանի Հանրապետության ապագա նախագահի իրականացնելիք առաջնահերթ խնդիրներն են.
    – Սահմանադրական կարգի վերականգնումը, այն է՝ իշխանության ձեւավորումը բացառապես ազատ ընտրությունների միջոցով.
    – Ներկա բրգաձեւ ավազակապետական համակարգի կազմաքանդումը, օրենսդիր, գործադիր եւ դատական իշխանությունների անկախության եւ հավասարակշռության ապահովումը.
    – Լիարժեք ժողովրդավարության հաստատումը, խոսքի, մամուլի, խղճի ազատության երաշխավորումը, բազմակուսակցականության եւ պառլամենտարիզմի վերջնական արմատավորումը.
    – Քաղաքացիական հասարակության ինստիտուտների՝ տեղական ինքնակառավարման մարմինների, արհմիությունների, ստեղծագործական միությունների, ոչ կառավարական կազմակերպությունների ամրապնդումը.

  7. Payqar,
    From January 6, 2008? That’s even more intriguing! So it is 1 mention of trade unions from September 21, 2007 all the way to January 6, 2008. I guess you understand what that means, don’t you?
    Also, “encouraging trade unions” is NOT enough. As I said in my previous post, trade unions are the spine of any true democracy and LTP should have spend 90% of his time creating them and spare his oratorical BS about tatar-mongols for his home audience.

  8. Armen
    How can you criticize a person when you dont even bother reading or listening to whet they say? I wonder what is your source of information?
    As for your comment it is absurdity.
    When the States start intervening in the functionality of the Trade unions or starts creating them they stop being Trade Unions. They become like the Soviet ProfSoyuz, i.e. state run machines. The best the State can do is not to intervene in their functionality but at the same time not abolish or destroy them.

  9. Armen
    I have real doubts that you can read in Armenian.
    The above quote was from his program, It was a key point in his internal policy section. What you expected him to do write a book about Trade Unions and put it in his program?
    If you can read in Armenian go and read his program first for an educated argument.

  10. Yes, I don’t bother to read each and every word in his speeches (it’s Bible, is it?) but I read enough to understand that he didn’t give priority to trade unions. Maybe that is why if you ask people in the streets if he has ever mentioned trade unions in his speeches majority of them will give you a negative answer.
    Also, he was not “the state” last time I checked. So he could do a lot more than “encourage” and “make it a key point in his internal policy section”.
    And yes, he could as well write a book about trade unions in Cilician Armenia or trade unionist movement during the Crusades. That would be much more productive.

  11. I could only smile 🙂
    Pretty entertaining 🙂

  12. I also find LTP very entertaining, Payqar jan 🙂

  13. Sorry but I found your writing entertaining. 🙂 I dont know why but it rings a bell. I guess it is one of those things from the Telletubby world 🙂

  14. That is right Payqar. When a “political leader” spends 10 years writing volumes of irrelevant history and then makes an impressive comeback as if he has done something very important it really feels like in Telletubby world 🙂

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