May 26, 2008

Turkish Minister Declares - We Will Not Open Border Until Conditions Are Met

Turkey's Economy Minister Mehmet Şimşek, while attending a meeting on regional development in the far eastern province of Iğdır, located near the border with Armenia stated that - Turkey will not open its border with neighboring Armenia, closed for more than a decade, unless Yerevan resolves its problems with Ankara and regional ally Azerbaijan.

To read the entire article that appeared in Today's Zaman: Click

May 04, 2008

Protestors & Police Clash in Istanbul on May 1st

For the first time in some 30 years protesting trade unions and other socialist forces tried to enter Istanbul's Taksim Square to stage their annual May1st demonstration.

This year the demo's organizers decided not to try to force their way to the Square but riots did break out nevertheless between riot shock-troops of the government and protesters.

Officials set up barricades in and around the square, where May Day celebrations have been banned since 1977, when unknown gunmen opened fire on demonstrators, killing 37 people - most of who died in the resultant stampede. Does this sound just a bit familiar???


Now let's rewind the clock to the night of March 1st in Yerevan - 10 Killed

It seems that the Turkish Lawyers' Union has called on the Ankara Police Chief to resign for the heavy-handed approach of his forces. Now we know that a similar organization, at least in name, exists here in Armenia. Have they made a similar demand regarding those responsible for the events and deaths of March 1st??

When will those responsible be held accountable for their actions?????


May 02, 2008

" The elections I observed in Armenia were the worst I have seen so far."

Election Secrets Revealed: Crying foul over chicanery at Armenia's polls and the honeyed tones of European diplomacy.

by Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin and Matyas Eorsi; 22 April 2008

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has threatened to suspend Armenia’s voting rights in the body unless it makes considerable progress toward democratic and judicial reforms by PACE’s June session. PACE sent observers to witness Armenia’s presidential election in February. It declared the voting to be “mostly in line with the country’s international commitments, although further improvements are necessary to address remaining challenges.” John Prescott, a former British deputy prime minister who headed the delegation, said, “While we noted improvements in the framework for these elections, problems with its implementation, especially during the vote count, in some cases undermined the trust of the people.” Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, a parliamentarian from Sweden who was part of the Armenia mission, considered that an understatement. She delivered her speech during PACE’s 14 April session.

I have been in this parliamentary assembly since January 2007 and I have observed elections in four countries: Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and Armenia. The elections I observed in Armenia were the worst I have seen so far. The opening of the polling stations and the proceedings on the day were not too bad, but the counting in the polling station that I chose to visit was a disaster. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The number of voters who had voted and who had been marked on the list of voters was not counted, unused ballot papers were not destroyed and the protocol in which the results were to be entered had already been signed by members of the election committee.

CLICK for full text of the speech