Sunday, August 24, 2008

About face...

If you remember, SS put out an invitation to Turkey's Gul to come watch the September 6 Football game together in Yerevan. The ARF made multiple statements afterwards, stating that if Gul did come, they would launch large protests - here's an example:
Dashnaktsutyun... makes no secret of its disapproval of the invitation. Aghvan Vartanian, a leader of the nationalist party, reaffirmed its plans to stage demonstrations against [the visit]...
“If President Gul visits Armenia to watch the game, there will be meetings, protests and calls against Turkey...”

Well, now there are two interviews on 168Hours online which address this issue. The first one, in English on Aug 17, is with Kiro Manoyan (one of ARF leaders in Armenia), and starts to circumvent the issue- for example, the first question:

Mr. Manoyan, the ARF has stated that it will initiate actions of protest f the Turkish President Abdullah Gull agrees to visit Armenia to watch the soccer match on September 6 as invited by Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan. Have you already decided what concrete steps you are going to undertake?

- I don’t know as the Supreme Body is in charge of that.

The second article, in Armenian on Aug 24 with Armen Rustamyan, actually starts to backtrack. In fact, he states clearly that the ARF is NOT against the invitation, that they would not be protest actions, per se, but that any actions would be to use the opportunity to bring up issues that are important to the ARF. Of course, he says in the interview, any actions would be polite/appropriate as Armenia is the inviting country, and they wouldn't want to cause disruption to the authorities. Once it is certain that Gul is coming, then they will decide as to what definite actions will be undertaken.

Wow - it sure sounded definite before. What happened??

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