Alen Simonyan discusses the return of the Armenian POWs with German colleagues


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 26, ARMENPRESS. On February 26, the Armenian National Assembly President Alen Simonyan received the delegation led by the Chairwoman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the FRG Bundestag Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, the press service of the Armenian National Assembly said in a statement.

The Chair of the National Assembly Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs Vladimir Vardanyan also attended the meeting.

According to the source, welcoming the guests, Alen Simonyan highly appreciated the stable development of friendly relations with Germany, emphasizing the promotion of inter-parliamentary cooperation also in the format of mutual visits.

Alen Simonyan thanked the German colleagues for their continuous support for democratic reforms in Armenia, highlighted the contribution of the Chancellor Olaf Scholz to the process of establishing peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“We greatly appreciate the strong democratic values established in Armenia since 2018 and are ready to support the development of democratic institutions in Armenia, as well as the establishment of peace in the region,” Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker noted.

It is noted that Alen Simonyan presented to his German colleagues the consequences of Azerbaijan's bellicose policy, raised the issue of the return of the Armenian prisoners of war, to which Azerbaijan shows a destructive approach.

The interlocutors exchanged ideas on Armenia-Germany inter-parliamentary relations, the deepening of Armenia-EU cooperation, the establishment of security in the South Caucasus and a number of other issues.

Macron pays false tribute to French-Armenian resistance fighter Missak Manouchian

WSWS – World Socialist Web Site
Feb 26 2024

On February 21, 1944, at Mont-Valérien prison near Paris, Nazi troops shot communist immigrant worker Missak Manouchian and 23 other members of his Sharpshooters and Partisans-Immigrant Work Force (FTP-MOI) resistance unit. On Wednesday, February 21, 80 years later, President Emmanuel Macron had the remains of Missak and his wife Mélinée Manouchian buried in the Pantheon in Paris.

Eight members of the Manouchian resistance group at Mont-Valérien prison outside Paris, shortly before their execution by the Nazis.

This tribute is grotesquely insincere and politically sinister. It aims to gain the support of the French Communist Party (PCF) bureaucracy and its pseudo-left allies for Macron’s embrace of neo-fascist descendants of the fascists who murdered Manouchian. Last week, in an interview with the Stalinist daily L’Humanité, Macron provocatively invited the neo-fascist National Rally (RN) to the Pantheon event. “My duty is to invite all elected representatives of the French people,” he said.

A new stage has emerged in the European bourgeoisie’s fascistic evolution, over the three decades of imperialist wars, social austerity and mounting class struggles since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Macron is despised for ruling against the people, after ramming through his unpopular pension cuts without a parliamentary vote last year to fund rearmament against Russia. Lacking any popular base for policies of NATO war and European Union austerity, Macron aims to consolidate an authoritarian regime in alliance with the far right.

The pseudo-left’s support for Macron’s false tribute to Manouchian shows the urgency of building a Trotskyist alternative for the working class. The pseudo-left, which backed the union bureaucracies’ calling off of strikes against Macron’s pension cuts, does not oppose war or police-state rule. The force fighting to build a revolutionary leadership in the working class is the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), the world Trotskyist movement, based on its struggle against Stalinism and the petty-bourgeois descendants of renegades from Trotskyism.

Macron’s tribute to Manouchian is fraudulent, as it is a matter of public record that his sympathies lie with Manouchian’s executioners. In 2018, as he sent riot police to assault “yellow vest” protests against social inequality, he hailed France’s Nazi-collaborationist dictator, convicted traitor Philippe Pétain, as a “great soldier.” But one cannot applaud both Manouchian and Pétain, whose fascist police state captured Manouchian and gave him to the Nazis to be murdered.

Macron’s attempt to do both is a cynical attempt at political damage control, amid mounting working class anger at his government. Since imposing his pension cuts thanks to the complicity of the Stalinist union bureaucracies, his police repressed mass youth riots against the police murder of teenager Nahel last summer, and he endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “friend” amid Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. RN leader Marine Le Pen applauded Macron’s draconian immigration law, adopted this winter, as an “ideological victory” for the neo-fascists.

Nevertheless, the French Stalinists and their pseudo-left allies have embraced Macron’s false tribute to Manouchian. L’Humanité called it “an unprecedented, essential remembrance, even though it is in total contradiction with the policies carried out by Emmanuel Macron.” It hailed Macron for “completing our nation’s recognition of the communist and foreign resistance.”

Olivier Besancenot of the Pabloite New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) reacted only with a Tweet on anarchist songwriter Léo Ferré’s well-known song for the Manouchian group, based on a poem by Stalinist author Louis Aragon. Besancenot said, “Manouchian, Aragon, Ferré, one struggle, poem, one song. France owes it to the MOI and the anti-fascist resistance.”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the France Unbowed (LFI) party called Macron’s tribute to Manouchian a victory of communism over neo-fascism. Mélenchon said he felt “secret jubilation” at seeing Le Pen in the Pantheon, attending the event for Manouchian. Now, he said, “after so many years, it is unconditional capitulation. The far right is coming to pay homage to the communist resistance that they so long decried.”

This is a pack of lies. Macron and Le Pen are not celebrating the resistance to fascist rule that emerged in the French and European working class during World War II. Such a movement is not what Macron and Le Pen want, but what they fear. They are working with the pseudo-left parties to block a movement in the working class, even as capitalism again plunges into genocide and world war in the 21st century.

The pseudo-left essentially shares the false political and historical perspective on the resistance Macron put forward by as he spoke at the Pantheon. “You are entering here as a soldier,” Macron said of Manouchian, claiming he was recognizing “this part of the Resistance, six decades after Jean Moulin,” a pro-capitalist resistance leader affiliated to General Charles de Gaulle, entered the Pantheon in 1964. Now, Macron said, “An odyssey of the 20th century is coming to a close.”

Missak and Mélinée Manouchian

Macron’s depiction of the resistance as a movement of soldiers, who helped ensure French independence from Germany and whose work is now done, is false. The millions who in the course of World War II joined underground militias, risking their lives to attack Nazi and collaborationist authorities, were overwhelmingly workers or rural toilers. Factory or rural militias, often made up of workers fleeing arrest, spread across Europe. Actions by these militias were, moreover, part of an even larger movement of mass strikes and armed insurrections all over the continent.

The Manouchians were refugees who as children fled the mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Missak was a Jewish auto worker, Mélinée a typist and friend of the family of singer Charles Aznavour. While they remained in the Communist Party and did not join the Trotskyist opposition to Stalinism or then the Fourth International after Trotsky founded it in 1938, they worked during the war with Arben Dawitian Tarov, a Left Oppositionist who had escaped Soviet prison and arrived in France.

Arben Dawitian Tarov, a left oppositionist and member of the Manouchian group.

After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and the French police’s first roundups of Jews for deportation to the death camps in 1942, they entered into armed resistance. In 1943—the year of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, general strikes in Athens and the Netherlands, and the Italian workers’ overthrow of Mussolini—theirs was the main FTP unit active in Paris. They carried out dozens of attacks. Most famously, on September 28, 1943, they executed Nazi SS General Julius Ritter, tasked with organizing mass labor deportations of French workers to Germany.

Hunted by the 2nd Special Brigade of France’s General Intelligence (RG) service, and denied permission to evacuate Paris by the PCF, Missak Manouchian’s unit was captured in November 1943, though Mélinée escaped. The infamous “Red Poster” with their pictures issued before their execution, denouncing them as a Jewish “army of crime,” instead won them the lasting affection of the French people. Manouchian declared, before his execution, that he bore no hatred for Germans.

The Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime's propaganda "Red Poster" denouncing the Manouchian group before their execution.

The fate of the resistance movement cannot be understood outside Trotsky’s struggle against Stalinism. Many workers in the resistance saw themselves as waging a class, not a national war against fascism, directed against capitalism. However, only the Fourth International fought for the mass movement in the European working class to lead to the transfer of power to the organizations of struggle of the working class, and a European and international socialist revolution.

The Soviet bureaucracy, based on its false theory of “socialism in one country,” opposed a European socialist revolution at the end of the war. Stalinist party and union leaderships worked with capitalist governments to fold resistance militias like the FTP into the army, disband factory committees and militias, and replace them with works councils staffed by union officials and corporate management. Policy on the resistance, liberal Belgian defense minister Fernand Demets told his aides in 1944, was to “strangle the chicken without making it scream.”

If the Stalinist and Allied capitalist forces were able to avert revolution in the 1940s, the struggle of the Trotskyist movement and the communist resistance still holds great lessons for today. The Soviet bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, but what Macron called the “odyssey” of the resistance is not over. The struggle for socialism against genocide, world war, authoritarian rule, and the capitalist system that gives rise to them is the unfinished task of the working class.

To break the stifling diktat of “social dialog” between the union bureaucracies and Macron’s police state, the Manouchians’ struggle points to a critical strategic alternative. The Manouchian group was part of a vast network of underground, rank-and-file organizations in the European working class that fought Nazi rule. Macron does not rule over a fascist regime, but building a new, international network of rank-and-file organizations in the working class, opposed to the capitalist state power, is the only way forward for the working class.

Above all, a new revolutionary leadership must be built in the working class, based on the ICFI’s struggles to defend the revolutionary tradition of Marxism.

The ICFI was formed in 1953 to defend Trotskyism against a tendency that emerged in the Fourth International, led by Michel Pablo and Ernest Mandel, claiming that revolution was impossible at the end of World War II, and that Stalinist bureaucracies could lead revolutionary struggles. Tragically, the ICFI’s first French section, Pierre Lambert’s Organisation communiste internationaliste, also capitulated to Pabloism. It broke with the ICFI in 1971 to seek alliances with social democracy and Stalinism.

The Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES), the French section founded by the ICFI in 2016, opposes the capitulation of the PCF, Besancenot and Mélenchon to Macron’s cynical invocations of Manouchian to justify fascistic policies. Besancenot the Pabloite and Mélenchon the ex-Lambertiste do not represent Trotskyism, but petty-bourgeois anti-Trotskyism. They intervene in the class struggle today to “strangle the chicken without making it scream.”

But the situation, as the PES insisted during last year’s pension struggle in France amid a wave of mass strike struggles across Europe, is objectively revolutionary. The great task facing revolutionary-minded workers and youth is building the PES and the ICFI as the revolutionary vanguard of the working class, against war, fascistic police-state rule, and capitalism. Struggling for the transfer of power to the working class in a socialist revolution, against capitulation to and collaboration with Macron, is the only fitting celebration of the Manouchians.


Lukashenko unfazed by Armenia’s stance on CSTO

BELTA, Belarus
Feb 25 2024
MINSK, 25 February (BelTA) – Belarus has taken Armenia’s statements on CSTO membership in stride, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko told the media after he cast his ballot in the parliamentary and local elections on 25 February, BelTA has learned.
“We are absolutely calm about it. We discussed this problem with the presidents in Kazan. We are absolutely unfazed by it. It did not send anyone over the edge. If Armenia needs to be part of the CSTO, let it be, we have always supported and will support it as our ally. If they don’t want to be in the CSTO, the organization won’t collapse, it won’t be gone,” said the head of state.
At the same time, there have been no official notifications from Yerevan regarding its plans for the CSTO, the Belarusian leader remarked.
He noted that in line with Armenian laws, the issue of CSTO membership must be decided in parliament: “Pashinyan cannot make a decision whether to join or withdraw. The parliament is entitled to make such decisions. I think the majority of the Armenian MPs are sensible people. They don’t have any reason to harbour hard feelings against us, or the CSTO.”
According to the head of state, this topic has been discussed more than once, and it must be understood that Azerbaijan is not a stranger to any of CSTO member states. “There are many Muslim countries in the CSTO. You understand this too. This partly explains such a position. And, thirdly, did Armenia really want us to get involved in this war with Azerbaijan? In this case, this war would have been going on to this very day and thousands would have died,” said the Belarusian leader. “I believe that Azerbaijan and Armenia eventually arrived at the right solution to the issue, though through the war, unfortunately. Armenia (and they admitted it) occupied five or six regions of Azerbaijan,” the head of state said.
The president recalled that once he acted as a mediator between Baku and Yerevan in an attempt to peacefully resolve the territorial dispute, and for a number of years Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev not only called for a peaceful resolution, but also offered financial support to the Armenian side: “I occurred to be a mediator – I shuttled between Baku and Yerevan and conveyed these signals. The proposal envisaged billions of dollars of investment in the Armenian economy. Azerbaijan is a rich country. There were a lot of proposals to resolve this issue peacefully,” the head of state said.
However, in previous years, the Armenian leadership did not agree to a peaceful settlement and problems were snowballing. “It all accumulated and fell on Nikol Vovayevich Pashinyan [Prime Minister of Armenia], on his government. He is hardly to blame for what happened. Yet, this problem had to be solved. Moreover, the Armenia-occupied regions of Azerbaijan were desolate, although this is a very beautiful place where people could have lived with comfort. More than a million Azerbaijani refugees were a huge burden on Azerbaijan; there were many other problems,” the head of state noted.
“Well, the war is over. What position were we supposed to take? The Armenians are our kin, people we care about. And is Azerbaijan a stranger? We were put in a bind. And there was no reason for the CSTO to get involved in this conflict. There was absolutely no slightest reason for us to do it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.
He also drew attention to Armenia's contacts with France. “They communicated with Emmanuel Macron of France all the time. France pledged to help with air defense systems, with defense matters and economy. In general, they promised to take care of Yerevan’s needs. But they are not doing it. You see what is happening in France. Therefore, politicians in Yerevan need to wake up to reality and, to put it simply, try not to lose what they have,” the president of Belarus advised.
He cited Georgia as an example: “Thank God, they are mending relations with Russia, first of all, with us; their economy is recovering. They tried to get a free ride in the West. The Americans have already forgotten about Georgia. As soon as the Georgians started asserting that they were an independent country, the West began to put pressure on them, including and primarily the United States. You need to draw conclusions from it. No one in the West cares about them. They have thousands of problems of their own.”
“For example, today Biden supports Ukraine, Armenia, and so on. Tomorrow the government will change and Trump will say: “Listen, I don’t know you. My friends, this is the first time I’ve seen you!” the head of state remarked.
He once again urged to hold on to what one has: “It’s easy to leave, but it will be difficult to return. Again, Georgia is an example. It left the CIS and all structures. Is it better off without them? No. It is a good idea to return. But it's always more difficult to come back. It is not a good look and so on.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko advised the Armenian side not to rush to leave and not to make hasty decisions. “Take your time. Do not withdraw or freeze something. Well, if you don’t like something, just don’t come,” he said. “Time brings many changes. And the situation will change around Armenia, Azerbaijan. The global situation will change. Therefore, such compact, relatively small states as Armenia, Belarus and others do not need to make dramatic moves. We might fall through thin ice and no one will extend a helping hand, quite the opposite, they will push us further down so that we will drown there. Armenians should not rush. I believe that Nikol Vovayevich just got ahead of himself and made an emotional statement,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

Putin’s “Mini-NATO” Faces Setback as Armenia Suspends Membership

The Stock Dork
Feb 24 2024
  • By Vina Paula
  • Feb 24, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin faces a significant setback as Armenia announces its suspension of membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), widely seen as Putin’s response to NATO.

Table of Contents  show 

The move comes amid mounting tensions between Russia and its allies, marking a notable blow to Putin’s leadership in the wake of ongoing conflicts and geopolitical challenges.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s declaration during an interview with France 24 on Friday was considered very surprising in diplomatic circles.

Concerns about Russia’s lack of involvement in disputes with neighboring Azerbaijan have been voiced by Armenia, particularly after Azerbaijan launched an offensive in the long-disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh last September, which occasionally resulted in violent conflict between the two nations.

“The collective security agreement, in our opinion, was not implemented in relation to Armenia, especially in 2021-2022.

This could not remain without our attention. We suspended our participation in this agreement.

Let’s see what happens next,” Pashinyan said, according to Russian state media TASS.

Despite Armenia’s announcement, Putin has not engaged in discussions with Pashinyan regarding the country’s CSTO membership.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that there have been no formal notifications from Armenian officials, leaving Russia seeking clarification on the matter.

Armenia’s departure leaves the CSTO with only five active member states, highlighting growing instability within the alliance.

Recent years have seen various challenges, including Kyrgyzstan’s withdrawal from joint military drills with Russia and Kazakhstan’s refusal to aid Russia in circumventing Western sanctions.

Tensions between Russia and Armenia have escalated, exacerbated by conflicts and diverging geopolitical interests.

Military drills between Armenia and the U.S. have strained relations further, signaling Armenia’s shift away from Moscow’s sphere of influence.

As Russia grapples with Armenia’s exit from the CSTO, questions loom over the alliance’s future and Putin’s ability to maintain influence in the region.

Azerbaijani Influencer Briefly Arrested then Released in Russia Based on War Crime Charges from Armenia

Feb 22 2024

What’s Happening

Azeri influencer Kamil Zeynalli was briefly detained for a few hours at the Moscow airport on February 21st by Russian police who were acting upon an arrest warrant issued by Armenia for Zeynalli that dates back to May.

Publicly, Armenia stated that Zeynalli is wanted on murder charges, which occurred during the 2020 44-Day war in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh, the war is also known as the second Nagorno-Karabakh war), without offering much detail.

Zeynalli’s lawyer, however, confirmed to Azeri TV that Zeynalli was wanted on charges of “aggression, war crimes and being a mercenary”. However, he too, did not particularly offer any concrete details on the exact crimes.

It is largely believed that Zeynalli is being charged with war crimes in connection to the execution of two Artsakh Defence Forces servicemen during the 44-Day war. During the war, a video emerged which portrayed several Azerbaijani speaking soldiers shooting and killing two Artsakh soldiers, who were bound and draped in Artsakh’s flag.

Azerbaijan has claimed the video is fake.

Some media have instead claimed that Zeynalli was one of a group of Azeri soldiers who beheaded two elderly civilians, which was again caught on video.

Neither of these claims that Zeynalli was involved with these particular crimes are officially confirmed at the moment. It is worth noting that the story which accuses Zeynalli of being involved in the execution of the Artsakh servicemen is the one which is being more widely reported.

Zeynalli’s Release

Several hours later, after negotiations between Russia and the Azeri embassy in Moscow, Zeynalli was released and allowed to go on a plane back to Baku, the Azeri capital. Azerbaijan’s embassy pledged to “deal” with the case, and as things currently stand, Zeynalli is due back in Russia on February 22nd in order to face extradition hearings in a Russian court.

Zeynalli faces a potential extradition to Armenia, if he indeed attends his court session in Russia.

Who is Kamil Zeynalli

Kamil Zeynalli is a rather popular Azeri influencer. The profile he runs on instagram has 1.8 million followers, and is a fitness coach and a blogger. Zeynalli formerly served in the Azeri military, including during the 2020 44-Day war. For this service, he has received military medals from the government.

Zeynalli was arrested as he was about to board a plane to Baku at Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport.

Following his detention, he released a video on instagram speaking about some of the charges against him, and his potential extradition, which may be viewed here.

Armenian Prime Minister meets with CEOs of top French enterprises


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 22, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has met with a group of major business executives during his visit to France.

During the meeting with the leadership of the leading French enterprises, the Prime Minister spoke about the Armenian economic development, prospects of growth, the government’s economic programs, improvement of the business climate and opportunities of investment projects.

Pashinyan said that Armenia’s state budget revenues nearly doubled in 2023 compared to 2018.

“This means that very significant changes have taken place in the country in reducing shadow [economy] and improving the competitive situation. In 2023 the economic growth in Armenia comprised 8,7%, which is an obviously high indicator. In 2022 growth was 12,6%, and 5,6% in 2021,” Pashinyan said.

He added that 180,000 new jobs were opened in Armenia since 2018. “And this has approximately 30% growth in the total number of jobs. 2023 was significant also because we had significant progress in GDP per capita, and we are the leading country in the South Caucasus with this indicator.”

Pashinyan mentioned the “very important and significant” investments and economic cooperation with France, noting the presence of Pernod Ricard and Veolia. He also mentioned other French companies operating in the banking system and the pension fund management. He said that there have been discussions to intensify cooperation in the water supply sector.

Speaking about the Armenian government’s projections to secure at least 7% growth, Pashinyan said he hopes that more French companies will start operating in Armenia.

The Armenian Prime Minister also mentioned the significant projects for modernization of the economy.

“In terms of investment projects I’d like to mention the program on building 300 schools and 500 kindergartens in Armenia. There’s also the over one billion-dollar worth North-South program,” he said, drawing attention of construction companies that could be interested.

The Armenian Prime Minister also presented to the French companies the Academic City project. “We want to create a new city in the higher education sector. We’ve already launched concrete work in this direction.”

“I have to say that we want to inquire about serious investment programs in process manufacturing. IT is still one of the leading branches of the economy. And now the finance ministry and the high tech industry ministry are engaged in discussions with the sector to understand how we can further improve the legislative regulations in IT and make our country more attractive in this sense. In 2023 Armenia recorded significant progress in tourism, and the tourism inflow has already surpassed the 2019 figures. Winemaking is rapidly developing in Armenia, and I think there’s investment potential here as well. We have a broad reservoir construction project,” he said.

Issues pertaining to opportunities of cooperation in construction, infrastructure development, agriculture, tourism, high technologies, and industrial branches were discussed.

PM Pashinyan held separate meetings with the CEOs of Thales, IDEMIA, Pernod Ricard and Societe des Troia-Valles.

Turkish Press: Historic window of opportunity for lasting peace in Karabakh should not be closed, says Turkish president

Yeni Safak
Feb 20 2024

Historic window of opportunity for lasting peace in Karabakh should not be closed, says Turkish president

Signing of permanent peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be new source of hope for peace, and stability in our region and world, says Recep Tayyip Erdogan

With the end of Armenia's decades-long occupation of Karabakh, a historic opportunity opened for lasting peace in the region, said the Turkish president on Monday.

When Azerbaijan in fall 2020 and last September brought an end to Armenia's nearly 30-year occupation of Karabakh, a historic window of opportunity opened for lasting peace in the Southern Caucasus, said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in the capital Ankara alongside Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev.

It is “crucial” that this window does not close, Erdogan added.

“It is undoubtedly certain that the signing of a permanent peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be a new source of hope for peace, tranquility, and stability in our region and the world,” said Erdogan.

He said that during this process, Türkiye and Azerbaijan have stood “shoulder to shoulder.”

“I believe that Armenia should evaluate this process with a long-term, strategic perspective. We also invite third parties to contribute constructively to the process rather than poisoning it,” he said.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Azerbaijan liberated most of the region during the war in the fall of 2020, which ended with a Russian-brokered peace agreement, opening the door to normalization.

Baku initiated an anti-terrorism operation in Karabakh last September to establish constitutional order, after which illegal separatist forces in the region surrendered.

Erdogan on Monday welcomed Aliyev in the capital Ankara to discuss all aspects of bilateral relations, as well as steps to further cooperation between the two countries.

Aliyev's visit to Ankara is his first trip abroad since being reelected earlier this month.

– Council of Europe and Azerbaijan

On more recent developments, Erdogan said Türkiye will continue to work to get Azerbaijan's credentials validated at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“We will continue our support and efforts for Azerbaijan until the decision (not ratifying their credentials) is overturned,” Erdogan said.

Last month, PACE voted to deny validation to the credentials of the Azerbaijani delegation to the body, alleging that it has not fulfilled major commitments under its Council of Europe membership.

Erdogan added that Türkiye will continue stressing that PACE should be a platform for “parliamentary democracy rather than conflict.”

– Türkiye-Azerbaijan relations on trade, transportation

Erdogan said the potential in the transportation and energy sectors between Baku and Ankara must be enhanced “in a period of critical challenges.”

“The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line is essentially one of the most concrete examples of this. It is crucial to complete our renovation efforts urgently to achieve the highest efficiency from this line. During my visit to Nakhchivan, the Turkish Gate, in September, I, along with Aliyev, signed the memorandum of understanding for the Kars-Nakhchivan railway with this understanding,” he said.

Erdogan added that expanding the capacity of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and facilitating the transportation of Caspian natural gas to both Türkiye and Europe are key focuses in Ankara's agenda within this sector.

“We added a new dimension to our energy cooperation with the Igdir-Nakhchivan natural gas pipeline project initiated during my visit to Nakhchivan,” last September, said Erdogan.

On trade ties, Erdogan said: “The total Turkish-Azerbaijani trade volume last year reached $7.5 billion for the first time. We will step up our efforts to achieve a $15 billion target,” Erdogan added.

Erdogan also expressed hope that recent incidents on the border of the two countries that wounded one Azerbaijani soldier would not be repeated.

“Our family council continues to work towards further institutionalization and strengthening of our unity within the Organization of Turkic States,” Erdogan said.

-⁠ ⁠Turkish-Azerbaijani unity important factor for Eurasia

For his part, Aliyev described his visit to Türkiye following his reelection earlier this month as “natural,” saying that Turkish-Azerbaijani unity is an important factor not only for the region but also for the Eurasian continent as a whole.

Aliyev said Türkiye has reached new heights with Erdogan's efforts, and has gotten a say on the global level, adding that Türkiye is also the guarantor of “peace, stability and cooperation” in the southern Caucasus.

Türkiye stood by Azerbaijan, which “solved the historical problem that it could not solve by peaceful means on the battlefield," and his people will not forget Türkiye's support during this time, said Aliyev, referring to its regaining full sovereignty over its territory of Karabakh after a nearly 30-year occupation.

He added that the anti-terror operation Azerbaijan carried out in the Karabakh region last September “fully affirmed” the country's sovereignty.

Aliyev also said Azerbaijan and Türkiye share an outlook in all matters and are adding to their strength based on a declaration cementing their alliance.

“The unification of the Turkic world, the coexistence of peoples with common cultures, will increase the strength of each member of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS),” he added.

Repeating his Turkish counterpart's remarks that an extraordinary OTS summit in Shusha, Azerbaijan will be held in July, Aliyev said Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar will also attend, a move which he said will “give impetus to the unity of the Turkic people.”

Aliyev said he is very pleased that their trade with Türkiye is growing rapidly, much more than they could have ever dreamed.

He also said that military collaboration is also an important aspect of cooperation between Türkiye and Azerbaijan, describing the armies of both countries as “like a fist.”

He went on to say he and Erdogan had extensive discussions regarding the defense industry sector, and that they have “concrete plans” for joint production.

Turkish Press: Armenia’s economy minister steps down following arrests

Feb 14 2024
World  |

Editor : Ahmet Erarslan
2024-02-14 17:10:28 | Last Update : 2024-02-14 17:27:16

Economy Minister Vahan Kerobian resigned on Wednesday, citing frequent disagreements with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian during his three-year tenure as the reason. 

Vahan took the ministerial post in November 2020, expecting a short tenure due to potential regime change. Despite numerous disagreements, he continued to perform his duties as the minister of economy.

Kerobian did not elaborate on these disagreements or address the recent arrests of senior ministry officials. He defended the ministry's handling of a state fund supporting fruit orchard establishment, which was extended by the government. Despite initially ruling out resignation following the arrests, he later stated he would take responsibility if the accusations against him were proven. 

The second criminal case is related to a procurement tender arranged by the Ministry of Economy, which was annulled by a court last summer. Officials from the ministry are accused of unlawfully disqualifying an information technology company, Harmonia, in order to ensure that a larger firm, Synergy International Systems, would win the tender. 

On Jan. 31, investigators also apprehended Ashot Hovanesian, the founder of Synergy, along with two current and former employees. The latter were released on Monday. Hovanesian's attorneys criticized his ongoing detention on Tuesday as "unlawful and biased." 

Hovanesian's earlier arrest prompted strong criticism from the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE) in Armenia. The organization stated that baseless detentions of "business representatives and other prominent individuals" are making Armenia a "high-risk country" for both local and foreign technology entrepreneurs. 

Armenian Prime Minister Says ‘We Are Not Russia’s Ally’ Amid Ongoing War In Ukraine: ‘That’s The Reality’

Feb 12 2024

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made it clear that Armenia is not an ally of Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. He also emphasized that Armenia’s military projects are not aimed at any specific nation.

What Happened: Pashinyan, in an interview with the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, stated that Armenia does not consider itself a Russian ally in the Ukraine conflict. He also expressed hope for a lasting peace treaty with Azerbaijan, despite recent border demarcation statements by the Azerbaijani president.

Pashinyan, who has previously voiced concerns about Russia’s support for Armenia’s defense, reiterated his stance on Armenia’s relationship with Russia. He also clarified that Armenia’s security cooperation with other partners, such as the U.S. and France, is not directed against any specific ally.

“I said, in the Ukraine situation, we are not Russia's ally. And that's the reality,” Pashinyan told the daily.

“But I want to also tell you that with the U.S. or France or other partners, our security cooperation is not targeted against our other security sector partner,” he said.

He further stated that Armenia has no plans to pursue NATO membership, a decision that has been reaffirmed by Ukraine and denounced by Russia. Pashinyan also mentioned that Armenia is evaluating its position within the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

Regarding the peace agreement with Azerbaijan, Pashinyan noted that significant progress had been made in 2023. However, recent statements by President Ilham Aliyev have raised doubts about the finalization of the agreement.

Why It Matters: The recent comments by Pashinyan are indicative of a shift in Armenia’s foreign policy, particularly in its relationship with Russia. This development comes in the wake of Armenia’s concerns about Russia’s support following the 2022 clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which raised questions about Russia’s role as a peace broker in the region.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine conflict has been a source of global concern. In a recent interview, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of the potential for the ongoing conflict with Russia to escalate into a global conflict. He has also called for increased support from Western nations.