YEREVAN—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation announced Tuesday that it will boycott all meetings and events related to Wedenesday’s visit by Mevlut Cavusoglu, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, citing the leader’s expressed refusal to visit the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Monument.
“Our parliamentary faction has learned that Mevlut Cavusoglu, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has expressed a desire to meet with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation faction of the National Assembly. However, we have also learned that Mr. Cavusoglu has refused to participate in the protocol visit to the Memorial to the Victims of the 1915 Genocide. We believe that this is not befitting a leader of a major international organization,” said the ARF parliamentary faction Tuesday in a letter addressed to Parliament Speaker Hovig Abrahamian.
“Previous PACE presidents have never allowed themselves to show such disrespect, regardless of whether their country of origin has recognized the Armenian Genocide,” continued the letter.
“In effect, Mr. Cavusoglu is making no secret of the fact that he is visiting Armenia not so much as the head of the PACE but as a Turkish politician. Given these circumstances, our faction does not find it appropriate to meet with him,” concluded the letter.
Cavusoglu, who is scheduled to arrive in Yerevan Wednesday, will meet with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Abrahamian and political factions represented in parliament and not-represented opposition forces.
Government sources confirmed that Cavusoglu has informed the Armenian authorities that he would not make the customary visits that all foreign dignitaries make to Dzidzernagapert.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service, ARF parliamentary faction president Vahan Hovannesian urged other parliament factions to also boycott the meetings.
“Naturally, Cavusoglu was always going to be a Turkish president [of the PACE] and place Turkish interests above everything else,” he said. “For no Turkish politician has reached the level of European broad-mindedness and will reach it in the foreseeable future,” Hovannesian told RFE/RL.
The parliament’s spokeswoman Hasmik Poghosian said Cavisoglu’s visit is a working visit, thus he would only hold working meeting.
However, chairman of the parliamentary commission on foreign affairs, the ARF’s Armen Rustamian explained that the Armenian authorities gave in to Cavusoglu’s request and changed what was supposed to be an “official” visit to a “working” one.
Rustamian, who is part of Armenia’s delegation to PACE, announced that he would not attend the delegation meeting scheduled to take place during Cavusoglu’s visit.
RFE/RL reported that the governing Republican, Prosperous Armenia and Country of Law parties have said they will not boycott the meeting, with one saying that they will use the meeting to convey their deep concerns to Cavusoglu.
The Heritage party, reportedly, has not decided its course of action on this matter.