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Armenian overreaction criticised

September 20th, 2012

A pro-government pundit rejects Armenian accusations in connection with the “axe murderer affair,” and suggests that they are due to Armenia’s own problems rather than Hungary’s behaviour.

On August 31, Hungary transferred the Azeri officer sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his Armenian roommate at a NATO language course in Budapest, back to his native country. But instead of serving his sentence in an Azeri prison, the lieutenant was immediately pardoned, released, promoted and celebrated as a national hero.  Armenian president Sarksyan immediately announced that his country would sever diplomatic ties with Hungary. (See BudaPost, September 1 through 10.) A fortnight later, a video cartoon surfaced in Armenia, suggesting that Hungary was bribed by Azerbaijan, and representing the Armenian people as a herd fornicating with sheep.

In Magyar Hírlap, deputy editor László Szentesi Zöldi believes both the Armenian official reaction and the video circulating on the internet are disproportionate responses, just like the hero’s welcome given to the murderer in Baku. Hungary has not declared war on Armenia, on the contrary, the two countries have no conflicting interests, he remarks. The right-wing columnist regrets the fact that the Armenian reaction to the affair has put Hungary’s Armenian minority into an unprecedented position where they feel they must choose between Armenia and Hungary, whereas for several hundred years they have had no conflict with either the Hungarian authorities or the population in general. In fact, their legal representatives have sued the authorities for having made the release of a criminal possible. As a result, many Hungarians tend to believe that the Azeris might be right after all in claiming full sovereignty over the Nagorno-Karabah region, under de facto Armenian rule since the 1994 conflict, Szentesi Zöldi suggests. He also believes that Hungarian-Turkish ties have further been strengthened – not by the transfer of the axe murderer to Azerbaijan, but by the disproportionate Armenian reaction to the matter.

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