The Armenia Alliance and I Have Honor Alliance have ended their boycott of the Armenian National Assembly. Deputies from the opposition factions returned to parliament on November 15 after boycotting sessions for more than half a year. The political parties launched the boycott in April to organize street demonstrations to demand the removal of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who they accuse of being prepared to cede Artsakh to Azerbaijani control. Armenia Alliance MP Aghvan Vardanyan said during Tuesday’s sitting that the current government is a “threat to the statehood and national identity of Armenia.” “We are here to prevent the destructive process from becoming irreversible,” Vardanyan said. I Have Honor MP Taguhi Tovmasyan said that the faction would use “other forms of struggle in the street against the Pashinyan government” while returning to parliament.
Twenty-two-year-old Armenian soldier Grigor Grigoryan was killed on November 16 in a military accident, Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported. Seven other soldiers were injured after a Kamaz military truck overturned. The Defense Ministry said their injuries are not life-threatening, and they are receiving medical care in a garrison hospital. The ministry says it has launched an investigation to clarify the circumstances of the incident.
Opposition politician Rovshan Mammadov has been sentenced to 30 days in prison after participating in a protest in Baku. Mammadov was detained during a demonstration organized by his Popular Front Party on November 11 to demand freedom of assembly, the release of political prisoners, free elections and democratic reforms. The Interior Ministry said it detained Mammadov on charges of breaking the window of a police car while drunk. Chair of the Popular Front Party Ali Karimli said Mammadov’s arrest is part of a strategy to “frighten society by defaming political and social activists and arresting them.” “People’s growing dissatisfaction with the power of Ilham Aliyev, the actions held by the Popular Front Party, and the organization of young people have increased fear in the regime,” Karimli said.
Turkish police have detained 50 people suspected of involvement in a bomb attack in central Istanbul on November 13. Six people, including two children, were killed and at least 80 injured in an explosion on the busy Istiklal Avenue. The detainees include Ahlam Albashir, a Syrian citizen who admitted to planting TNT-type explosives. Police said that Albashir was trained by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and entered Turkey illegally from Syria. Turkish authorities have assigned blame for the attack on the PKK, which has denied any involvement. “Turkey continues with its fight against terrorism with determination,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said. “No terrorist organization will succeed in any kind of plot against Turkey.”