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Armenian Defense Chief Attributes Relative Border Calm To ‘Improved Observation System’

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Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has put down the relative calm recently observed at the border with Azerbaijan as well as along the Line of Contact in Nagorno-Karabakh to improved observation systems put in place by Armenian armed forces.

Speaking at a press briefing in Yerevan on Wednesday, Ohanian also partly attributed reduced tensions to a more active negotiation process conducted recently.

“It can be said that the border situation today is relatively calm because the Armenian Army and the Defense Army of the [unrecognized] Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have for years worked on improving their combat duty services,” the Armenian defense minister said. “Today we have improved our observation system, which makes it possible to conduct observations, detect, locate [the enemy], make decisions and implement them more efficiently.”

Washington Says Release Of Azerbaijanis Held In Karabakh To Reduce Tensions

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The United States has reiterated its call for ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh to release two Azerbaijani nationals who were convicted and jailed last year on charges of committing a number of crimes, including a teenager’s murder.

Last week senior members of the de facto government in Stepanakert effectively ruled out the release of Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Quliyev despite an appeal for the kind of “humanitarian gesture” made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Victoria Nuland during her visit to Armenia on February 18.

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Armenian War Vets Return Medals Over Karabakh Beating Incident

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Two Armenian veterans of the Karabakh war have returned their combat medals over a recent incident in which dozens of opposition activists were assaulted while staging an automobile march towards Stepanakert.

Pavel Manukian and Armen Lambarian, holders of a total of 11 such medals, said at a press conference on Monday that they supported the hard-line opposition movement called the Founding Parliament and decided to take the step in response to the police brutality against its activists near Lachin, a corridor that links Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh.

Italian Researcher: Armenian and Azerbaijani Migrants in Turkey Both Want to Make Money

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09:42, February 23, 2015

Hetq talks to Italian sociologist Fabio Salomoni, a faculty member at Koç University’s Social Sciences and Humanities, who began to take an interest in Turkey in the 1990s.

Salomoni has also focused on the plight of Armenian and Azerbaijan migrants in Turkey and his latest paper on the issue is entitled “Just Beyond the Border: Azerbaijani and Armenian Migrants in Turkey.”

Referring to the southern Caucasus, Salomoni argues that the only reason the world is interested in the area was the Karabakh War, despite the fact that some one million migrants left Armenia during those years and probably an equal number from Azerbaijan.

What are the differences, if any, between Armenian and Azerbaijan migrants residing in Turkey?

Ter-Petrosian No Longer Deems Meeting With Sarkisian ‘Necessary’

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Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian does not consider a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian to be necessary any longer, one of his aides has told media.

Arman Musinian, a spokesperson for the Ter-Petrosian-led Armenian National Congress (HAK) party, said the former president was “fully satisfied” with Sarkisian’s reply to his open letter that concerned some of the aspects of a “pan-Armenian declaration” adopted ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

In a response open letter published on Friday Sarkisian said he was ready to accept Ter-Petrosian’s offer for a meeting around the Declaration, but at the same time he categorically rejected the ex-president’s claims that the document adopted by a commission headed by him and comprising other senior Armenian state officials, the top clerics of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Diaspora leaders contradicts the Constitution of Armenia and international legal documents.

Landmine Free Artsakh Clears Karegah Minefield: Two Fundraisers Planned for U.S.

February 20, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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13:27, February 20, 2015

With generous support from the worldwide Armenian community, the clearance of a minefieldin the village of Karegah in Artsakh’s Kashatagh region was completed in December 2014 and the land was returned to the local community in January.

The HALO Trust, the non-profit organization we partner with to remove thelandmines,destroyed 21 anti-personnel mines and 6 other deadly explosive remnants of war to make safe over 4 acres of land. Now the villagers of Karegah can collect firewood and forage for berries and mushrooms without fear of death or serious injury.

In a recent interview Yuri Shahramanian, HALO’s Program Manager inNagorno Karabakh, spoke about the effort to make Nagorno Karabakh safe, the Landmine Free Artsakh campaign, and the clearance we have supported in the villages of Norashenik and Karegah. You can watch Yuri’sinterviewhere.

Armenian, Azerbaijani Presidents ‘Agree’ To Consider Mediators’ Proposals

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The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev, have agreed to consider proposals from international mediators aimed at strengthening the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, according to a statement issued by the American, Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on Friday.

Ambassadors James Warlick of the United States, Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, and Pierre Andrieu of France said after traveling to the region on February 16-19 that the main purpose of their visits was to appeal to the sides “to strictly adhere to the ceasefire after a dangerous rise in violence in January”.

Karabakh Rules Out Release Of Jailed Azerbaijani Nationals

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Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian authorities have refused to consider the release of two Azerbaijani nations who were convicted and jailed last year on charges of committing a number of crimes, including a teenager’s murder.

Azerbaijan did not recognize the legality of the trial in which its citizens, Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Quliyev, were sentenced to life and 22 years in prison, respectively.

United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland addressed the issue during her visits to Baku and Yerevan earlier this week.

In the Armenian capital on Wednesday the senior U.S. diplomat called on “relevant authorities” to make a “humanitarian gesture”.

Karabakh Negotiator Say No Progress Possible If Violence Continues

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The escalation of violence around Nagorno-Karabakh over the last year undermines not only the international mediation efforts, but also the commitment of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents to resolve the conflict peacefully, Ambassador James Warlick, the United States co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, said in the first-ever interview of a peace broker with a Karabakh-based media outlet.

Warlick has answered a number of questions from Artsakhpress, a news agency in Stepanakert, concerning the Karabakh settlement process as well as the mediators’ latest tour of the region that included stops in the capitals of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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Commentary

Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.