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Top Iraqi Yazidi Commander Visits Armenia; Seeks Creation of Independent Military and Political Force

June 22, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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17:39, June 22, 2015

Top Iraqi Yazidi defense commander Haydar Shesho was in Armenia from July 17-20 on a working visist.

Shesho, who has run afoul of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, was accompanied by writer and researcher Hoshang Broka, a Yazidi from Syria, and representatives of the Yazidi community in Iraq.

(Haydar Shesho, Supreme Commander of Shingal´s Protection Unit (HPS) was arrested in April by Kurdish security forces close to the KRG. He was released several days later.)

On the first day of their visit to Armenia, the delegation met with Yazidi youth, declaring that the Yazidi nation’s salvation was in their hands.

The delegation also met with representatives of the Yazidi community in Armenia.

Turkey Slams Belgian PM Over Armenian Genocide Recognition


Turkey has condemned Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel for publicly recognizing the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide in the wake of similar statements made by Pope Francis and other world leaders.

“This statement of the Belgian Prime Minister is inconsistent with historical facts and incompatible with international law,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a weekend statement.

Addressing Belgium’s parliament on Wednesday, Michel said the World War One-era slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians “must be viewed as a genocide.”

Michel thus echoed a resolution that was passed by the Belgian Senate in 1998. Successive Belgian governments have until now avoided using the word genocide with regard to the Armenian massacres, however.

Questioning the Family Narrative: Turkish Photographer Asks ‘Did we really flee from Armenians’?

June 20, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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16:56, June 20, 2015

Emin Akpinar, a 32 year-old Istanbul based freelance photographer, is a man on a mission to fill in certain questionable aspects of his family’s history.

While born in Ankara, Emin traces the major gap in his family’s history to 1925 and Erzincan (Yerzinga).

As the family narrative goes, and one he’s heard repeated since a child, the family was forced to flee Erzincan to Kırşehir in central Anatolia because Armenian were massacring people and burning villages in Erzincan.

“My family doesn’t know much about its past and I’ve only heard this about our past, a story based on what my uncle recounted. So I started to ask my father questions about this,” Emin told Hetq.

Statement of the Members of Civil Society of the Republic of Armenia, including the Community of …

June 20, 2015 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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23:03, June 20, 2015

During its June 9-10, 2015 session the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter: the Committee) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (hereinafter: the PACE) recommended “by a narrow majority, the candidature of Mr. Armen Harutyunyan, over that of the candidature of Ms. Liana Hakobyan, as the most qualified candidate”[1] for the position of a judge to the ECtHR in respect of Armenia”.

The Human Rights NGO ”Europe In Law Association” (ELA) carried out monitoring missions during the two national contests for the selection of three candidates for the position of a judge to the ECtHR on behalf of the Republic of Armenia held in September-October, 2014 and January-February, 2015 respectively, and presented its findings over breaches and incompliance of the selected candidates with Article 21 of the ECHR in its respective reports published in 2014 and 2015.

Azerbaijan Violates Ceasefire 150 Times

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Artsakh Defense Army (ADA) reports that Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire 150 times during the
past week, firing 1,300 rounds of ammunition.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Armenia Will End 2015 with $4.4 Billion in National Debt

June 20, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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11:46, June 20, 2015

Armenia’s national debt at the end of 2014, according to the Natioanl Statistical Service, stood at more than US$4.4 billion, of which $3.7 billion was external debt.

As of the end of April 2015, the country’s national debt was $3.9 billion.

$3.5 billon is listed as “government” debt and $440 million as Central Bank debt.

Armenia’s Ministry of Finance that Armenia will end 2015 with $4.4 billion in national debt.

2014 ended with$4.4 billion in national debt and a GDP of $10.9 billion. Thus national debt comprised 40.4% of Armenia’s GDP.

In 2004, Armenia’s national debt stood at US$957 million.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Interpol Operation Seizes 20 Million Counterfeit Medic

June 19, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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21:40, June 19, 2015

The complex operation involved 236 police, customs, and health agencies, spawning 429 different investigations.  The operation toppled 2,414 websites and 550 online advertisements.

Called Operation Pangea VIII, it is the eighth annual international week of action against pharmaceutical crime.

Between June 9 and 16, police raided addresses across the globe registered with the websites and seized some 50,000 packages. An entire warehouse of illicit pharmaceuticals was discovered in Indonesia; the operation ended with 156 arrests.

The value of goods seized topped US$ 81 million, the largest haul to date.

Last year, Pangea VII resulted in 434 arrests and US$ 32 million worth of seizures.

Thousands Again Rally Against Energy Price Hike

June 19, 2015 Armenia, Top News 1 Comment

Thousands of people demonstrated in Yerevan on Friday to condemn the latest increase in the prices of electricity in Armenia which was authorized by regulatory authorities on Thursday.

A non-partisan pressure group that organized the demonstration in the city’s Liberty Square gave the authorities until Monday to reverse the more than 16 percent price rise or face fresh street protests. Leaders of the Voch Talanin (No To Plunder) movement said they will urge supporters to march to President Serzh Sarkisian’s headquarters if the unpopular measure is not reversed by that time.

In the meantime, they said, they will hold a three-day sit-in in the square. Hundreds of mostly young protesters joined the nonstop protest.

French Ex-Mediator Rules Out Azeri Control Over Karabakh


Azerbaijan will fail to regain control over Nagorno-Karabakh despite its frequent threats of military action, a former French mediator in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks reportedly said on Friday.

“Only Armenians live in Nagorno-Karabakh and they don’t want a change in their status. Therefore, Nagorno-Karabakh’s return to Azerbaijan is no longer possible,” Armenian media outlets quoted Jacques Faure as saying during a NATO seminar in Yerevan.

Faure, who co-headed the OSCE Minsk Group together with U.S. and Russian diplomats from 2011-2014, said the Karabakh Armenians should therefore have a chance to gain international recognition of their de facto status through a “free expression of will.” “I personally hope that this will become possible,” he added.

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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.


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.