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Azerbaijan, EU simplify visa regime

September 2, 2014 Azerbaijan, Diaspora No Comments
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The agreement aimed at simplifying the visa rules between Azerbaijan and the EU member countries has gone into effect, Azerbaijani media report, citing the EU Delegation.
The deal was signed at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) in November 2013.
All the necessary domestic procedures are said to have been completed. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark have not signed the document.
Under the new rules, Azerbaijani citizens will from now on be given visas within 10 days after applying to embassies. A two-day period is possible in urgent situations. The visa cost has been reduced to 35 Euros. The agreement also facilitates the documentation procedures.  

Source: TertOriginial Article

Erdogan’s Response ‘Not Yet Known’

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It is not yet clear whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Yerevan next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Monday.

Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding invitation from President Serzh Sarkisian when he attended the presidential inauguration in Ankara last week. The two men briefly chatted during the ceremony.

“There is still quite a bit of time [before April 2015,]” Nalbandian told RFE/RL’ Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “It is hard to tell what the decision [by Erdogan] will be and when it will be taken. It’s up to the Turks to decide,” he said.

Artsakh Border Community School in Need: New Ping-Pong Tables Aren’t the Answer

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12:09, September 1, 2014

Today, across Armenia and Artsakh, pupils are returning to school after the summer vacation.

The same holds true for the community of Aknaberd in Artsakh’s northern Martakert District.

But unlike the schools in the capital Stepanakert, students in Aknaberd will be returning to a school in need of serious and immediate repair.

Before the Karabakh War, Aknaberd (formerly Oumoudlu) was an Azeri village. The school building now being used by the 111 Armenian pupils was built in 1974.

Many of Aknaberd’s current residents hail from communities in Shahoumyan now under Azerbaijani military control.

School principal Narineh Osipyan supervises a staff of 26 teachers and 10 technical workers.

Armenian POW in UN refugee camp – Pastinfo.am

September 1, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Diaspora No Comments
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The Armenian POW released from Azerbaijan after being held in captivity for over a year is now in a UN camp for refugees, Pastinfo.am reports, citing a family member.Hakob Injighulyan’s brother, Harutyun, told the website that they maintain contact with him through Skype but only hear his voice, without seeing the serviceman. He added that the family is now at rest that Hakob is no longer in Azerbaijan.
Hakob Injighulyan was detained in Azerbaijan after accidentally crossing into the country on August 8, 2013. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Sarkisian Visits Karabakh

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President Serzh Sarkisian has travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh and inspected a number of local businesses one month after an upsurge in deadly fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops stationed around the territory.

Sarkisian arrived in Karabakh on Sunday morning and spent the next two days visiting two textile factories in Stepanakert and a vegetable oil refinery in a village in the southeastern Martuni district. He and Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, also inaugurated on Monday a newly rebuilt school in another village located in northwestern Karabakh.

A statement by Sarkisian’s office said the Armenian leader will head to the Karabakh town of Shushi (Shusha) later in the day to attend the official opening of a geology museum. He will also be present at a late-night open-air opera performance in Shushi dedicated to the 23rd anniversary of the Karabakh Armenians’ declaration of independence from Azerbaijan, which will be marked on Tuesday.

Independence is key chapter of our history, says Karabakh official

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Independence marks a key turning point in the history of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), as September 2 opened a new chapter in our history, an official has said, commenting on the agenda of the events set to mark the 23rd anniversary of the country’s independence.
“We should consider this an integral part of the Armeniam statehood instead of separating Artsakh and the Armenian history. This is an important part of our common history,” David Babayan, a spokesperson for Nagorno-Karabakh’s president, told Tert.am.
The Declaration on Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence was adopted on September 2, 1991 in a joint session attended by parliamentarians and members of the regional council of Shahumyan. In a referendum on December 10, the population of the then autonomous region voted overwhelmingly for independence (99%).
Asked to comment on the developments over the past period, Babayan said they managed to proclaim the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, investing long and painstaking efforts in state-building activities.
“Having been an autonomous region for 70 years [in the Soviet period], we are now embarking on a period that implies a higher degree [of freedom]. And we have created a new state which has, of course, brought new challenges, new problems, and opportunities. Those 70 years were years of struggle, as our nation accumulated a very powerful potential and developed a kind of immune system to all sorts of difficulties,” Babayan added.
He said the Armenians’ joint efforts helped overcome the challenges to the entire nation in the face of Azerbaijan’s blatant threats to destroy Artsakh and Armenia. “Azerbaijan’s calculations fell flat, and we, the two Armenian states, are integrated and full of hope for the future today,” he added.
Commenting on the California Senate’s decision to recognize Artsakh, Babayan described it as their latest achievement that became a kind of gift for all Armenians in the run-up to the independence anniversary. He said the move was a really significant landmark, noting that California is a big and powerful state with a powerful economy.
“It is due to joint efforts – by Armenia, the Diaspora and Artsakh. It is also the valuation of the past path, as no one is likely to recognize a fascist and extremist state. Hence what California – I mean the civilized world – has said is that Artsakh is a democratic and civilized state. That is why we earned California’s recognition,” he noted.
Babayan said they are now preparing for the holiday, adding that a special commission has been set up to deal with organizational issues. “Though this is not а jubilee – as the anniversary is the twenty-third – there will be the traditional events. The president will host honoring ceremonies; we will conduct visits to different places and lay flowers on the monument of freedom-fighters [veterans of the Artsakh liberation war]. There will also be a festive concert and a display of fireworks,” he added.

Injighulyan talks to family after release from Azerbaijani captivity

August 30, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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The Armenian serviceman held in Azerbaijani captivity since last year has contacted his family after reports emerged that he is to be handed over to a third state.
Speaking to Tert.am, Hakob Injighulyan’s brother, Harutyun, said he has to live in a concentration camp for some time before being sent to the country of destination.
“We talked to him yesterday; he said he is all right. The important thing is he is in freedom now and has no health problem at all,” he said, adding that the conversation focused mainly on family matters.
Hakob’s brother said they now have the opportunity to talk to him every day, adding that they still have not discussed the serviceman’s repatriation. “We haven’t yet had such a conversation; there was so much to talk about, that we didn’t go that far,” he said.
Hakob Injighulyan was held captive in Azerbaijan after accidentally crossing into the county last August.  

Armenian POW Freed By Azerbaijan

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The Azerbaijani authorities have released an Armenian soldier from custody and immediately deported him to an unknown third country one year after he was taken prisoner near Nagorno-Karabakh, his family said on Friday.

The 23-year-old Hakob Injighulian crossed into Azerbaijani-controlled territory east of Karabakh in disputed circumstances in August 2013. Shortly afterwards he was paraded on Azerbaijani television saying that he surrendered to Azerbaijani forces after being ill-treated by one of his commanders. 

The Armenian military said that the soldier was forced to present a false version of events under duress. It insisted that he crossed the “line of contact” around Karabakh by accident.

Erdogan Handed Armenian Invitation

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Turkey’s new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was formally invited to visit Armenia next April and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire after being sworn in for a five-year term on Thursday.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding letter from President Serzh Sarkisian as the two men briefly spoke at a reception in Ankara that followed the presidential inauguration. Nalbandian’s press office reported no other details of the conversation.

Sarkisian first publicly extended the invitation in May, three months before the Turkish presidential election. In televised remarks, he urged the winner of the ballot to visit Yerevan on April 24, 2014 and “face up to telling testimonies of the history of the Armenian genocide.”

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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

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.

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.