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Yerevan Reacts To Azeri-Turkish-Georgian Defense Talks

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The Armenian government downplayed the significance of growing military ties between neighboring Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on Wednesday, while saying that it is mindful of their possible “damaging impact” on Armenia.

The defense ministers of the three states reportedly pledged to step up trilateral cooperation when they met in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan on Tuesday. According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, they decided to hold more such talks twice a year and conduct joint military exercises with the aim of protecting regional oil and gas pipelines. Closer contacts will also increase the interoperability of the Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish armed forces, said the ministry.

U.S. ‘Refuses Arms Deal With Azerbaijan’

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The United States has reportedly refused to sell military vehicles to Azerbaijan because of the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Baku-based APA news agency reported this week that the Azerbaijani government offered to buy some of the Humvee and Cougar vehicles used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan but was rebuffed by Washington. Citing unnamed military sources, it said the U.S. military pointed to a long-running U.S. arms embargo on all parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Pentagon announced earlier this summer that about half of the military vehicles will be sold to friendly nations or disposed of otherwise during the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is due to be completed by the end of 2016. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have contributed small military contingents to the NATO-led multinational mission in Afghanistan as part of their cooperation with the U.S. war on terror.

U.S. Ambassador Calls on Both Sides to Start Serious Negotiations on Karabakh

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13:44, August 20, 2014

In the video clip below, US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern calls on the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to renew their efforts to find a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Speaking in Armenian, Ambassador Heffern expresses his condolences to those soldiers on both sides that have been killed during the recent fighting along the line of contact, adding that the best way to pay respects to those who have died is to immediately cease all hostilities.

Ambassador Heffern emphasizes that threats and crude rhetoric merely exacerbate the tensions that need to be ratcheted down.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

US plays deterring role in case of Turkey, Azerbaijan – Levon Shirinyan

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Two factors account for US decision not to sell the military equipment brought out of Afghanistan to Azerbaijan.
First, the US law. Secondly, the US considers it unacceptable to sponsor a rogue state like Azerbaijan, which fails to meet democratic standards, political scientist Levon Shirinyan told Tert.am.
The US has refused to sell Cougar and HMMWV military vehicles withdrawn from Afghanistan to Azerbaijan, the APA news agency reported quoting military sources.
“I have always said that the US is not only our friend, but is also deterring Turkey and Azerbaijan. Not that if Russia is our ally, the US is our enemy. The US is applying additional mechanisms of deterring to Azerbaijan,” he said.
With respect to the opinion that it is the US that is the mastermind behind the tension on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and that the US and Azerbaijan have close relations, Mr Shirinyan said:
“This is economic cooperation, but they are cautious about politics.”
As to the parallels between the US position and Russia’s arms sales to Azerbaijan, Mr Shirinyan said:
“We have too much focused on Russia’s sale of arms to Azerbaijan. Russia’s traditions are different – Russia has never been a democratic state. In contrast to the US, such issues are not a priority for it. One thing is in Armenians’ favor in this matter: the US does not want war and gives Azerbaijan to understand it should not go beyond the limits.”

Security Training Planned For Armenian Border Villagers

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The Ministry of Emergency Situations said on Tuesday that it will train residents of border villages in northeastern Armenia to better guard against Azerbaijani gunfire and avoid accidentally crossing into Azerbaijan.

Emergency Situations Minister Armen Yeritsian said the ministry initiated the special “defense courses” for 21 rural communities in the Tavush province following the recent upsurge in fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and around Nagorno-Karabakh. He said the Armenian military, whose troops are stationed along the frontier, backed the idea.

“The villagers may have lived under gunfire for a long time, but we have specialists who will visit them and tell what they should do during gunfire,” Yeritsian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ By Armenian Captive’s Death

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The U.S. State Department has urged the Azerbaijani authorities to investigate the suspicious death of an Armenian man who was detained by them after crossing into Azerbaijan on August 14.

“The United States is deeply concerned by reports on the death of Karen Petrosian while in Azerbaijan’s custody and by allegations that his death was not due to natural causes,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement issued in response an Armenian Public Television inquiry.

“The United States offers its sincere condolences to Mr. Petrosian’s family,” said the statement. “We call on the Government of Azerbaijan to conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident and to make its findings public.

Italy’s position in harmony with that of European Union – Italian foreign office’s statement on Nagorno-Karabakh

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Below is a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy:
On the occasion of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Rome, July 14, Italy and Azerbaijan agreed to adopt a joint declaration with the intent to further enhance their bilateral political, economic and cultural relations and to explore new horizons of cooperation, including through the involvement of civil society.Part of this all-round cooperation is also the commitment to seek a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (with Italy being its member and supporting its principles). In line with its traditional position and in full harmony with that of the European Union, the Italian side considers it necessary to reiterate, even in the context of the Joint Declaration, that the mutual commitment of Rome and Baku should be focused on a peaceful solution to the conflict, based on the rules and principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, as well as the ongoing negotiation process, conducted under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, France, Russia and the United States. In view of the latest developments, Italy is deeply concerned over the recent incidents in the region and, in close cooperation with the EU partners, is urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from using force and to seize the opportunity for to find a political solution to the conflict, taking advantage of the meeting between President Aliyev and President Sargsyan in Sochi, on August 10. 

Armenian commanders, soldier always ready to defend homeland – Rafael Gzoyan

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In an interview with Tert.am, one of the Armenian commanders in the Arstakh liberation war, Major General Rafael (Felix) Gzoyan spoke of the situation on the Line of Contact and of his view of a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.He also spoke of Armenia’s military potential and people’s willingness to defend their homeland.“If a war breaks out, I will take anyone. If I go to war and they are not with me, I will force them regardless of whose sons they are,” Mr Gzoyan said.“By escalating tension on the threshold of political meetings Azerbaijan aimed at escalating tension inside Armenia and demonstrating its influence not only on Armenia, but also on the international community, raising its troops’ morale. But all the attempts failed, because our armed forces are much more efficient and they have been able to thwart all the acts of sabotage by Azerbaijan. This is evidence that our commanders and soldiers are ready to win victory in any military operations. And this small victory inspires our freedom-fighters and young people. I am sure that they are willing to defend the homeland if a war breaks out.” As regards the probability of war, Mr Gzoyan said: “I do not think long-lasting peace will be established after the Sochi meeting, so we must be ready to rebuff the enemy. I cannot say how long the ceasefire will be. Our priority task is to improve our troops’ morale and efficiency.”  

Armenia continues dominating border – Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan

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Political scientist Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan believes that the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in recent days has shown that Azerbaijan’s propaganda of that state’s military budget exceeding Armenia’s entire state budget does not produce any results.“Azerbaijan has come to realize that it cannot change the situation by resorting to military operations,” Mr Melik-Shahnazaryan told reporters on Saturday.According to him, the Armenian side’s military success, as well as losses, must have its impact on the negotiations.“With respect to propaganda, our present task is to realize that Azerbaijani authorities are seeking to destroy the sections of that country’s society that could cause public discontent with the authorities. If we miss this chance, all our losses will be in vain.”Asked if the Sochi meeting accounts for the lower border tensions, Mr Melik-Shahnazaryan said: “I am quite sure that Aliev was given to understand at the Sochi meeting that military operations had no sense. It was a diplomatic formula in Sochi that Azerbaijan would not do anything by means of military operations, but threaten its own security.”Azerbaijan has been convinced that the Armenian side is always prepared and it will not be able to fight against Armenia in any respect.  

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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.