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Yerevan Urges Karabakh De-Escalation


Armenia urged the international community on Friday to help defuse tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict following the latest upsurge in Armenian-Azerbaijani truce violations.

First Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan met with the Yerevan-based military attach

We are to blame for the challenges we face, says Armenian politician

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In an interview with Tert.am, Suren Abrahamyan of the opposition Republic party addressed the hottest issues on Armenia’s domestic and foreign political agenda and the keys problems the country faces today. The politician said doesn’t find any fault with foreign powers for either the political U-turn to the Eurasian integration or the increased tension across the Armenian-Azerbaijani borderline. Instead, he called for stronger pan-national efforts towards combating the existing challenges.
Azerbaijani-provoked subversive acts have become more active in the recent period. Do you see any warlike scenario?
Normally, when the trilateral meetings by the co-chairs [of the OSCE Minsk Group] reach a certain culmination, the Azerbaijanis start inciting provocations of the kind. Azerbaijan wishes to artificially exacerbate the situation to lead the international community to the belief that the Karabakh conflict can never receive a peaceful solution.
Such acts, unfortunately, serve as a basis for anti-Armenian decisions by the UN, Council of Europe etc. Yes, they do not contain mandatory requirements, but the impression is that they expect a solution to be reached by use of force. But the things unfortunately become more complicated we all thought.
You had objections to September 3 [the day President Serzh Sargsyan declared Armenia’s intention to join the Eurasian Customs Union], and now the CU accession format still remains unclear. Do you have any foreign policy strategy?
What the country and the society have to do for that is consolidation; all the efforts should be directed at raising the society’s immune system to help us resist international challenges. I assure you that neither the Turk, nor the Russian and nor even the European are to blame for the situation we are in today; the fault and responsibility lies with us. We need a new strategy and new approach to resist this permissiveness, this obscenity by Azerbaijan.
What can the Armenian authorities do in such a situation?
We must, first of all, keep our borders and defense positions strong to prevent the enemy’s bullet from reaching our towns and villages. So, I expect bolder and more sensible steps by the government. 

8 More Azeri Soldiers Killed Near Karabakh


In one of its worst military setbacks since the 1991-1994 war for Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan reported the death of 8 Azerbaijani soldiers on Friday one day after being accused by Karabakh Armenian forces of launching yet another incursion.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that they were killed “as a result of three-day fighting” at various sections of “the line of contact” around Karabakh. “Sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the Armenian army attempted to cross the Line of Contact along the entire frontline,” said a ministry statement cited by Azerbaijani news agencies. Those attempts ended in failure, it said.


Artsakh Army Says It Captured Azerbaijani Weapons in Border Incident

August 1, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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10:09, August 1, 2014

The Artsakh Defense Army has issued the following photos of arms and military equipment is says were seized after repulsing an attempted Azerbaijani incursion along the border yesterday.

The ADA, in a statement, also refuted Azerbaijani claims that it was the Armenian side that launched the initial assault.

So far, the ADA reports that two of its military personnel were killed in the ensuing firefight. The Azerbaijani press has reported up to eight confirmed deaths of Azerbaijani soldiers.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Azerbaijani Press – 8 Azerbaijani Soldiers Killed in Yesterday’s Border Clash

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11:30, August 1, 2014

While the Artsakh Defense Army yesterday reported that two of its soldiers were killed while repulsing an Azerbaijani incursion across the border, various Azerbaijani news outlets have today issued their own take on the incident.

APA reports that eight Azerbaijani servicemen were killed while repulsing an Armenian incursion.

Trend reports that Azerbaijani forces repulsed an Armenian incursion along the Aghdam and Terter border regions and that both sides suffered losses in the ensuing firefight.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, some 20 soldiers from both sides have been killed in shooting incidents so far this year.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Haykakan Zhamanak: Azerbaijan better strategic ally for Russia?

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A Moscow-based military expert has warned of higher tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis.Speaking to the paper Pavel Felgenhauer said that the situation now poses more hazards there, with Russia focusing more attention on Ukraine and having practically no time or resources to deal with Armenia and the developments in the South Caucasus region.“On the other hand, there have always been frequent shoot-outs on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. So let us just believe that everything will be settled,” the paper quotes the expert as saying.
Asked how then a “busy” country like Russia manages to arm Azerbaijan, Felgenhauer replied, “Russia always sells weapons to countries which are at war. Besides, from the strategic point of view, Russia arms both Armenia and Azerbaijan, as we seek influence on both sides. What interests us more is not just Armenia, but the entire Caucasus [region], including Azerbaijan which, strategically speaking, is a more important country for the Russian Federation than Armenia.” 

More Fighting Reported In Karabakh


Two Armenian and at least one Azerbaijani soldiers were killed on Thursday in continuing ceasefire violations along “the line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Karabakh Armenian military said two of its soldiers, Ararat Khanoyan and Ashot Asoyan, died while repelling an Azerbaijani assault on their outpost in northern Karabakh. A statement released by it claimed that the Azerbaijani side suffered “numerous casualties” and abandoned a “large quantity of special weaponry and technical means” during the retreat. It did not elaborate.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denied launching any incursions or suffering losses in that area. Still, it reported later in the day that one of its soldiers, Garyagdi Ahmedov, was killed at an unspecified section of the frontline. According to the APA news agency, the ministry insisted that Ahmedov was shot dead by an Armenian sniper “as a result of breaching safety rules” while on frontline duty.

Western Watchdogs Alarmed By Another Azeri Arrest


Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International demanded on Thursday the immediate release of another Azerbaijani civil society member arrested on charges of spying for Armenia.

Leyla Yunus, a prominent human rights activist critical of Azerbaijan’s leadership, was taken into custody on Wednesday after repeated interrogations relating to her involvement in Armenian-Azerbaijani people-to-people diplomacy. She was charged with treason, tax evasion and fraud and remanded in pre-trial custody.

Azerbaijani prosecutors also charged her equally famous husband, Arif Yunus, with high treason but stopped short of arresting him pending investigation.

In a joint statement, Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor-General’s Office and National Security Ministry claimed that the couple for years maintained contacts with Armenian non-governmental organizations with the aim of spying for Armenia. They said Yunus and her husband recruited prominent journalist Rauf Mirgadirov and other Azerbaijanis to pass classified information to Armenian intelligence agents posing as civic activists.

US Sanctions on Russian Banks Won’t Affect Armenian Subsidiary, Claims VTB Armenia

July 31, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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14:03, July 31, 2014

VTB Bank (Armenia) CJSC claims that the sanctions recently applied by the United States on three Russian state-owned banks won’t affect clients in Armenia.

The sanctions applied by the US on July 29 on the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank), the Bank of Moscow, and VTB prohibit US citizens or companies from acquiring joint stocks, dealing with debt carrying maturities longer than 90 days or with new equity at these three banks. In other words, American companies and citizens are prohibited from providing loans to these banks. 

Recall, VTB Bank JSC’s largest stakeholder is the Russian government (with a 61% share); in second place is Norges Bank (the Central Bank of Norway, with 4.3%), while third place is the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (with a share of around 2.9%).

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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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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


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.