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Police misconduct intolerable, threat to rule of law: CoE human rights commissioner

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Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has expressed his indignation after Turkish police’s brutal handling of the demonstrations marking the anniversary of Gezi protests May 31, condemning the “excessive use of violence,” the Hurriyet Daily News reports. Many protesters were left bloodied and bruised after a sweeping police crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara, causing renewed outrage over officers’ virtually unrestricted impunity in dealing with even the hint of dissent.“I condemn the excessive use of force by the Turkish police against demonstrators and journalists. Yesterday’s events add to the list of cases in which the handling of demonstrations in Turkey has raised serious human rights concerns,” said Muiznieks in a public statement, calling for the immediate implementation of the recommendations made by the Council of Europe regarding freedom of assembly and press freedoms.“Misconduct of law enforcement officials poses a direct threat to the rule of law and cannot be tolerated,” Muiznieks said.Prime Minister Recep Erdogan had vowed that police would do the necessary “from A to Z” during the demonstrations marking the Gezi anniversary a few hours before the crackdown.Istanbul Police Department Chief Selami Altınok hailed the police brutality late May 31, saying it had been a “nice day without much trouble.”

Stars between Heaven and Earth – Air France’s new surprise to Armenian passengers (photos)

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As part of its 80th anniversary celebration events, the French air carrier Air France is going increase the number of the Yerevan-Paris in the summer season.The company is planning to serve daily flights between the Armenian and French capitals in July and August this in to strengthen the air communication but also ensure transit routes in different directions (including Europe, the United States etc.) through the global flight network Air France-KLM, Simon Scholte, the company’s commercial director for Russia and the CIS regions, told a news conference in Yerevan.“Last year, the Yerevan-Paris flight attracted about 45,000 passengers of whom 9,000 had bought tickets from Yerevan. As for the passengers’ general number, it is definitely increasing. There was a 30%-40% growth in the recent period, and we expect the same this year,” he said.The company has also launched an exhibition entitled Stars between Heaven and Earth: Cursory Glances; its opening was held at the Zvartnots International Airport on Friday evening.The 80th anniversary jubilee event, dedicated to the air company’s history and its world-renowned passengers, features only a part of Air France’s archive. The photos included in the collection date from 1930-1970; they portray different episodes of life telling about the company’s activities and the entire history of civic aviation. 

Row over new EU president

May 31, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she wants former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker to become the next EU Commission president, according to BBC News.
But some European leaders have voiced opposition to the move.
Correspondents say the UK government sees Mr Juncker as too much of an EU federalist. It pointed to the need for “a lengthy process to find consensus”.
Mr Juncker belongs to the European People’s Party, which won the most seats in the European polls last week.
The centre-right party, which also includes Merkel’s Christian Democrat party, won 213 out of 751 seats in the European Parliament and chose Mr Juncker as its candidate for the presidency succeeding Portugal’s Jose Manuel Barroso.
Mr Juncker’s main rival is the Socialist candidate Martin Schulz.
EU leaders traditionally choose the Commission head on their own, but under new rules have to “take into account” the results of the European parliamentary elections.
Chancellor Merkel said on Friday that the EPP “with its top candidate Jean-Claude Juncker has become the strongest political power which is why I am now conducting all talks exactly in this spirit, that Jean-Claude Juncker should become president of the European Commission”.
It is seen as her clearest statement of support for the veteran politician, who once chaired the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers that had to make tough decisions about struggling debt-laden countries.

A Cypriot Company’s Armenian Shareholders and Ishkhan Zakaryan’s Partial Discoveries

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15:37, May 30, 2014

The Control Chamber of the Republic of Armenia (RA) in its last report recorded the ineffective management of grants transferred to a Cyprus company. But Ishkhan Zakaryan’s “discoveries,” as always, do not receive the proper attention by Armenia’s law enforcement agencies. In this case as well, no criminal case was launched. And the Cyprus company provided no clarification. 

The company Four Assist Development Consulting Limited registered in Cyprus in 2012–2013 received $704,000 from Armenia in order to prepare a draft accounting legal framework and manual and develop and implement an automated accounting system.

Turk Barred From Azerbaijan Because Of ‘Armenian’ Name

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Azerbaijan — A partial view of the House of the Government (R) in the capital Baku, May 10, 2014

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A Turkish arm-wrestler has reportedly been barred from entering Azerbaijan and participating in a major competition there because of his last name which Azerbaijani immigration authorities felt is Armenian.
 
Zafer Noyan, a 24-year-old resident of the Turkish city of Diarbekir, flew to Baku last week to compete in the 2014 European Armwrestling Championship along with other members of Turkey’s national team.
 
Several Turkish news services reported on Thursday that immigration officers at Baku airport told Noyan that he cannot enter the country because they believe he is an ethnic Armenian. They said the young athlete was put on another plane and flown back to Istanbul despite his assurances that his surname and ethnic origin are not Armenian.
 
It is not clear whether the Turkish team managers or the European Armwrestling Federation protested against Noyan’s expulsion.
 
The Azerbaijani authorities have long banned Armenian nationals and ethnic Armenian citizens of third countries, including Turkey, from travelling to Azerbaijan. They consider any Armenian presence in the country an affront to its honor and the memory of Azerbaijanis killed in the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Yerevan Silent On ‘Humiliating’ Kazakh Demand

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Kazakhstan – President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian talk during a summit in Astana, 29May2014.

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Bosnia: NGO, Government Officials Convene For Whistleblowing Conference

May 30, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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12:54, May 30, 2014

By Ana Baric

Civil society and government representatives are gathering in Sarajevo May 29-30 for a whistleblowing conference focused on government accountability and corruption reporting.

“Authority and Ethics: Ethical Institutional Management and Internal Handling of Complaints and Corruption” features panelists from the United Nations, United States Embassy, and representatives from Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian ministries.

Those organizing the conference—the Center for Responsible Democracy (COD Luna), the Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APIK), the Anti-Corruption Network (Account), and the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina—were also some of the key players in developing Bosnia’s recently passed whistleblowing law.

Women of Israeli army – Reuters photo set

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France: Sarkozy’s UMP Party Entangled In Corruption Scandal

May 29, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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19:59, May 29, 2014

France’s main opposition party, the center-right ‘Union for a Popular Movement’ (UNP), has come under fire for alleged illegal funding totaling nearly $US 15 million during former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential campaign,reports Euronews.

The election funding scandal could dash any hopes for Sarkozy, who is eligible to run again. Sarkozy was President of France from 2007-2012, but was not elected to a second term, losing toFranois Hollandeof the Socialist Party.

Newly elected Member of the European Parliament and UNP member Jerome Lavrilleux admitted that there were irregularities in the funding of Sarkozy’s 2012 campaign, and that some overcharges were made to hide the actual cost of the campaign. UNP’s party head Jean-Francois Cop will officially step down on June 15,reports Euractiv.

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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

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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.