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Turkey: Erdogan slams judiciary, promises ‘cleaning’

April 16, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Showing no let-up, Turkey’s prime minister has continued on the warpath against his erstwhile ally Fethullah Gulen, vowing to liquidate aspects of Gulen’s “parallel structure” in the judiciary while accusing the movement of allying with the Armenian lobby,the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Those who commit crime and their collaborators will sooner or later appear before the courts and pay the price for what they did, the prime minister said. “We will surely clear the corridors of the courthouses of these gangs as we cleared the corridors of the state buildings from all sorts of gangs in the past. But it’s not easy to do so overnight. It’s a clearance of the last 35 years,” PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on April 15 at a parliamentary group meeting.
The leader also expressed his fury at judges yesterday, saying elements of the parallel state were hampering an in-depth prosecution of the espionage claims concerning the stopping of intelligence trucks bound for Syria. Six police officers and two army officers were detained for stopping mysterious trucks belonging to the spy service near the border, but the eight were later released by the court.  See more here. 

Facebook to launch money transfer service

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Facebook is preparing a push into financial services, with tools for members to store and send money online, The Telegraph reported.
The social network has applied to Irish authorities for a licence that would allow it to provide remittance and electronic money services to its members across Europe, according to The Financial Times. Dublin hosts Facebook’s headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Facebook has reportedly held also discussions with three London-based international money transfer providers, TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo, to help it build the services.Allowing members to send remittances via their Facebook accounts could strengthen the social network in emerging markets. Migrants send hundreds of billions of dollars home to developing countries every year where large sections of the population do not have bank accounts.Facebook would be taking on wire transfer services such as Western Union, existing electronic money providers such as PayPal and a new breed of mobile phone-based payment services, of which Vodafone’s M-Pesa is a leading example. See more here.

Sarkisian Demands Armenian Neutrality On Syria


Syria — Cars burn after two car bombs at Karm al-Louz neighbourhood in Homs city, April 9, 2014, in this handout released by Syria’s national news agency SANA.

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“Khachkar” Warning: ‘This isn’t Azerbaijan or Turkey, but Armenia’

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey 1 Comment
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14:23, April 14, 2014

A field of khachkars (stone crosses) supposedly listed as a site protected by the Armenian government is today being threatened by commercial construction.

The warning about the eminent damage to the site, situated just north of the Yerevan municipal border in the village of Arinj, was raised by Professor Hamlet Petrosyan who heads the Chair of Culturology at Yerevan State University’s Faculty of History.

In a Facebook post, Petrosyan writes, “No, this is not in Azerbaijan or in Turkey. This is a khachkar field in Arinj which, in scope and number, is the second largest such site in Armenia.”

Ceasefire 20: Minsk Group activities – failure or success?


May 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh ceasefire when after nearly three years of fierce fighting guns finally stopped firing and people on all sides started talking. The main international format advancing the negotiations is the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Its co-chairing nations are Russia, the United States and France.

Armenian Genocide resolution kind of pressure on White House – Giro Manoyan

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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The Armenian Genocide resolution the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee approved on April 10 proved to be some kind of pressure on the White House.On the other hand, it was direct pressure on Turkey, Giro Manoyan, Head of the Hay Dat office, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D), told Tert.am.The U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee cannot do anything more with respect to the resolution, and the document has to be put on the agenda of the Senate’s full session.“The resolution has to be approved by the Committee to be submitted to the Senate,” Manoyan said.It is noteworthy, that the US Senate has not made a similar decision for at least 25 years. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Turkish president, PM both nominated for Time’s most influential people list

April 13, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan have both been named as candidates for Time magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.Gül and Erdoğan are mentioned in the “world” category.“Widely seen as the alternative to Prime Minister in Turkey’s ruling party, Gül has walked a fine line between party loyalty and counterbalancing Erdoğan’s authoritarian streak,” the magazine said regarding the current president.“Turkey’s authoritarian prime minister overcame antigovernment protests and a corruption scandal to score a huge win in local elections,” it said about Erdoğan.The list includes other names, such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Egyptian General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.Pope Francis, Bill Gates, Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and activist Malala Yousafzai are also on the world category list.Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of reader poll will be announced on April 23. The official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopts Armenian Genocide Resolution

April 12, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments

For the first time in nearly a quarter century, a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday adopted an Armenian Genocide Resolution, calling upon the Senate to commemorate this crime and encouraging the President to ensure that America’s foreign policy reflects and reinforces the lessons, documented in the U.S. record, of the still-unpunished genocide, reports Asbarez.com, quoting the Armenian National Committee of America.

“Today’s vote affirms America’s commitment to truth, deals a serious setback to Turkey’s campaign of genocide denial, and sends a clear message to President Obama that he must end his Administration’s complicity in Ankara’s cover-up of this crime,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We thank Chairman Menendez for his powerful leadership and express our thanks to each of the Senators who cast their votes for this human rights measure.”

U.S. continues to urge Armenia, Turkey to work together to achieve “acknowledgement of facts”

April 11, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments

The United States continues to urge Armenia and Turkey “to work together to achieve a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts”, said U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki during a daily press briefing in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Psaki made the statement in answering a question from a reporter asking for an updated on the 2009 Turkish-Armenian protocols and on how the normalization process between the two estranged neighboring nations is going on.

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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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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.

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


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.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction


Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.