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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The US has refused to sell Cougar and HMMWV military vehicles withdrawn from Afghanistan to Azerbaijan, the APA news agency reported quoting military sources.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.”

Karabakh ‘Ready’ To Accept Yazidi Refugees


Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leadership on Tuesday expressed readiness to grant asylum to Yazidis who have been forced to flee their homes in parts of northern Iraq controlled by the Islamic State.

Davit Babayan, the spokesman for Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, referred to the Yazidis as “brotherly” people facing genocide at the hands of radical Sunni insurgents.

If Armenian Genocide had been denounced, Yazidis would not be suffering now – Ruben Melkonyan

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The developments in the Middle East are the result of the West’s double-standard policy, expert in Turkic studies Ruben Melkonyan told reporters on Monday.
What is happening to Yazidis now is identical to what is going on in Syria.
“The West is arming Islamists on the one hand, and is criticizing and bombing on the other hand. Turkey has played a great role in supporting Islamic extremists, and it was with Turkey’s support that they entered Kessab. And the extremists committing the Yazidi genocide now are being supported by Turkey,” Mr Melkonyan said.
Armenians, as a genocide survivor nation, must support Yazidis to prevent what happened early in the 20th century from recurring in the 21st century.
“If the Armenian Genocide had been denounced, Yazidis would not be suffering now. We are going to witness such atrocities until the Armenian Genocide has been denounced,” he said.

Turkish unemployment falls below 9 percent after 10 months

August 15, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Turkish unemployment declined to the lowest level of 10 months in the period of May, sustaining a downward trend that has been continuing since the beginning of the year, as shown by official data cited by the Hurriyet Daily News.
The unemployment rate in Turkey retreated to 8.8 percent in the May period, which encompasses the period between April-June, falling below the 9 percent mark for the first time in 10 months, according to figures announced by the Turkish Statistical Office (TİK) on Aug. 15.
The number of unemployed across the country totaled 2.551 million during the period.
In the April period, the unemployment rate had dropped to 9 percent from 9.7 percent of March.
TİK data revealed the unemployment rate was at 8 percent for males and 10.5 percent for females.
In the same period, non-agricultural unemployment rate amounted to 10.7 percent.
While youth unemployment rate including the age group between 15-24 realized as 15.8 percent, the unemployment rate for the age group between 15-64 totaled at 8.9 percent.

Armenia To Send Relief Aid To Iraqi Yezidis


Responding to appeals from leaders of Armenia’s Yezidi community, the Armenian government has decided to provide humanitarian assistance to their ethnic kin in northern Iraq that have been forced to flee for their lives in the face of advancing Islamist militants.

One of those leaders said on Wednesday that the government will allocate food aid worth $50,000. The Armenian Foreign Ministry confirmed this information.

“That is likely to be done through an international organization as there are serious problems connected with delivering aid to people there today. Right now we are in negotiations with a relevant international organization,” Tigran Balayan, the ministry spokesman, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).

Sarkisian Congratulates New Turkish President


President Serzh Sarkisian on Wednesday congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan on winning Turkey’s presidential election and urged him to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations “without preconditions.”

“I congratulate you on being elected as President of the Republic of Turkey. I wish you good health, as well as prosperity and progress to the people of Turkey,” read a congratulatory letter publicized by Sarkisian’s office.

“Assuming the office of President of the Republic of Turkey, you undoubtedly have an opportunity to make a personal effort to implement our bilateral agreements without preconditions,” added Sarkisian.

The Armenian leader referred to the 2009 Turkish-Armenian protocols that envisaged the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and the opening of their border.

Turkey’s laughing women now hurling shoes online

August 13, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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A female opposition deputy’s fiery speech at Parliament has triggered a new social media protest in Turkey, with hundreds of women expressing anger at male dominance by sharing photos of their shoes and slippers, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.“I swear to God, the devil in me tells me to take off my shoe and hurl it at you. But I look at my shoe and then I look at you and frankly, I say, it’s not worth it,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Aylin Nazlıaka said at Parliament’s rostrum on Aug. 12, in response to verbal attacks from the male-dominated ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).A Twitter campaign with the hasthag #geliyorterlik (“The slipper is coming”) was started on Aug. 13, triggering a flood of women sharing photos of their shoes and slippers in support of Nazlıaka.“The slipper is coming” is a reference to the phrase used by many Turkish mothers to threaten their misbehaving children in a matronly way.“This is a phrase that has been scaring me since I was a child,” wrote Twitter user @Trollololed.Some who joined the campaign suggested that the heaviest shoes should be chosen to cause the greatest damage to male dominance in Turkey.“This one is from a construction site. It has metal support inside,” @isinturkeli tweeted, while @blenderella said “My slipper is coming and it can hurt like a police baton.”Along with a number of religious officials, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç became one of the most popular targets of the slippers and shoes flying online.“This one is coming for [president-elect Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s mouth and Arınç’s forehead,” @fusunckgl tweeted.On July 28, Arınç had triggered the wildly popular #direnkahkaha laughter protest on social media, after suggesting that women should not laugh in public and should “know what is haram and not haram … She should not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness.”Several men also joined the latest protest. One of them, @uguryoldas, tweeted: “This is my mother’s guided slipper. It always targets the mouth. It is coming for those who insult women.”

Stop the Violence in Syria and Iraq – Armenians, Assyrians Protest at United Nations

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10:01, August 12, 2014

NEW YORK, NY- Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA ER) activists joined with leaders of the Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac communities to rally international support for ending targeted attacks against their brethren in Iraq and Syria during a peaceful protest held in front of the United Nations in New York City.

The ANCA Eastern Region’s Armen Sahakyan voiced solidarity with the Assyrian community, noting that today’s violence harkens back to Turkey’s genocide and exile of over 3 million Armenian, Pontian Greek and Assyrian Christians from 1915-1923.

Sahakyan went on to urge greater international effort to end the violence against these beleaguered communities, initiated by radical extremists and, in the case of Syria’s Aleppo and Kessab communities, supported by the Turkish Government.

Sarkisian Echoes Armenian Anger At Erdogan


President Serzh Sarkisian has launched a scathing attack on Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response to what critics of Turkey’s outgoing prime minister and president-elect regard as a racist slur against Armenians.

Erdogan caused an outcry last week after accusing the Turkish opposition of carrying out a smear campaign against him. “They have said a lot of things about me,” he told the NTV news channel. “One of them came and said I am a Georgian. Then another came up and, I beg your pardon, called me uglier things, saying I am Armenian.”

The Armenian Foreign Ministry swiftly condemned Erdogan’s remark as “racist” and “appalling.” Sarkisian echoed that condemnation in a televised interview aired on Monday.

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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.