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Armenian church facing threat of collapse in Turkey’s Mush

August 29, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Continuing development activities in the Armenian district of Mush (Turkey) threaten collapse to an Armenian church, Demokrat Haber reports.
The local authorities are said to be considering a plan for leveling down St Astvatsatsin which no longer functions as a place of warship. The church, which was formerly a public property, went under the ownership of a private family in 1958.
Left without the Armenian community’s attention and care for decades, it partially collapsed over the course of time. Only four walls of the historical monument are remain standing today. The area where the church is situated was declared as a re-development zone in 2012. Construction activities began last year.
Despite the media outcry, the development in the Armenian district continued, leading up to the demolition of Armenian houses.  

Erdogan Handed Armenian Invitation

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Turkey’s new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was formally invited to visit Armenia next April and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire after being sworn in for a five-year term on Thursday.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding letter from President Serzh Sarkisian as the two men briefly spoke at a reception in Ankara that followed the presidential inauguration. Nalbandian’s press office reported no other details of the conversation.

Sarkisian first publicly extended the invitation in May, three months before the Turkish presidential election. In televised remarks, he urged the winner of the ballot to visit Yerevan on April 24, 2014 and “face up to telling testimonies of the history of the Armenian genocide.”

Armenian Foreign Minister Attends Erdoğan Inauguration

August 29, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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11:19, August 29, 2014

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian yesterday attended the inauguration, in Ankara, of Recep TayyipErdoğan as the new president of Turkey.

Nalbanian is seen here presenting an official invitation toErdoğan, signed by Armenian President Sargsyan, to attend ceremonies in Yerevan next year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

FM Nalbandian’s visit to Turkey President Sargsyan’s choice – official

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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FM Edward Nalbandian’s visit to Turkey is the president’s choice, a deputy foreign minister has said, commenting on the Armenian top diplomat’s attendance at President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration.
“Serzh Sargsyan had stated that we would, in all likelihood, participate in the ceremony on the foreign minister’s level,” Shavarsh Kocharyan told reporters.
Asked about the expediency of Armenia’s participation at all, the official said it is part of the traditional protocol and is always mutual.
Asked what Turkish official attended President Serzh Sargsyan’s inauguration then, Kocharyan replied, “They participated on the level of the ambassador who resides in Tbilisi.”

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenian Presence At Erdogan’s Inauguration Criticized By Opposition

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Armenia’s main political parties at odds with President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday criticized him for sending a high-level Armenian delegation to the inauguration of Turkey’s new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The delegation headed by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was among official representatives of around 90 countries present at the ceremony held in the Turkish parliament. Only one of those countries, Armenia, has no diplomatic relations with Turkey, a fact emphasized by critics of Sarkisian’s decision.

Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian defended the high-level Armenian presence, calling it “normal.” He also downplayed the fact that a Turkish head of state was sworn in the presence of an Armenian minister for the first time ever.

The Armenians of Present Day Sebastia: Finding At Least One Armenian in Each Village

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film, Turkey No Comments
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11:02, August 27, 2014

When I was in the first grade, my teacher would point to a map of historic Armenia and tell us that the Turks wanted to leave just one Armenian on those lands as a museum artifact.

This was the first notion that entered my brain when I first stepped foot in Sebastia and conversed with residents of Armenian lineage.

One can find at least one Armenian in each borough and village of this region of Turkey that once boasted a large Armenian presence; every Armenian is

I later found out that the author of those words was none other than Prince Grigory Golitsin who served as Governor of Transcaucasia from 1897-1904. According to the Armenian historian and writer Leo, he was the one who penned the “Armenia without Armenians” motto.

Opposition Party Scoffs At Nalbandian’s Trip To Ankara

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A leading Armenian opposition party on Tuesday dismissed as a publicity stunt President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to send Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to the upcoming inauguration of Turkey’s President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Nalbandian’s participation in the ceremony in Ankara, scheduled for Thursday, was officially confirmed by the Armenian Foreign Ministry earlier in the day.

Vladimir Karapetian, the foreign policy spokesman for the Armenian National Congress (HAK), insisted that Nalbandian’s presence will not have any positive impact on Turkish-Armenian relations.

“Serzh Sarkisian needs the international community’s support, something which he doesn’t have at the moment,” Karapetian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I think that this gesture is baseless and will not lead to any positive developments. It will simply cast the authorities in a better light for a short time.”

Ruben Melkonyan: No Need for Sargsyan to Attend Inauguration of New Turkish President

August 26, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey No Comments
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13:38, August 26, 2014

When asked by this reporter if the upcoming visit by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan to Turkey to participate in the August 28 swearing in ceremony of newly elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would result in tangible developments in Armenian-Turkish relations, Ruben Melkonyan, Deputy Dean of Yerevan State University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies, responded that the visit would allow Nalbandyan to reiterate Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s invitation to the Turkish president to attend ceremonies in Yerevan next year marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Melkonyan said he expected Erdoğan to decline the invitation in a statement couched in diplomatic niceties.

What lies behind Europe’s murky oil deals with Azerbaijan?

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Republished from New Internationalist (blog)Author: Molly Scott CatoBeyond hosting the Eurovision song contest or Formula One, few of us in Britain, I suspect, know much about Azerbaijan. In fact, you may find yourself asking whether it really qualifies as a European country at all. Why then, is British prime minister David Cameron so friendly with Azerbaijani President Ilhan Aliyev? And why did government Energy Minister Michael Fallon visit the country just last month?
When you learn that Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, is almost floating on natural gas, and that oil giant BP has strong interests in the country, things become a little clearer.
But it’s not just Conservative party ministers doing the bidding. Former Labour prime minister and part-time Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair is also in on the act. He is understood to be advising a powerful consortium of energy interests and helping to secure a highly controversial oil pipeline from the former Soviet republic.
With its massive oil and gas reserves, the regime in Baku is hoping to attract the sorts of capital flows that swirl through the Middle East, and is explicitly positioning itself as the new Dubai. Unfortunately, it is also using the regimes of that region as the model for its approach to human rights. Those who criticize the government or try to build bridges with people in neighbouring countries are liable to be branded traitors and subjected to arbitrary detention.
The problems in Azerbaijan came to my attention in my role as Member of the European Parliament (MEP). I received an email from a constituent who told me about her friend Leyla Yunus, whom she first met about 15 years ago at a conference of women peacemakers. Leyla made a strong impression, demonstrating her love for her country and her strong desire to help it be at peace with its neighbours.“Leyla, like many other human rights activists in Azerbaijan, has suffered endless harassment, and she and her husband Arif were obliged to get their daughter, their only child, Dinara, to safety in the Netherlands, because of the threats against her life. Over the years I have done what I could to support them,” recalled my constituent after meeting Layla in Baku.Azerbaijan is keen to develop its economic relationship with the European Union (EU) and perhaps even become a member one day. The EU has a stake in the success of the country’s fledgling democracy, since it funds civil-society organizations in the country to the tune of more than $27.9 million given to more than 74 projects since 2007. The repression of civil-society groups has therefore been met with concern at the highest levels of EU institutions.When European Commission President José Barroso visited Azerbaijan’s capital city in June, he stressed the importance of a multi-party democracy, an open society and an open economy as the best way to achieve stability and prosperity. According to Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, he also stressed that a thriving civil society constitutes an essential component of a healthy society.Dunja Mijatovic, the Representative on Freedom of the Media for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), has gone even further. Sharing her ‘alarm’ at the criminal charges against NGOs supporting media freedom in Azerbaijan, she said: “These actions appear to be part of a campaign of targeted suppression of free expression and free media […] media NGOs provide essential support to journalists and the whole media industry. Any actions to intimidate them and interfere with their activities go against OSCE commitments and create a chilling effect on those who champion freedom of the media.”So what can we do? Perhaps most importantly we should not collude in Azerbaijan’s portrayal of itself as just another exotic tourist destination. If ethical tourism means anything, then it means not supporting countries whose governments deny their citizens’ basic rights. Formula One fans can write to the sport’s governing body to demand that they cancel the race scheduled for Baku in 2016. And you could also contact your MEP and MP, letting them know your concerns about the way Leyla Yunus and other activists are being treated.It is hard for those of us who live in Britain to understand what life is like in a country where your basic rights are routinely abused by an oppressive and undemocratic government. Just as Aung San Suu Kyi has represented the struggle against this sort of oppression in Burma, so Leyla Yunus is its figurehead in Azerbaijan. Her greatest protection lies in her story being known and shared. 

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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

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.