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1980 military coup leaders sentenced to life in prison

June 18, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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An Ankara court June 18 sentenced the two key defendants in the case of the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup d’tat to life in prison, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The court first sentenced the two surviving members of the junta, coup leader Kenan Evren and then-commander of the Air Force, Tahsin Şahinkaya, to aggravated life sentences on coup charges, but then reduced it to life in prison, due to attenuating circumstances.
The court also ruled that the coup leaders should be stripped of their military ranks.
Prosecutor Erdin Hakan zdabakoğlu introduced his final opinion regarding the case before the decision, demanding Evren and Şahinkaya be sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on charges related to Article 146 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which covers criminal attempts to change all or part of the Turkish Constitution.
Fifty people were executed, an estimated half a million arrested, hundreds died in prison and many more disappeared during the three years of military rule following the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, Turkey’s third in 20 years.
The 1980 coup leaders argued they were forced to intervene to restore order after years of chaos, in which 5,000 people died in factional violence between leftist and rightist groups.
Evren, 95, and Şahinkaya, 90, have already filed individual appeals to the Constitutional Court, arguing their rights have been violated due to the trial.

Turkish opposition’s presidential candidate tops Twitter

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Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), who has been nominated as the joint presidential candidate of Turkey’s two major opposition parties, quickly topped Twitter’s Worldwide Trending Topics list on June 16, the Hurriyet Daily News reports. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu officially announced in the afternoon that they would nominate the senior diplomat as their joint candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).In just one hour, İhsanoğlu’s name became the most popular global trending topic on Twitter, with over 18,000 tweets sent following his nomination.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Businessman Involved in Cyprus "Off-Shore" Scandal to be Extradited Within Days

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11:49, June 16, 2014

Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has told Hetq that the extradition of businessman Ashot Sukiasyan from Tbilisi to Yerevan will take place in a matter of days.

Sukiasyan,who went into hiding after Hetq broke the Cyprus offshore story, was detained by Georgian authorities at Tbilisi international airport on January 31 of this year after getting off a plane from Turkey.

Armenian police issued a search warrant for Sukiasyan last June and charged him with large-scale embezzlement and money laundering.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Sarkisian Congratulates Syria’s Assad

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Syria — A banner with a picture of President Bashar Assad hangs on a destroyed building in the Homs neighborhood of Khaldiyeh, June 3, 2014

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Turkey says negotiating for release of 80 hostages held by Islamist in Iraq

June 13, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Turkey is negotiating for the release of 80 nationals held by Islamist militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and cannot confirm reports that some of them have been freed, government officials said on Thursday.”There are reports in the media about our citizens being released but we can’t confirm these reports at this stage,” a Turkish official said. “We have been holding negotiations since yesterday to secure our citizens and these negotiations are still ongoing.”The pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that the hostages, who include diplomatic staff, children and special forces soldiers, had been released to the Iraqi governor of Mosul and would be brought to Turkey later on Thursday.Cetin Nuhoglu, chairman of Turkey’s International Transport Association, told Reuters that 31 of the hostages – a group of truck drivers being held at a power station – had been freed but were apparently trapped at the site because of poor security in Mosul following its capture by the militants.Earlier on Thursday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on said the Turkish government was not working on any new mandate to authorise a cross-border military operation into Iraq following the seizure of the 80 Turks by the jihadi fighters.A parliamentary mandate allowing Turkey to conduct cross-border military operations in Iraq expires in October. It was drafted to enable Ankara to strike at bases of Kurdish PKK militants sheltering in the north of Iraq. 
 

Over two dozen anti-government protesters go on trial in Turkey

June 12, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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More than two dozen anti-government protesters went on trial on Thursday in Turkey, accused of organizing last year’s demonstrations in what Amnesty International denounced as a “show trial”.An Istanbul court began hearing the case against 26 members of the Taksim Solidarity umbrella group, who are accused of leading the protests that erupted in June 2013 and posed the biggest challenge yet to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 11-year rule.The activists, who include doctors, architects and engineers, face charges – such as founding a crime syndicate, violating public order and organizing illegal protests through social media – and face up to 29 years if convicted.Last June’s protests started as a small environmentalist movement to stop the re-development of Istanbul’s Gezi Park and quickly blew up into wider nationwide demonstrations against Erdogan’s authoritarian style that left at least eight people dead and some 8,000 injured after police brutally cracked down on protesters.Amnesty International urged the Turkish authorities to abandon what it called a “show trial”.”This is a vindictive, politically motivated show trial without a shred of evidence of actual crimes. It should be stopped at the first hearing,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey, said in a statement.”The prosecution has concocted a case simply to send a strong message to the rest of Turkey that the authorities will ruthlessly pursue anyone who dissents and organizes protests against government policies.” 

Global private wealth hits $152tn

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The amount of private wealth held by households globally surged more than 14% to $152 trillion (90tn) last year, boosted mainly by rising stock markets, the BBC reports.
Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, led the surge with a 31% jump to $37tn.
The number of millionaire households also rose sharply, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.
The report takes into account cash, deposits, shares and other assets held by households. But businesses, real estate and luxury goods are excluded.
“In nearly all countries, the growth of private wealth was driven by the strong rebound in equity markets that began in the second half of 2012,”the firm said in its report.
“This performance was spurred by relative economic stability in Europe and the US and signs of recovery in some European countries, such as Ireland, Spain and Portugal.”
The amount of wealth held in equities globally grew by 28% during the year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said.
Economies in Asia have been key drivers of global growth in the recent years. And households in the region have benefitted from this growth.
Within the region, China has been the biggest driver – with private wealth in the country surging more than 49% in 2013.
High saving rates in countries such as China and India has also been a key contributing factor to this surge.
The wealth held in the region is expected to rise further, to nearly $61tn by the end of 2018.
“At this pace, the region is expected to overtake Western Europe as the second-wealthiest region in 2014, and North America as the wealthiest in 2018,” BCG said.
The pace of wealth creation in China was also evident in the growth in the number of millionaire households – in US dollar terms – in the country, rising to 2.4 million in 2013, from 1.5 million a year ago.
Overall, the total number of millionaire households in the world rose to 16.3 million in 2013, from 13.7 million in 2012.
According to the report, private wealth in:
• North America rose by 15.6% to $50.3tn
• Western Europe, which includes UK, Germany and France, rose by 5.2% to $37.9tn
• Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, Poland and Czech Republic, jumped by 17.2% to $2.7tn
• Latin America rose by 11.1% to $3.9tn
• Middle East region increased by 11.6% to reach $5.2tn

OSCE to Conduct Monitoring of Artsakh "Line of Contact"

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13:08, June 9, 2014

In accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the OSCE Mission will conduct a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan in the Hadrut direction near Horadiz settlement on June 10,

From the positions of the NKR Defense Army, the monitoring will be conducted by Field Assistant of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Yevgeny Sharov (Ukraine) and staff member of the Office Peter Svedberg, as well as by representative of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group (HLPG) Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Harvey (Ireland).

Armenian delegation to NATO raises problem of Turkey’s involvement in Kessab events

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Armenia’s parliamentary delegation, which participated in a meeting of the Political Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, May 30 to June 1, raised the issue of Kessab.Specifically, the Armenian MPs stated that Turkey, which is a NATO member, not only allowed gunmen to enter Kessab through its territory, but also provided financial aid to them.“The Turkish representative reacted at once, saying that Turkey’s government had nothing in common with Syria developments and did not sponsor any insurgent groups, which is untrue. Numerous facts prove this [Turkey’s involvement]. Our delegation requested that NATO think of the necessary measures to prevent its member-states from resorting to such steps,” Head of the Armenian delegation Koryun Nahapetyan told reporters on Monday.Unfortunately, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly did not respond to the Armenian delegation’s request.Armenian delegation member, Heritage parliamentary group member Tevan Poghosyan said that the 28 NATO member-states share a common feature – not offending partners.“Unfortunately, it is not the case in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. So we should not expect any of the NATO members to wag their finger at Turkey,” he said.However, raising the problem was important. 

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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.