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Turkish mine disaster: Unions calls protest strike

May 15, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Trade unions in Turkey have announced a one-day strike in protest at the country’s worst ever mine disaster which has claimed at least 282 lives, the BBC reports.Union officials said the recent privatization of the mining sector had made working conditions more dangerous.Three days of mourning for the victims began on Thursday.Anger erupted against the government in several cities on Wednesday after the disaster in the western town of Soma on the previous day.An explosion caused the pit to collapse while more than 700 miners were underground.Government officials said 363 miners were rescued in the hours after the explosion, but no survivors have been brought out since dawn on Wednesday.Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said eight more bodies had been recovered overnight into Thursday, taking the toll from 274 to 282. Around 150 miners remain missing.But rescue operations had to be halted for several hours as high gas concentrations underground needed to be cleared, and Mr Yildiz said a fire in the mine was still hampering recovery efforts. 

Armenian Military Extends Mission In Afghanistan


Afghanistan — Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian inspects Armenian troops near Kunduz, 24Jul2010.

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Hollande Urges Turkey To Recognize Armenian Genocide


Armenia – President Serzh Sargsyan and French President François Hollande visit the Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, 12May2014.

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Turks rebuild Armenian churches while keeping silent on origins

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The municipal authorities of Ayntap, the capital of Turkey’s Gaziantep Province, say they have completed the repairs of two Armenian churches and initiated the reconstruction of the third, according to Agos.
 Additionally, some 200 houses in the same district are said to have been rebuilt.
The publication says that different development companies have started pulling down constructions in the district to build new hotels and cafés.
“The district Bay has seen the defense of Ayntap; it has been the district where [Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk was registered.” the city’s former mayor, Asim Guzelbay, was quoted as saying.
He admitted that Bay was dominantly populated by Armenians before 1915, with the Armenians presence dating from the fifth century.
“The district with a population of 80,000 had 36,000 Armenians in 1911. The Armenians of Ayntap had 25 educational institutions there. The Armenian potters, weavers and leather-makers were acclaimed not only in Ayntap, but also in Urfa, Marash, Adiyaman and the neighboring regions. Eighteen thousand Armenians residents who survived the Genocide left Ayntap in 1922,” he added.
Eva Sharlak, an arts professor, further gave her comments on the redevelopment activities in different cities and towns of Anatolia. “It is important for the reconstructed building to be returned to their governments. We have to think about that. When we look at the construction activities, we see that all the cultures in these regions are important and problematic. They must be taken under protection,” she said.

Russia’s show of military might in pictures

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15:47 • 09/05
Prosperous Armenia party delegation visits Victory Park

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Ukraine crisis: Vladimir Putin flies to Crimea

14:50 • 09/05
‘I’ll never backtrack’ – Ivan Volynkin

14:25 • 09/05
Armenia’s premier determined to do his best for equal economic conditions

14:09 • 09/05
Serzh Sargsyan attends in Victory Day events in Karabakh (photos)

13:47 • 09/05
Renowned composer Konstantin Orbelyan to be buried in Armenia

13:39 • 09/05
Russia’s show of military might in pictures

13:34 • 09/05
Armenia’s first president joins victory celebrations

13:27 • 09/05
Victory Day celebrated in Yerevan Victory Park

13:10 • 09/05
US Embassy to Armenia responds to criticism over Warlick’s speech

Erdogan address gives new hopes to Islamized Armenians

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s condolence address, issued ahead of the Armenian Genocide anniversary, is said to have inspired Turkey’s Islamized Armenians with positive hopes.
According to the Turkish Star, many of them now hope that they will finally be able to find relatives they haven’t met for many years.
Those residing in villages at the foot of Mount Ararat reportedly want the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. They have said that their ancestors had to quit the settlements. For many of them, Erdogan’s statement is a sign of progress.
“Why don’t the Armenia and Turkey open the border so that we could visit our relatives, and they could visit us? We haven’t heard from our loved ones for so many years. Thanks to this positive posture of the premier, they will come and find us,” said one of the local Armenians.
Zeki Sh, a 68-year-old resident of one of the villages, said they are very happy that the Turkish PM “realized their grief” for the first time ever.
“That’s an unspeakable joy for us. Our ancestors were exiled from here. We have now stayed. We have lived in peace for years,” villager was quoted as saying. 

Organizations Call for Review of Pre-Trial Detention Standards in Armenia

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15:46, May 6, 2014

Recent cases of pre-trial detention in Armenia once again raise the issue of the routine application of measures of constraint by judges in violation of the international human rights standards.

The Criminal Procedure Code of Armenia (CPC) details the grounds and procedure for applying measures of restraint, including pre-trial detention. Pre-trial detention may be ordered by a court if the alleged crime or felony is punishable with at least one year of imprisonment, and when sufficient grounds exist to suspect that the accused intends to abscond or interfere with proceedings, in particular by exerting unlawful influence on other persons involved in the case; to tamper with evidence; to commit another criminal offence; to avoid responsibility and the imposition of punishment, or to oppose the implementation of a sentence [1]. When selecting a measure of restraint, factors such as the nature and the gravity of the crime, the personality of the suspect or accused, his or her occupation and dependents, and the availability of a permanent residence should be taken into account [2].

Turkey’s statements set limit with no expectations beyond it – Vahram Ter-Matevosyan

May 5, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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In response to Tert.am’s question about the possibility of Turkey reopening its border with Armenia on the threshold of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, without any preconditions, to prove something to the world – which, in fact, would be far from realpolitik – expert in Turkic studies Vahram Ter-Matevosyan said:“If we speak of a hypothetic scenario, we could expect not only such a step by Turkey, but also subscenarios. I do not think it [the border] will be reopened without the establishment of official diplomatic relations. It is needed to settle some issue.”In commenting on Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu’s article in The Guardian, Ter-Matevosyan said:“The wordings in Davutoglu’s article should be viewed in the context of the statements by the Turkish PM and government members on April 23 and during the following week. But we should also consider the fact that the elections scheduled for this August and next May and June are both opportunities and challenges for Turkish political forces. Of course, statements will be made, with many to take advantage of them. Nationalists will try to gain the best advantage of possible statements.Following his statement on April 23, the Turkish premier denied the Armenian Genocide in his interview with PBS TV, saying: “If such a Genocide occurred would there have been any Armenians living in this country?”“He has never admitted the fact. An important thing should be considered: previous and further statements set the limit beyond which any further expectations can never be held not to be disappointed. And this limit means offering condolences rather than apologies. That is, moral consequences rather than legal or political consequences are implied. We should take into account the fact that Turkey’s elite is not prepared for doing it, offering condolences, nor is it prepared for making statements of legal or political nature.” 

Armenia Participates in Dubai "Arabian Travel Market" Expo

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14:23, May 5, 2014

The National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia will represent Armenia at the Arabian Travel Market international travel and tourism show in Dubai from May 5-8. 

With an expected attendance of over 20,000 buyers and travel professionals and 21,000 visitors, it is the biggest event of tourism industry in the Middle East. 

The exhibition unlocks business potential of the region, while serving as an effective platform of discussion of challenges and perspectives in the tourism sector. 

Armenia’s rich cultural, historical and Christian heritage will be presented in travel guides and maps during the exhibition. 

NCFA’s participation in this major exhibition aims to promote the tourism of Armenia in the Mideast market, establish new partnerships to promote tour packages and contribute to the growth of tourist inflows. 

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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.