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U.S. Mediates More Aliyev-Sarkisian Talks


Seeking to break the deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry organized a fresh meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the sidelines of a NATO summit late on Thursday.

The three men spoke for about two hours in the presence of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers and senior U.S. diplomats in a gold resort in Wales. No concrete agreements were announced after the talks.

“The parties presented their positions in the negotiating process,” President Serzh Sarkisian’s office said in a statement. It said Kerry urged the two sides to reduce tensions in the Karabakh conflict zone, take confidence-building measures and demonstrate “the political will” to reach a compromise settlement.

Erdogan trying to poke nose into Armenia-Azerbaijan relations

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to conduct his first visit to Azerbaijan as the president of Turkey was not absolutely a random choice, says a spokesperson for the Nagorno-Karabakh president.
Speaking to Tert.am, David Babayan described the Turkish leader’s trip, as well as his statements made in Baku as a manifestation of pan-Turkist policies.
“This reflects the true situation. It is good in a way that Turkey makes statements of the kind, unmasking its own goals and the basic concepts of its policies. I see nothing bad about this. It was predictable and did not come as a surprise. Statements of the kind have always been made,” he noted.
At a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan said his country’s relations with Armenia will remain frozen as long as the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh does not find a solution.
“Turkey and Azerbaijan act as the closest allies. What’s even more, Azerbaijan is trying to become part of Turkey. This is a reflection of pan-Turkist policies. Turkey has always made statements of the kind, so this isn’t anything new. Turkey won’t recognize the Genocide; it keeps denying the fact. This too, is a continuation of genocidal policies. They are doing everything possible to destabilize the situation,” Babayan said, adding that Erdogan is trying to kind of poke his nose into the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.
Commenting on Erdogan’s statement, Vahan Badasyan, a member of the Nagorno-Karabakh National Assembly, said he believes that it is time for Armenia to announce officially that its relations with Turkey will remain frozen as long the country refuses to accept and recognize the Armenian Genocide.
“Hence the Armenian side should make haste to make such a statement, as Turkey may begin mixing up the Genocide with the Karabakh issue. I think our diplomacy is slowing its efforts from that point of view. It is important for us to state that Turkey has nothing to do with Karabakh. If it has to, why doesn’t it then share an equal responsibility with Azerbaijan?” he said.
Describing the Azerbaijani policies against Karabakh as aggression, Badasyan noted that the country has lost lands that belonged to it during the Soviet years (not historically). “And the Karabakh side stood up for the defense of those lands, justifiably protecting itself from aggression. We do not absolutely care of what Erdogan will do or say; we just have to be ready for everything,” said the lawmaker.

Armenia ranks 85th on World Economic Forum index

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Armenia ranks as the 85th country on the World Economic Forum’s latest Competitiveness Index.
The ranking methodology is based on 12 main pillars: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods and market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
The list for 2014-2014 includes 114 countries. Leading states are Switzerland, Singapore, the US, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong King, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden.
Armenia’s neighbors, Iran, Turkey Georgia and Azerbaijan, rank the 83rd, 38th, 69th and 45th, respectively.
Russia has climbed to the 53rd position (the index was elaborated before the latest sanctions against the country). Tajikistan, which is the 91st on the list, has the lowest ranking among the post-Soviet countries.
Yemen, Chad and Guinea are at the bottom of the index.
The full index can be accessed here>>>

NATO summit to address Karabakh issue – Erdogan

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Turkey’s new president has unveiled plans of including the Nagorno-Karabakh issue on the agenda of NATO’s upcoming summit in Britain.
Trend News Agency reports Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying that the country thus seeks to remind the North-Atlantic alliance of the promises given to Azerbaijan.“That’s Azerbaijan’s right, so the promises given to the country have to be respected. Turkey is ready to demonstrate resoluteness on the matter,” he said.
Considering the settlement of the Karabakh conflict a priority issue for Turkey, Erdogan described it as an indicator of the relationship between the two states,
The summit is set to take place in Wales between 4 and 5 September.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Erdogan will not accept Serzh Sargsyan’s invitation to attend Genocide centennial, says Turkish-Armenian editor

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, Rober Hatechian, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Marmara, said he doesn’t expect Recep Tayyip Erdogan to accept Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s invitation to visit Yerevan next year for commemorating the Genocide centennial.
Describing the issue as a ‘very delicate’ point on Turkey’s foreign policy agenda, Hatechyan ruled out the possibility of the Turkish leader’s positive response.
“I don’t think there is any readiness on the part of either Erdogan or Turkey’s public opinion. It is a very big issue, as you know Turkey all the time fights the ambitions to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Hence such a country and state or its government should have difficulty in terms of visiting the 100th anniversary mourning events,” he said.
Describing Erdogan’s condolence address to the Armenians as a major step on the country’s foreign policy agenda, the Turkish-Armenian editor said he doesn’t find the move to be a sign that the Turkish leader can easily visit Armenia.
Asked whether he thinks that Armenia’s foreign minister should have attended the Turkish president’s inauguration ceremony in Ankara, Hatechian said he positively treats the decision. “It was, of course, very good that Armenia took part in Erdogan’s inauguration on the level of its foreign minister. And we, as a community, were content that Armenia sent its representative to the ceremony,” he noted.
Hatechian said he finds that the two countries should try to build relations in a direct way, without intervention by third powers. “This, I think, is a more sensible way, because the psychology of Turkey’s foreign policy is built on that. They will step back once there is an external intervention. That’s a psychological posture,” he noted.
The editor added that he now sees the Turkish society, particularly its intellectual circles, adopt an increasingly open approach to the Genocide issue. “An increasing number of people in Turkey have started openly speaking about the 1915 catastrophe. I think the number will increase until April 1915, with more people in Turkey having the readiness and willingness to address details of the Armenian Genocide. But I cannot now say how far Turkey’s state policies will go,” he added.  

Aliyev Vows Support For Armenian Genocide Denial


Azerbaijan will help Turkey deny in the international arena that the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide, President Ilham Aliyev said on Wednesday after talks with his visiting Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkey and Azerbaijan will jointly counter the lie about the genocide of Armenians,” Aliyev was reported to tell journalists in the presidential palace in Baku.

“We will be coordinating our efforts to expose the fictional Armenian genocide. Our non-governmental and Diaspora organizations will be acting together,” he said.

Uncertain Future: Border Village School Has Only Three Pupils; All from the Same Family

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Turkey No Comments
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15:03, September 2, 2014

Standing outside this nondescript whitewashed one story building in the middle of the village in Arevis, one would be hard pressed to make out that it’s the school if it were not for the plaque and welcome sign attached to the wall.

Our arrival on September 1, the start of the new school year, elicited a number of curious stares from residents milling outside the school. It would appear that unfamiliar cars and visitors are seldom seen in Arevis.

To be honest, we didn’t see any other cars along the road leading to the Arevis, a tiny hamlet in Armenia’s southern Syunik Province. It’s the last stop on the 21 kilometer road that branches away from Sisian. Further afield are the Monastery of Tanahat and then, the border with Nakhijevan.

Iraqi Yazidis ‘Willing To Settle In Armenia’

September 2, 2014 Armenia, Karabakh, Top News, Turkey No Comments

At least 150 Iraqi Yazidis who have taken refuge in Turkey are ready to relocate to Armenia on a permanent basis, a leader of the Armenian Yazidi community said on Tuesday.

Boris Murazi, the head of the Yerevan-based Sanjar Union, said the community can provide them with accommodation and work in rural areas of Armenia mostly populated by fellow Yazidis. He urged the Armenian government to allow those refugees to enter the country.

Murazi spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) two days after returning from southeastern Turkey where he and other Sanjar Union activists visited Yazidi refugee camps and heard harrowing accounts of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants in Iraq. In his words, as many as 22,000 of his co-ethnics fled to Turkey after being displaced by the radical Sunni Islamists.

Erdogan’s Response ‘Not Yet Known’


It is not yet clear whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Yerevan next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Monday.

Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding invitation from President Serzh Sarkisian when he attended the presidential inauguration in Ankara last week. The two men briefly chatted during the ceremony.

“There is still quite a bit of time [before April 2015,]” Nalbandian told RFE/RL’ Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “It is hard to tell what the decision [by Erdogan] will be and when it will be taken. It’s up to the Turks to decide,” he said.

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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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Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

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.