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Sarkisian Congratulates New Turkish President

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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

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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.

Turkey enters days of silence before presidential poll

August 9, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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A day of silence was announced in Turkey on Saturday before the presidential election in the country, Trend News Agency reports.
The presidential election in Turkey has been scheduled for August 10, 2014. If none of the candidates gains 51 percent of votes in the first round, the second round will take place on August 24.
About 53,017,214 people in Turkey have the right to vote in the presidential election.
As distinct from the previous presidential election, the Turkish president will be elected by the people, not by the parliament as of 2014, according to the results of a referendum held in 2007. The Turkish president will be elected for five-year term instead of the previous seven-year term/
The presidential election will last from 08: 00 to 17: 00 (local time). The country has banned the broadcast of entertainment programs and the sale of alcoholic beverages on the election day.

Armenian, Azerbaijani civic activists call for peace in Karabakh

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Civil society representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and other world countries have issued an open call urging for strong measures to end the armed violence along the Contact Line of Nagorno-Karbakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.The statement is provided below:
We, the undersigned citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia and other countries demand that the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict stop the shooting and attacks on the Line of Contact and Armenian-Azerbaijani border immediately.
We demand that, as a sign of good will, either side stop shooting unilaterally and then ask the other side to do the same.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” On the Karabakh front-line, a sniper shot for a sniper shot, an attack for an attack will only make more young Armenians and Azerbaijanis dead, wounded and disabled. A few meters of territory or “strategic heights” gained are worth nothing if they put young people under the ground and leave their loved ones traumatized.
The Karabakh ceasefire regime was agreed and signed in May of 1994. In February 1995, the parties agreed to strengthen and monitor the ceasefire regime. But that has not been enough to prevent dozens of young people being killed each year. Many of them, some of them born after the ceasefire agreement was signed, died over the last week. We appreciate that the ceasefire in itself is not enough and that the status quo inflicts harm on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the region.
We demand that mediators and parties to the conflict find a new legal and practical framework that will stop the violence. In 2008 in Helsinki the foreign ministers of France, Russia and the United States called for the removal of snipers from the ceasefire line. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon endorsed the idea in 2010. We regret that that proposal, which could have saved dozens of lives, has never been implemented.
Finally, we urge citizens, civil society leaders, state and independent media to uphold ethical and professional standards as they discuss the conflict, not to glorify or otherwise encourage violence, to engage in sincere efforts towards peaceful conflict resolution and demand from their respective governments that they halt the escalation of the conflict and start real negotiations for peace.Veronika Aghajanyan, Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, Yerevan
Anar K. Ahmadov, Assistant Professor of Comparative Political Economy, Leiden University, The Hague
Rashad Aliyev, freelance journalist, social media and conflict resolution trainer, Baku
Zinaddin Babayev, Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, Boston
Bayram Balci, visiting scholar, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment, Washington
Sofie Bedford, researcher, Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
Jean-Baptiste Blanc, University of Lausanne
Laurence Broers, Editor, Caucasus Survey and Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Michael Cecire, associate scholar, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia
Alexander Cooley, Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York
Dzovinar Derderian, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
John Evans, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia (2004-2006)
Arzu Geybullayeva, Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, Istanbul
Philip Ghamagelyan, Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, Washington
Natalya Ghurbanyan, International Development Expert, Washington
Richard Giragossian, Regional Studies Center, Yerevan
Hamida Giyasbayli, Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, Baku
Sevil Huseynova, Institute for European Ethnology, Berlin
Ulvi Ismayil, Public Policy Expert, Washington
Irakly Kakabadze, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Tbilisi
Maria Karapetyan, Rondine Cittadella della Pace, Arezzo
Richard D. Kauzlarich, former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan (1994-1997) and Adjunct Professor School of Policy, Government and
International Affairs, George Mason University, Arlington

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs received the representatives of Yezidi community

August 8, 2014 Armenia, Middle East No Comments
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18:48, August 8, 2014

On August 8 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Shavarsh Kocharyan received the representatives of Yezidi community.

The Yezidis of Armenia presented their concerns about the predicament and humanitarian crisis for dozens of thousands of Yezidis created as a result of persecutions by radical Islamists in Iraq.

Deputy Minister Kocharyan emphasized that Armenian shares the concern of the Yezidi community and noted that in different international arenas Armenia will continue to voice the necessity of stopping violence against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and in the Middle East in general, using all its capacities for this goal.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Political Analyst: “The fundamental issue isn’t Karabakh, but that of regime change in the two countries”

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22:38, August 6, 2014

An interview with political analyst Stepan Danielian

Today, people in Armenia are trying to understand the political underpinnings of the situation on the Artsakh frontline. Some believe that it is linked to the issue of Azerbaijan’s admission in the Eurasian Union. What do you believe?

It’s difficult to say what the specific reasons are. I find one other variant more understandable that isn’t talked about in the Armenian, Azerbaijani or Russian press.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the situation. In my view, twenty years of relative peace has resulted from a certain balance among the players possessing regional influence, and the lack of active competition amongst them. This was also the reason for a certain domestic political stability.

Armenian Origin Claim ‘Ugly’ Insult For Turkey’s Erdogan

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly revealed that he was branded as an Armenian by some of his detractors and considers that a grave insult.

Erdogan made the comments late on Tuesday as he defended himself against allegations that he is exploiting the presumed ethnic and religious affiliation of his challengers in Turkey’s ongoing presidential election campaign.

“They have also said a lot of things about me,” he said, according to Hurriyet Daily News. “One of them came and said I was a Georgian. Then another came up and, I beg your pardon, called me uglier things, saying I was Armenian.”

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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

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.

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.