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Yerevan welcomes U.S. Senate Committee Resolution on Armenian Genocide

April 11, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments

Armenia welcomes the adoption of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee 410 Resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement released on Friday.

“We commend the principled stance of the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez and other members of the Committee who supported the resolution,” said the top Armenian diplomat, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website.

“On the eve of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide the adoption by the Senate Committee of Resolution 410 is an important step on the way to restoration of historical truth and prevention of crimes against humanity,” Nalbandian added.

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Armenian Genocide Bill


A key committee of the U.S. Senate approved late on Thursday a resolution that describes the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide and urges President Barack Obama to do the same.
The resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says the World War One-era extermination of some 1.5 million Armenians and forcible displacement of 500,000 others resulted in “the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.”
It also says that Obama should ensure that U.S. foreign policy “reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide.”
The Senate committee approved the resolution by a vote of 12 to 5 two weeks before the annual commemoration of the genocide in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora. Sources in the Armenian Assembly of America said it was backed by all Democratic members of the panel as well as some Republicans, notably Senator John McCain. The latter has opposed such measures in the past.
The genocide bill, which is bound to be denounced by Turkey, was drafted by the committee’s pro-Armenian chairman, Democrat Robert Menendez, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk. Prospects for its passage by the full Senate are not yet clear.

“We applaud the leadership of Chairman Menendez,” said Bryan Ardouny, the Armenian Assembly’s executive directive who was on hand when the resolution was adopted. “Today’s vote reaffirms America’s commitment to genocide awareness and prevention,” added Ardouny.

Armenian Assembly Calls on U.S. to Allocate $40 Million to Armenia and to Safeguard Kesab Armenians

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13:15, April 10, 2014

Last week, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations and Related Programs on the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 U.S. budget, reported the Assembly. Also last week, the Assembly reported that the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, led by Co-Chairs Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), sent a letter to Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) highlighting U.S. foreign aid priorities for Armenia and Artsakh.

ECHR finds Turkey guilty over lengthy detention

April 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Turkey guilty in another case about the length of a pre-trial detention, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.The ECHR ruled that Turkey breached both the right to liberty and security and the right to a fair trial.Ziya and Mehmet Ergezen, a father and a son, were detained in 2005 after several kilos of explosives were seized in a search at their home. The following year they were sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for membership of an illegal organization (the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK) and possession of explosives.After the judgment was quashed in June 2007, the court ordered for the applicants to be held in pre-trial detention until November 2007, when it upheld their conviction on the same terms.In February 2009 the Court of Cassation again quashed the judgment of the Assize Court, which ordered the applicants to be kept in pre-trial detention, until September 2010, when Ziya Ergezen was released on the grounds that he was suffering from cancer and unlikely to survive. Ziya Ergezen died later that year.The following month, the criminal proceedings against him were interrupted on grounds of his death and his son was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. Taking account of the length of the latter’s pre-trial detention, the Assize Court released him.An appeal against that judgment was dismissed by the Court of Cassation in December 2010.In the end, the ECHR ruled that Turkey must pay 4,000 euros to Mehmet Ergezen and 4,300 euros jointly to the heirs of Ziya Ergezen.

Director of “Grandma’s Tattoos”: ‘Loving Armenia Must Be a Two-Way Street’

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12:33, April 8, 2014

Suzanne Khardalian talks about her experiences during the shooting of the film, Armenian identity and the plight of Middle East Armenian communities

Suzanne Khardalian is a film director probably best known to Armenians for her 2011 documentary “Grandma’s Tattoos”.

Born in Lebanon and now living in Sweden, Khardalian has also directed other films on the Armenian Genocide including “Back to Ararat” (1988) and “I hate dogs”  (2005). She has a Masters from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

I recently spoke to Khardalian about the Armenian Genocide, the making of “Grandma’s Tattoos”, and recent events in the Middle East.

Genocide Recognition: New resolution in U.S. ahead of April 24 commemoration

April 8, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments

On April 3, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced legislation, calling upon the United States President to work toward an Armenian-Turkish relationship based on Turkey’s truthful acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.

In a statement issued upon introduction, Chairman Menendez noted: “The Armenian Genocide is a horrifying factual reality that can never be denied. This resolution reaffirms in the strongest terms that we will always remember this tragedy and honor the memory of innocent Armenian men, women and children who were killed and expelled from their homeland. The Armenian Genocide must be taught, recognized, and commemorated to prevent the re-occurrence of similar atrocities from ever happening again.”

Wrestling: Armenians win medals at European championships

April 8, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments

Armenia’s Greco-Roman wrestler Artur Aleksanyan defeated his Turkish opponent Cenk Ildem in the final at the 2014 European Wrestling Championships in Vantaa, Finland, to claim the continent’s title for the third time in his career.

Aleksanyan performing in the up-to-98-kg division did not lose a single point to his opponents in all the five bouts at the championships. The 22-year-old defeated rivals from Ukraine, Croatia, Germany, Norway and Turkey.

Another Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler Arsen Julfalakyan (75 kg) won a silver medal at the same championships.

In the final fight the 26-year-old Armenian lost to Russia’s Alexander Chekirkin 3-4.

On the way to the final Julfalakyan beat representatives of Croatia, Austria, Sweden and Denmark.

Tsarukian, Dashnaks Coy About Return To Government


Armenia – President Serzh Sarkisan (L) discusses the impending appointment of a new prime minister with Armenian Revolutionary Federation leader Armen Rustamian in Yerevan, 19Apr2013.

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Turkey Denies Armenian ‘Slander’ About Syrian Town


Syria — A Turkish fighter of the jihadist group Al-Nusra Front, bearing the flag of Al-Qaeda on his jacket (C-back), holds position with fellow comrades in the village of Aziza, on the southern outskirts of Aleppo, April 4, 2013

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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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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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments


2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.