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Young Man from Diyarbekir Seeks Descendants of Armenian Forefathers Who Migrated to Yerevan in 1915.

July 7, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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15:34, July 6, 2014

Tatev Grigoryan

We met 19 year-old Yakup Ecen in a Diyarbakir coffee shop by chance several days ago.

Yakup works as a waiter in the largely Kurdish town in southeastern Turkey.

The young man approached us, asking if there were Armenians in the group. Yakup told us that his forefathers were Armenians.

“I was born in the Kulp district in   Diyarbekir Province. We have Armenians roots. My grandfather’s father was Armenian. In 1915, there was my great grandfather and his four brothers. They killed one of them. Two remained and converted to Islam. The other two migrated to the town of Yerevan. From that day on no contact was possible. It was only 30-40 years ago that a letter reached us from Yerevan. The old folk say that letter was lost. Others say it was snatched away by some villagers and never returned. Still others say that one of our elders tore it up. Whatever the story, what is certain is that a letter arrived from Yerevan,” Yakup tells me.

Armenia may face water shortage if no measures taken – expert

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With the average air temperature being above normal levels in Armenia, the country may soon face a shortage of water supply in case of no appropriate measures are taken, warns a specialist.
“The average annual temperature in Armenia has increased by about one degree [Celsius] compared to what we had 20 years ago, while the precipitations have decreased in number,” Aram Gabrielyan, a national coordinator for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told Tert.am, citing official data.
He said a failure to undertake special steps may lead to an estimated increase in  temperature by 20C in 203C and a about 30C in 2070, with further 40C-50C increase threatening the country in 2100.
Gabrielyan said he expects the worst-case scenario to make Armenia’s climate similar to that of the Iranian plateau.
“The Armenian highlands, whose north-eastern part covers the Republic of Armenia, is on average 600m-800m above the Middle Asian and Iranian mountain plateaus. The recorded temperature is five percent. So if we face a temperature inrease by up to five percent – which is the worst-case scenario – we’ll have climate conditions similar to those in the Iranian mountain plateau,” he explained.
The specialist added that he already sees the water shortage problem in the country, with the rising temperature contributing to a decrease in the number of precipitations by reducing the river flow.
“We have, on the one hand, less precipitations and on the other hand, evaporating ones caused by increasing temperatures of water. So there is a double effect on the river flow. At the same time, the demand for water increases due to the drying climate. So we have an increasing demand with a decreasing supply of water,” he noted.
He said the two factors contribute to over 20%-30% shortage in some areas. “So the demand for water will be observed several mountainous areas with arid-zone agriculture, and be even higher in those areas where water is in demand today, the Ararat valley, for example.
The specialist warned against releasing water from Artesian dams. “The water supply in Artesian basins is formed from the underground inflow of waters absorbed from precipitations. Fewer precipitations will reduce the water flow to the artesian basin. So we have to use take less water from the basin to maintain the balance. While we now can get 50 million cubic meters of water from the Ararat artesian basin, for instance, only 30 million of it can be accessible to us in a decade,” he said.
He said further that the shortage will also affect the water balance of Lake Sevan, causing more water to evaporate from its surface. “The more we get adapted to the climate conditions, saving water resources, the better,” he added.
Gabrielyan pointed out to possible technological and organizational solutions, noting that a corresponding action plan to be submitted to the Government next year is now under elaboration.
“This, of course, bears a global character, but in order to save water [resources] environmentalists have to step up efforts instead of arguing with the Government,” he added.
But Gabreilyan didn’t agree that the current shortage in dams is due only to climate changes. “That’s bears, of course, a certain relationship with thatm but if they aren’t filled with the necessary [quantity of water], it is no longer due to weather. And even if it is, it is necessary to take measures to save water in order to eliminate the lossses.”
In conclusion he proposed two possible solutions: reducing the greenhouse emissions and getting adjusted to the changing climate.
Speaking to Tert.am, Mher Mkrtumyan, the head of the Territorial Administration Ministry’s State Committee of Water Resources, dwelled on the situation in the dams. “The dam in Akhuryan [Shirak region] contained 403 cubic meters of water last year, but the [quantity] was 193 cubic meters in the same period of this year. In river Arax, we had 23 m/sec drinking water last year against the 10m/sec this year,” the official said, pointing out to a double decrease.
He further elaborated on the causes, attributing the shortage to weather conditions and accumulated waters in the upper streams. “We know where Arax River comes from, so we cannot make any intervention,” he said, noting that the river’s resources are used on Turkey’s territory as well.
Turkey, which now exploits the second dam on Arax, is going to complete the construction of the third this year. The fourth dam, which will be in Karakurt, will have a capacity of 1 million cubic meters. The four dams together are expected to accumulate an estimated 1,380 cubic million of waters. It is noteworthy that the estimated annual supply of Arax is 2,500 million cubic meters.
The official agreed that the Government is facing a serious strategic challenge, but said they are taking necessary steps. Asked why the authorities are seeking only temporary solutions (such as releasing large quantities of water from an Artesian basin and exploiting 120 water wells), Mkrtumyan replied that those were forced measures aimed at organizing the region’s irrigation water supply.
He said four dams are under construction in Armenia today, adding they expect to complete the activities in five years’ time. “There are already projects regarding certain dams, and documents have been drawn up,” he added. 

Haykakan Zhamanak: Iraq’s increasing importance for Armenia

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President Serzh Sargsyan on Thursday signed a decree to appoint Armenia’s consul general in Aleppo as the ambassador to Iraq, the paper says, considering the move very important against the backdrop of the developments in Middle East.
The paper notes that the newly-appointed envoy, Karen Grigoryan, has become very specialized in diplomatic work in hot spots over the course of years.
Iraq, which is now on the threshold of the Syrian scenario, with the ISIS rebels having held several regions and the Kurdistan leadership vowing an independence referendum, we are very likely to see a new state in the region soon, comments the paper.
It notes further that Iraq has recently acquired a significant importance for Armenia due to the increasing exports (an estimated 3% of our exports go there).
“With $50 million worth goods having been imported to that country from Armenia, it can be a very promising market for us. In 2013, for example, $46 million worth tobacco, $1 million worth alcoholic drinks, about $1 million worth potato and another $1 million worth mineral water was exported to Iraq from Armenia,” writes the paper. 

Turkey: Five opposition parties declare support to joint candidate

July 3, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Leaders of five Turkish opposition parties released a joint declaration on Wednesday expressing their full support for Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the presidential candidate jointly nominated by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the National Movement Party (MHP) to run in the upcoming election.
The leaders of the CHP, MHP, Democratic Left Party (DSP), Independent Turkey Party (BTP) and Democrat Party (DP) came together in a joint press conference held at Ankara’s Swiss Hotel, during which they signed the joint declaration.
The declaration states that the five political parties support Ihsanoglu as a presidential candidate who they believe will reinforce the principle of separation of powers and adopt a language of love and peace, instead of one of violence and hatred, toward all segments of society. Ihsanoglu’s main opponent is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is running on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) ticket. The declaration also stated that İhsanoğlu would act in an impartial way toward all religious and ethnic identities in the country and that he would combine the principles of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the core values of the republic and the spiritual values of the Turkish people.

Russian Intervention ‘Unnecessary For Armenia’

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Armenia does not need military intervention by Russia and other ex-Soviet allies to deal with increased ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said on Tuesday.

“I don’t think that the situation now is such that we should appeal to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO),” Ohanian said, referring to the Russian-led defense pact of which Armenia is a member.

“If the Armenian army cannot respond to such small-arms violations, then why is it needed in the first place? The Armenian army is getting stronger by the day and it is able to meet such challenges on its own,” he told reporters during an international security conference in Yerevan.

Turkish PM Erdoğan chooses logo resembling Obama campaign

July 1, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has announced Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan as its presidential candidate, with an official logo bearing striking resemblance to that used in U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.Both logos feature a sun to symbolize hope, with the circular shape of the Erdoğan logo tracing the outline of a tunnel. According to AKP officials, the sun – like the light at the end of a tunnel – is where a hard, zigzagging road leads, in reference to Erdoğan’s “journey of life.”They added that the colors and typography have been designed to portray values like “sincerity, power, peace, union, prestige and assertive targets.”The Erdoğan campaign also announced two official mottos on July 1: “National will, national power” and “The man of the nation, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

Turkey: Davutoglu asks Iraqi Turkmens to unite and refrain from sectarian confrontation

June 24, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called on Iraqi Turkmens to be united and urged Sunni and Shia Turkmens to refrain from sectarian confrontation, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
“Turkmens are primary components of Iraq. Therefore, their unity is crucial. Any confrontation among them on ethnical and sectarian bases would upset us,” Davutoglu said at a press conference with President Arshad al-Salihi of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC).
At the meeting a delegation of Turkmen representatives from Iraq, he said the stance of Turkmens “without diversification between Sunni and Shia” was discussed.
“There is no place for sectarianism our understanding,” Davutoglu added, underlining that the cooperation of Turkmens was required for peace and stability in Iraq.
Turkmens in Iraq, who live in a critical zone of the country, should develop relations with Arabs and Kurds on the basis of friendship and brotherhood, he also stated. “Turkey’s expectation is that Turkmens develop good relations with them,” he added.
For his part, al-Salihi said Turkmens were determined to live together with other groups in Iraq.The meeting also discussed the stance of Turkmens in Iraq’s post-election period, and Davutoğlu stressed that Turkmens should be adequately represented in the Iraqi government. 

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

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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.