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Reaction to Erdogan: West encouraged, locals unmoved by Turkish PM’s statement


By many accounts, this week appears to have signaled a new stance by Turkey on the events in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and beyond when the Armenian Genocide was carried out, and has forever been denied by modern Turkey. When on Wednesday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech expressing condolences to those who “shared pain”, it was read by many in the West and Europe as a softening of Turkey’s staunch denial.

Stefan Fule, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy wrote on his Twitter page “We encourage Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement about Armenians. Reconciliation is a key value to EU. We hope this spirit will take a continuous nature.”

Davutoglu: Erdogan’s condolence was call for consensus with Armenia

April 25, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey extended its hand to Armenia with Prime Minister Erdogan’s latest statement that offered condolences to the Armenians who lost their lives during the 1915 events, the Turkish Press reported.
“This is a call to build a consensus on history,” Davutoglu told private broadcaster NTV. “Our Prime Minister extended Turkey’s hand to Armenia to get our minds and hearts closer. If it gets an answer, then we can build a future together. If not, we will go back to the former discourses.”
On Wednesday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement in nine languages, including Armenian, in which he termed the events of 1915 as “inhumane.”
“Regardless of their ethnic or religious origins, we pay tribute with compassion and respect to all Ottoman citizens who lost their lives in the events of 1915,” the statement said.
Davutoglu hailed the statement, saying it accomplished its goal considering the reactions worldwide. “It demonstrates a just and humane stance and gives the idea to build a future together.”
Read more here. 

Sargsyan says lack of Armenian-Turkish normalization “vulnerable element of pan-European security”

April 25, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan again accused Turkey of keeping its border with Armenia closed as well as addressed Ankara’s Genocide denial policies as he spoke to other participants in a high-level meeting on Thursday held on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.

“The lack of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations and last closed border of Europe continue to be a vulnerable element of the Pan-European security. It is paradoxical but nevertheless matter of fact that the EU membership aspiring Turkey sealed off its border with a neighboring country, while the borders within European Union have long become history and free movement is a basic principle,” said Sargsyan at the meeting in Prague on April 24.

Elimination of Genocide impact implies return of homeland to Armenians – opinion

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The elimination of the consequences of Genocide implies the return of the historical homerland to the Armenians, an Armenian politician said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Yerevan’s Tsitsernakaberd Park (where he visited to commemorate the victims of the big tragedy), the leader of the National Self-Determination Union, Paruyr Hayrikyan, described the international recognition of Genocide as a major task for the entire Armenian nation. “I managed – about five or six years ago – to make the wording applicable. We have also recommended that the territories belonging to the Armenians be mentiond by all the tribunals because 80 percent of them are occupied by Turkey and Azerbaijan,” the politician said.
Characterizing genocide as a crime perpetrated by authoritarian regimes, Hayrikyan said the Armenian Genocide was the result of Russian-Turkish conspiracy. “In 1915-1923, we lost not only Western Armenia but also part of Eastern Armenia. So ahead of the centennial, Armenia must raise the international recognition issue at all the international tribunals. Only 20 percent of the Armenian lands belongs to Armenia,” he added. 

Erdogan’s statement falls short of acknowledging Genocide – Armenian Assembly of America

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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The Armenian Assembly of America on has responded to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement issued ahead of the Armenian Genocide anniversary.
It has considered the move an attempt to add to the Turkish policies of denial
“While this statement is the first of its kind, it falls far short of acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and simultaneously adds to the layers of denial that have emanated from official Ankara. Without full acceptance of its genocidal legacy, the Republic of Turkey’s statement to the descendants of Armenian Genocide victims does not bring closure,” reads the response.It further quotes Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny as saying that “the victims of the Armenian Genocide cannot rest in peace as long as Turkey continues its campaign of genocide denial”.
“Rather than spending millions of dollars to thwart international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, including America’s proud chapter of humanitarian intervention to help save the survivors, the Turkish government needs to address the consequences of genocide and its 99 years of denial,” stated Ardouny.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. 

Sarkisian Reaffirms Plans For Closer Ties With U.S.


Armenia remains committed to stepping up its cooperation with the United States in various areas, President Serzh Sarkisian told visiting members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
The 4-member congressional delegation headed by Ed Royce, the pro-Armenian chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, arrived in Yerevan late Wednesday on a three-day visit involving meetings with Armenian officials, businesspeople, pundits and civil society members. It also took part in official ceremonies marking the 99th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.
Sarkisian praised the U.S. lawmakers for their participation and again thanked the United States for its large-scale economic assistance and “active engagement on issues vital to Armenia.” “Serzh Sarkisian assured the U.S. Congress members that Armenia is determined to continue deepening and developing Armenian-American bilateral relations,” the presidential press office said in a statement.
According to the statement, the meeting focused on Armenia’s foreign policy priorities and “regional issues and challenges.” It did not elaborate.
In a July 2013 letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Sarkisian said that U.S.-Armenian relations are now closer than ever before and serve as a “strong prerequisite” for Armenia’s security and economic development.
He sent the message less than two months before unexpectedly deciding to make Armenia part of a new Russian-led alliance of ex-Soviet states. John Heffern, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said afterwards that Sarkisian’s U-turn will have no fundamental impact on U.S.-Armenian ties.
“We want to strengthen Armenia economically,” Royce told reporters after the talks with the Armenian president. The Republican congressman said that he and his three colleagues, all of them Democrats, are exploring ways of facilitating U.S. investments in the Armenian economy.

Erdoğan to Armenians: ‘We’re sorry, now get over it’

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Turkey No Comments
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13:04, April 24, 2014

Message of Turkish Prime Minister on Events of 1915 (Unofficial Translation)

 “The 24th of April carries a particular significance for our Armenian citizens and for all Armenians around the world, and provides a valuable opportunity to share opinions freely on a historical matter.

It is indisputable that the last years of the Ottoman Empire were a difficult period, full of suffering for Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Armenian and millions of other Ottoman citizens, regardless of their religion or ethnic origin.

Any conscientious, fair and humanistic approach to these issues requires an understanding of all the sufferings endured in this period, without discriminating as to religion or ethnicity.

Nothing MorThan a Try to Obstruct the International Recognition and Condemnation of Turkey

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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17:38, April 24, 2014

Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s message to the Armenian people on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is nothing more than Turkey’s renewed denial tactics under international pressure to accept her past and reconcile with it – especially with the centenary of the Armenian Genocide approaching. Though unprecedented the message, it is nothing more than a try to obstruct the international recognition and condemnation of Turkey for what it did to the Armenians, beginning April 24, 1915. By once again stating “the establishment of a joint historical commission in order to study the events of 1915 in a scholarly manner” Erdogan is omitting what independent scholars and academics have classified the “events” as Genocide.

President Serzh Sargsyan’s address on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Turkey No Comments

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan issued an address ahead of the April 24 commemoration of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In his address published on the official website Sargsyan said:

“Dear compatriots,

Today we bow to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. One and a half million Armenians fell prey to such a crime which did not have a name at that time. Nor had a human language coined such an expression or a term yet. They were killed simply because they were Armenians. The crime designed minutely and in advance pursued a clear goal: to take possession of the home country, the property and the millennium-old heritage by exterminating the native people living there. By this they committed a monstrous crime seeking to once and forever annihilate Armenians as a political factor.

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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.