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Azerbaijan Hopes For More Russian Arms Supplies

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Azerbaijan – Russian-made tanks, artillery systems and attack helicopters put on display at a military base in Nakhichevan, 7Apr2014.

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EU Parliament condemns attack on Kessab and other vulnerable communities in Syria

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The European Parliament in its last plenary session before the May 2014 elections, adopted a resolution on Syria, expressing its concern on the latest developments in the country, especially with the situation in Kessab, and vulnerable communities who find themselves in the middle of the war.

The resolution specifically condemns the attack against the Armenian town of Kessab, and takes note that “the fights between regime forces and rebel fighters, including elements linked to Al-Qaeda, at the end of March 2014 led to the evacuation of the vast majority of the population of Kassab, an Armenian town on the Syrian-Turkish border”.

European Parliament condemns attack on Kessab

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In its last plenary session before the May 2014 elections, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Syria, expressing its concern on the latest developments in the country, especially with the situation in Kessab, and vulnerable communities who find themselves in the middle of the war.
The resolution specifically condemns the attack against the Armenian town of Kessab, and takes note that “the fights between regime forces and rebel fighters, including elements linked to Al-Qaeda, at the end of March 2014 led to the evacuation of the vast majority of the population of‪#‎Kessab‬, an ‪#‎Armenian‬ town on the Syrian-Turkish border”.
The resolution also takes note of the rich diversity of ethnic and religious communities, stressing that these communities have always been part of Syrian society, and have an important role to play in the democratization of Syria and need to be represented in any consultation on the country’s future and in any reconciliation process; and that these communities had tried to avoid taking sides in the conflict, and as many may recognize the need for a change of regime in Syria, but also fear that, if the government is overthrown, they will be targeted by Sunni jihadist rebels calling for the establishment of an Islamic state. The European Parliament is also worried with the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front capturing a number of Christian and Kurdish villages on the Turkish border.
Bastiaan Belder (Europe of Freedom and Democracy, the Netherlands) stressed that the resolution will not be full, unless it mentions the whole truth about Kessab, about Turkish involvement once again, after the Armenian Genocide, in depopulating the Armenians of the region; MEP Belder also noted, that there must be an investigation on Turkey’s role in the attack against Kessab, which is a continuation of Ankara’s disastrous Middle East policy. Veronique De Keyser (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, vice-chair, Belgium) condemned the depopulation of Armenians from Kessab by terrorist groups.
Joaquin Almunia, Vice-president of the EU Commission, is troubled with the jihadist attack on Kessab and the extremely violent civil war in Syria, stressing that the EU will be helping the vulnerable groups and those displaced in the three years of the Syrian conflict.
Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) stressed that the resolution has been soft on Turkey, which opened its borders with Kessab assisting the jihadists to attack the region, but nevertheless, puts the blame on Turkey for the border attacks on Christian and Kurdish cities and hindering humanitarian aid. “Turkey is guilty of assisting the extremists in driving out the peaceful population at the border with Syria”, said Kaspar Karampetian. “Armenians are thankful to the Syrian people for sheltering us after the Genocide committed by Turkey 99 years ago, and we sympathize them for the terrible violence in the country these days. We hope for an end soon, and that all communities are part of Syria and must be included in re-building the country with no outside interference”, said Karampetian, and concluded that the EAFJD is committed in assisting the Armenian community of Syria with humanitarian aid from Europe.

Suffolk University: Partner in Armenian Genocide Denial?

April 17, 2014 Armenia, Film, Turkey No Comments
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10:40, April 17, 2014

By Heidi Boghosian

(The following article, dated April 15, 2014, appeared on the National Lawyers Guild blog)

Students at Suffolk University Law School have launched anonline petitionurging the school’s president to withdraw its invitation to Armenian genocide denier Abraham Foxman to speak at their commencement and receive an honorary degree.

Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League director, drew harsh public criticism in 2007 for opposing a congressional resolution acknowledging the 1915 extermination of approximately 1.5 million Armenians. Since the 15th century, Armenians had been treated as second-class citizens under Ottoman rule. In honoring Foxman, Suffolk University sends a message that politics are more important than acknowledging crimes against humanity.

The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project Launches April 24

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11:08, April 17, 2014

On the threshold of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project will commemorate the genocide by publishing facts about Armenians twice a week, starting April 24, 2014 and culminating on April 24, 2015. These facts will be published on 100years100facts.com – linked through its social media accounts on Facebook,Twitter,Instagram, andGoogle+.

“The idea of using social media and the internet as a means to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and connect a population scattered around the world was inspirational to me,” said Lena Adishian, project lead, based in Los Angeles. “While curating one hundred facts about Armenia and Armenians is no easy task, we hope that audiences find the content educational and engaging.”

Turkey: Erdogan slams judiciary, promises ‘cleaning’

April 16, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Showing no let-up, Turkey’s prime minister has continued on the warpath against his erstwhile ally Fethullah Gulen, vowing to liquidate aspects of Gulen’s “parallel structure” in the judiciary while accusing the movement of allying with the Armenian lobby,the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Those who commit crime and their collaborators will sooner or later appear before the courts and pay the price for what they did, the prime minister said. “We will surely clear the corridors of the courthouses of these gangs as we cleared the corridors of the state buildings from all sorts of gangs in the past. But it’s not easy to do so overnight. It’s a clearance of the last 35 years,” PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on April 15 at a parliamentary group meeting.
The leader also expressed his fury at judges yesterday, saying elements of the parallel state were hampering an in-depth prosecution of the espionage claims concerning the stopping of intelligence trucks bound for Syria. Six police officers and two army officers were detained for stopping mysterious trucks belonging to the spy service near the border, but the eight were later released by the court.  See more here. 

Facebook to launch money transfer service

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Facebook is preparing a push into financial services, with tools for members to store and send money online, The Telegraph reported.
The social network has applied to Irish authorities for a licence that would allow it to provide remittance and electronic money services to its members across Europe, according to The Financial Times. Dublin hosts Facebook’s headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Facebook has reportedly held also discussions with three London-based international money transfer providers, TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo, to help it build the services.Allowing members to send remittances via their Facebook accounts could strengthen the social network in emerging markets. Migrants send hundreds of billions of dollars home to developing countries every year where large sections of the population do not have bank accounts.Facebook would be taking on wire transfer services such as Western Union, existing electronic money providers such as PayPal and a new breed of mobile phone-based payment services, of which Vodafone’s M-Pesa is a leading example. See more here.

Sarkisian Demands Armenian Neutrality On Syria

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Syria — Cars burn after two car bombs at Karm al-Louz neighbourhood in Homs city, April 9, 2014, in this handout released by Syria’s national news agency SANA.

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“Khachkar” Warning: ‘This isn’t Azerbaijan or Turkey, but Armenia’

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey 1 Comment
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14:23, April 14, 2014

A field of khachkars (stone crosses) supposedly listed as a site protected by the Armenian government is today being threatened by commercial construction.

The warning about the eminent damage to the site, situated just north of the Yerevan municipal border in the village of Arinj, was raised by Professor Hamlet Petrosyan who heads the Chair of Culturology at Yerevan State University’s Faculty of History.

In a Facebook post, Petrosyan writes, “No, this is not in Azerbaijan or in Turkey. This is a khachkar field in Arinj which, in scope and number, is the second largest such site in Armenia.”

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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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10:24, March 14, 2014

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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

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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

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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.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.