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Tough Battle: Preserving Armenian Cultural Legacy in Turkey

June 22, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Turkey No Comments
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11:14, June 22, 2015

Emre Can Dağlıoğlu

Due to neglect and other dangers, the cultural legacy of Armenians throughput Turkey faces destruction.

On the other hand, there are certain positive developments that have been registered.

While Turkey’s Ministry of Culture has renovated a number of historic sites, they are just a tiny fraction of what remains.

To preserve the Armenian cultural legacy, various international and Turkish organizations are working towards this end.

One of the important unions working in this direction is the Armenian Village and Armenian Assistance Union of Sassoun, Bitlis, Batman, Moush, Van, Istanbul, and elsewhere.

Turkey Slams Belgian PM Over Armenian Genocide Recognition

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Turkey has condemned Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel for publicly recognizing the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide in the wake of similar statements made by Pope Francis and other world leaders.

“This statement of the Belgian Prime Minister is inconsistent with historical facts and incompatible with international law,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a weekend statement.

Addressing Belgium’s parliament on Wednesday, Michel said the World War One-era slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians “must be viewed as a genocide.”

Michel thus echoed a resolution that was passed by the Belgian Senate in 1998. Successive Belgian governments have until now avoided using the word genocide with regard to the Armenian massacres, however.

Questioning the Family Narrative: Turkish Photographer Asks ‘Did we really flee from Armenians’?

June 20, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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16:56, June 20, 2015

Emin Akpinar, a 32 year-old Istanbul based freelance photographer, is a man on a mission to fill in certain questionable aspects of his family’s history.

While born in Ankara, Emin traces the major gap in his family’s history to 1925 and Erzincan (Yerzinga).

As the family narrative goes, and one he’s heard repeated since a child, the family was forced to flee Erzincan to Kırşehir in central Anatolia because Armenian were massacring people and burning villages in Erzincan.

“My family doesn’t know much about its past and I’ve only heard this about our past, a story based on what my uncle recounted. So I started to ask my father questions about this,” Emin told Hetq.

OCCRP Reporters and Partners Honored With EU Investigative Journalism Prize

June 18, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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21:02, June 18, 2015

OCCRP journalists Saska Cvetkovska and Pavla Holcova have been awarded the European Union investigative journalism prize for 2014’s best investigative story from Macedonia.

Cvetkovska and Holcova were honored for their story The Landlord Spy, which probed the assets of Macedonia’s then-chief of secret police, Saso Mijalkov.

The OCCRP reporters, together with partners NOVATV in Macedonia and the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism, uncovered at least US$ 2 million worth of undeclared real estate assets registered to Mijalkov’s company or to him personally.

The EU awards for investigative journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey aim to celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements of investigate journalists in the region.

Macedonia to Pass Law Allowing Migrants Three Days’ Free Passage

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22:59, June 17, 2015

The Macedonian government has adopted a bill that would allow migrants coming illegally into the country three days to pass through.

The new law, which was adopted on Tuesday and is expected to pass through Parliament on Thursday, is intended to deter migrants from using dangerous routes. 

The move comes as the government encountered heavy criticism over the plights faced by asylum seekers, migrants and refugees who were hurt or killed while hiding from authorities.

Reports suggest an increase in people travelling from conflict-stricken countries in the Middle East and North Africa using Macedonia as a transit point on their way towards the European Union.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Court Indicts Twelve Suspected Islamic State Fighters

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11:24, June 17, 2015

A court in Bosnia and Herzegovina has approved the indictment of 12 people for funding terrorism and fighting for Islamic State (IS) forces in Syria.

 The indictment, confirmed by a Bosnian court last week and announced by police yesterday, is the latest step in a long investigation into extremism which began with a police operation in September 2014, dubbed Damascus.

That operation saw police raid properties in the northeastern village of Gornja Maoca, a key foothold of the so-called Salafi community – a group of Islamic fundamentalists who follow a strict interpretation of Islamic teachings.

Since the Bosnian war of the 1990s drew Muslims from the Middle East to come and fight on the side of Bosnian Muslim factions, the small Balkan country has struggled with the issue of extremism.

Iran’s Role and Place in Armenia and in Azerbaijan

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18:16, June 15, 2015

Emma Begijanyan

Countries’ geopolitical and geostrategic locations certainly play a significant role in their state-to-state relationship.

To comprehensively analyze the relations between Iran, on the one hand, and its neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan on the other, it is important first and foremost to briefly assess their geopolitical assets, under which material and non-material capabilities, including country’s geographical placement, natural resources, economic potential, territory, population, national solidarity, psychology and other characters are being taken into account.

Serbia: 29 Police Officers Arrested in Bribery Case at Hungary Border

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22:22, June 15, 2015

Serbian authorities havearrested29 police officers, nine customs officials and one other person whom they accuse of letting people illegally cross the border into neighboring Hungary, a member of the European Union (EU), in exchange for bribes.

The unnamed suspects were arrested Sunday as part of a police operation by Serbian and Hungarian authorities. They were all reportedly employed in jobs linked to securing the Backi Breg border crossing between the two countries.

Apart from letting people cross the border illegally, the police officers were also accused of smuggling taxable goods into the EU duty-free.

They have been charged with accepting and giving bribes and abuse of office over the course of the last 15 months. The officers had allegedly abused the visa-free travel status Serbia enjoys with the EU.

Armenian Wrestler Heckled As He Misses Gold In Baku

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(Tom Hayward, Reuters) – Armenian Migran Arutyunyan failed to win his nation’s first European Games gold medal, narrowly losing in the final of the men’s 66kg Greco-Roman wrestling, much to the delight of a vociferous Azeri crowd on Sunday.

Silver medallist Arutyunyan was subjected to a hostile reception from home spectators who chanted ‘Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan’ and cheered wildly for his

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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

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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.

Commentary

Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

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.