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U.S. Disappointed With Armenia’s Crimea Stance

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John Heffern, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, on Thursday voiced Washington’s disappointment with the Armenian government’s decision to effectively recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea strongly condemned by the West.

Heffern described as “very unfortunate” President Serzh Sarkisian’s statement to that effect made during a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The envoy reiterated the official U.S. line that the weekend referendum in which residents of Crimea voted for becoming part of Russia was illegal. “There are many things [the Russians] could have done short of what they did,” he said at an international conference on regional security held in Yerevan.

International committee set up in defense of ethnic Armenian scholar jailed in Turkey

March 19, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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A group of civil society organizations’ representatives and activists have come together to form an International Committee for Freedom and Justice for Sevan Nishanian, an Armenian intellectual, citizen of Turkey, civic activist, and prominent linguist, who has been imprisoned in Turkey since January 2.

It said the formation of the group had been promoted by “the cruel and unreasonable nature of the punishment handed down for this intellectual, the steady deterioration in the conditions of incarceration, and the looming threat of new and escalating charges and trials”.

International Committee for Freedom and Justice for Sevan Nişanyan Organizes Solidarity Event Today in Istanbul

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09:30, March 18, 2014

The newly formed “International Committee for Freedom & Justice for Sevan Nişanyan” has issued the following appeal to coincide with the International Day in Support of Political Prisoners (March 18).

The committee also announces that today, at 6:00 pm local Turkish time, it is organizing an important event in Istanbul to be attended by the city’s most prominent intellectuals who are determined to stand with Sevan.

Sevan Nishanyan – Armenian intellectual, citizen of Turkey, civic activist, and prominent linguist – has been imprisoned in Turkey since January 2, 2014.

£9,000 painting that’s on sale for £180,000… all thanks to a shoe

March 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Turkey No Comments
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A family turned a run-of-the mill Victorian painting into a valuable masterpiece from the Crimean war – after the detail of a woman’s shoe caught their eye, the Daily Mail reports. For although Christie’s in London once assessed the work as being by an unknown artist, closer examination of the shoe of a maid in the picture suggested the hand of an acclaimed painter who had depicted very similar footwear before.Buoyed by the shoe clue, Gary and Helen Sutcliffe and their son Jonathan then scoured galleries across the world, before poring over the wooden frame of the picture.They were delighted to confirm their hunch was right by discovering their chief suspect’s signature tucked away out of sight.Now the painting – by Jerry Barrett, who famously depicted Florence Nightingale at work during the Crimean war – is on sale for £180,000.The ‘Shoedunnit’ case began when the Sutcliffe family, who own a gallery in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, two years ago snapped up the dirt-covered picture of an elegant English lady being dressed by two servants in Turkey, for £9,000.The oil painting had some years before been described by a Christie’s expert as merely ‘circle of John Callcot Horsley’, meaning it was believed to be by a student or imitator of the British painter best known as the designer of the first Christmas card.But the Sutcliffes had a hunch the apparently unsigned picture was the work of another Victorian painter, Jerry Barrett, whose most notable painting, Nightingale receiving the Wounded at Scutari, depicts Florence Nightingale in the field hospital at Scutari during the Crimean War.Gary Sutcliffe thought the shoe on the protruding and ‘slightly stumpy’ left foot of the maid on the right of the picture looked familiar.And painstaking research revealed that, as the Sutcliffes had vaguely recalled, Barrett had used a strikingly similar design, and shape of shoe in at least one other painting.They decided the clincher was the shoe in Barrett’s ‘Sheridan assisting Miss Linley on her flight from Bath’.Jonathan Sutcliffe said: ‘It was the same type of shoe, with an unusual rosette decoration, as in another of Barrett’s paintings.’That confirmation of the shoe clue was giant step in the right direction – but it took another six months of detective work, mainly by Jonathan Sutcliffe, to get the case nailed down.The research involved the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Portrait Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and Barrett’s home town of Brighton to make absolutely sure.Ultimately, the Sutcliffes were delighted to discover the clincher had been there unnoticed all the time.Finally they found Barrett’s signature hidden out of sight under the frame at the back – and it matched a similarly hidden signature on a Barrett painting kept, but not displayed, in Hove Museum and Art Gallery.This was the final proof – the picture was Barrett’s long-lost work Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in Turkey, based on the artist’s visit to Scutari when he prepared sketches for his Florence Nightingale oil and also Queen Victoria’s First Visit to her Wounded Soldiers, now both in the National Portrait Gallery.Lady Mary is remembered for her 18th century letters, particularly from Turkey, where she was wife to the British ambassador, and also as a pioneer of inoculation against smallpox, of which she had been a victim.The cleaned-up canvas will next week be on sale at the prestigious Chelsea Antiques and Fine Art Fair in London, which starts on Wednesday (March 19), with an enhanced price tag of £180,000.The long-lost painting was exhibited at the National Gallery in 1858 and the elderly woman whose family had owned it for decades took it to Christie’s for appraisal in 1990 when it was attributed to ‘circle of Horsley’.But thanks to the low price suggested was not put up for sale in 2012, attributed as Christie’s had suggested earlier, and was duly bought by the Sutcliffes for £9,000.Jonathan Sutcliffe said: ‘It is every art dealer’s dream to come across something like this.‘It didn’t look much in the saleroom but there were tell-tale signs it was the missing part of Barrett’s trilogy – and we were proved right.’ 

Dream v Reality: “. . . You wish you were still part of the culture club . . .”

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Overcoming numerous challenges and guided by the ideology nurtured in him since childhood that this is you motherland, this is your land, Syrian Armenian Byuzand Getenjian remains in Armenia despite challenging circumstances.

“In Aleppo in culture clubs they used to teach about motherland, fidayeens [freedom fighters who formed guerrilla organizations and armed bands in reaction to the oppression and mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire], Mount Ararat… Then you come here, and the light in you somehow fades making you wish you were still part of the cultural club; the difference between here and there is 180 degrees,” says Byuzand, 35. “But, no matter what, the Armenian in your heart is always there, this is your country, you have to encourage others to come and live here, at the same time it feels as if your deceiving people. You say come, the person comes, the first 15 days are great, but when s/he wants to stay, s/he has to start working. They’ll say, ‘ok let’s run a business, how much money do you need?’ You keep silent not sure how to respond, because running a profitable business here is not an option.”

Turkish Citizen Stabbed to Death in Gyumri

March 17, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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11:52, March 17, 2014

Police report that Evilya Gümüştek, a citizen of Turkey, died in a Gyumri hospital from stab wounds on March 15.

Police add that the deceased had allegedly been stabbed by Maksim Bakoyan in an argument.

Bakoyan has been arrested.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Man arrested in Armenia for stabbing Turkish national to death

March 17, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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A man has been arrested in Armenia for killing a citizen of Turkey during what was allegedly their quarrel in Gyumri.

According to a police report, Maxim Bakoyan, 24, was tracked down and taken into custody in the early hours of Sunday for repeatedly stabbing Evliya Gumustek, a 54-year-old citizen of Turkey, in an incident that took place in the city’s Mush 2 district the previous day. Gumstek later died in hospital of the “numerous stab wounds”.

Police are currently taking measures to find the knife. Criminal proceedings have been opened against Bakoyan on the hallmarks of part 1, Article 104 of Armenia’s penal code (murder). No other details of the investigation are reported yet.

Facing history: Istanbul to host conference on Armenian Genocide

March 14, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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A Turkish civic group composed of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists is going to hold a conference devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The event, entitled “One Minute to 2015”, is set to take place on March 16 in Istanbil. The organizers invite all interested sides to join their initiative.
Mehmet Gojekli, the editor of the Turkish website Demokrat Haber, has called on the Turkish nation to look into its past ahead of the tragic anniversary.
The group says that the state has already started preparing for the Genocide centennial. “If they are preparing [for the anniversary], we too are preparing to speak the truth and confront our past,” Gokceli said, adding that the topic is too important to be trusted to the government.
He said it is the duty of any person residing in Turkey’s territory ask himself or herself, what happened in 1915?.
“One hundred years ago, half of Hakkari’s population was Assyrian, with half of those residing in Van being Armenians. Where did those people go and why? Is it of no interest to you?” he said, calling for efforts to prevent tragedies in future.

Armenian church taken under protection in Turkey’s Van

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The authorities of Turkey’s Van province have promised to take under protection an historical Armenian church that has turned into a store for animal food.
Muzaffer Aktud, the head of the Provincial Administration’s Culture and Tourism Department, has promised that the building will be cleaned up within very short timeframes, Cihan News agency reported.
Reports that the church had turned into an animal food store appeared in the press last week.
A villager said that the local population, which is very saddened by the church’s deplorable state, wants the former tourist attraction site to be renovated. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

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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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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

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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.