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Taner Akçam at New York’s Genocide Commemoration: “Without truth, there cannot be peace”

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13:02, April 27, 2015

Following is the statement made by Taner Akçam at the Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration in New York’s Time Square on April 26. 

On this, a day laden with great urgency and historical meaning, I would like to thank you for allowing me to appear with you and to share your grief and sorrow. 

Today does not merely mark the centennial of the annihilation of some 1.5 million Armenians; it also marks a century of denial of this crime. The Turkish government continues to deny not merely any responsibility for the horrors inflicted upon Armenian people, but even the fact that it happened at all. As a Turk, it is from this fact that my sorrow and great shame derive.

Thousands March in Istanbul – We Are Here, We Remember!

April 25, 2015 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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09:09, April 25, 2015

On the evening of April 24 a crowd of several thousand gathered in the heart of Istanbul to commemorate the centenary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

Turkish police cordoned off an area adjacent to Taksim Square where a solemn vigil was held to remember and reflect on the destruction that befell Ottoman Armenians and to call on the current Turkish state to come to grips with its past.

Carrying photos of Armenian community leaders, who were the first to be rounded up and sent to their death, the crowd then sat in silence on Istiklal Avenue in a moment of silent vigil.

Atom Egoyan: 100 years ago today, the Armenian nightmare began

April 25, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Film, Turkey No Comments
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16:05, April 24, 2015

The following is adapted from a speech delivered outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto, marking the centenary of the start of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 1915.

One hundred years ago, my grandparents could never have imagined the calamity that would befall them. They watched in horror as their lives were ripped away, as their families were murdered before their eyes.

The next hundred years would see an unfurling of atrocities the likes of which humankind had never before experienced — state-orchestrated murder on a scale unimaginable before the toxic combination of modern science, sophisticated weaponry, and twisted ideology. We can now understand that the Armenian Genocide should have been a warning call.

Turkey Condemns Russia For Armenian Genocide Recognition

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Turkey on Friday strongly condemned President Vladimir Putin and the State Duma for reaffirming Russia’s recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire but stopped short of recalling its ambassador in Moscow.

“We reject and condemn the labelling of the 1915 events as ‘genocide’ by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, despite all our warnings and calls. Such political statements, which are flagrant violation of law, are null and void for Turkey,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry charged that Russia itself is guilty of mass killings committed in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia over the past century and has no moral right to accuse other states of genocide.

Turkey’s Erdogan Defends 1915 ‘Relocation’ Of Armenians

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again offered on Friday his condolences to the descendants of Armenians killed in the Ottoman Empire a century ago one day after justifying their mass deportations ordered by the regime of “the Young Turks.”

“I once again respectfully commemorate all the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives amid the conditions of the First World War and extend my condolences to their children and grandchildren,” he said in a written message that was read out during a memorial service for the victims held at an Armenian church in Istanbul.

“I sincerely share your pain. Please rest assured also that our hearts remain wide open to the grandchildren of the Ottoman Armenians all around the world,” read the message cited by “Hurriyet Daily News.”

Serzh Sargsyan – ‘Our struggle does not end in 2015 – it will just enter a more mature phase’

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11:19, April 24, 2015

On the morning of April 24, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet has published an extensive interview with RA President Serzh Sargsyan.

- As a politician who has invested great efforts into the process of reconciliation between your country and Turkey, what scenario you would dream of having on April 24 Remembrance Day this year?

I believe one such option would be giving tribute to the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide jointly with the Turkish President on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd, and proclaiming from the Memorial to the whole world that we join our efforts in condemning the crimes of genocide of the past thus preventing the possible recurrence of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Istanbul School for Children from Armenia Struggles On: 150 Students and Growing

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11:51, April 24, 2015

There’s a school where 150 children attend classes in the basement of the Gedikpaşa Armenian Evangelical Church in one of the older sections of Istanbul.

However, they’re the kids of parents who have left Armenia to work in Turkey; many illegally.

While in Istanbul to attend events commemorating the 1915 Genocide, I had a chance to briefly speak to Heriknaz Avakyan, principal of the ‘Hrant Dink’ school.

When I last paid a visit to the school some six years ago there were one-third the number of pupils and classes didn’t go up to the eighth grade as now.

But they are still learning in classrooms without windows and the space is getting crowded.

Armenian Genocide Victims Canonized By Church

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The 1.5 million or so victims of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey were collectively declared saints by the Armenian Apostolic Church on Thursday, with CatholicosGaregin II saying that they died for their Christian faith.

The canonization took place at the church headquarters in Echmiadzin in front of thousands of people one day before the main official events in Armenia that will mark the 100th anniversary of the genocide. It was also attended by President Serzh Sarkisian as well as the visiting heads of the Coptic, Syriac and Indian Orthodox Churches and senior representatives of other Christian denominations.

German President Condemns Turkish Genocide Against Armenians

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(Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters) – German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday condemned the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a century ago as genocide, a term that the Berlin government had long rejected.

Gauck used the word in a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of what most Western scholars and two dozen governments regard as a genocide against an Armenian population that flourished in what is now modern Turkey. Turkey vehemently denies the charge.

Gauck, a former East German pastor with a penchant for defying convention, also suggested Germany itself might bear some of the blame because of its actions during World War One.

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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.

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.