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Uncertain Future: Border Village School Has Only Three Pupils; All from the Same Family

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Turkey No Comments
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15:03, September 2, 2014

Standing outside this nondescript whitewashed one story building in the middle of the village in Arevis, one would be hard pressed to make out that it’s the school if it were not for the plaque and welcome sign attached to the wall.

Our arrival on September 1, the start of the new school year, elicited a number of curious stares from residents milling outside the school. It would appear that unfamiliar cars and visitors are seldom seen in Arevis.

To be honest, we didn’t see any other cars along the road leading to the Arevis, a tiny hamlet in Armenia’s southern Syunik Province. It’s the last stop on the 21 kilometer road that branches away from Sisian. Further afield are the Monastery of Tanahat and then, the border with Nakhijevan.

Iraqi Yazidis ‘Willing To Settle In Armenia’

September 2, 2014 Armenia, Karabakh, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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At least 150 Iraqi Yazidis who have taken refuge in Turkey are ready to relocate to Armenia on a permanent basis, a leader of the Armenian Yazidi community said on Tuesday.

Boris Murazi, the head of the Yerevan-based Sanjar Union, said the community can provide them with accommodation and work in rural areas of Armenia mostly populated by fellow Yazidis. He urged the Armenian government to allow those refugees to enter the country.

Murazi spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) two days after returning from southeastern Turkey where he and other Sanjar Union activists visited Yazidi refugee camps and heard harrowing accounts of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants in Iraq. In his words, as many as 22,000 of his co-ethnics fled to Turkey after being displaced by the radical Sunni Islamists.

Erdogan’s Response ‘Not Yet Known’

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It is not yet clear whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Yerevan next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Monday.

Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding invitation from President Serzh Sarkisian when he attended the presidential inauguration in Ankara last week. The two men briefly chatted during the ceremony.

“There is still quite a bit of time [before April 2015,]” Nalbandian told RFE/RL’ Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “It is hard to tell what the decision [by Erdogan] will be and when it will be taken. It’s up to the Turks to decide,” he said.

Armenian church facing threat of collapse in Turkey’s Mush

August 29, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Continuing development activities in the Armenian district of Mush (Turkey) threaten collapse to an Armenian church, Demokrat Haber reports.
The local authorities are said to be considering a plan for leveling down St Astvatsatsin which no longer functions as a place of warship. The church, which was formerly a public property, went under the ownership of a private family in 1958.
Left without the Armenian community’s attention and care for decades, it partially collapsed over the course of time. Only four walls of the historical monument are remain standing today. The area where the church is situated was declared as a re-development zone in 2012. Construction activities began last year.
Despite the media outcry, the development in the Armenian district continued, leading up to the demolition of Armenian houses.  

Erdogan Handed Armenian Invitation

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Turkey’s new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was formally invited to visit Armenia next April and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire after being sworn in for a five-year term on Thursday.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding letter from President Serzh Sarkisian as the two men briefly spoke at a reception in Ankara that followed the presidential inauguration. Nalbandian’s press office reported no other details of the conversation.

Sarkisian first publicly extended the invitation in May, three months before the Turkish presidential election. In televised remarks, he urged the winner of the ballot to visit Yerevan on April 24, 2014 and “face up to telling testimonies of the history of the Armenian genocide.”

Armenian Foreign Minister Attends Erdoğan Inauguration

August 29, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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11:19, August 29, 2014

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian yesterday attended the inauguration, in Ankara, of Recep TayyipErdoğan as the new president of Turkey.

Nalbanian is seen here presenting an official invitation toErdoğan, signed by Armenian President Sargsyan, to attend ceremonies in Yerevan next year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

FM Nalbandian’s visit to Turkey President Sargsyan’s choice – official

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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FM Edward Nalbandian’s visit to Turkey is the president’s choice, a deputy foreign minister has said, commenting on the Armenian top diplomat’s attendance at President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration.
“Serzh Sargsyan had stated that we would, in all likelihood, participate in the ceremony on the foreign minister’s level,” Shavarsh Kocharyan told reporters.
Asked about the expediency of Armenia’s participation at all, the official said it is part of the traditional protocol and is always mutual.
Asked what Turkish official attended President Serzh Sargsyan’s inauguration then, Kocharyan replied, “They participated on the level of the ambassador who resides in Tbilisi.”

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenian Presence At Erdogan’s Inauguration Criticized By Opposition

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Armenia’s main political parties at odds with President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday criticized him for sending a high-level Armenian delegation to the inauguration of Turkey’s new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The delegation headed by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was among official representatives of around 90 countries present at the ceremony held in the Turkish parliament. Only one of those countries, Armenia, has no diplomatic relations with Turkey, a fact emphasized by critics of Sarkisian’s decision.

Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian defended the high-level Armenian presence, calling it “normal.” He also downplayed the fact that a Turkish head of state was sworn in the presence of an Armenian minister for the first time ever.

The Armenians of Present Day Sebastia: Finding At Least One Armenian in Each Village

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film, Turkey No Comments
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11:02, August 27, 2014

When I was in the first grade, my teacher would point to a map of historic Armenia and tell us that the Turks wanted to leave just one Armenian on those lands as a museum artifact.

This was the first notion that entered my brain when I first stepped foot in Sebastia and conversed with residents of Armenian lineage.

One can find at least one Armenian in each borough and village of this region of Turkey that once boasted a large Armenian presence; every Armenian is

I later found out that the author of those words was none other than Prince Grigory Golitsin who served as Governor of Transcaucasia from 1897-1904. According to the Armenian historian and writer Leo, he was the one who penned the “Armenia without Armenians” motto.

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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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Commentary

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.

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.