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European Parliament Reaffirms its Recognition of Armenian Genocide

April 16, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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12:13, April 16, 2015

Resolution calls on Turkey to “come to terms with its past”

On April 15, the European Parliament once again passed a resolution recognizing the 1915 Armenian Genocide and called on Turkey to come to terms with its past.

Making reference to other European texts voted on the issue in the recent years, the resolution “pays tribute, on the eve of the Centenary, to the memory of the one-and-a-half million innocent Armenian victims” and calls on Turkey “to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples”.

Yesterday’s resolution on the Armenian Genocide Centennial was supported by all political groups in the European Parliament. 

Statement by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on the occasion of the adoption of European …

April 15, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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22:20, April 15, 2015

Armenia welcomes the European Parliament Resolution on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

The European Parliament underlines that yet in its resolution of 1987 it recognized that what took place against the Armenians in 1915-1917 in the Ottoman Empire represents a genocide as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and strongly deplores any attempts of its denial.

Paying tribute to the memory of the one-and-a-half million innocent Armenian victims the parliament, representing 28 European countries, is joining the commemoration of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide and calls on the Commission and Council to follow its example.

EU Parliament Urges Turkey To Recognize Armenian Genocide

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The European Parliament on Wednesday urged Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and unconditionally normalize relations with Armenia, in a resolution dedicated to the approaching 100th anniversary of the mass killings.

The resolution strongly condemned by Ankara “pays tribute the memory of the one-and-a-half million innocent Armenian victims who perished in the Ottoman Empire.” It says that the European Union’s legislative body “joins the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in a spirit of European solidarity and justice” and calls on the EU’s executive bodies to follow suit.

The European Parliament stressed that Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is impossible without “truth and remembrance.” Accordingly, it urged Turkey “to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian Genocide and thus to pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.”

Armenian President Congratulates Yezidi Community on Their New Year

April 15, 2015 Armenia, Middle East No Comments
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10:55, April 15, 2015

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan today congratulated the Yezidi community of Armenia on the occasion of their New Year.

“The genuine friendship of the Armenian and Yezidi peoples has passed through a joint struggle of time and shared calamities and has been strengthened with peaceful, creative work and shared achievements,” Sargsyan said in his public message.

Sargsyan’s congratulatory message concludes:

“The last year was difficult for many Yezidis living in the Middle East, and they still continue to experience hardships. Be confident that we are standing beside you in this difficult situation and you can expect our support in the future. Melek Taus brings with it new hopes and dreams. Thus, I yearn for our region to be peaceful and safe in the New Year and that severe adversities remain in the past. Happy New Year and all the best to you dear Yezidi compatriots

Pope Accused Of Anti-Turkish ‘Conspiracy’

April 15, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Pope Francis’s reference to the 1915 Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire as “the first genocide of the 20th century” was part of an international conspiracy against Turkey’s government, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed on Wednesday.

“Currently, an evil front is being formed against us. Now the pope has joined this conspiracy,” “Hurriyet Daily News” quoted him as telling members of the ruling AKP party who will run in Turkey’s general elections slated for June 7.

Davutoglu said the anti-AKP “front” consists of not only external powers but also Turkey’s two main opposition parties .

The AKP government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted angrily to the pope’s statement made at a Vatican Mass dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. It accused Francis of distorting history and recalled Turkey’s ambassador to the Holy See in protest.

Yerevan Urged To Evacuate Aleppo Armenians

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Ethnic Armenians remaining Aleppo are calling on Armenia to help evacuate them from the war-ravaged Syrian city where deadly fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels intensified in recent days.

Rebel forces reportedly shelled late last week Aleppo’s western Suleymaniya district mostly populated by Armenians and other Christians. News reports from Syria spoke of severe devastation and heavy casualties among civilians caused by shells and rockets.

The fighting made life even more unbearable for thousands of Syrian Armenians remaining in what has for decades been the center of their once prosperous community in the Middle Eastern state. A growing number of them now seem desperate to take refuge in Armenia or other countries. Some have appealed to the authorities in Yerevan directly or through their relatives living outside the war zone.

Israeli Delegation To Attend Armenian Genocide Commemoration

April 15, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Two members of the Israeli parliament will reportedly represent Israel at the upcoming commemorations in Yerevan of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

“The Jerusalem Post” reported on Tuesday that the Israeli government asked the Knesset to send a delegation to Armenia after being formally invited by the Armenian authorities to the April 24 ceremonies. It said the Knesset delegation will comprise two members: Anat Berko of the Likud party and Nachman Shai of the Zionist Union alliance.

“This is an event of deep historic significance,” Shai told the paper. “For the first time in 100 years, the international community is finally recognizing the great injustice.”

US Must Sanction Officials Behind Human Rights Abuses in Azerbaijan, says NGO Open Letter

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18:49, April 14, 2015

Azerbaijani officials linked to human rights abuses should be subject to targeted sanctions by the United States, according to an open letter signed by a group of non-governmental organizations, former diplomats and activists.

Theletter, addressed to US Secretary of State John Kerry and published by Freedom House, calls for concrete measures in place of statements of concern about from Western leaders.

It argues that stronger ties between West and the government of Azerbaijan should only be pursued if the state turns its back on authoritarian practices. It urges Secretary Kerry to impose visa bans and freeze the assets of those responsible for the country’s “deteriorating human rights situation”.

Armenia Rejects Turkish Criticism Of Pope

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Armenia has dismissed Turkey’s angry reaction to Pope Francis’s public description of the 1915 Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire as “the first genocide of the 20th century” which was voiced during a landmark Mass at the Vatican.

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said Francis delivered an “important message of solidarity and support to the Armenian people” when he marked the 100th anniversary of the genocide in St. Peter’s basilica on Sunday. The pontiff also expressed support for international efforts to prevent new crime against humanity, Nalbandian said in written comments released on Monday.

Nalbandian attended the unprecedented Mass along with other members of a large Armenian government delegation headed by President Serzh Sarkisian. The top clergymen of the Armenian Apostolic Church, leaders of Armenian Diaspora organizations as well Armenian Catholic faithful were also in attendance.

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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.