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President Sargsyan to Ankara: “To hell with your ratification”

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09:36, September 25, 2014

UNITED NATIONS— During his speech at the at the 69th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York yesterday, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan lashed out at Turkey for linking the normalization of the two countries to an Armenian pullout from Artsakh and ceding the second Armenian republic to Azerbaijan.

“Ankara declares publicly that it will ratify those Protocols only if Armenians cede Nagorno-Karabakh—Independent Artsakh–to Azerbaijan. In Armenia and Artsakh ordinary people often just retort to such preconditions: ‘To hell with your ratification,’” said Sargsyan. “This vernacular phrase concentrates the age-old struggle of the entire nation, and it unequivocally explains to those who attempt to bargain the others’ homeland that the motherland is sacrosanct, and they had better stay away from us with their bargain. It is in these circumstances that currently the official Yerevan is seriously considering the issue of recalling the Armenian-Turkish Protocols from the parliament.”

Sarkisian Slams Turkey Over Accords With Armenia

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President Serzh Sarkisian appeared to have renewed on Wednesday his threats to annul the 2009 Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements if Turkey continues to link their parliamentary ratification with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, Sarkisian also criticized the Turkish government for refusing to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. He said Ankara is sending “ambiguous and ulterior messages in which the victim and the slaughterer are equated and the history falsified.”

“Armenia has never conditioned the normalization of the bilateral relations with Turkey by the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” said Sarkisian. “In fact, Armenia was the party that initiated such a process which culminated in the signing of the Zurich Protocols in 2009.”

The US Urges to Degrade and Destroy ISIL

September 24, 2014 Armenia, Middle East No Comments
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09:52, September 24, 2014

U.S. Embassy Yerevan joins the government and people of Armenia in strongly condemning the destruction of the Armenian Church in Deir Ez-zor, Syria.

This senseless act of destruction demonstrates yet again the utter disregard the terrorist organization ISIL has for the rich religious and cultural heritage of the Middle East.

As Secretary Kerry has stated, ISIL has systematically committed abuses of human rights and international law and presents a global terrorist threat. Faced with this threat, the United States urges the international community to strengthen our united effort to degrade and destroy ISIL.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Turkey hints at Iraq Mosul hostage exchange

September 23, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that 49 hostages, mostly Turks, may have been freed by Islamic State (IS) as part of a prisoner swap, the BBC reports.They were freed on Saturday, and Hurriyet newspaper reported that 50 IS members were released by Syrian rebel group Liwa al-Tawhid on the same day.Mr Erdogan told reporters: “You might have an exchange but it takes some effort to prepare for such a thing.”The Turkish hostages were seized in northern Iraq and held for 101 days.Turkey is currently struggling to cope with an influx of 138,000 Syrians, most of them Kurds, fleeing an Islamic State offensive in the northern city of Kobane. UN refugee officials have warned that number could surge to 400,000.The government in Ankara had refused to take part in the air campaign against IS, which has now been extended to Syria as well as Iraq, partly because of fears for the safety of the hostages.The hostages were taken prisoner from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in June. They were moved by IS at the start of September to Raqqa in northern Syria, before being released on Saturday at Tel Abyad near the Turkish border.The 49, who included the Turkish consul, diplomats, special forces police, children and three Iraqis, were later greeted by flag-waving crowds in the capital, Ankara.Little explanation was given for their release but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency had led the operation.In its report on Tuesday, Hurriyet said the wife and children of Islamic State leader Haji Bakr, who was killed in Aleppo in February, were among the prisoners freed by Liwa al-Tawhid.The Syrian rebel group split from the military wing of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and helped form the hardline Islamic Front.When asked in New York late on Monday about reports of an exchange for IS prisoners held by Syrian rebels, Mr Erdogan said he would not speak publicly about the work of intelligence agencies but did come close to acknowledging the reports of a prisoner swap.”Some say that maybe there has been an exchange,” he said.”You might have an exchange but it also takes some effort to prepare for such a thing. And efforts have been made and thankfully no harm has been done to any one of the 49 people.”He pointed out that Israel had secured the release of one hostage in return for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, an apparent reference to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011 after five years in captivity in Gaza.When more than 30 Turkish lorry drivers – who were also seized in Mosul in June – were freed the following month, Turkish authorities also declined to give details of their release. 

Turkish Warplanes Fly In Azerbaijan

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At least a dozen Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships are carrying out flights in Azerbaijan in second joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises conducted so far this year.

The F-16 fighter jets, C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and Super Cobra and Black Hawk helicopters reportedly arrived in Azerbaijan on Thursday to take part in what the Defense Ministry in Baku called “large-scale” exercises of its ground forces that ended on Saturday.

A ministry statement released over the weekend claimed that they involved as many as 30,000 Azerbaijani soldiers, hundreds of tanks and artillery systems, dozens of military aircraft and helicopters as well as an unspecified number of Turkish military personnel. It said they practiced “offensive operations in different conditions, including in a mountainous terrain.”

Obama Praises ‘Strong’ Ties With Armenia

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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U.S. President Barack Obama has described U.S.-Armenian relations as “strong” and pledged to deepen them despite Armenia’s upcoming accession to a new Russia-led alliance of ex-Soviet states.

“Armenia and the United States have a strong history rooted in partnership and friendship. The people-to-people, cultural and economic ties that bind our countries are impressive and inspiring,” Obama said in a weekend letter to President Serzh Sarkisian that congratulated him on Armenia’s Independence Day.

“The U.S.-Armenia relationship remains strong, and we look forward to continuing and deepening our cooperation for many years to come,” read the letter publicized by Sarkisian’s office.

US welcomes release of Turkish hostages

September 21, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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The United States welcomed on Sept. 20 the release of nearly 50 Turkish hostages held by extremists in Iraq since June.“We welcome their release and are pleased they will soon be reunited with their families,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency.Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the 49 hostages who were held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul were freed and brought back to Turkey early Sept. 20.They were kidnapped from the Turkish consulate in Mosul on June 11, a day after ISIL took control of Iraq’s second-largest city.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Dink award winner says new Turkey is ‘scary place’

September 20, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
Armenian News

The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) oft-quoted promise of a “new Turkey” is a scary place, where rights violations and threats against opponents are common, according to Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the winner of the International Hrant Dink Award and head of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV).
In an interview with Today’s Zaman, Fincanci shared her opinions about the government’s new slogan – “new Turkey.” She said: “The new Turkey rhetoric is very scary. This means new violations and more threats, and we are already seeing the signs of this. We know about the actions of this government that promotes the new Turkey. The new Turkey is about having crowds jeer at the mention of a mother who has lost her son.”
The TİHV head was referring to a rally speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdohan, who had his audience boo at the mention of the name Gülsüm Elvan, the mother of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan. Berkin died last year after being in a months-long coma that was caused by a tear gas canister being fired at him by the police during last year’s Gezi protests when he was out buying bread. The canister struck him in the head.
The International Hrant Dink Award was presented to Professor Fincancı on Sept. 15 – Hrant Dink’s birthday – for her activism regarding the plight of the Saturday Mothers, a group of women whose children disappeared while under state custody.
In response to a question about what she felt about the Dink award, Fincancı said: “I am flattered and humbled because I havebeen given an award that was earlier given to the Saturday Mothers. I am also a bit heartbroken. They are the ones who have suffered and are still suffering. What would our murdered brother [Dink] have done if he were with us at this time? I felt confused emotions that day.”
She also shared her opinions about the future of the murder trial of Hrant Dink, who was shot dead by an ultranationalist teenager outside the offices of the Turkish-Armenian Agos newspaper in İstanbul in January 2007.
“I don’t think the murder will be illuminated at this time. It looks like it will become one of the many trials that will be stonewalled with one trial after another. The course of the trial and the stance of the government on this issue indicates that. Temizöz’s release gives an idea about the future of the Hrant Dink trial.” 
Read more here>>>

Southern Gas Corridor strategic energy avenue for 21st century – Barroso

September 20, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Europe, Turkey, Video No Comments
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The Southern Gas Corridor will be a strategic energy avenue for 21st century, according to Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.“The Corridor is more than a pipeline. It will be a strategic energy avenue for the 21st century, a true geostrategic project,” the European official said at a groundbreaking ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century and the Southern Gas Corridor.“The Corridor is more than a pipeline. It will be a strategic energy avenue for the 21st century, a true geostrategic project,” he said in video message, according to Trend.az.Mr Barroso added Azerbaijan makes an important contribution to Europe’s oil imports today.“At the same time we are celebrating the progress made regarding the Southern Gas Corridor,” he noted.He added that the corridor, once completed, would stretch over 2,000 kilometers along the Caucasus and across Turkey – through Greece and Albania – and across the Adriatic, to connect the Caspian with the heart of EU. 

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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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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.