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Opposition Activist Stabbed At Gyumri Rally

March 30, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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An activist of the Armenian opposition movement Founding Parliament was stabbed at the weekend as government loyalists attempted to disrupt a rally held by it in Gyumri.

The group rallied about 300 supporters in Armenia’s second largest city in preparation for its upcoming campaign of nonstop protests in Yerevan which it says will be aimed at forcing President Serzh Sarkisian to resign.

The rally got off to a tense start, with a group of thuggish young men heckling speakers and quarreling with the small crowd that gathered in a central city square. Police officers at the scene stood by and looked on until the youths started hurling eggs.

Mainstream Opposition To Shun Anti-Government Protests

March 27, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Armenia’s leading opposition parties represented in parliament made clear on Friday that they will not join nonstop anti-government protests in Yerevan planned by another, more radical opposition group.

One of them, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), condemned the Founding Parliament movement for timing the start of its campaign to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey to be marked on April 24.

Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary leader, Armen Rustamian, said the Founding Parliament’s declared drive to oust President Serzh Sarkisian could overshadow the centenary commemorations and undermine the Armenian campaign for greater international recognition of the 1915 genocide.

Rustamian also urged the Armenian government to take “preventive” measures against leaders of the extraparliamentary group. “What if they organize an explosion? Shouldn’t they be caught?” he told reporters.

Radical Opposition Group Schedules Nonstop Protests

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A radical Armenian opposition group said on Thursday that it will launch on April 24 a campaign of nonstop street protests in Yerevan aimed at forcing President Serzh Sarkisian to step down.

The start of the campaign planned by the Founding Parliament movement is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey, which will be marked by high-profile official ceremonies. Scores of foreign dignitaries, including the presidents of France and Russia, are expected to arrive in Armenia on the occasion.

Zhirayr Sefilian, the Founding Parliament leader, said he and his political associates will rally supporters immediately after visiting the genocide memorial in Yerevan. “We are talking about around-the-clock rallies,” he told reporters. “We will tell the people to return home after we manage to get rid of this regime.”

“The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project” Charges Ahead in Turkish, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian

March 26, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Turkey No Comments
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21:59, March 25, 2015

The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project has launched the Turkish version of its website – “100 Yıl, 100 Gerek” (100yil100gercek.com) – raising the total number of languages to six.

Portuguese was the first language into which this year-long online educational initiative was translated(100anos100fatos.com.br), thanks to volunteers at the Brazilian-ArmenianPortal Estao Armnia, who began to work onpresenting the one hundred entries on Armenian history and culture back when the website went liveonApril 24, 2014. More volunteering from a group of French-Armenian students led by Artem Asryan launched a French version online in early 2015 (100ans100faits.fr). Argentine Debora Babiszenko took on the task in late February of translating 100 Years, 100 Facts into Spanish (100anos100hechos.com). Finally, the website has recently also been made available in Russian (100let100faktov.ru) thanks to the efforts of the Sevan Community.

Armenian Parliament Passes Bill Condemning 1915 Genocide of Greeks and Assyrians

March 24, 2015 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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12:40, March 24, 2015

By a vote of 177-0, Armenia’s parliament today passed a bill condemning the 1915-1923 Genocide of Greeks and Assyrians by Ottoman Turkey.

Before the vote got underway, Prosperous Armenia faction head Naira Zohrabyan introduced a motion to include the Yezidis in the bill. 

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Ter-Petrosyan: Diaspora Should Draft Its Own Genocide Agenda; Recognition Not a Cornerstone of Armenia’s Foreign Policy

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15:59, March 24, 2015

Armenia’s first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan has issued his version of what Armenia’s official proclamation should be on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Genocide.

Readers will recount that Ter-Petrosyan blasted the Pan-Armenian Proclamation drafted by Armenia’s State Commemorative Organizing Committee last month as faulty and not in the best interests of Armenia.

In his draft proclamation published today in the Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper, Ter-Petrosyan states that while Armenia should work to the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide (a policy enshrined in Armenia’s August 23, 1990 Declaration of Independence), such recognition should not become a cornerstone of Armenia’s foreign policy.

Ter-Petrosian Urges Armenian Support For Turkey’s EU Accession

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Armenia should stop pressing for an official Turkish recognition of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and instead help Turkey join the European Union, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian said on Tuesday.

In another newspaper article, the opposition leader also reiterated, albeit cautiously, his criticism of a declaration on the 100th anniversary of the genocide that was adopted by President Serzh Sarkisian and leaders of Armenian Diaspora organizations last month.

The declaration calls on the Turkish state to “face up to its own history and past” by ending its long-running denial of a deliberate government effort to exterminate the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. It makes clear that Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora will keep campaigning for a greater international recognition of the 1915 genocide.

France Upbeat On New EU-Armenia Deal

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The French ambassador in Yerevan, Jean-Francois Charpentier, on Monday spoke of “quite positive” atmosphere in ongoing consultations on a new agreement to deepen Armenia’s relations with the European Union.

“We are working with our Armenian friends to further elaborate the text of the new EU-Armenia agreement,” he told a news conference. “In the run-up to the [EU’s] Riga summit, the technical part of that work will near completion.”

Charpentier said the French government hopes to have a “clear idea on the scope of the EU’s cooperation with Armenia” in time for the summit due in May.

Erdogan Decries Armenian Genocide Recognition Drive

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Turks have suffered far more than Armenians over the past century, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed on Thursday, angrily denouncing long-running efforts at greater international recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

In a speech in Istanbul reported by “Today’s Zaman” daily, Erdogan challenged Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora to come up with more documentary evidence of the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians. He charged that their efforts to have more countries recognize the mass killings as genocide are aimed at discrediting Turkey, rather than uncovering the truth.

“If we examine what our nation had to go through over the past 100-150 years, we would find far more [suffering] than the Armenians allegedly went through,” he said, according to “Today’s Zaman.”

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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

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.