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Armenian POW Freed By Azerbaijan

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The Azerbaijani authorities have released an Armenian soldier from custody and immediately deported him to an unknown third country one year after he was taken prisoner near Nagorno-Karabakh, his family said on Friday.

The 23-year-old Hakob Injighulian crossed into Azerbaijani-controlled territory east of Karabakh in disputed circumstances in August 2013. Shortly afterwards he was paraded on Azerbaijani television saying that he surrendered to Azerbaijani forces after being ill-treated by one of his commanders. 

The Armenian military said that the soldier was forced to present a false version of events under duress. It insisted that he crossed the “line of contact” around Karabakh by accident.

Kocharian Calls For Rule Of Law

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Former President Robert Kocharian has called for a radical improvement of Armenia’s business environment, saying that the authorities must break up economic monopolies, create a level playing field for all firms and tackle corruption.

In an interview with the Russian-Armenian newspaper “Noev Kovcheg” published on Friday, Kocharian also offered a grim outlook for the Armenian economy.

“Unfortunately, I see no internal and external causes for positive evaluations of the state and prospects of our economy. Furthermore, there have emerged new threats of global character, and the extent of their impact needs to be evaluated,” he said, pointing to Western economic sanctions against Russia which may well have knock-on effects on Armenia.

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.”

European Court Data On Armenia Released

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The European Court of Human Rights has handed down almost 50 rulings against the Armenian authorities in the past seven years, costing them over 576,000 euros ($770,000) in damages, a senior official said on Thursday.

Deputy Justice Minister Arman Tatoyan said most of these cases have involved serious breaches of the due process of law which the Strasbourg-based court believes were committed by Armenian law-enforcement authorities and ignored by courts.

Armenia fell under the European Court’s jurisdiction as it joined the Council of Europe in 2001. Its government lost the first case in Strasbourg in 2007.

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.

Baku Slams California Legislature Over Pro-Armenian Karabakh Bill

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Azerbaijan denounced the California State Legislature on Thursday for urging the U.S. government to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic.

The California Senate adopted a corresponding resolution on Wednesday, three months after its passage by the lower house of the U.S. state home to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians.

The resolution says that Karabakh was “illegally severed from Armenia by the Soviet Union in 1921” and incorporated into Soviet Azerbaijan despite having “historically been Armenian territory.” “Since proclaiming independence [in 1991,] the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has registered significant progress in democracy building,” it says.

Unpaid Workers Again Protest In Vanadzor

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Top News No Comments
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Angry workers of a troubled chemical plant in the northern Armenian city of Vanadzor again demonstrated on Wednesday to demand the payment of their back wages for the past several months.

The Vanadzor-Khimprom plant owned by an obscure Russian company is still reeling from the 2008-2009 global economic crisis and the resulting collapse of international prices of calcium carbide, its main product. It stopped manufacturing the chemical compound used in steelmaking and sent most of its 830-strong workforce on indefinite leave in late 2008.

The aging plant, which had thousands of employees in Soviet times, has since operated at a fraction of its capacity. It now manufactures only construction materials and employs about 200 people.

Kazakhstan ‘Supports’ Armenian Entry Into Eurasian Union

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Kazakhstan does not object to Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Kazakh ambassador in Yerevan insisted on Wednesday.

“Kazakhstan has a very positive attitude to Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union,” Ayimdos Bozjigitov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview. “The president of Kazakhstan signed a roadmap to that membership. So there is no opposition.”

Bozjigitov denied in that regard any political reasons for the apparent delay in Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, which is currently transformed into the EEU. “This is a technical process that takes time,” he said.

Russian Plane Forced To Land In Yerevan

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Armenian police neutralized but did not arrest an intoxicated and unruly Azerbaijani passenger of a Russian airliner that had to make an emergency landing in Yerevan on its way from Dubai to Moscow early on Tuesday.

The unidentified man, said to be in his 30s, reportedly shouted abuse and disturbed other passengers on board the Aeroflot flight. The RIA Novosti news agency quoted some of them as saying that several other male travelers helped flight attendants to overpower and tie him to his seat before the plane landed at Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport.

“We stayed there for two-and-a-half hours,” one passenger said. “The pilots tried to hand over the Azerbaijani citizen to local police, but the Armenian authorities refused to take him. They only handcuffed him. Ambulance doctors who arrived at the airport injected him with a sedative and he fell asleep shortly afterwards.”

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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

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.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.