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Young Teacher and Dancer Jailed for 5 Months for Helping His Friend

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11:15, April 14, 2014

Hetq continues its series on those who were arrested with Shant Harutyunyan last November with today’s spotlight on 24 year-old Sevak Mnatsakanyan.

A phys ed teacher, Sevak was also a member of a dance troupe and would go on regular expeditions throughout Armenia and Karabakh, learning and teaching other youth about Armenian history and culture. A real patriot, Sevak, his father says, could not stand by idle in the face of injustice.

Wife of Jailed Activist: “I regard Avetis as the embodiment of all Armenia”

April 10, 2014 Armenia, Music, Video No Comments
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13:37, April 10, 2014

Hetq continues its series on those who were arrested with Shant Harutyunyan last November with today’s spotlight on 26 year-old Avetis Avetisyan.

Avetis was only able to see his new born son Armen for two days after bringing him home from the hospital.

“Our son Armen was born on October 31. He was only six days old on November 5 when Avetis was arrested,” Avetis’s wife Armineh told Hetq.

Армен, сын Аветиса и Армине

Because Avetis was arrested, Armineh was forced to return to work much sooner than expected.

“My son is five months old now and I don’t know if he feels that his father isn’t here at home.

Shady Vote: 2013 Orange Book Prize Finalist Cries Foul

April 9, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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10:55, April 9, 2014

The latest twist in the ongoing brouhaha regarding possible vote rigging in the 2013 Orange Book Prize Award is a call Hetq received by the author who received the most online votes claiming that the vote was fair up till the final round.

The phone call was made by Annik Khachatryan, the author who garnered the most votes out of the 13, 025 collected.

At issue is whether or not Orange management instructed the jury to disregard the work “Toward Lifelong Freedom” one of the three finalists in the short story category. Its author is Mher Yenokyan, now serving a life sentence for murder.

"10 Years Ago, Three Innocent, Bright Kids Were Sentenced": Attorney Wants to Reopen Case

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12:40, April 4, 2014

Almost 10 years ago, three young men, Artur Kocharyan, Avetik Tumanyan, and Suren (Surik) Zobanyan (then 19 years old), charged with the murder of fellow military conscript Artur Mesropyan, were sentenced to prison, where they have been all this time. To this day, they and their parents insist they are innocent and were framed. The evidence is scant, to say the least. Hetq recently begun investigating the case, speaking to the families and the attorneys involved to uncover the details of this story. This is the fourth in a series of articles on this case; the last article can be read here.  

Japan: Organized Crime Syndicate Yakuza Launches Personal Website

April 5, 2014 Armenia, Business, Video No Comments
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14:25, April 4, 2014

In an effort to improve its public image and flagging membership, the largest organized crime syndicate in Japan, the Yakuza’s Yamaguchi-gumi group, has launched its own website.

Complete with an anti-drug message and a sprightly corporate song, the website does not look like it is affiliated with organized crime.

However, between the pictures of cherry blossoms and religious temples there is glorification of the Yamaguchi-gumi, which is, according to RT, based in Western Japan and involved in activities ranging from extortion and white collar crime to prostitution.

The website greets viewers with the line “Banish Drugs and Purify the Nation League,” preaching an anti-drug message which honors the Yamaguchi-gumi’s former leader Kazuo Taoka, who launched an anti-amphetamine campaign in 1963 .

Another ‘Charitable’ Telemarketer Claims Not Being Registered Was an Oversight

April 5, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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14:40, April 4, 2014

By Kima Khachatryan

Three days ago Hetq published an article about telephone marketing companies in Yerevan purportedly selling magazines and books for charitable purposes.

One of the marketing outfits we named was Dil Master who called the Hetq office making a sales pitch for a coloring book, the revenues of which we were told would go to assist a five year-old disabled girl called Mariam.

Hetq also got a similar call from an outfit called Distribution Armenia.

The person on the other end of the line told us the company was selling books of fairytales and that it was their first charitable drive.

Twitter set to be opened in Turkey after long wait

April 3, 2014 Armenia, Turkey, Video No Comments
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Turkey seemed set to finally unblock Twitter on April 3, a full 24 hours after the Constitutional Court ruled that the ban was a violation of free speech.The Constitutional Court unanimously ruled April 2 that the ban was a violation of free speech guaranteed by Article 26 of the Constitution, following individual complaints filed separately by Professor Dr. Kerem Altıparmak, Professor Yaman Akdeniz and Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).Tanrıkulu applied to Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) for the opening of the website on April 2, but the government only began to move to open the micro-blogging site yesterday evening.TİB blocked access to Twitter last month, just 10 days before the local elections. Hours before the ruling, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said he was “defying the international community” and would “shut down Twitter.” Before the elections, dozens of leaked phone conversations depicting state officials engaged in alleged graft were loaded onto the video-sharing website YouTube and shared on Twitter. YouTube was also blocked by the government as a result.Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu appeared to endorse the ruling, saying, “Court orders need to be respected everywhere across the world.”However, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair Mustafa Şentop spoke to CNNTürk earlier yesterday and said the Constitutional Court ruling was “full of contradictions.”Arguing that Turkish authorities had to adopt a general block on Twitter because they were technically not able to block certain URLs, Şentop defended the ban as the state’s “constitutional duty to protect its citizens.”Şentop took it further, saying the website could only be opened for the three complainants, Altıparmak, Akdeniz and Tanrıkulu.“The applications to the Constitutional Court were individually filed. Hence, the court responded to these three people. This is not a general decision. Of course, the court ruling must be implemented, but how can that be, if the court issues a general ruling after individual complaints? We should debate it,” Şentop said, suggesting a reasoned decision was needed.

#SaveKessab: How the Word "Genocide" Becomes Devalued

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18:10, March 31, 2014

These days the entire Armenian nation is praying for Kessab Armenians and social networking sites are full of petitions to help the Armenians of this northwestern town in Syria. It seems everything is normal, but is our reaction appropriate?

There Are No Deaths

All reliable sources say that around 600 families fled to Latakia from Kessab, but there are no killed or injured. This information is confirmed by not only representatives of local (Syrian) Armenian organizations, but also the delegation of MPs from Armenia’s National Assembly that left for a fact-finding mission in northwestern Syria and have since returned. 

From Kessab: MPs report on visit to Syria where Armenians were attacked

April 2, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments

Armenian deputies back from their visit to Syria, where they went to see the situation with the Armenian refugees from Kesab in Latakia, say they need financial assistance for purchasing items of immediat necessity and staples.

Several days ago a group of MPs made a private visit to Latakia to meet the displaced residents of Kessab town, in northwestern Syria, as a result of the armed attack of March 21.
MP Tevan Poghosyan told the press on Tuesday that the purpose of their visit was to see personally how things were to better understand what assistance is required and make respective suggestions.

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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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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


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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments


2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction


Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.