Tuesday, February 28, 2006

NY PBS affiliate decides not to air panel on Armenian genocide

Feb. 28, 2006
Herald Leader
Associated Press

NEW YORK - A public broadcasting station has decided not to air a panel discussion that includes speakers who deny the killing of more than 1 million Armenians in the 20th century was genocide.

The taped discussion, which was scheduled to run April 17 on WNET-TV, was criticized by elected officials and Armenian-American community leaders, who called it an insult.

But a spokeswoman for the PBS affiliate said Tuesday's decision had nothing to do with politics.

"It was an editorial decision," said Stella Giammasi, vice president and director of communications at WNET, Channel 13.

The program was to follow a new documentary, "Armenian Genocide," which features interviews with Kurdish and Turkish citizens speaking about their families' experiences during the period and will air as scheduled.

After screening the discussion, Giammasi said, WNET officials determined it "did not add anything to the documentary."
Weiner, D-N.Y., said he hoped WNET's decision would prompt other PBS stations to reconsider whether to air the discussion.

"Let me put it this way," he said, "I hope this panel discussion isn't aired on any PBS station

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Azerbaijani-Americans protest at Armenian Embassy in Washington DC

27 February 2006

The peaceful, legal protest by members of the Azerbaijan Society of America and other groups and individuals emphasized Armenian terrorism of Azerbaijani citizens. The afternoon protest started with a march from Washington's Dupont Circle and ended a few feet in front of the Embassy of Armenia.

On February 26, 1992 Armenian military units, supported by the Russian 366th tank regiment, seized the small town of Khojaly, in the Nagorno Karabagh region of Azerbaijan, and brutally massacred more than 800 civilians, including 83 infants, 103 women, and 70 elderly persons. An additional 1,275 people were taken hostage.

This looks bad indeed on Armenia. But before you pass judgement you need to know the truth about what happened HERE .
The Khojaly massacre was one of the most violent events in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenia started forcibly and illegally occupying the formerly autonomous region, as well seven other Azerbaijani districts, in the early 1990's, forcing over 700,000 Azerbaijanis to leave their homes and live as refugees in their own country. The occupation continues to this day, with Armenia ignoring four UN resolutions ordering the end of its occupation. UN resolutions # 822, 853, 874, and 884 have repeatedly called for the cessation of Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Zarakolu faced 7 lawsuits but they were not suspended

AZG Armenian Daily
By Hakob Chakrian


Famous Turkish publicist, human rights advocate and publisher Ragep Zarakolu is well known as a challenger of the official Turkish thesis on the Armenian Genocide issue. His humanistic activity and competence are known not only in Armenia and Diaspora but also in the West. Yet, he never attracted the attention of westerners as, for instance, Orhan Pamuk and Hrant Dink did. Meanwhile, Zarakolu faced 7 lawsuits but they were not suspended as in case of Pamuk and Dink.

The publishing of books about the Armenian Genocide not only aims at informing the Turkish society but is also a sign of honoring the victims.

Among the books covering the Armenian Genocide and published in Turkey one should single out the book of Prof Nikolay Hovhannisian, head of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, as the author studies the causes, purposes and consequences of the Genocide. The book titled "Armenian Genocide: Armenocide, Causes, Purposes, Consequence" consists of a prologue, epilogue and 4 chapters where the author conducts a survey into the Armenian history, presents the Ottoman conquest of Western Armenia and the stages of development of the Armenian Cause and the Genocide.

The author himself wrote a prologue for the Turkish edition where he emphasizes that the Armenian Genocide was perpetrated in the Western Armenian and was masterminded by the state, meanwhile saying that the book is designed for all honest Turks for them to get a correct understanding of an important period in their history and know the causes of the Armenian Genocide as well as those responsible for it.

Prof Hovhannisian writes that Armenia expects the Turkish government to recognize the fact of the Genocide in 1915 and express regret. The author shows that the argument that American and European scholars recognize the Genocide out of Christian solidarity does not hold water as scholars in Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq also study these events.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Protests Greet TV Debate on Genocide

February 28, 2006
Los Angeles Times
By Maria Elena Fernandez and Matea Gold, Times Staff Writers

A taped 25-minute panel discussion that is to follow a PBS documentary about Turkey's role in the massacre of Armenians during and after World War I, scheduled to air in April, has prompted protests by thousands of Armenian Americans and two congressmen.

But Angelenos will not get a chance to see either the one-hour film, "The Armenian Genocide" by filmmaker Andrew Goldberg, or the debate featuring two academics who deny that a genocide took place and two who maintain that it did, because KCET-TV does not plan to air them.
KCET was not swayed by protests, Zachary said Monday. Station executives, he said, had never planned to air Goldberg's documentary because they preferred the French film's comprehensive take on the topic.
"Our decision has nothing to do with the controversy whatsoever," Zachary said. "The approach of the documentary we've selected is much more interesting…. We're spending a lot of money to acquire this film. The easy thing would be to take the PBS film at no cost."
Although more than 14,000 people have signed an online petition urging PBS not to distribute the discussion produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and taped a month ago, PBS executives have received only about 200 e-mails on the subject, said spokeswoman Lee Sloan. She said PBS has no plans to withhold distribution of the program, but several stations across the nation, including KOCE in Orange County, are choosing to air the documentary without the panel discussion.
Goldberg said he was puzzled by KCET's decision to air a French documentary instead of his film, adding that the station hosted a fundraiser for his movie in 2004 at which he raised a substantial portion of its budget.

"It's bizarre," he said. "Why they would choose to run a foreign film in the place of my film, and then not air my film at any other time, is a mystery to me."

In fact, Steve Dadaian, the Western region chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, recommends viewing Goldberg's film, which includes a rarely seen interview with Rafael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the term "genocide."
The panel discussion was moderated by National Public Radio host Scott Simon and taped last month at a studio in Washington. One of the participants, Colgate University humanities professor Peter Balakian, said he repeatedly tried to have the session canceled but was told by PBS that the documentary would not air without it. [...].

Finding himself between "a rock and a hard place" because he believed that the film was too important to be killed, Balakian agreed to participate.

"This is so ethically horrid," he said. "It's as if we are trying to reshape history and create another side when there is no other side. We figured if we had to put ourselves in such an unethical situation, there was something to be gained by a scholar of Turkish origin and a scholar of Armenian origin speaking together. But the panel is an absurdity, something right out of the world of George Orwell."

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Hero/Terrorist: Turks plan demonstrations to counter Armenian version of Talaat Pasha

February 24, 2006

By Aris Ghazinyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Eighty-five years ago, on March 15, 1921, Armenian avenger Soghomon Tehleryan shot dead in Berlin the former general chairman of the Young Turks party, interior minister, Grand Vizier of Turkey Mehmet Talaat Pasha.

One of the main culprits responsible for the annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians and developer of the plan of Genocide, who said that “only one Armenian must be preserved in the world, and that as an exhibit in a museum” was hiding in the German capital not only from the punishment of Armenian avengers, but also from the War Tribunal that sentenced him to death in July 1919. The future founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal still then accused the leaders of the Young Turks of trammeling the country into World War One and exterminating Armenians. Talaat-pasha was hiding in Berlin under another person’s passport and lived at a secret address. He was tracked down by Armenian avengers on January 28, 1921 at a Berlin railway station and was shot dead in the street on March 15.
These years later, though, Turkey intends to implement anti-Armenian actions as part of the special “Big Project-2006”. Special structures have been set up at the state level for its consistent realization. For instance, a Consultative Department led by the former president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Rauf Denktash was established. It is supposed to organize a Talaat-pasha campaign. In a meeting in Istanbul on January 18 the Department in its turn elected an executive committee, which has already got down to the immediate preparations for a whole series of events timed to the 85th anniversary of the action of retribution. Part of these events will be held in Berlin on March 15-19.
Of peaceful events so far announced have been: March 15 – a minute of silence in memory of Talaat in the street in Berlin where he was assassinated; March 18 – a march and rally under the motto: “Stop the Lie about Pogroms of Armenians!”; March 19 – a congress dedicated to Talaat. By the way, in 1943, following a special order from Hitler, the ashes of Talaat were reburied in Istanbul with great honors – the operation was led by Secretary of the National-Socialist Party Martin Borman. Later, Mustafa Kemal confessed to the widow of Talaat, Airia-khanum: “I was wrong when I testified against him. He was right: all Armenians should have been exterminated.”

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Conversations: Monuments and Memory

Volume 58 Number 4,
July/August 2005

Susan E. Alcock is an archaeologist at the University of Michigan specializing in the eastern Roman Empire. The recipent of a MacArthur "genius grant," she is the author of numerous books, including Archaeologies of the Greek Past: Landscapes, Monuments, and Memories (2002). She spoke with ARCHAEOLOGY about ancient memory, empires, and changing classical archaeology.
You have a project starting this summer in Armenia. How is working there different from Greece?

The landscape is quite different from Greece--more mountains, so I'll have to get in shape fast. And most of the archaeology done there so far has also been in the Soviet tradition. So techniques that are quite familiar today in the Mediterranean, such as regional survey, are unfamiliar in the Caucasus. On the other hand, the local archaeologists have wonderful knowledge and control of, for example, their ceramic data. So we hope to marry these two traditions, and do something new and very exciting. Another appeal to working in Armenia is that there are wonderful maps. One advantage of being part of an imperial system--the Soviet imperial system--is that Armenia has been mapped to death. And there are good satellite data too. Because while the Soviets were mapping, the Americans were taking a lot of shots of the "Evil Empire."

So the Cold War had a positive legacy for archaeology.Something good did come out of it.

What initially drew you to Armenia?Armenia is very interesting for anyone intrigued with the archaeology of memory because it's a country that has a very strong sense of itself through time--Armenians would say it's the first Christian nation, for instance. One tempting thing about our project is that in Armenia there hasn't been that much scholarly attention paid to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Parthian periods--which are what interest me as a classical archaeologist.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


February 25, 2006
Book Review by by John Sutherland

[...] Ublilsk, nestling at the foot of the Caucasus, is based on Armenia, to whose “good people” the novel is dedicated and with whose current desperate, and wholly ignored, plight Pierre clearly sympathises.
{The book is accessed at [PDF] Ludmila paused to watch the sun idle. Her escape would begin when ...}

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Dink’s conviction ‘faulty,’ says prosecutor

February 25, 2006
Turkish Daily News

The Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor's Office has asked the Supreme Court of Appeals' 9th Bureau to overturn a lower court decision to convict Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink for insulting the country's national identity in a series of articles and order a new trial.

The journalist was convicted in July under a clause in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) that EU officials say is incompatible with EU norms on freedom of expression. Turkey began EU membership talks in October.
The prosecutor's office said the conviction was based on "faulty assessments." The office said the decision to find Dink guilty was based on faulty premises and that the court had committed a mistake by agreeing to list certain people as defendants despite the fact that the individuals in question had not suffered any damage due to Dink's comments.
The Supreme Court of Appeals Ninth Bureau will now assess the appeal filed by Dink and the objection to the decision noted by the prosecutor's office. If the bureau decides against the prosecutor's findings, the Supreme Court of Appeals General Board will assess the matter.
The EU has asked Turkey to change the clause or risk endangering its EU bid.

Two weeks ago another court acquitted Dink of separate charges for saying at a human rights conference in 2002 that the Turkish national anthem and national oath was discriminatory.

Earlier this month the government dropped a case against Orhan Pamuk, the country's best-known novelist, for "insulting Turkishness," after Turkey came under harsh criticism from the EU.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Armenian Furor Over PBS Plan for Debate

February 25, 2006
New York Times

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 24 — The Public Broadcasting Service's plan to show a debate after its documentary in April on the Ottoman Turks' massacres of Armenians has infuriated Armenian-Americans. The debate, which includes two people who deny that the massacre constituted genocide, has ignited an aggressive campaign against the network.

This week, United States Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of Pasadena, Calif., whose Southern California district includes parts of the largest ethnic Armenian population outside Armenia, asked colleagues to join him in a letter to the network condemning the program.

A major Armenian lobbying group, the Armenian National Committee of America, has also asked PBS to cancel the program, which was produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting to accompany a new one-hour documentary, "The Armenian Genocide," scheduled to be shown on April 17. Organizers of an Internet petition against the half-hour discussion program said more than 11,000 people had signed it on the Web site.

In the latest twist to the controversy, the PBS station in Los Angeles, KCET-TV, said Thursday that it would broadcast neither the discussion program nor the documentary, making it difficult for most of the nearly 400,000 Armenians in the Los Angeles area to see either one. The station said it would show two other films dealing with the killings, mollifying some Armenians here.

PBS said that its 348 affiliates would decide independently whether to carry the film or the panel discussion and that it would not keep track of the decisions. Stations in Washington and in Plattsburgh, N.Y., which reaches the large Armenian community in Montreal, said they would run the film but not the panel discussion, while stations in Chicago and New York said they would run both.

Few topics among Armenians generate as much passion as the deaths of some 1.5 million Armenians by execution, starvation or disease during a World War I era campaign by Turks in the Ottoman Empire to wipe them out. Armenians have lobbied for decades for worldwide recognition of the atrocities as genocide.

Most historical accounts accept this view, but the Turkish government has denied for years that the deaths were a result of a state-directed effort to exterminate the Armenian people and argued that the Armenian death toll has been inflated — and some historians agree.

A call to the Turkish Embassy spokesman in Washington was not answered.

In the past, the Turkish government, an important ally of the United States in the region, has hired Washington lobbyists to help defeat attempts by Congress to pass resolutions condemning the killings as genocide. Representatives of the Turkish government have suggested, among other things, that labeling them as genocide would jeopardize support for American military bases there.

President Ronald Reagan publicly called the killings genocide, but his successors, including President Bush, in presidential proclamations condemning the massacres, have avoided the term.

Unlike the dozens of other documentaries on the subject, the documentary for PBS, by Andrew Goldberg, includes rare clips of Turkish scholars acknowledging the anti-Armenian campaign as genocide as well as Turkish villagers recalling their ancestors' stories about participating in the killings.

"They caught Armenians and put them in a barn and burned them," a man in a town in eastern Turkey tells an interviewer.

Excitement swept through Armenian-American communities at word that PBS would broadcast the film, but anger quickly followed when it was announced that a taped panel discussion including people who dispute that genocide occurred would follow.

A call to Jacoba Atlas, a top programming executive at PBS headquarters in Alexandria, Va., was answered by Lea Sloan, a spokeswoman for PBS, who said the network "acknowledges and accepts that there was a genocide."

But it ordered the panel discussion, she said, to explore more deeply the question of why the Turkish government and its supporters continue to reject the genocide label.

"PBS believes that an essential part of its mission is to offer a forum for intelligent, rational conversation and informed debate and to bring that debate and help illuminate the issue through discussion," she said. She denied that the network acted under pressure from Turkey, which in the past has complained publicly about genocide-related programming on the network.

Mr. Goldberg said he played no role in the production of the panel discussion — which features testy exchanges using the words "myth," "fantasy" and "legend" — and said he found it unnecessary.

Moderated by the National Public Radio correspondent Scott Simon, it includes two people who deny genocide took place — Justin A. McCarthy, a history professor at the University of Louisville, and Omer Turan, a history professor at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey — as well as two people advocating the recognition of genocide, Peter Balakian, a Colgate University humanities professor, and Taner Akcam, a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Balakian said he participated only because producers told him that PBS would not show the documentary without it.

David Davis, vice president for national production at Oregon Public Broadcasting, declined to address Mr. Balakian's claim directly but said, "PBS did make it clear they felt the follow show was important, and we felt it was important as well."

Mr. Balakian, who wrote a bestselling account called "The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response" (HarperCollins, 2003), said he was still angry.

"I think the convening of the panel is morally wrong," Mr. Balakian said. "It should not have been done. I wrote an extensive letter to PBS, explaining why this is ethically wrong and why this is unnecessary and why it caves in to Turkish government denial."

Mr. McCarthy, however, said PBS was right to provide a forum for opposing viewpoints. He said the strife between minority Christian Armenians and majority Muslim Turks is complicated and misunderstood.

"I think the Muslims and Armenians killed each other," he said. "I don't think there was a central government-directed genocide."

Mr. Goldberg said he was surprised that KCET in Los Angeles would not show his film because it had shown his work before and had acted as host for a reception in 2004 where he sought the support of Armenian-Americans for his project.

The station said that on April 17 it will broadcast "Le Génocide Arménien," the American television premiere of a French documentary produced last year by Laurence Jourdan. During the month it will also show "My Son Shall Be Armenian," a 2004 Canadian-produced film it has shown before.

Mary Mazur, the station's chief programming executive, said the station decided on the French film not because of the controversy surrounding the panel but because it was stronger than Mr. Goldberg's film.

"It is illustrative of events which took place prior to World War I and might be less familiar to our broad viewing audience," she said.

Harut Sassounian, the editor and publisher of The California Courier, the Los Angeles newspaper serving the Armenian community that first spread word of the petitions and protests against the panel, said he was pleased that KCET decided not to broadcast the discussion and he approved of the films it had selected.

"This resolves for KCET and the community the panel discussion issue," said Mr. Sassounian, who said the chosen films were "excellent."

But he and other Armenian-Americans are still pressing PBS, and now its affiliates, to drop the panel discussion. It has also enlisted the rock band System of a Down, made up of Armenian-Americans from Los Angeles, which has posted links to the online petition on its Web site.

"PBS is a publicly funded entity," said Steve Dadaian, the Western region chairman of the Armenian National Committee. "They exist because tax dollars fund them. If they are going to use the network to give a national stage to this kind of hate, to denialists of the genocide, then we don't want our tax dollars going there."

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Denialist Turks Resort to Hate Crime Against Armenians, PBS

February 24, 2006
USA Armenian Life Magazine Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly
By APPO K. JABARIAN - Executive Publisher & Managing Editor - Hye Kiank

In their violent response to pro-truth activism by Armenians and non-Armenians, pertaining the veracity of the Armenian Genocide issue and its consequences, denialist Turks smothered their own competing petition site with countless hate e-mails against Armenians and PBS.

The following is a list of samples of the hate e-mails by denialist Turks:
"I hate Armenians";
"good armenian is dead armenian!!!" [sic];
"The world would be nice without Armenia";
"The armenians are terrorist" [sic];
"You can insult other religions and cultures under the pretexte [sic] of the right of expression, however you refuse discussing the so-called Armenian genocide[sic] which is an international lie! That is the real face of (the) West: hypocrite! And PBS is the royal server!".

The list also includes several packs of lies, distortions, and covert or overt threats directed at Armenians and PBS. The American media and the public must be made aware of the true color of these hatemongering denialist Turks. They can't even conduct a decent competition through their petition that mimicks the Armenian petition.

On the other hand, pro-truth activists kept themselves focused on tapping into the existing huge potential that exists within the Armenian and non-Armenian circles. They remained steadfast in their campaign to gather many more signatures. Many activists realize that this is the beginning of a new phase of a marathon in political struggles against the Turkish denialists. As of Tuesday midnight the total number of signers of the petition against PBS post-show panel was nearing 11,500, not including the direct e-mails, postal letters, direct telephone or fax contacts addressed to PBS.

Never before have the heirs of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Turks, had this many Armenian and non-Armenian activists converge - via internet or otherwise - on a petition like this. In late 2004, Mehmet Ali Birand, a well-known Turkish journalist and commentator, had predicted the year 2005 to be the year of "Armenian Tsunami". He should have also predicted the year 2006 to be "Hurricane Armenia".

In my opinion, truth and justice-seekers must remain steadfast in their activism, so that they may collectively bring about - with the unwitting help of the denialist Turks and their cronies - an anti Turkish denialist worldwide political quicksand. Righteous Grass-Root Activism Helps.

The following is a statement Berge Bulbulian received from his local PBS station in response to his e-mail:

"We will air the Armenian Genocide program April 17 that 10 pm and we have no intention of airing the denial program. I understand your intention, but threats are not appropriate. KVPT cares greatly for its viewers, whether they be Armenian or Latino or Hmong or African American or Native American. We would never intentionally air a program that demeans or harms our viewers in any way. Though we strive for balance in our programming, it is not necessary to seek balance where there is none. The Armenian Genocide is a fact, so there is no purpose in airing a denial program."

In order to keep the momentum growing please sign the petition at the following link: http://www.petitiononline.com/pbspanel


February 24, 2006
Source: Harout Manougian - Student at University of Waterloo

A protest took place yesterday in Ottawa as more than 160 participants took to the street, holding signs and shouting chants in the blistering weather that felt like -9C with the wind chill. The protestors, from Cambridge, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Laval, began their day in front of UNESCO's Ottawa office. The event was instigated as the Azerbaijani army was caught on video last December destroying ancient Armenian cross-stones in the Autonomous Region of Nakhichevan and dumping the remains into the Aras River. The engraved stones, some more than 1000 years old, were made by Armenian Christians who used to live in the region. However, Stalin had transferred jurisdiction over Nakhichevan (as well as the region of Nagorno-Karabakh) to the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, by whom it was depopulated of its Armenian inhabitants, who were replaced with Turkish-speaking settlers. "They're trying to erase any trace of the Armenians who had lived in Nakhichevan for the past 4000 years," cried Raffi, an emotional protestor from Toronto, who described the acts as "cultural genocide". Thus, the group urged UNESCO to protect the ancient artifacts by making them World Heritage Sites. The UNESCO office refused to give a response.

The group then marched down the street with their signs, an 8-foot cross-stone and a 12 foot dummy with blood-stained hands representing the President of Azerbaijan. They stopped in front of the Azerbaijani embassy, where they protested the destruction of the cross-stones as well as the [...] {1988} massacre of ethnic Armenians in Sumgait, near the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, and threats by the Azerbaijani government of breaking the 1994 cease-fire with the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, a similar ethnic Armenian territory which rebelled against Azeri rule in 1988. Again the embassy was not available for comment.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Armenian Genocide panel protested

Published February 23, 2006
Glendale News Press
By Tania Chatila, News-Press and Leader

GLENDALE -- A Public Broadcasting Service plan to air a panel discussion in April that includes Armenian Genocide deniers has sparked protests from many -- locally and nationally -- who feel the show would be unnecessary and inappropriate. The 30-minute program, titled "Armenian Genocide: Exploring the Issues," is scheduled to follow an independently produced documentary about the genocide on April 17, and will include two scholars who recognize the genocide and two who argue against its historical validity, said Lea Sloan, vice president of communications for PBS.
The Armenian National Committee of America launched efforts last week to discourage PBS from distributing the panel discussion and its member stations from airing it, said Zanku Armenian, a board member of the Western Region of the Armenian National Committee of America, which is based in Glendale.
Armenian National Committee officials wrote a letter urging executives at PBS to pull the panel discussion piece, and had about 3,000 people to send similar letters to the broadcaster, Armenian said.

The website www.petitiononline.com had more than 11,000 names Wednesday on a petition asking PBS to drop the panel.

And Rep. Adam Schiff, who represents Glendale and Burbank, is eliciting the support of other members of Congress to come out in opposition.

He was one of four congressman to send out a message Wednesday asking counterparts to sign a letter, which they plan to send to PBS voicing concerns over the piece.
PBS acknowledges the genocide, and its only intent in airing the panel discussion is to illuminate the controversial issue, Sloan said.

"We believe that difficult and controversial issues need closer examination, and intelligent discussion will help inform people more thoroughly about the nature of those difficult issues," she said.

PBS has no plans to drop the panel discussion, Sloan said.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Petition Against the Armenian Genocide Panel Discussion on PBS

Please use your First and Last name when signing.One name per signature and no slogans please. Thank you.

To: Ms. Jacoba Atlas, Senior Vice President of PBS programming

It is welcome news that PBS is planning to broadcast Andrew Goldberg's "The Armenian Genocide" documentary on April 17, 2006. However, we are immensely hurt by the news that this will be followed by a 25 minute long discussion by a panel that includes two genocide deniers.

We are confident that the Armenian Genocide scholars will present a superb scholarly case, but we strongly feel that debating the Armenian Genocide is akin to arguing about the Jewish Holocaust in order to project a sense of balance. Would PBS ever contemplate such a program?

Turkish denials of the genocide are part of a state-sponsored policy of propaganda that serves only the interests of Turkey. The historical truth of the Armenian genocide has been established beyond reasonable doubt by abundant documentary and eye-witness evidence from thousands of sources. Furthermore, denialist views of genocide are already included in the film; thus the panel discussion would serve to emphasize the Turkish state's official position and undermine the non political nature of your programming.

Broadcasting the panel discussion may result in a substantial loss of support from viewers of PBS.

We the undersigned urge you not to approve the airing of the panel discussion.


Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Armenia's population slightly up in 2005 to exceed 3 million

22/ 02/ 2006
RIA Novosti

The population of Armenia stood at 3,219,400 people as of the end of 2005 and increased by 3,600 compared with the start of the year, the National Statistics Service said Wednesday.

The republic registered a slight decline in the birth rate in 2005: there were 37,509 births in the reporting year compared with 37,520 births in 2004.

The number of infant deaths rose from 430 cases in 2004 to 460 cases in 2005.
The number of registered marriages declined by 2.1% in 2005 to 16,623 and the number of divorces was up 25.3% to 2,466.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


22 February, 2006

The Ramkavar-Azatakan Party of Armenia calls on the RA National Assembly to adopt a law on “Qualifying the actions of the Azeris against the Armenians in 1988-1991 in the territory of Azerbaijan as Genocide” as soon as possible.[...].
It is mentioned in the announcement of the party that the Azeri authorities periodically realized acts of national discrimination, violation and torture against the representatives of Armenians and Lezghins living in the region.
the encroachments of the Azeri authorities against the Armenians which lasted for decades reached their peak in 1988, first in Sumgayit, and then in Baku, Kirovabad and other cities, which was expressed by the mass slaughter of Armenians and their eviction, and Nagorno Karabakh and the Armenian living there became subject of attacks with modern powerful weapons. Many Armenians were killed in their houses and in the streets only because they were Armenians. That was their only «fault», the announcement says.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

H2 ECOnomy Receives Armenian patent, files a U.S. patent application


Yerevan, Armenia – H2 ECOnomy is proud to announce the receipt of a patent for its innovative method of producing enhanced strength [...] {hydrogen} fuel cells. [...]. Subsequent to being awarded the Armenian patent, a US patent application was filed[...].

H2 ECOnomy is a vibrant research company leading the way to energy resources for the 21st century. Located in the beautiful Ararat valley, H2 ECOnomy was established in 2000 with the goal of developing energy resources and investigating fuel cell technologies. [...]. The company’s expertise [...] has led to the creation of fuel cells for the educational and demonstration markets, sold worldwide through distributors in the US, Europe and Asia.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

History and Geography

Embassy, February 22nd, 2006

The prompt and concerted appearance of the ambassadors of Turkey and of Azerbaijan (Letters, Feb. 8) was no surprise: the two countries' propaganda machines work in tandem on matters relating to Armenia and Armenians. They have forged their own vision of history, apart from that of the rest of the world.

I am forced to tell the two ambassadors that one of the earliest parties to condemn the Armenian Genocide was the Turkish government's own tribunal in 1919.

Despite the widely acknowledged reality of the Armenian Genocide, Turkish courts continue to muffle the voice of righteous Turkish scholars who recognize the historical truth.

On another issue of Armenian, Azerbaijani and Turkish relations--the conflict in Nagorno-Karabagh--the ambassadors of Turkey and Azerbaijan seem to be unaware that Nagorno-Karabagh has never been under the rule of independent Azerbaijan.

The region was forcibly separated from Armenia and illegally annexed to Azerbaijan by then illegal Bolshevik leadership of the Soviet Union. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh are struggling for the right to live freely and to prosper on their ancestral land. The world should admire the smooth and comprehensive democratization of Nagorno-Karabagh, far ahead of many developing independent countries, including Azerbaijan.

As an Armenian, I am very proud and appreciate the people of Canada whose representatives in both Houses of Parliament condemned the Armenian genocide.

Chargé d'Affaires, a.i.
Embassy of Armenia

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Russia Vows Fresh Push For Karabakh Settlement

22, February 2006
Armenia Liberty
By Emil Danielyan and Ruzanna Stepanian

President Robert Kocharian will be invited to the Kremlin for urgent talks on Nagorno-Karabakh, in what his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin presented as an attempt to salvage the Karabakh peace process during an official visit to Azerbaijan on Wednesday.
Putin announced the diplomatic initiative after talks in Baku with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev. [...].
Putin would not say if that means he and Aliev have reached important agreements on the issue. He assured reporters that Moscow will not seek to impose solutions on the conflicting parties.[...]
[...] French, Russian and U.S. diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group are scheduled to meet in Washington early next month to decide on their next steps. The United States seems particularly keen to prevent a loss of what it regards as the best chance of Karabakh peace in years, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reportedly discussing the issue with Aliev by phone last week.

{Armenia claims that the talks} collapsed because of Aliev’s last-minute rejection of a peace plan put forward by the Minsk Group. At the heart of the plan is the idea of holding a referendum in Karabakh that would almost certainly formalize Armenian control over the disputed territory.

[...]. It is not clear if the United States and France were informed about the announced Russian push for Karabakh peace beforehand.[...]

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Monday, February 20, 2006

South Caucasus: Closer EU Links Delayed By Azerbaijan's Tussle With Cyprus, Persisting Conflicts

20 February 2006
Radio Free Europe
By Ahto Lobjakas

BRUSSELS, 20 February 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The neighborhood policy action plans and the "frozen conflicts" in the South Caucasus were top of commissioner Ferrero-Waldner's agenda.

Yet officials in Brussels have said after the visit that there was no tangible progress to report on either issue.
EU sources have told RFE/RL that talks are being held up largely because of a long-running feud involving Azerbaijan and Cyprus. Cyprus, an EU member state, wants Azerbaijan to rule out any future commercial flights to Northern Cyprus -- which it contests with Turkey.
Officials say it is unlikely Georgia and Armenia will see their action plans approved before the issue is resolved to Cyprus's satisfaction.
Ferrero-Waldner's visit took place after the inconclusive talks at Rambouillet in France between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents on 10-11 February. The talks mostly focused on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The EU has said it stands ready to assist the rehabilitation of Karabakh, but not before a peace settlement is in place.
One EU official, who asked not to be named, said the EU is increasingly concerned over the possibility that Georgia might resort to force in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Last week, the Georgian Parliament adopted a declaration asking for the departure of the Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret over European Parliament resolution

Source: Тrend
Author: S. Agayeva

The resolution entitled “Cultural Heritage of Azerbaijan” put forward under the pressure of the radical circles of the Armenian Diaspora and adopted on 16 February by the European Parliament causes a feeling of deep regret, the statement of the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry reports, according to Trend.
What sort of pressure could there have been by a small unimportant group except the moral issue raised by the case brought forward to the European Parliameent?

«The Azerbaijan Republic notable for its ethnical diversity during centuries and demonstrating permanently its adherence to develop it took 3,5 million historical monuments under the guardianship of the state. Аzerbaijan has cooperated permanently on transparent and constructive basis with all international institutions, working in this field and reached positive results in this aspect, recognized at the international arena”, the Foreign Ministry notes.
Why then nothing was done in this case?

«This decision must be appreciated as the biased and inappropriate position on the background of the consistent destructions, especially on the Armenian territory and occupied areas of Azerbaijan of the Azerbaijani cultural and historical monuments. In the period when the world public recognizes destruction and pogroms of all cultural and historical values, committed by Armenia on the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, adopting of such resolution by such significant structure as the European Parliament causes astonishment”, the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry notes.

This can hardly be a counterargument. If such a thing can be proven then it also should be reprimended by the European Parliament.

It should be noted, the initiator of debates at the European Parliament is the head of the European commission of “Ay Dat”, the Armenian revolutionary federation “Dashnaktsutyun” Hilda Choboyan. The resolution based on the application of Armenia notes, allegedly, destructions of the Armenian monuments in Nakhchivan in 1998 and 2002, as well as in December 2005.
How can it be alleged if they have been caught red handed? See HERE

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications by me are contained in {} my comments are framed. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Azerbaijan's NGO launches international campaign

17/ 02/ 2006
RIA Novosti
By Gerai Dadashev

An Azerbaijani nongovernmental organization has launched a wide-ranging campaign for the international recognition of the massacre in the small town of Khojaly in 1992 that reportedly left more than 600 people dead, the NGO said on its Web site Friday.

[...] planning to collect signatures of Azerbaijanis living in the country and abroad to present them to the country's parliament, the Milli Majlisto. Parliament is then expected to initiate procedures to recognize the massacre as act of genocide.

The NGO said it would send signatures, documents and footage of the Khojaly massacre to foreign parliaments and relevant international organizations for official international recognition.

The organization said it was also seeking the construction of a memorial to Khojaly victims in the capital of Baku.

The massacre happened in 1992 amid the conflict between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh, [...] over 30,000 people died on both sides between 1988 and 1994, and over 100 others died after a ceasefire was concluded in 1994.

In the early hours of February 26, Armenian military units entered Khojaly. According to Azerbaijan's data, 613 people were slaughtered, including 106 women and 83 children, and 1275 people were taken hostages. Later, Armenian authorities released the hostages, but the whereabouts of some of them are still unknown.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Poem for an Armenian girl

February 17, 2006
The New Anatolian
By Nursun Erel

[...] The New Anatolian's Editor In Chief Mete Belovacikli and I were with Rahsan and Bulent Ecevit in the library of their home in Oran. The highest parts of Cankaya were covered in snow and there was a freezing wind blowing outside, but we four enjoyed an incredibly warm talk.

First let me share a verse from a poem which Rahsan Hanim read for us,

Purple violets in the gardens,
Ahchek, you’ve made me crazy for you,
May you become Muslim,
Or shall I became Armenian?

Rahsan Hanim added:
"The poem was written years ago by a village boy in a Turkish town for an Armenian girl named Ahchek. Can you imagine what relations between Turks and Armenians were like at the time?"
All is well and good but "Ahchek" is not an Armenian name. It just means "girl" in Armenian. The Armenian "girl" was probably not that close to the village boy or too afraid of him, otherwise she would have revealed her name. The story was not as pretty as this article is making it out to be.

[...] Bulent Ecevit during his last premiership (1999-2002), with Mumtaz Soysal as foreign minister, took several initiatives to ease relations with Yerevan, [...]
[...] shared some memories with us:"Years ago, when we were young, we [he and Rahsan Hanim] spent a few months in the U.S. We were in Watertown. After a while some of our friends told us that there were some Armenian grocery stores in the area and that if we ever hankered after Turkish food, we could buy some specialities there. So once we went to one. The owner was an old lady. There were all kinds of delicacies on the shelves, like 'pastirma' [pastrami], 'sucuk' [Turkish sausage] and there was even white cheese. While we were trying to choose, she said that we didn’t look American and eventually realized that we were Turkish. First she expressed all her prejudices towards Turks and Turkey, but then we became good friends. Three months later, when we said goodbye, she hugged us and burst into tears.

"Ecevit also shared another memory with us. After the Cyprus Peace Operation (1974), which then Premier Ecevit ordered, he organized a tour in the U.S. to explain the Turkish position to several different platforms. During one of his speeches hundreds of Armenians gathered outside the conference room and protested Turkey. He explained:

"They were carrying banners and shouting slogans against us but in front of the protestors, I noticed a handsome young man. He was also carrying a protest banner but once we looked into each others' eyes, he shouted at me in Turkish, 'May you protect the Armenians of Istanbul; we trust you."

At that moment I saw tears in Ecevit’s eyes and I felt emotional as well.

All these things show us the real relationship between Turks and Armenians. If the diaspora wasn't trying to provoke and spread hatred among the two peoples, things would definitely be a great deal better than now and of course the Armenians in Armenia would be a lot happier.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

European Parliament Condemned Destruction of Armenian Khachkars in Nakhichevan


The European Parliament yesterday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution condemning the Azerbaijani government's destruction of the Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, a unique archaeological treasure located in the Nakhichevan autonomous republic administered by Azerbaijan.

The resolution, which was approved by a vote of 85 to 5, noted that, "serious allegations have been raised about the involvement of the Azerbaijani authorities in the destruction of these monuments" and stressed that " Azerbaijan has not provided answers [on this matter to] the former special rapporteur of the United Nations.

" Based on these and other findings, the European Parliament “strongly condemns the destruction of the Djulfa cemetery […]” and “demands that Azerbaijan allow missions dedicated to surveying and protecting the archaeological heritage on its territory, especially Armenian heritage […].” The measure also asks Azerbaijan to “allow a European Parliament delegation to visit the archaeological site at Djulfa.”

“We extend our warmest congratulations to the Members of the European Parliament for the principled and comprehensive nature of this condemnation. We regret, however, attempts, especially from the European Greens, to obscure Azerbaijan's crime by drawing fake parallels with alleged destruction of cultural sites by Armenia,” stated Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

The European Armenian Federation calls upon the presidency of the European Parliament to promptly send the parliamentary delegation called for in this resolution to survey the destruction of Djulfa. The Federation also expressed its hope that this European initiative will encourage other national, multilateral and international bodies to condemn the Djulfa destruction with the same energy that they devoted to their protests in 2001 of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

! Reproduction in full or in part is prohibited without reference to «PanARMENIAN.Net».

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

PBS Panel on Armenian Genocide Stirs Protest

February 16, 2006; Page C01
Washington Post
By Paul Farhi

Thousands of Armenian Americans are protesting the Public Broadcasting Service's planned panel-discussion program about Turkey's role in the deaths of Armenians during and after World War I.

The 25-minute program has generated an outcry because the panel will include two scholars who deny that 1.5 million Armenian civilians were killed in eastern Turkey from 1915 to 1920.
Armenian Americans have publicized an online petition that asks PBS to drop the discussion program. As of last night, more than 6,000 people had electronically added their names to the petition, making it one of the largest organized protests of a PBS program.
For decades, U.S. administrations have dealt tentatively with the issue, not wishing to offend Turkey, a key political and military ally. In its Remembrance Day message last year, the Bush White House noted "the forced exile and mass killings" and "horrible loss of life" of Armenians but avoided referring to the events as genocide.
In the course of reviewing rough cuts of the film, however, Atlas said PBS officials agreed to add the panel discussion to explore other views, particularly the question of why denial exists. "It's a terrific documentary, and while we believe [the genocide] is settled history . . . you still get dissenters," she said in an interview yesterday. "We said, 'Let's approach this head-on and say why this is still contentious.' We thought it was a good thing to have both sides talking to each other. We felt the more you can shed light on an argument, the more the truth becomes clear."
Atlas acknowledged that such an approach is rare for PBS and said that the Alexandria-based service has not had other panels to discuss opposing views of documentaries during her five-year tenure. She declined to say whether a documentary about the Holocaust or about the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia would require a similar post-documentary discussion. "Those are hypothetical questions," she said.
Balakian, an Armenian American who wrote the best-selling "Tigris Burning: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response," said that he did not want to participate in a panel with "two bona fide deniers" but that he felt "backed into a corner" by PBS. If he had boycotted the panel, he said, it would have jeopardized the broadcast of the documentary, which Balakian called "a major and comprehensive piece of work."

Goldberg, the filmmaker, said he did not think the panel was necessary, "but I didn't fight it. It wasn't up to me and I had nothing to do with its production."

In an interview yesterday, McCarthy said the history of the period is complex and does not lend itself to simple judgments and labels. He said that he could not find evidence of 1.5 million Armenian deaths. He also said 3 million Turks died during the same period.

"If saying that both sides killed each other makes me a genocide denier, then I'm a denier," he said.

Titling the documentary "The Armenian Genocide," he said, "is a false description of a complicated history."

PBS said it is up to its 348 member stations to decide individually whether to air either the panel discussion or the documentary.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Armenian FM: Iran's nuclear issue to be solved politically

Feb 14, 2006

Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in Yerevan on Tuesday underlined that Iran is entitled to use peaceful nuclear technology and urged that the issue should be settled only through diplomatic means.

Oskanian pointed to age-old Iran-Armenia relations, in particular religious tolerance, as a model for the contemporary world in light of the recent difficulties facing the world following the publication of blasphemous cartoons against Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in European press.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Riot of Javakheti Armenians is “premises for collapse of Georgian state”

16:04 02

[...] The Georgian parliament intends to discuss this problem soon, and the EU is ready to allocate 2 billion euro for resettlement of the Georgian Meskhetian Turks. Only in Azerbaijan, 45,000 Meskhetian Turks live, and all of them can be resettled to Javakh. The Georgian officials declare that Armenians are alien people. According to Georgians, presence of Armenians in the region poses great danger, because if they resort to a riot against discrimination, it can become premises for collapse of the Georgian state.[...]
In his turn, Head of the Akhalkalaki-based A-Info news agency Khachatur Stepanyan announced that “Javakh is native land of the Armenians.” Commenting on the claim of local Armenians for autonomy of the region, Stepanyan declared that “Armenians want to live peacefully and freely on the land of their ancestors that was occupied by the authorities of the first Georgian Republic.” [...] “The term ‘autonomy’ is associated by Georgians with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In our view, autonomy in no way restricts Georgian territorial integrity,” [...] “The main reason for the claim for autonomy is the demographic policy pursued by the Georgian authorities. It is aimed to the ends of Georgians and against Armenians. Today Georgian settlers are exempted from taxes, they are sponsored from the state funds. Javakh residents are forced to study the state language (Georgian). Giving the official status to the Armenian language will become a guarantee of security and preserving the Armenian culture and will reduce hostility towards governmental institutions. The autonomy will also foster social and economic development of the region,” he said.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Armenia: Europe's final tourism frontier

Salt Lake Tribune
By Richard Plunkett

[...] Along the stately boulevards of the capital Yerevan, cafes were still doing business at 3 a.m., and the hosts at my B & B (a modern apartment decked out with traditional Armenian carpets) were waiting up to embrace me, literally, and feed me until I dropped. The next few days were a never-ending feast of fruit, cured ham, lavash (flat bread), salads, brandy, wine and divinely rich Armenian soorch (coffee).

Mountainous Armenia is a compelling mix of European elegance, Middle Eastern exuberance, ex-Soviet mundanity and modern economic miracle. The first country to convert to Christianity, it has countless legacies from 1,700 years of faith - from ancient churches and monasteries to the uniquely Armenian khatchkars, literally "crucifix stones," upright blocks of basalt deftly carved with crosses and interweaving patterns.

Though 20th-century wars almost destroyed the country, the new century is seeing a gratifying upsurge in fortunes. Armenia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It still has a long way to go, but prosperity is beginning to spread. Smart new hotels and guesthouses are sweeping away the gloomy old Soviet hotels.

The 3 million or so Armenians are rediscovering their traditional enjoyment of life - they share a passion for culture, food and family not unlike Greeks and Italians.
[...] The Museum of the Armenian Genocide at Tsitsernakaberd just outside the city center commemorates the victims of the Ottoman and Turkish massacres of 1915-1923. There is a solemn procession here every year on April 24 to honor the fallen. [...].

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Iran wants EU debate on religion-related caricatures

February 14, 2006

Yerevan - Iran is planning to ask the European Union to debate publications of caricatures satirizing holy figures of any religions, including the offensive Prophet Muhammad cartoons, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki told a news conference in Yerevan on Tuesday.

"Today I will hold negotiations over the phone with the foreign minister of Austria, which currently holds the EU presidency," Motaki said."During the conversation, I will suggest including the issue of respect for all prophets of any religions in the EU agenda. This step will help somewhat pacify the protesters in the Muslim world," he said.

"The publication of the caricatures satirizing the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish press is an indication of religious intolerance. We believe that such publications are intended to cause a collision of civilizations," the minister said.

"Muslims all over the world have staged mass rallies to protest the offensive caricatures," Motaki said. He called on the Danish government to hold the authors of the cartoons to account.

Relations between predominantly Christian Armenia and Muslim Iran are a good example of friendship and mutual respect for various religions, he said.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Armenia declares talks with Azerbaijan were positive

Source: AP

Armenia saw last week's talks with Azerbaijan on the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh as positive, despite the failure to reach an agreement, a government spokesman said Monday Presidents Robert Kocharian of Armenia and Ilham Aliev of Azerbaijan reached no agreement Saturday on how to end the 18-year conflict over the enclave, despite two days of intense one-on-one talks at a chateau in Rambouillet, south of Paris.

"Even though no agreement has been reached, Armenia positively views the continuation of talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement," Kocharian's spokesman Viktor Sogomonian said. Azerbaijan's foreign minister said his country's insistence on territorial integrity and the return of Azerbaijani refugees to Nagorno-Karabakh were the two main sticking points at the talks.

"Azerbaijan will not make any concessions on the question of territorial integrity," Elmar Mammadyarov was quoted as saying Sunday by ANS television. Sogomonian refused to comment on the Azerbaijani statements.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

EBRD issues new Armenia strategy for 2006-7

11 February 2006
EBRD Press Release

A new two-year EBRD strategy for Armenia, published on www.ebrd.com, assesses macroeconomic performance as favourable, notes the country’s commitment to the principles of political pluralism and market economics and confirms the Bank’s intention to broaden the scope of its activities in Armenia.

The EBRD strategy cites real economic growth averaging 12.4 per cent a year in the past three years, higher consumer spending, tight monetary policy, improved fiscal performance, a narrowing of the current account deficit, better management of external debt, and rapid progress in structural reform. It notes that poverty reduction remains a priority and that overall poverty ratios are falling due to government programmes. It notes progress in reforms to democratise the electoral code, strengthen checks and balances in the political system and improve public governance. It adds, however, that the political will to implement these commitments remains uncertain and further steps are needed to fight corruption. Armenia’s partial isolation in the region impedes economic development and the country’s inclusion in regional projects and initiatives.

The strategy identifies six ways for Armenia to continue its progress towards a market system. [...].
[...] For the next two years, the EBRD will work to expand small and medium sized business and micro-enterprise financing, primarily through credit lines to local partner banks, but also directly through the Bank’s Direct Lending Facility and Direct Investment Facility as well as through co-financing and risk sharing with local banks under the Bank’s Medium Sized Co-financing Facility (MCFF). [...]

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Azerbaijan reports bird flu outbreak in wild birds

February 10, 2006
Zee News

Azerbaijan said today the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu had been found in wild birds on the Caspian Sea.

Samples from the birds were sent for tests to London and showed the bird flu strain was present, a spokesman for the health ministry said.

''In some analyses the H5N1 bird flu strain was found,'' the spokesman told media persons. ''Bird flu has not yet been found in the human population.''
With wild birds infected, health officials said they feared the virus could spread to domestic poultry.

Poultry farms outside Baku, the capital on the shores of the Caspian, cater for the demands of the urban population while many rural Azeris keep chickens at home.
Chicken was on sale at markets in Baku on Friday and still on the menu in restaurants.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Armenian patriarch expresses sympathy to Catholics

February 08, 2006
by Spero News

His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, expressed his sentiments of sympathy on the assasination of the Revd. Fr. Andrea Santoro in Trabzon.

Fr. Santoro was shot dead last Sunday, 5 February 2006, by a 16-year-old juvenile delinquent currently registered as a student at the Fatih High School in Trabzon.
As reported by the Compass Direct correspondent in Turkey, Barbara G. Baker, the private NTV television station reported late Tuesday afternoon: during his first interrogation the youth confessed that he committed the murder as a reaction against the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.
[...] Hours after the murder, Papal Nuncio Antonio Lucibello confirmed to the press that the attacker had shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is great) as he ran out of the church. Although the phrase is an Arabic acclamation of prayer, it is also used as a rallying cry by Islamist militants.

Eyewitnesses to the murder included a young Turkish employee of the church standing near the kneeling Santoro and the Italian priest?s niece who lived with him. The rest of the congregation had already left the chapel sanctuary.

Turkish government authorities swiftly condemned the murder.
"We believe it is entirely an individual act," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told the press yesterday, "but we don't know the reason behind it or who encouraged it."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed dismay over the murder, which he suggested could be linked to the controversial cartoon images. "We're extremely saddened with such an incident," Erdogan said, "especially after developments in Denmark," where the caricatures were first published.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

WFP forced to cut food aid to hungry poor in Armenia

Feb. 8 2006
Harold Doan and Associates Ltd.
Press Release - World Food Programme Yerevan -

As bitterly cold weather keeps its grip on the Caucasus region, WFP has warned that due to a lack of funding, it has run out of most food commodities for the 110,000 people it assists in Armenia.

WFP urgently has called on donors for more than US$4 million to provide the neediest with food aid over the next six months.

Starting in early January, WFP has only been providing flour for 65,000 people, most of whom are rural primary school children and the elderly.

While some 45,000 people, including 5,000 kindergarten children, received no assistance whatsoever last month.

Barely coping “WFP’s food basket should be made up of flour, oil and pulses – these are the basic foods we need to survive," said Muzaffar Choudhery, WFP’s Country Director in Armenia.

"But since January a lack of resources has meant we haven’t been able to provide a full food basket for many of our beneficiaries.
With limited economic opportunities, thousands of people lack employment and thus access to food. Many live on only US$2 a day.

“WFP is helping the poorest of the poor in Armenia – those with no work and no money to buy food or cover other basic needs,” said Choudhery.

“One woman told me it’s minus six degrees in her home. People just don’t have money to heat their homes. Without adequate food, their lives are even tougher,” he said.

Rebuilding infrastructure Under the current difficult circumstances, WFP assistance is crucial.

The agency has introduced food-for-work activities to help rebuild infrastructure, food-for-training to help promote self-reliance and food-for-education in the rural areas to guarantee that children go to school regularly and get a nutritious meal when there.

For the next six months – the most vulnerable in terms of food security – WFP needs 6,000 tons of food (or more than US$4 million) to complete its two-year operation in Armenia, which started in June 2004, costing about US$11 million.

For individual donations go to here.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hrant Dink: forging an Armenian identity in Turkey

7 - 2 - 2006
Open Democracy
By Üstün Bilgen-Reinart

On 8 October 2005, a court in Şişli, Istanbul sentenced Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos, the only Armenian newspaper in Turkey, to six months in prison (suspended for good behaviour), for having written an article that "insulted and belittled Turkishness". He still faces charges for remarks he made at a conference in Urfa, southeastern Turkey in December 2002; and in December 2005 another suit was opened against him and two Agos colleagues by the Turkish Union of Lawyers. These two additional cases carry possible sentences of six years and four-and-a-half years respectively; the first comes to court on Thursday 9 February 2006.

Hrant Dink was devastated by the October conviction. "I was found guilty of racism!" he says. "How can this be? All my life I have struggled against ethnic discrimination and racism. I would never belittle Turkishness or Armenianness. I wouldn't allow anyone else to do it, either."

If the court of appeal does not overturn the ruling, Dink says he will leave Turkey, "my country of three thousand years."

"In my article, I was talking about the Armenian identity", Dink explains in an interview at Agos's office in Istanbul's bustling commercial neighbourhood of Osmanbey. "It's not my job to criticise the Turkish identity – that's up to the Turks."

"I've come up from the ranks of the left in this country", he says. "I know what you can and cannot do here. I have shared all the pain inflicted on the left since the 1970s. I thought I knew this country well, but this ruling took me by surprise."

It is ironic that Dink got into trouble for suggesting to diaspora Armenians that it was time to rid themselves of their rage against the Turks. "Armenians, especially of the diaspora, tend to have a problem associated with the role of other that the Turk has played in forming the Armenian identity", Dink says. "There is a certain history. A trauma. The Turk has become such a source of pain that it "poisons the Armenian blood", as the Anatolian saying goes. In my article, I was addressing the Armenian world and saying: "There are two ways of getting rid of this poison. One way is for the Turks to empathise with you, and take action to reduce your trauma. At the moment this seems unlikely. The second way is for you to rid yourself of it yourself. Turn your attention towards the state of Armenia and replace the poisoned blood associated with the Turk, with fresh blood associated with Armenia.'

It was the reference to "poisoned blood associated with the Turk" that got Dink in court.

Once a mighty empire spanning three continents, the Ottomans faced staggering losses during the late 19th century. In 1911, Ottoman territories in north Africa were lost to the Italians. In 1913, the Balkan wars ended with defeat, and as Bulgarians and Serbs won their independence, close to 5 million impoverished and bitter Muslim Turks fled from southeastern Europe to seek refuge in Anatolia. Then the "great war" that was to convulse Europe broke. European empires were shaken to the core, while uprisings shook the Ottoman empire.

In eastern Anatolia, some Armenian nationalists took up arms for independence and joined the invading Russian army. The hardline leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress in the Ottoman government – known as "Young Turks " – were all from Balkan stock. They felt betrayed by the non-Muslim peoples of the empire. They promised the remaining lands would not become a second 'Macedonia' as they called the bulk of the Balkans (see Dogu Ergil, Ottoman Armenians During the Collapse of the Empire). They decided to rid Anatolia of its Armenian population.

In 1915, the majority of Anatolia's 2 million Armenians were deported to Syria and Mesopotamia. Hundreds of thousands (the highest estimate is 1.5 million) died or were killed in the process.

The strength of diversity

Today, as Turkey starts accession talks with the European Union, the country is under pressure to recognise those deaths as "genocide." Turkey refuses the term. In fact, the subject has long been taboo in Turkey. A crucial event in overcoming the silence occurred in September 2005, when the first conference discussing "Ottoman Armenians During the Decline of the Empire: Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy" was held – amidst a storm of controversy – at Bilgi University in Istanbul.

Hrant Dink says the fact that he lives in Turkey, with the Turks, has kept him emotionally healthy and free of the "disease that afflicts many diaspora Armenians." But he also knows something about discrimination.

"As a child, I didn't know what it meant to be Turkish or Armenian. At Armenian boarding school in Istanbul, I recited the Turkish credo every morning, but I was also told I should preserve my Armenian identity. I never came across my own name in school books – only Turkish names. As an adolescent, I heard the word 'Armenian' used as a swearword. As a Turkish citizen, I saw high-court decisions that referred to Armenians as 'foreigners living in Turkey'. The Armenian orphanage that I worked so hard to establish was confiscated by the state."

Dink says no one at home or at school ever spoke about the events of 1915, but throughout his childhood, he sensed loss and trauma through an internalised feeling of history. "We all have an intuition about something broken in the past", he says. "It's in our genetic code. Each Armenian family has losses that go back to the time when survivors were scattered all over the world. "

"Even if you flee from that sense of history", he adds, "history doesn't let go of you. In Turkey, you face so many attacks against the Armenian identity that you find yourself in a defensive position whether you want it or not. During the 1970s, there was news of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (Asala) and the killing of Turkish diplomats. My identity was always other, and often belittled. I saw again and again that I was different. Many people who were like me were leaving this country, but I didn't want to leave – I wanted to stay and fight for what I thought was right."

"In the end, I decided that how they defined me wasn't important. I had to define myself. I am an Armenian of Turkey, and a good Turkish citizen. I believe in the republic, in fact I would like it to become stronger and more democratic. I don't want my country to be divided, but I want all the citizens to be able to live fully and contribute their diversity to this society – as a source of richness."

Despite the October court sentence – one "that has done me great harm", he says – Dink is surprisingly optimistic about Turkey's future. "Turkey is going through a process of internal dynamism," he says. "It is experiencing the interaction of the east and the west within itself. This interaction can lead sometimes to confrontation and sometimes to agreement, but if it results in a kind of harmony, that would be a positive outcome."

Far from viewing Turkey's moderate Islamist government as a threat, Dink sees it as a potential instrument of harmony. "No authoritarian pressure has been able to suppress religious movements in this country. We see today that in power they seem less radical than they were in previous years; that they tend to tame themselves in order to remain on the political stage. They're satisfied with the freedom to perform their religious rituals. In this country, Islam will renew and reform itself, without harming either the republic or secularism; and when this happens, it will set an incredible example for Europe and the world. It will show the world that the east can renew and reform itself – without the intervention of outsiders like Bush with his bombs in Iraq. The transformation that will result from Turkey's own internal dynamics will set a great example of the interaction, reconciliation and harmony of the east and the west."

"You must find it surprising that I'm so hopeful", Dink smiles. But when asked about the appeal of his sentence, his face darkens. "If the high court does not exonerate me", he says, "The only honourable option for me is to leave. If I am judged guilty of racism, I can no longer live with the Turks. I cannot bear to think that people who meet me on the street might think: 'This is the guy who said the Turks have poisoned blood.'"

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Armenian Assembly decries aid disparity in U.S. FY 2007 request

February 8, 2006
RIA Novosti,
By Gamlet Matevosyan

A proposal from the White House to fund overseas military programs in 2007 has caused a stir in the Armenian community in the United States.

The Bush administration's proposal for Foreign Military Financing calls for $4.5m in aid for Azerbaijan but only $3.5m in Armenia, the Armenian Assembly of America said in a news release.

Furthermore, the draft budget also proposed $885,000 for Azerbaijan versus $790,000 for Armenia in International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a dispute that flared into bloody fighting in the early 1990s over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of the former but has a majority Armenian population.

According to the release, Assembly Board of Directors Chairman Anthony Barsamian expressed disappointment with the administration's request for asymmetrical military assistance to Azerbaijan and Armenia, arguing that the disparity would only serve to undermine stability in the South Caucasus.

Barsamian said that the Assembly, working in conjunction with the Armenian-American community and Members of Congress, would make every attempt to reverse the administration's attempt to provide Baku with an increase of more than $1 million over Yerevan.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Jermaine Jackson plans Armenia project

February 8, 2006
Chicago Defender
by AP

YEREVAN, Armenia - Jermaine Jackson has revealed plans to build an entertainment complex in Armenia and said he hoped that his brother, Michael Jackson, will join in a reunion concert marking its opening.

Jackson, a singer and bass guitar player who has pursued a solo career, is on a 12-day visit to this impoverished landlocked Caucasus Mountain nation. The 51-year-old said the complex could include a hotel, a restaurant and a television company. The Jackson 5, which included brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, was formed by their father Joe in the 1960s in Gary, Indiana. Michael Jackson, the youngest in the band, helped propel the group to its peak of popularity in 1972 during a tour in Britain. The Jacksons' last album was released in 1989.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Diplomatic Correctness

February 8th, 2006
Aydemir Erman Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Canada

It is unfortunate that Armenia's Ambassador to Canada, Ara Papian, found it diplomatically appropriate to use his farewell interview with Embassy to incriminate Turkey (Re: Diplomatic Circles, Embassy Feb. 1). I hesitate to speak after a departing colleague, yet the record has to be set straight for the sake of the readers: Genocide is a very serious allegation. The Canadian "government" has not recognized what is claimed to be genocide of the Armenians.

The suffering of Armenians, Turks and others during and before WWI in Ottoman Turkey is to be respected, but not to be distorted or made the subject of hate. It is such ill-conceived hatred that took the life of a member of this Embassy and seriously wounded others in this country. Canadian Parliament's declarations, encouraged by the Armenian Diaspora, are not a substitute for historical facts.

It is very revealing that the Armenian side has yet to respond positively to Turkey's offer to bring together scholars from both countries as well as others to open all archives and properly investigate all allegations. As for the "quarrel over the disputed territory of Nogorno-Karabagh," Armenia has yet to join peaceful and democratic nations in rejecting military action and occupation as a way of solving disputes. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence, but Armenia has gravely disappointed Turkey and the international community since then.

(Editor's Note: the Canadian government did recognize the genocide in Armenia on April 21, 2004 when the Liberal caucus accepted a Bloc Quebecois motion reading "That this House acknowledges the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity.")

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Territory Dispute with Azerbaijan, Not Turkey

February 8th, 2006
Fakhraddin Gurbanov Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Canada

In his interview with Embassy, Armenia's Ambassador to Canada, Ara Papian, has referred to the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan as a disputed territory (Re: Diplomatic Circles, Embassy Feb. 1). I understand that Mr. Papian can say whatever he wants in his interview, at the same time I deem it important that Embassy's readers must be informed that the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a part of Azerbaijan, officially recognized by the international community and currently occupied by Armenian military forces.

The United Nations Security Council in its resolutions 822, 953, 874 and 884 of 1993 has reconfirmed the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and its sovereignty over its Nagorno-Karabakh region, and demanded unconditional and immediate withdrawal of military forces from this and other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in its resolution 1416 of 2005 on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue reiterated that "the occupation of foreign territory by a member state constitutes a grave violation of that state's obligations as a member of the Council of Europe."[...]

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Turkish writers take stand for free speech

February 07, 2006
The Christian Science Monitor
By Yigal Schleifer - Correspondent

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – Twenty-something Fatih Tas is far from being one of the giants of the Turkish publishing scene. Based in a poorly heated one-room office, his Istanbul-based Aram publishing house usually counts its sales of individual titles in the hundreds - maybe the thousands if business is good.

But Aram's small size hasn't kept it from drawing the attention of the Turkish authorities. Mr. Tas currently has 20 court cases open against him and faces a six-month prison sentence if his appeal is not upheld. His fault? Violating a vaguely-worded law that regulates a wide range of acts that could be interpreted as an "insult" to "Turkish identity" or to the country's military and other state institutions.
World-renowned Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was charged under the same law [...] But unlike Pamuk, whose case was dropped on a technicality under strong pressure from the European Union, Tas and dozens of others are still mired in a legal system that raises questions about Turkey's readiness to join the EU.

"This resolution of the Pamuk drama does not really bring a lot of resolution to the other cases, because nobody really stood up for freedom of expression," says an Ankara-based European diplomat [...].
Five prominent Turkish journalists are expected in an Istanbul court Tuesday to face charges stemming from columns they wrote criticizing a judge's decision last September to ban an academic conference about the Armenian question.

Turkish legal experts say the cases represent a clash between pro-EU forces and conservative, nationalist members of the judiciary and government who are trying to use laws like Article 301 to slow down Turkey's democratic reform process.
The European diplomat said that the various freedom of expression cases could ultimately impact Turkey's accession talks with the EU, although for now the body will watch the remaining cases closely to see how they turn out.
In a January 20 speech to EU ambassadors in Ankara, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted there have been problems with how the new penal code has been implemented, but said it was too early to make any changes to it.
But Bilgi University's Tarhanli says an article like 301 harms Turkish democracy. "There must be a public interest in every legal provision, but what is the public interest protected under this article?" he asks. "The existence of such an article in a penal code in a democracy is nonsense."

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

U.S. ‘Not Worried About Armenian-Iranian Ties’

Friday 3, February 2006
Armenia Liberty

{The US ambassador to the Republic of Armenia Mr.} Evans indicated that Washington understands Armenia’s desire to reduce its excessive dependence on Russia for energy resources which was highlighted by a recent disruption of Russian gas supplies to the region. He also argued that the ongoing Armenian-Iranian energy projects do not breach a U.S. law that calls for serious sanctions against any company investing in the Iranian energy sector.
“The key point is investment into the energy sector of Iran, and so far there has not been enough of that to cause a problem,” added Evans.

The multimillion-dollar projects envisage only Iranian investments in the Armenian energy sector that are due to total at least $200 million in the coming years. Yerevan has already borrowed $34 million from Tehran to finance the ongoing work on a gas pipeline from Iran. The Iranians have also pledged to invest $150 in completing the protracted construction of a big thermal power plant in the Armenian town of Hrazdan. Armenia is to repay both loans with supplies of electricity to its big Muslim neighbor.
Evans revealed that while not objecting to the current level of Armenian-Iranian cooperation, Washington is trying to hold the Armenian leaders in check. “I have more than once consulted with members of the [Armenian] government to be sure that they are watching this question so as not to bring the American legislation [against Iran] into effect,” the U.S. envoy said.
Armenia seems to be firmly on the fence in the dispute, with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian calling last week for a “diplomatic” solution that would spare Iran international sanctions. Analysts believe that an overt confrontation between Western powers and the Islamic regime could seriously complicate Yerevan’s relations with Tehran.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Red-hot Science Debate in Armenia

2 Feb. 2006
By Arevhat Grigorian in Yerevan

Armenian scientists last week began hotly debating new proposals for a complete overhaul of the country’s scientific academies.Last year, the Armenian government asked the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, to draw up a reform programme for the country’s prestigious but ailing Academy of Sciences.

The completed draft report was submitted to the government on January 19, and is now being dissected by the scientists who will be affected by it.The draft programme would reform the way the academy is funded, drastically reduce its powers and overhaul the system of academic degrees.

The document has already drawn an angry response from Armenian academicians. In a newspaper interview on January 18, Fadei Sarkisian, chairman of the National Academy of Sciences condemned its authors as “enemies of the country”.
At issue is the future of what used to be a great source of Armenian pride - its tradition of scholarship in the natural sciences. The National Academy of Sciences, NAS, was founded in 1943 during the Second World War, and became a major centre for Soviet scientists. It still encompasses around 50 institutes and other organisations and employs nearly 4,500 people, 2,000 of them researchers.

However, like the rest of the country, the academy has fallen on hard times. In 2005, it received funding worth 9.3 million US dollars, one per cent of the government’s budget expenditure. Once-high salaries have plummeted to the equivalent of 60 dollars a month due to inflation
Atom Margarian, who heads the group of experts that drew up the report, explained that the state could no longer afford to commission such large amounts of scientific research. “That’s a model for a state striving towards totalitarianism or authoritarianism, and it cannot be justified in the conditions that prevail today,” he told IWPR.
Under the proposals, the current management of NAS will lose their administrative powers to a new agency whose structure has yet to be defined. “Our proposal is fatal for the academy’s leaders, as they will lose their levers of control,” acknowledged Margarian.
As well as the UNDP plans, there are two other reform proposals under discussion, one from the Public Council of Scholars of Armenia and another from the presidium of the NAS itself. But another academician, Andrei Nersisian, is dismissive of the latter, saying, “The NAS proposal is like a group of doctors standing by the bedside of a dying sportsman and thinking about new reforms rather than about to revive him.”

Margarian said his proposals would be phased in over several years with a careful monitoring process, so that they would not come as a shock to the academic system.

Spokesmen for the government say it is now carefully studying the findings of the UNDP report.

Arevhat Grigorian is a correspondent with Hetq Online newspaper. Seda Muradian, IWPR’s Armenia editor, contributed to this report.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.