Monday, April 30, 2007

Armenia's foreign trade soars in Q1


Armenia's foreign trade surged 44.4 percent to $876.4m in January-March 2007, the republic's National Statistics Service reported today. Exports stood at $231.2m (up 25.1 percent) and imports amounted to $645.2m (up 52.9 percent), Armenia's news agency ARKA reported. The trade deficit reached $413.9m ($396.7m if reduced by humanitarian aid - related shipments). In the first quarter of 2006, Armenia's foreign trade stood at $606.8m.

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.


Q & A: Violinist Sergey Khachatryan

28 Apr 2007
Playbill Arts

The remarkable 22-year-old violinist, set to make his New York recital debut on April 30 at Zankel Hall, talks about his connection to the music of Shostakovich and Khachaturian and his love of fast cars.

Following his recent debut with the New York Philharmonic and a return engagement with the Cleveland Orchestra, the young Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan returns to the Big Apple at the end of April to make his New York recital debut. Joined by his frequent recital partner (and sister) Lusine Khachatryan, Sergey will play two personal favorites, sonatas for violin and piano by César Franck and Dmitri Shostakovich. The recital, on Monday, April 30 at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, will also feature a touchstone work, the Chaconne in D minor from Bach's Partita No. 2 for unaccompanied violin. The Khachatryan siblings have plans to record the Franck and Shostakovich Sonatas later this season, for future release on the Naïve label.

Khachatryan made his American recital debut in September 2003, and a critic for The Kansas City Star called it "some of the most beautiful violin playing I've heard in a very long time." The review went on to say, "From the first notes of Beethoven's ‘Spring' Sonata for violin and piano ... Khachatryan had us listening on the edges of our seats ... [He] plays with the suavity of a snake charmer. Yet there's nothing slick about him." The New York Times was enthusiastic about his recent Philharmonic debut, for which he played the Sibelius Concerto: "He is trim and boyish, but he plays with assurance, depth, and a flexible, strikingly beautiful tone ... technique to spare and a feeling for the music's passions."

A 2004 recital by the Khachatryan siblings in Edinburgh prompted this response in The Scotsman: "The two frequently perform together, and have a perfect awareness of the balance between their two instruments, subtly enhancing each other's performance."

Just after the April 30 recital, the 22-year-old Sergey heads north for another important debut, playing Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bernard Haitink (May 3-5).

Looking further ahead, Khachatryan will play Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly (May 31-June 2) and with the same orchestra on tour in Paris (June 11) and at the BBC Proms in London (September 5). He performs the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at the Mikkeli Festival in Finland (July 1) and returns to the U.S. later this summer, for performances of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

In the interview below, Sergey Khachatryan discusses, among other things, his deep connection with Shostakovich's music and his love of fast cars.

You just had an important debut here with the New York Philharmonic and you'll be back in April for your New York recital debut. How are you enjoying your time in New York City?

Sergey Khachatryan: My debut with the New York Philharmonic in February was only my second time in New York City. The last time was in the summer when I had my Mostly Mozart debut. Of course it's a great city! Maybe not the best city for me to live in, but for a visitor really a crazy city! It never sleeps — there's so much happening here. I've been staying with friends, which is what I prefer to do when I travel, as it's a lot more fun than staying at hotels. While I was in town this time I went to the Blue Note to hear some Brazilian jazz and it was lots of fun. Having a busy nightlife is tough when you have concerts to perform. I don't do much else on days that I give concerts.

You're increasingly appearing in concert halls across the U.S., but have you already played in South America? There's definitely a lot of exciting classical music activity going on down there.

Actually, I've played in Ecuador twice and also in Brazil. I stayed at the Copacabana Hotel on the famous beach in Rio. Unfortunately the weather wasn't so great — lots of rain — but still, we went twice to swim (I was with my father). There were great waves and we were enjoying doing some body surfing!

Tell us about your upcoming program at Carnegie Hall. How did you select this particular repertoire?

The first thing I can say is that two of these works — the Bach Chaconne and the Franck Sonata — have been among my favorites works since I was born. I love Bach, especially the solo Sonatas and Partitas. He's a composer who stays with you no matter how much you change as a person. His music is really sacred, and when you play Bach it really cleans your soul and makes you feel more pure. I feel this personally when I play his music, especially the Chaconne. I think it makes a wonderful beginning for a recital.

Overall, it's a program built on contrasts, between Bach and his Baroque aspects and the Romantic elements in Franck's work. My sister and I have played the Franck Sonata frequently and it's one of his most wonderful pieces. It was written at the time of Romanticism in music, but there are hints of impressionism in it too.

And the Shostakovich Sonata?

Well, Shostakovich is my favorite composer in general. Lusine and I discovered the sonata together last season — we didn't know it before. Each time we've played it my opinion of it has grown. The performance at Carnegie will be only the fourth time we've played it, but still, we already feel very deeply connected to this music. We feel like we've been playing it for many years!

What is it about Shostakovich that you connect with so deeply?

When I was playing in the finals of the Queen Elizabeth Competition I chose to play Shostakovich's First Concerto. During rehearsal there was a man in the hall, and he came to me afterwards and said to me, "Do you know why he feels so near to your heart?" I said no. He said it has something to do with my country — with Armenia's tragic history, especially the massacre in 1915. It remains in our genes. Shostakovich's music has tragedy in its soul. It's the tragedy of humanity that keeps me near to him. And dramatic music is nearer to my soul.

Shostakovich is also on the program for your Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in May.

Yes, it's my first time playing with the orchestra as well as the first time I've worked with Bernard Haitink and I'll be doing the First Concerto. We hadn't met before but he apparently listened to a live broadcast of me playing Shostakovich — actually, a TV broadcast from the Proms last year — and he immediately requested me to play!

And you'll be in Los Angeles for the first time this summer.

Yes, I'll be playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl this summer. We have some great friends there and I'm looking forward to it. Although an outdoor performance where people are having a picnic before the concert isn't necessarily the best environment to listen deeply to classical music, it's good for people of a younger generation to feel more comfortable about coming.

Some people were surprised by the pairing on your debut release for Naïve. The Sibelius Concerto is such a warhorse, whereas the Khachaturian Concerto is more of a rarity. Were you using the attention that the Sibelius often receives to shed some light on a composer from your home country?

Well, Khachaturian is really my composer. As an Armenian he is very near to me and in my blood. I feel so free because I understand the emotion, and that emotion has to be right to really connect with his work. There are specific details from Armenian folk music in his works that are hard for a non-Armenian to understand. This is music that I feel deeply and that I really adore — especially the second movement.

How do you feel about playing contemporary music?

I've not played much contemporary music yet, but this fall I will play the first piece written for me. It's by Arthur Aharonyan, who lives in Paris and recently won a big composing competition. He's a very interesting composer and I'll play his new concerto in November in Nice.

How will he approach the writing of this piece? Will you be collaborating with him from the outset?

Yes, we'll be working closely on the piece. He showed me some of the details already and I've freed up time in October to prepare it. I'll never be able to work with Shostakovich, but it's great to have this opportunity to work with a living composer. To have the composer's thoughts and ideas there to help guide you is a wonderful thing. Perhaps I'll even record the piece.

After the opening night of your recent performances with the New York Philharmonic there were many young girls in the green room afterwards asking for an autograph — and even a hug or a kiss. Does this happen all the time at your concerts?

Well, there are unfortunately not enough young people at many of my concerts, but some of the young ones who are there often come back to say hi afterwards. Thankfully, in Armenia there's a lot of interest in classical music from the younger generation, and I go to the capital every year to play. It's important for me, and it's my duty to go to my country to share with them some of the success I've achieved — to give part of it back to them. Whenever I'm playing it's a special occasion. The young people make up 50% of the hall and many are musicians from the conservatory. They are even starting to make shows especially for young people. I think concerts at the university are very important. Curious students definitely might have an interest in classical music that we can connect with. For me it's easier because I'm young: since I have more direct contact with them they feel more connected than if they see someone from an older generation.

What do you do when you're not making music?

Cars are my hobby — my second life actually! I'll tell you something about myself: I'm really two persons! The first is in the music, my "real" self. The other part is really a "normal" person. And this is the part that really loves cars. I tune them myself, and car tuning — as well as designing — is my big hobby. I have two cars and I've designed the spoilers for them! My new car is an A-4 Audi, with a V8/4.3 liter engine. It's fast.

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.


Investigator Accuses Turkey of Tampering With Assyrian Mass Grave

Source: Turkish Daily News
By Onur Burçak Belli
The author says "The date is a symbolic day for Armenians who commemorate "genocide" on that day, a characterization disputed by most Turkish and many international scholars."

Please read the "many international scholars" as a minority or a handful of scholars funded by Turkey. As for the "most" Turkish historians Turkey has the PCA 301 (the penal code that punishes insulting "Turkishness") to keep all the rest out.

Istanbul -- An investigation to clarify conflicting claims about the origins of a mass grave found near the city of Mardin last year in Turkey's southeast ended in disappointment this week as historians traded accusations and a Swedish expert denounced the excavation as an "expensive picnic."

The grave first came to light last October when villagers in the district of Nusaybin reported that they had found a mass grave near the village of Kuru. Turkish historians insisted that the grave dated back to Roman times while some Westerners claimed it could be a mass burial site of Armenians, killed around 1915 in a series of massacres that remain the subject of red hot controversy today.

After the weekly news magazine Nokta published photos of the site and international news agencies picked up the story, Sweden's Soderton University demanded an investigation.

Refusing collaboration:

Professor David Gaunt of Soderton, accompanied by Yusuf Halaçoglu, the President of the Turkish Association of Historians (TTK), arrived at the burial site together last Tuesday, April 24. The date is a symbolic day for Armenians who commemorate "genocide" on that day, a characterization disputed by most Turkish and many international scholars.

On examining the grave, Gaunt refused to collaborate with the Turkish historians. It had been tampered with since it was first uncovered, making it impossible to conclusively establish its origins or the circumstances of the human remains.

"I have some photos of the grave, dating back to October, when it was first found," Gaunt told the Turkish Daily News yesterday. "But the place I saw was totally different from the photos."If proving that the grave is not evidence of Armenian claims, it should have had serious protection, he said. However, it is "full of mud.""My impression is that this grave is one in which no scientific research can be carried out. The grave has undergone numerous changes so it is unrecognizable," he said.

Soil sample conflict:

The Turkish Association's Halaçoglu, however, said in response that no bones were removed from the place and that the change was due to natural factors such as rain. Gaunt in turn rejected that explanation, saying if indeed scientific standards of protection were used "then it could not have been affected by rain or anything else."The aim of this visit was to make a preliminary survey to establish whether the site is suitable for interdisciplinary investigations in the future by forensic medical experts, archaeologists, physical anthropologists and historians. If such a decision was taken, forensic experts would be engaged to assist the Turkish Historical Society and the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation in their work.Noting that Roman pantheons have their own entrance, which was closed in the grave, Halaçoglu emphasized that the grave represents a typical Roman burial site.

It could not be a site, in his view, of alleged Armenian victims at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. He also chastised Gaunt for flippancy, saying if he is sincere about investigating genocide claims, he should have taken soil samples that could prove the history of the bones. He also recalled that Turkey has made an official proposal to Armenia to set up a joint commission of historians to study such disputed events and all sides should conduct their work impartially.Such impartiality is now impossible, an angry Gaunt argued: "They gave me a shovel to dig and get some soil and some little bones, which were impossible to work on and reach any scientific conclusion. It is an archeological site. The process should continue slowly and gently," he said "That was when I realized it was impossible to reach any scientific conclusion. Why should I get soil samples? What happened to those bones that are the real source for forensic research?"It could well be a Roman grave, he said, but the point was to examine the remains of 38 bodies there and that is now difficult if not impossible."Our intention was to understand how they got there, but I have heard that they were removed. I cannot accept the claim that mud filled the grave naturally," Gaunt explained.

Understanding the exact date:

David Gaunt also said it is scientifically impossible to understand the exact date from the bones. "It is not possible to say the exact date with scientific and chemical examinations. One can only merge the scientific outcomes with the stories of the local people. Then maybe one may have an answer close to reality."

Sait Yildiz, a Syriac local of Mardin, said Halaçoglu accused him of manipulating reality and misinforming the media. Yildiz was at the site with Gaunt and Halaçoglu the first time they went into the grave. "I was carrying the photographs taken at that time," Yildiz said. "A villager came to me, looked at the photos and confirmed that the grave looked like this the first time he discovered it," he added, explaining that villager was the one who first found the grave and reported it to the authorities.

The Swedish professor expressed his disillusionment, describing what happened as "childish."

"This is the most expensive picnic I have ever attended," concluded the professor.

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.

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The U.S. State Department amended for the second time on April 25 the wording of a controversial paragraph of its annual report on human rights in Armenia, restoring the initial wording that caused consternation and protest in Yerevan and among Armenian organizations in the United States.

That wording, affirming that "Armenia continues to occupy the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding Azerbaijani territories," was changed in the wake of Armenian protests to read "Armenian forces have occupied large sections of Azerbaijani territory adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian officials claim they have not 'occupied' Nagorno-Karabakh proper" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 24, 2007). Angered by that change, Baku cancelled the planned visit to Washington of a high-level delegation that was to have held bilateral talks on security issues on April 23-24, whereupon U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza telephoned Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in an attempt to reassure him that the new wording did not imply a retreat from Washington's policy of respect for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 25, 2007).

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Karapetian told RFE/RL's Armenian Service on April 26 that "we thought the mistake was corrected and are bewildered by such an unserious approach." Mammadyarov for his part was quoted by on April 26 as saying the reversion to the original wording of the report is "very important news." LF

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.


Vartan Oskanian: history not always gives humanity a second chance but we have it


YEREVAN (YERKIR) - “For a long time we had been trying to immortalize the events of the beginning of the 20th century.

We were alone, since there were two variants of history: official and supposed, recognized and rejected. The ruined empire was replaced by a state with nearly deified self-consciousness. It could not be tolerant to a massacre; this was beyond comprehension.

By this very reason a new history was invented, a history without tragic events. The verdicts of the military courts were eliminated. Evidences of missionaries and diplomats were questioned,” Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said in Brussels when addressing a soiree in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Minister said events of the kind are very important for prevention of escalation of genocides from Bosnia to Rwanda and Darfur. He also welcomed a Turkish intellectual, who said, “I am not to blame for what was done 90 years ago but I am responsible for what can be done today.”

Modern Turkey should be divided from the Ottoman Empire, according to Vartan Oskanian “However I should mention that if it’s possible when speaking of the 1915 events it becomes more and more difficult when the matter concerns Turkey’s policy of denial. How is it possible to divide two states when they propagandize the same ideology? Denialist ideology is shameful.

The later Turkey addresses its past and divides its conduct from the Empire’s deeds the harder it will be to explain the public that these are two different states,” Minister Oskanian said. “Armenia and Turkey are neighbors and will remain as such. We have a common border and we can advance together only. History not always gives the humanity a second chance but we do have such. Europe is a place where people draw whatever they need to advance.

It’s the place where former enemies can condemn events and politics but by no means people. On the contrary, the peoples of Europe pace from hatred towards reconciliation and accept the future openly. That’s what we want in our region,” Vartan Oskanian resumed, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.

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.

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Guest Commentary: U.S. Ignores Genocide for Alliance's Sake

26 April, 2007
The Guardian

America's apathy over the Armenian genocide stems from a desire to appease it's ally, Turkey.

By Robert Deranian, Ph.D.
Genocide Commemoration Committee of San Diego Member

April 26, 2007 — Most would agree that America's role in the world is, of late, a bit in doubt. Our young men and women are sacrificing their lives, and we believe, or at least hope, for good reasons.

Is it just about oil prices or even to protect America from terrorism?

Not quite.

There is something more, having to do with moral standing, that is vitally important to America. Those of contrary opinion say that such thinking is of little practical value and could even be detrimental to America's foreign interests. This is in fact just the point of contention.

What is best for America's interests is not always the immediate indulgence of self-interest but rather the implications of moral standard, what some call the high moral ground. Why is this important? America today faces threats from those who choose terror. They believe they are right, and by implication, America is wrong. Their frequent argument is that America makes the wrong moral choices, that we do not stand for what is right.

Do we have examples that prove the contrary?

One clear example of such a choice involves an issue that many have tried to keep under the radar for 92 years, the Armenian genocide. At first glance, the Armenian genocide seems to be just such an issue that is not important to America's self-interest and should therefore be dismissed without further notice. However, much to the dismay of those trying to keep the issue hidden, the Armenian genocide will just not go away.


To answer this question, go back to the time of World War I. The year is 1915, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire is fighting alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary and against Britain and its allies, including the United States in the later years of the war. Taking advantage of the chaos and confusion of the war, the Ottoman government decided to settle a long-standing problem occurring within its borders known in those days throughout the world as the "Armenian Question."

It included human rights violations against the Armenians, a Christian minority within the Islamic majority of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. The method employed to settle the problem was a mass extermination of Armenian people - an Armenian genocide. Initiated on April 24, 1915, the Armenian genocide was implemented through forced march, burning of towns, starvation, rape and outright massacre.

So brutal were the events, with estimates of 1.5 million Armenians killed, that despite the ongoing war, the world at large was horrified and demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice. At the forefront of this demand for justice was America, as personified by then-former President Theodore Roosevelt, calling what happened to the Armenians the worst crime of the war.

With such a clear acknowledgment of what happened to the Armenian people, official recognition of the Armenian genocide seems to be the right choice. However, Turkey categorically denies that a genocide ever took place, even paying high-priced U.S. lobbyists to work fervently at denying the Armenian genocide. That Turkey receives significant foreign aid from the United States and so essentially pays for such lobbying through U.S. taxpayer money is sadly ironic and perhaps not so surprising.

What is, however, surprising is the debate about recognition of the Armenian genocide that rages every year in the U.S. government. For those who oppose recognition, it's about not offending Turkey, a country of geopolitical significance.

The logic goes that the United States cannot risk offending Turkey by recognizing the Armenian genocide. Those favoring recognition counter this argument by saying that the Cold War is over, and that Turkey performed poorly as a U.S. ally during the initial stages of the current Iraq war.

While Turkey's geopolitical significance is debatable, what should not be debatable is America's position on issues of moral justice. From its beginnings, America has strived for the ideal that there is something more than just self-interest, something that makes the world a better place - the existence of a high moral ground.

Are we now to dismiss this high moral ground for reasons of short-term self-interest? This is the central question of debate within the U.S. government when it comes to recognizing the Armenian genocide. Case in point: Currently, there are resolutions making their way through both houses of Congress that would recognize the Armenian genocide.

In response, Turkey has sent some of its top government and military leaders to persuade the U.S. Congress otherwise. Their efforts seem not to be wasted as was well demonstrated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent congressional testimony. The following is an exchange of that testimony between Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rice.

SCHIFF: Is there any historic debate outside of Turkey? Is there any reputable historian you're aware of that takes issue with the fact that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians constituted genocide?

RICE: Congressman, I come out of academia, but I'm secretary of state now and I think that the best way to have this proceed is for the United States not to be in the position of making this judgment, but rather for the Turks and the Armenians to come to their own terms about this.

Rice completely dodges the very straightforward question concerning the historic reality of the Armenian genocide by asserting that the United States is not in the position to pass judgment. Put another way, the United States should not make judgments about issues of moral justice.

What are the consequences of the United States not making these kinds of judgments? In Turkey at least, the lack of a strong message from America about the Armenian genocide emboldens those who would deny its existence, to the point of passing laws that make it illegal to say there was an Armenian genocide. This has resulted in trials and, in some cases, imprisonment of leading Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel laureate writer Orhan Pamuk. Sadly this law also resulted in the rousing of a 17-year-old Turkish boy to murder Hrant Dink, a Turkish Armenian journalist dedicated to reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.

Making a judgment about moral issues like this one is rarely without cost. Throughout its history, America has had to make such choices.

These choices are not without consequence, as exemplified by the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans for just using the word "genocide" to describe what happened to the Armenians. This man's career was essentially ended because he made a stand to say what was right, to take the high moral ground. Without this high moral ground, can we as Americans claim that we are any different than our enemies, except that we have bigger guns?

America's very credibility is on the line. It's our choice.

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.


Nalbandian Named International Trade Specialist for Schwarzenegger's CATO

April 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Entrepreneur and long-time business consultant Johnny Nalbandian was named by the Foundation for Economic Development as the Trade Specialist for the California Trade Office of Yerevan, Armenia last month. The initiative to form CATO was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2005.

With an office already established in Yerevan, CATO is once again expanding operations with the addition of Nalbandian in Los Angeles.

Known as "Johnny" to his colleagues, Nalbandian founded a successful California-based seafood distributing and processing company at the age of nineteen. His company soon became a leader in the seafood industry not only by instrumentally moving restaurant white table cloth quality seafood into supermarkets but by also running pilot programs for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) HACCP program. At its peak, the Company had $60 million in sales and was known as “The Tiffany’s of the Seafood Industry”.

Nalbandian, who grew up in Los Angeles, has become a successful and highly demanded business consultant and marketer. His private firm J III & Co. is based in Commerce, CA. For the past four years, Johnny has advised businesses of all industries and sizes regarding expansion, trade, and investment opportunities.

"My dream," notes Johnny, "is to introduce California-based businesses to new market opportunities so that we can both strengthen there foundations while play a leading role in the development of these emerging economies."

"With the 2007 FED Board and the new Chairman Levon Kirakosian, I feel that we are a few steps closer to making that dream a reality within the coming months,” adds Nalbandian.

CATO’s main goal is to activate itself by turning to knowledge and experience in the private sector of the economy. With their new trade specialist, CATO brings an entrepreneur’s perspective into the office’s decision-making process. Nalbandian brings California street-smarts and years of experience to the table, enhancing the office's efforts to work on behalf of the wide array of California businesses.

"Given its current economy and geography," Nalbandian believes, "Armenia is the perfect gateway to the regions served by the office. This frontier of opportunities for California's businesses and investors are endless."

A brief history of the California Trade Office

CATO began its work in October 2005 under the auspices of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and is California's only foreign trade representation. The bill authorizing its creation was passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in the California State Assembly and Senate. Serving the greater Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and former Soviet States, CATO is operated by a California-based non-profit organization called the Foundation for Economic Development, for which Nalbandian serves as the new Executive Director.

CATO seeks to realize a promising yet formidable mission: to assist efforts by private businesses in California to increase exports to regions served by the office. CATO is sponsored by the business community, which in turn benefits from the office's ability to match them with potential partners and marketing opportunities. In doing so, it stimulates the economies of underdeveloped countries and improves California's foreign trade balance as well.

“The trade office will open new and large growth markets for California businesses and investors,” explained State Senator Jack Scott (D-Pasadena) on the occasion of the Governor's signing the bill he authored to authorizing CATO. “For Armenia, and its neighbors, the office will generate much-needed business and investment.”

Armenia is among the fastest growing economies in the world. During the Soviet period Armenia was one of the most industrialized republics of the Soviet Union, with well-developed chemical, electronics, and high tech industries. Annual GDP growth averaged double-digit levels over the last three years, including 13.9% in 2004. In terms of trade policies, Armenia has one the most liberal trade regimes in the world. According to Freedom House (a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and others), Armenia displays greater freedom in political rights and civil liberties compared with neighboring countries in regions such as the Central Asian republics.

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.

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Karabakh: Change of State Department’s report becomes habit


The point on Armenia of the US State Department’s 2006 report of Human Rights, which touched upon the Nagorno Karabakh, has been restored in its original reduction, the PanARMENIAN.Net journalist was told in the U.S. Embassy of Armenia. Currently the report says, “occupied by Armenia territories of Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh”.

Last week by demand of the Armenian side “occupied Nagorno Karabakh” formulation was removed from the text of the report. However it was restored on April 24.

In the interview to AzerTaj OSCE MG American Co-Chair, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza stated, “The statement in its original variant of the report was wrong. If we take into account the current stage of talks over the Nagorno Karabakh, it was our mistake. Let us consider one more time: the amendment says that the Armenian forces have occupied territories, but Armenian officials state that they have not occupied Nagorno Karabakh. As you see, we just indicated the statement of the Armenian side. Currently we are on the stage of peace process over the Nagorno Karabakh, when the sides negotiate over its final status. This status will be determined through peaceful ways via the OSCE Minsk Group, basing on such international principles as resolutions of the UN Security Council and OSCE decisions.

That’s why if we mistakably stated that Armenia has occupied Nagorno Karabakh, like in the original variant, that statement as if will predetermine results of negotiations concerning the status. We cannot determine results, they must emerge in the process of talks. That’s why I repeat we’ve committed a mistake. Now we corrected our mistake. I will also notice that we have not fallen under anybody’s influence. There are some people who say that we have done it under the pressure of some Diasporan groups. That’s not right.”

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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.


Commemorative events on Armenian Genocide anniversary held in British Parliament


On the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Parliamentarians, Armenians and supporters gathered for a commemorative service for the first time in the Houses of Parliament Church (St Mary’s-under-Croft) and also for a major international conference in the Grand Committee room of the House of Commons. The events were organized by Armenia Solidarity, the British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group and Nor Serount (New Generation) Publications. The Church service was under the care of the Rev Frank Gelli, who called for the government to be more proactive in the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. A wreath-laying ceremony took place at the Monument to the Innocents, Westminster Abbey.

Participants of the international conference, which was chaired by distinguished British parliamentarian Lord Avebury also discussed the tactics of Armenian Genocide denial used by denialist historians and the British Government. They also drew parallels between Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, as well as the cultural genocide in the Eastern Anatolia, PanARMENIAN.Net was told in “Nor Serount”. Besides powerful messages of a number of organizations were read at the conference.

The results of the conference, together with statements received from Genocide experts will be presented to the government in the course of the next few weeks by Lord Avebury and Baroness Cox. The government will also be invited to contact other well-known Genocide experts directly, say Prof Jurgen Zimmerer of Sheffield University and Dr Cathie Carmichael, of the University of East Anglia.

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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.


Martyrs of the Armenian holocaust remembered in Holy Land

April 26,2007
Indian Catholic

ROME (CNA): On Tuesday the Franciscans charged with the care of the Holy Land celebrated the “Day of Memory of the Armenian People,” recalling the legacy of the missionary martyrs who worked in Armenian territory occupied by the Turks.

“From 1894 to 1923, an unheard-of tragedy befell the Armenian people without distinction for sex or age, almost completely annihilating this Christian people that was the first to accept Christianity in the year 301 as the religion of the nation,” the Franciscan Custodians of the Holy Land said in a statement released on the internet.

The statement also took note of the “indiscriminate massacre of Christians” in which “a large number of missionary Franciscans of the Holy Land lost their lives, and the Latin rite faithful of Armenia were also immolated.”

Among those remembered during the commemoration were “Blessed Salvatore Lilli and seven companion martyrs, killed by the Turks for their faith; Brother Vittore Urrutia, starved to death for helping to save other parishioners from the massacre; Brother Pasquale Boladian, starved to death; Father Patrizio Werkley, who was killed while taking care of typhus victims,” as well as many others.

“May the memory and sacrifice of this people obtain from God peace in the world and fraternal understanding between all believers,” the statement emphasized in conclusion.

Armenian genocide

On April 24, 1915, Turkey arrested and executed hundreds of Armenian leaders, initiating what many call the holocaust of at least a million and a half of the two million Armenians who lived under the Turkish Empire.

The Armenian people lived as second-class citizens in the Ottoman Empire. Between 1884 and 1197, an estimated 300,000 were massacred. Between 1915 and 1917, many were deported and possibly up to a million and a half were executed.

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, April 28, 2007

Will Ankara’s Armenian initiative work?

Today's Zaman
Present day Turkey's rulers in between their four walls of ego, anchored in their imperial past and the second largest army in NATO for no other reason than to keep internal security, are deluding themselves by thinking the world and Armenians are naive to the point of idiocy. They discard voluminous research done by a large body of scholars over time as propaganda and shamelessly think that they can manipulate world opinion through advertising at no other date than on the commemoration of the Armenian genocide.
Yet another April 24 was commemorated by many countries as the day to mourn for the Armenians believed to have been subjected to a so-called genocide during World War I at the hands of Ottoman Turks.

Ankara, denying the event was genocide, does accept that there were killings of Armenians that took place under Ottoman Turkish rule between 1915 and 1918. Ankara however refutes the characterization of the events as genocide and says that the deaths were not the result of a deliberate campaign, but rather took place during the relocation of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

However since around 18 countries worldwide, as well as the majority of US states, recognize the World War I incidents as genocide, Ankara has long faced a difficult task in proving the opposite. This is mainly because it had not launched any tangible initiative, until 2005 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) offered the establishment of a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian historians, who would investigate whether the World War I events were indeed genocide.

Under strong pressure, mainly from the hard-line Armenian diaspora, Yerevan has so far refrained from accepting the Turkish offer, which also contained a pledge to open all the Turkish archives without any limitations.

Ankara has long been complaining about the failure of the powerful nations of the world, such as the US, Britain and Russia, to convince and encourage Yerevan to agree to the Turkish offer for the establishment of the joint historians committee. Many Turkish diplomats believe that Yerevan cannot single-handedly take a step to agree on meeting with Turkish historians and that powerful nations should therefore play a role in bringing Yerevan to the table to discuss the matter.

In an attempt to renew its joint committee idea, Ankara launched a campaign on the same day of the commemoration of the so-called Armenian genocide, April 24. Selecting five influential US dailies, including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Ankara called on Armenia, in a full page advert, to join the committee in an attempt to shed light on what happened in 1915.

The advert states that third parties can participate in the committee's work, while guaranteeing that Turkey will open all its archives without any restrictions. Turkey is ready to face its past, said the same ad, calling on Armenia to do same.

Such an initiative, as far as I know, comes 88 years after the British High Commissioner based in İstanbul, acting on an Ottoman Turkish request, invited some countries to participate in a commission to investigate the alleged Armenian genocide. This request, turned down by Britain the same year, was proof of reluctance on the part of some European countries to investigate the matter, writes Turkey's veteran diplomat Gürsel Demirok in his latest book "Turks in Europe from the Viewpoint of a Consul General."

But between 1919 and 2005 we have to admit that Turkey did not do much at all to have its case heard through the examination of its archives.

Still Ankara's latest initiatives should not be underestimated, though coming quite late, and should be heard and responded to positively by Armenia as well as by other nations with influence on Yerevan.

One of those countries is of course the US, where there has been an influential Armenian lobby in the US Congress in particular, which could influence Armenia in agreeing to the Turkish offer.

This offer also proves Turkey's sincerity in shedding light on the events of 1915. Perhaps for the first time in its history, Turkey has been displaying its readiness to face the claims and unearth the realities, if possible.

Thus publishing the advert directly taking on Armenia as an interlocutor, Ankara has been doing the right thing. But this initiative can only bear fruit if the powerful nations of the world, in particular the US, take genuine steps to convince Armenia to agree to the Turkish offer of the joint historians committee.

The convening of the committee can also be expected to mark the beginning of establishing confidence between the two neighbors, helping interaction between the peoples of both countries, while contributing to the reduction of historic enmity.

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.


Jewish groups lobby against ‘Armenian genocide’ resolution in US Congress

Today's Zaman İstanbul
Below it says, "US-based Jewish groups demanded that voting on congressional resolutions urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians be delayed. "

As if 92 years were not sufficient. Justice delayed is justice denied. At some point in time the US-based Jewish groups have to answer to their conscience.

In a letter addressing influential members of US Congress, including head of the House of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee Tom Lantos, US-based Jewish groups demanded that voting on congressional resolutions urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians be delayed.

The letter was jointly signed by B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). The letter included an annex -- a letter signed by the Turkish Jewish Community -- which said maintenance of good relations between Turkey and Israel and among Turkey, the US and Israel were crucial at a time when the US faces troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two separate resolutions are pending at the US Senate and the House of Representatives, urging the administration to recognize the World war I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress would seriously harm relations with Washington and impair cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US administration has said it was opposed to the resolution, yet the congressional process is an independent one. In his message for April 24, which Armenians claim marks the anniversary of the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, US President George W. Bush remained adhered to the administration policy of not referring to the incidents as genocide.

"Each year on this day, we pause to remember the victims of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, when as many as 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, many of them victims of mass killings and forced exile," Bush said. Turkey categorically rejects the claims of genocide and says as many Turks were killed when the Armenians took up arms against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the invading Russian army.

Bush, in his message, also called for the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia: "Today, we remember the past and also look forward to a brighter future. We commend the individuals in Armenia and Turkey who are working to normalize the relationship between their two countries. A sincere and open examination of the historic events of the late-Ottoman period is an essential part of this process. The United States supports and encourages those in both countries who are working to build a shared understanding of history as a basis for a more hopeful future," he said.

The Bush administration dismissed its former ambassador in Yerevan last year after he violated the US policy and called the events "genocide." Ambassador John Evans was insistent on his stance when he spoke at the National Press Club in Washington and said Turkey should accept "historical facts." He also claimed that Turkey's efforts had played a role in the abrupt termination of his duty as the US ambassador in 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.

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Friday, April 27, 2007


AZG Armenian Daily #076,
By A. Haroutiunian

As "Azg" has already reported, a delegation of a rather influential Mason lodge has arrived in Armenia recently. Previously it was reported that the delegation’s mission was to establish a Mason organization in Armenia, but on a press conference delegation members Claude Geidan, George Ferre and Guy Akobian assured that their visit was first aimed at expressing their regret about the victims of the Armenian Genocide and condemn the greatest crime of the 20th century.

Claude Geidan, Second Grandmaster of the "Great East" lodge, that it was established already in the 18th century and at present has about 50 thousand members. He said the lodge is neither a political nor commercial organization, and its sole mission is to preach the principles of freedom, equity and brotherhood.

Third Grandmaster George Ferre assured that the Masons never doubt the fact of the Armenian Genocide. "The events of the beginning of the 20th century was a part of Ottoman Turkey’s policy of extermination of Armenians, and the present policy of denial is the continuation of the Genocide," he said. Moreover, he said that the Masons involved in the perpetration of the Genocide are also worthy of condemnation. He informed that "Great East" lodge calls upon its counterparts in Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The Mason participants of the press conference said that they had an audience with eth Foreign Minister of Armenia Vardan Oskanian. They declared that they didn’t have a single meeting with any Armenian representative of Mason structures. Claude Geidan added that this is his first visit to Armenia and he does not know well the Armenian politicians and officials.

As the "Great East" lodge functions openly, unlike the secret activity of other Mason structures, the delegation members were asked to explain that. The Second Grandmaster said that their lodge is rather modest than secret, although there is a number of Mason organizations in France that are enshrouded with mystery. He added that their lodge has nothing in common with Anglo-Saxon Masons that "thrust their nose" in any business worldwide.

It is noteworthy that "Great East" members never visit states ruled by dictatorship, therefore they consider Armenia a democratic state, said the delegation members. Being asked whether their visit is to result in establishment of a Mason structure in Armenia, George Ferre repeated that the aim of their visit was to take part in the ceremony dedicated to the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

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.


A bad-looking model

25 April 2007
Ilana Bet-El

Despite what US and EU officials claim, an independent Kosovo would set a precedent in many ways - and an exceedingly dangerous one at that.

US and EU officials have been clocking up a lot of soundbites lately, explaining how independence for Kosovo would not set an international precedent. They are wrong: an independent Kosovo would be a precedent in many ways - theoretical, political, moral, to name a few - and an exceedingly dangerous one at that.

Separatist movements around the globe could and probably would seek to redraw maps based on the Kosovo model, not least in the already strife-ridden Iraq, where the three main ethnic groups - the Sunni and Shia Muslims, and the Kurds - could each or all use the precedent to demand independence. And especially with regard to the Kurds, this could have exceedingly negative implications on both regional and global stability.

There are at least four reasons for this act being a precedent.

First, there is the diplomatic precedent. The problem at stake is not whether Kosovo should go independent - a people's right to self-determination should not be debated - but rather in the way it is achieved. At present, the process is being driven as a sort of crusade, to culminate in an imposed solution rather than a negotiated one between the sides. It is this imposition, a de facto annexation of part of a sovereign state, which would be the precedent - not the resulting state.

Second, it would be a theoretical precedent: it would put the principal of self-determination above the principal of territorial integrity, which has been the bedrock of international affairs since the end of the second world war. Since then the international community has systematically stuck with this principal, effectively upholding the rights of the sovereign state above those of groups of peoples or individuals within them. What's more, all the previous settlements in the Balkans, from the early 1990s onwards, were created upon this basis - as underlined in every security council resolution (SCR) from 1991 onwards.

To gloss over this reality, senior officials of the state department and the EU claim this is but the last element of the break up of Yugoslavia, a neglected issue which the international community allowed to fester while focusing on other parts of the Balkans. As such the Kosovars are "owed" independence, in line with the other warring parties of the 1990s.

This reasoning poses the third precedent, in two ways. First, it is effectively a recasting of history. The break-up of Yugoslavia always referred to its six constituent republics, and it was their territorial integrity that was respected. Kosovo is a province in Serbia, a constituent republic, and referred to as such in every SCR on the province since 1993. Suggesting its ills were part of the break up is therefore a retroactive enhancing, indeed redefinition, of its status.

In addition, the moral reasoning of "owing" the Kosovars must set a precedent for every oppressed people in the world. Upon this basis, and currently in Africa alone, the international community owes it to the people of Darfur to grant them independence from Sudan, which has aided and abetted in having them displaced, murdered and raped; or to the people of Zimbabwe to remove their bizarre dictator Robert Mugabe who has led them to famine and destruction.

The fourth precedent already exists: it is the reality of Kosovo today - which in itself is based upon the precedent of the 1999 Nato bombing campaign, undertaken without security council authorisation. The International Independent Commission on Kosovo convened in 2000 defined it as "illegal but legitimate" due to the dire humanitarian circumstances. It also defined the post-bombing institutional arrangements "a unique institutional hybrid, a UN protectorate with unlimited power whose purpose is to prepare the province for autonomy and self-government - but in the framework of FRY [Serbia]". In other words, a precedent - but one which upholds the territorial integrity of Serbia above the rights of Kosovar self-determination.

Regardless of whether Kosovo deserves independence or not therefore, this move would be a precedent for every separatist group in every sovereign state - a fact which has already led several EU member states to not back the drive for independence.

Beyond Europe, independence for Kosovo could and probably would set the theoretical precedent for the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, for example, while the moral precedent could serve to give Chechnya independence from Russia. These could definitely cause a raucous in the Caucuses. However, it would be as nothing to the mess that would result from the creation of independent Sunni and Shia states, which could break away from Iraq - or an independent Kurdistan.

This latter would not only be totally unacceptable to Turkey, but to Iran, Syria and Armenia too, all of which have restive Kurdish minorities. However, more than most other minorities the Kurds could claim parallelism with Kosovo: they have been an oppressed minority for decades, especially in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, when they were gassed and murdered in their thousands. No one then (or since, in reality) did anything to help them - and yet they have an ethnic majority in Iraqi Kurdistan, and also in their provinces in the other states. Moreover, and taking the parallel to its logical conclusion, they too have achieved a degree of autonomy under international supervision due to an invasion unauthorised by the UN security council.

On the back of this, if Kosovo were to go independent due to an imposed solution rather than one negotiated between Serbia and the Kosovar leadership, there could be little to stop the Kurds demanding - or declaring - an independent Kurdistan. This move would undoubtedly provoke Turkey into invading the province into order to forestall its own Kurds from joining with the independent Kurdistan - a move that could then also provoke Iran and Syria, not to mention the rest of the Iraqis.

In a region that is already on the edge of wide conflict, such a scenario could easily tip it over - with devastating implications. Keeping this in mind, independence granted to Kosovo unilaterally by the international community would be a dangerous, destabilising precedent. A just resolution must be found to the status of the province, possibly one of partition - but it must be one negotiated and agreed by the sides, not one imposed.

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.


The diplomat who cracked

April 24, 2007
LA Times
By Matt Welch
The article says that Mr. Evans said "But there never -- given the realities -- there never would be a good time to face this issue, if one does the traditional calculations of well, Turkey is 72 million, Armenia is 3 million, it was 92 years and counting, and so on and so forth. This is a formula for it to go on for 500 years."

Ambassador John Marshall Evans, time will prove you right and your declaration of the Armenian genocide will be vindicated.
An interview with former U.S. ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who lost his job after referring to the Armenian genocide as “genocide.”

John Marshall Evans, a career U.S. diplomat with extensive experience in Central and Eastern Europe, was sworn in as ambassador to Armenia in August 2004. In February 2005, Evans made a trip to California, the capital state of the Armenian diaspora. At three different meetings with Armenian-American groups, when asked about Washington's lack of official recognition of the 1915-23 Armenian genocide as a "genocide," Evans said some variation of the following: "I will today call it the Armenian Genocide."

Since this deviated from State Department guidelines, Evans was eventually asked to resign. Now the mild-mannered foreign service veteran is preparing a book about his "intellectual journey" that led him "rock the boat" of U.S. policy.

I caught up with Evans this March, a few days after he gave the keynote speech explaining his dissent to the second annual banquet for USC's Institute of Armenian Studies. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

To start with, when did it become unusual, your preparation for this job? When you said that basically you wanted to read up on this controversial historical thing before assuming the ambassadorship, one does that before one goes to a foreign posting, anyway; at what point did that process become different than your usual diplomatic posting, in terms of fact-gathering, and conclusions that you might come up with? [...]

[M]y nomination for Yerevan was announced in the first half of May 2004. I was confirmed in late June, I can give you the exact dates. And then I had a window of a couple weeks in which I went into a kind of monastic retreat and read everything I possibly could about Armenia.

Now, I had the advantage that [...] [in] 1989, that year I had received a Cox Fellowship, and was spending a year reading Ottoman history at the Wilson Center in Washington, at the Kennan Institute. And so I read a lot of history. So I wasn't coming to the issue of Armenian history with a totally blank slate; I'd read mostly mainstream books -- Lord Kinross and various others who have written about Ottoman history. [...]

I read as much as I could before I went out to Yerevan. I read [former U.S. ambassador Henry] Morgenthau's story, which had a profound impact on me, and [...] I proceeded [to Yerevan], but not before having a discussion with my immediate boss about the issue of the genocide, and how it was treated in State Department materials. I felt that it was not being adequately addressed, but at that point I had no sense that we couldn't do a better job basically in the same lines that we were already using. I had not abandoned the policy, but I felt we could do a much better job with that policy, and in particular using the things that had been said by President Bush and President Clinton.

So I went out there and I became increasingly frustrated when I returned to that subject, at the fact that it was considered taboo. And it was; I couldn't really get it onto the agenda for at least a discussion. [...]

Let me also just say that I never departed from the U.S. policy line in Armenia. The question, if you look at public opinion polls in Armenia, what you see is that although the question of recognition of the genocide is on the minds of people, it's sort of the ninth or tenth issue behind social stability, having a job, worrying about their retirement, you know, worrying about Nagorno-Karabakh. And then you get down to the single digits, the people who put the recognition of the genocide at the top of their lists. Single digits.

So in a way it's much bigger for the diaspora?

That's right. That's correct. And I did not ever -- I rarely got a question about it when serving as U.S. ambassador to Armenia, and I never used the word 'genocide' in answering any question there. Almost never; I can't remember a time when a local journalist asked me about it.

By the time of my trip out here in February in 2005 I'd been in place for about six months, and I'd done more reading. I was more upset than ever about both the issue and the policy, and about the prospect that this is just going to be a situation that was going to continue ad infinitum. I mean, Turkish interests, and U.S. interests in Turkey; a country with 72 million, a member of NATO of long standing, with valuable strategic property in the Middle East, secular, Muslim, in a time when we're contending with forces in the Muslim world that have produced this fundamentalist ideology and terrorism. Turkey is a hugely important ally, and little landlocked Armenia, population 3 million at best, is never going weigh in those scales in such a way as to even make a showing.

And yet, the facts of the matter, the facts of the historical matter, and the legal definition of genocide as basically codified in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, which we ratified, does count for something in my view. I felt that something had to be done to rock the boat, and to open up some space around this taboo subject, which in the State Department was routinely referred to as "the G-word." Which to me is sort of reminiscent of potty training. [...]

I never in 35 years had encountered a U.S. policy that I could not at least live with. Certainly not one in my own area of responsibility.

I wonder how much of that is the fact that you had the good fortune, mind you, to spend most of your life basically working in what in retrospect can seem like the most virtuous of American endeavors, which is -- Winning the Cold War

Winning the Cold War in Central Europe in particular. You know, it's a lot different having done that than if you had to deal with Saudi Arabia, ever, you know, or other parts of the world where we have a much more realpolitik type of appraoch.

Well you bring to mind another point that I made Sunday night, and that is since 1989, American diplomats have spent a lot of their time encouraging the growth of civil society. [...] Civil society does matter, and when civil society, taken together -- that is, historians, journalists, public people who've thought about issues -- when the vast majority of them perceive that there was a genocide of Armenians in 1915, and we are withholding that in our declared policy, it sets up a very difficult situation: You can't call it cognitive dissonance, exactly, but as I expressed it the other night, when a policy is perceived as not conforming to the broadly accepted truth, the policy becomes less supportable, and may not be supportable.

I came to the point where I felt this strongly, that it couldn't be -- it was not -- sustainable. That this flew in the face of the facts as we know them from people I hugely respect, starting with Henry Morgenthau, and our past diplomatic colleagues. [...] The truth as we know it from very good sources had diverged to an unsustainable degree. [...]

But was it reasonable for you to imagine that your rocking the boat wouldn't get you fired? [...]

Clearly when I was here in February 2005, I knew that by mentioning this word, I could get myself in trouble. I didn't know precisely what the degree of that trouble would be, but I knew that it could range from a slap on the wrist to being immediately canned. And as it turned out it was something between those extremes: I got more than a mere slap on the wrist, I wasn't immediately canned. I basically was eased out after about 18 months, although I had more time on my clock. [...] I was basically asked to go ahead and retire. [...]

How would you characterize the reaction of your superiors or even just your colleagues when you said "Hey, this is a policy that I'm beginning to believe is untenable, we need to shift it this way"? And when I ask you how would you characterize it, is it your impression that they, too believed that this is a historically settled issue, it's just one that is inconvenient to talk about?

Nobody ever used those terms, and I never had that kind of a conversation. [...]

The problem for me was not that we were having an argument about it, the problem for me was we couldn't talk about it. I couldn't even get it on the agenda. And I couldn't take the policy positions that had been devised for dealing with this, I couldn't get them properly deployed, because nobody wanted to even touch it. I kept running into this sort of impossible Maginot Line, or just obstacle to even getting the issue onto the table, and that's where I decided to do an end run.

So it was less that people were saying, you know, "Stop knocking on this door"; it was more of just like, "Oh, I gotta go fill up my water glass now"?

Well, it was sort of "Now's not the time." But there never -- given the realities -- there never would be a good time to face this issue, if one does the traditional calculations of well, Turkey is 72 million, Armenia is 3 million, it was 92 years and counting, and so on and so forth. This is a formula for it to go on for 500 years.

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.


Grim memory still burning

April 26, 2007 12:00am
Herald Sun

ARMENIANS have marked the 92nd anniversary of the genocide of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots under the Ottoman Empire. Though many nations recognise it, the genocide is a flashpoint in Turkey's relations with the West.

From early morning, mourners climbed in heavy rain to a hilltop memorial in the Armenian capital to lay flowers. Many Armenians from around the world come for the annual ceremony. Hrant Gazariyan, 24, arrived from Turkey and said he would lay a flower in honour of Hrant Dink.

The Turkish-Armenian journalist was killed in Turkey in January after nationalists branded him a traitor for urging an open debate on the 1915 killings. Eleven suspects have been charged in the murder.

"Turkey must recognise the genocide so that there will not be more victims, like Dink," Mr Gazariyan said. Armenians say up to 1.5 million died in orchestrated killings in the Ottoman Empire's last years. But Turkey says 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife in 1915-1917 when Christian Armenians, backed by Russia, rose up.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and a closed border. In March, the Israeli parliament refused to recognise a genocide.

Turkey froze military ties with France in November after lawmakers voted to make it an offence to deny the genocide.

A resolution is pending in the US Congress to recognise the genocide, but a vote is yet to be set amid lobbying by the White House and Turkey.

The US ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, was recalled last year after he used the term genocide in a speech. AFP

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.

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John Evans called upon Congress to pass Armenian Genocide Resolution

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reaffirmed his "hold" on the controversial nomination of Richard Hoagland to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia in his remarks today at an Armenian Genocide observance organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus in Capitol Hill’s historic Cannon Caucus Room, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)

The Bush Administration has twice nominated Richard Hoagland to replace John Marshall Evans, a decorated career diplomat who was fired last year by the Secretary of State for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. From the outset, the Hoagland nomination has been the focus of intense controversy, first because of the State Department’s willingness to explain its firing of Evans, and later due to his denial of the Armenian Genocide in his responses to questions raised during his confirmation hearing. These remarks, which extended far beyond the euphemistic word games traditionally employed by the State Department, sparked outrage among Armenian Americans and widespread Congressional opposition to his posting in Yerevan.

Looking to Ambassador Evans, who was seated in the first row of the standing room only hall, Senator Menendez said, "I wish the Ambassador was back in Armenia, but if we cannot get him there, I refuse to release my hold on Ambassador Hoagland because of his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." The Senator added, to a sustained ovation, that, "the President [should] appoint a new nominee who will represent the interests of the United States and Armenia much better."

In his remarks, Ambassador John Evans, the program’s keynote speaker, called upon Congress to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution. In a speech repeatedly interrupted by applause, he said, "If we dare not call the 1915 events genocide, we make it more likely that current genocides, such as that in Darfur, will continue and future genocides will occur... This is why, ladies and gentlemen, after 92 years, the time has come to call a spade a spade. House Resolution 106 on the affirmation of the United States record on the Armenian Genocide should be adopted by the Congress." The former envoy continued, stressing: "History does matter. Truth does matter. Justice does matter."

! 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.


Bulgaria's Turkish Party Won't Recognize Genocide in Armenia

25 April 2007, Wednesday
Sofia News Agency
This article reports "MRF deputy-head Lyutvi Mestan tried to move the subject with a suggestion for a declaration showing "compassion with the tragedy of all nations and groups of people that had been victims of violence." Mestan said that Bulgaria's Parliament had no right to assume the powers of an institution that "gives away historical evaluations of events that haven't received consensus and categorical evaluation from historians." He added that Turkey and Armenia are now in a dialogue to find out the historical truth of the events."

Obviously this is not true. Genocide is everyone's business. It is not a question of bilateral dialogue, besides no such dialogue exists between Armenia and Turkey. Historians have already spoken long time ago and declared the massacres as genocide based on overwhelming documented historical evidence.
Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) sparked controversy in Parliament, when they refused to accept the term "genocide" when it comes to the slaughtering of over a million Armenians in 1915.

MP Rupen Kirkoryan, who is on the ticket of Simeon II National Movement (SIINM), suggested that the memory of the killed Armenian citizens be honoured with a minute of silence.

When the Parliament fell silent, all MRF representatives demonstratively left the room. Their act enraged the opposition and Boyko Vatev from the Bulgarian National Union said that it was about time the Bulgarian Parliament adopted a declaration reproaching the genocide. He added that the genocide over the Bulgarian citizens during the April and Ilinden Uprising should also be recognized.

Vatev believes that the adoption of such a declaration and Turkey's possible decision to reread the events of the 19th and 20th century would introduce a European climate in the bilateral relationships between Bulgaria and Turkey. It would also help Turkey advance in its EU accession plans.

The leader of nationalists Ataka (Attack) urged the parliament to officially recognize the events in Armenia as Genocide just as 9 European countries have already done. "This genocide has to be accepted by the Bulgarian Parliament, but I doubt that the majority would do so," Siderov said. "There is a party in the ruling majority that protects the interests of Turkey and this party is MRF," he added. "The representatives of this party are not here and did not honour the memory of a million and a half Armenians."

MRF deputy-head Lyutvi Mestan tried to move the subject with a suggestion for a declaration showing "compassion with the tragedy of all nations and groups of people that had been victims of violence." Mestan said that Bulgaria's Parliament had no right to assume the powers of an institution that "gives away historical evaluations of events that haven't received consensus and categorical evaluation from historians." He added that Turkey and Armenia are now in a dialogue to find out the historical truth of the events. His words and his tone drove all representatives of the opposition out of the plenary hall.

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.


Stop denying the Armenian genocide

National Post (Canada)
April 27, 2007 Friday
National Edition

Imagine a country that denies the Holocaust.

Imagine that the same country insists that Jews were killed because they were disloyal to Germany and were also guilty of killing German soldiers during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Bizarre? Fiendish? Ridiculous statements that do not deserve a response? Yet something very similar has been asserted for the past 92 years by Turkey. A recent example appeared in these pages recently ("Bridging the divide between Turkey and Armenia," Aydemir Erman, April 24). Despite countless books by genocide scholars, tons of documents in American, Austrian, British, French, German (Turkey's wartime ally) and Russian archives, eyewitness accounts and Western (including Canadian) newspaper reports, the Turkish government denies that in 1915 it committed a deliberate, government-organized genocide against Armenians. That genocide has also been acknowledged by the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

The International Genocide Scholars Association (IAGS), in its 1997 convention, adopted a resolution unanimously reaffirming that: "The mass murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide."

The IAGS in its June 16, 2005, open letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey, put to rest the issue of an "historians" commission to study the Armenian Genocide when they declared: "We are concerned that you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide and how this event conforms to the definition of the United Nations Genocide Convention. We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide ... to deny [the Armenian Genocide] its factual and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims and erase the ethical meaning of this history."

On June 9, 2000, 126 Holocaust scholars, including author Elie Wiesel, published a statement in The New York Times affirming "that the World War I Armenian Genocide is an incontestable historical fact." Raphael Lemkin, who drafted the UN Convention on Genocide and coined the word Genocide in 1948, on many occasions cited the attempt to annihilate the Armenians as a clear case of genocide as defined by the UN Convention on Genocide.

In recent years, righteous Turks -- particularly scholars and journalists -- have spoken against their government's denial of the Armenian Genocide.

It's clear that what happened to the Armenians was not the result of "civil strife," "rebellion" or "military necessity," as Turkish governments have claimed. The Armenian Genocide was a state-sponsored and state-sanctioned plan. At a 1910 conference in Salonika, the Young Turks leader Talaat Pasha stated: "There can be no question of equality [for minorities] until we have concluded our task of Ottomanizing the empire." Three months later the Young Turks leadership approved Talaat's plan in a secret meeting.

The Turkish Government's attempt to divert the attention of the international community from recognition through disingenuous proposals, such as the creation of "historians commission," is a bankrupt strategy.

The reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide serves to address the injustice that took place 92 years ago and to play a positive role in the healing process for Armenians. The reaffirmation is about condemning attempts to rewrite history.

Because of Turkey's refusal to face its dark past, the process of healing, which is essential to peace, has not begun for Armenians. As genocide scholars have said, the last act of genocide is the denial of that act.

- Aris Babikian writes for the Horizon Weekly and is a member of the Media Council of Canada.

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Armenian genocide just as real today

Apr 25, 2007
Visalia Times Delta

Tuesday commemorated a historical event that the U.S. government claims never occurred.

But the 92nd anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian genocide is very real for thousands of people in the San Joaquin Valley whose families were devastated by the systematic extermination of a people.

Commemorating and remembering the Armenian genocide is a act of respect for them, as well as the historic truth. It also acknowledges the diversity of our area and the history of individual groups that helps us all appreciate different cultures.

The event known as the Armenian genocide began on April 24, 1915, at the height of World War I. The Ottoman Empire, now modern-day Turkey, was allied with Austria and Germany against the Western Allies. Part of the empire was the nation of Armenia, and thousands of Armenians lived within Turkey's borders.
Armenians and Turks were antagonists, and Armenia had long chafed under the rule of the Ottomans.

On April 24, the group known as the Young Turks, which was seeking reform of the empire, rounded up Armenian leaders in Constantinople, the capital of Turkey and the empire.

Between the years 1915 and 1918, the Armenians were massacred, tortured and deported. Some were sent into the desert to die of hunger and thirst. Their property and possessions were appropriated. After a couple of years respite after WWI, the genocide continued.

At the beginning of World War I, about 2 million Armenians live in the Ottoman Empire. By 1925, virtually none lived there. Estimates are that as many as 1.5 million were killed. The rest had been scattered.

Many Armenians in the San Joaquin Valley started their lives here as refugees from the genocide.

It is hard to imagine how such a thing could have occurred, but the Turks used the same tactics the Nazis later used to exterminate 6 million Jews in Europe: They started by disarming Armenians, forcing them to register and then rounding them up into ghettos. The began the genocide under cover of a national news blackout under the pretense of the need for security in wartime.

The present-day Republic of Turkey flatly denies that the genocide occurred. Indeed it is not well known as a historical event, even among people in our Valley.

The U.S. government has refused to acknowledge that the Armenian people were the victims of genocide, which is defined as the organized killing of a people with the express intent of putting an end to their collective existence. The United States dares not antagonize the government of Turkey, which occupies strategic military importance in the Middle East, western Asia and the Mediterranean and borders Iran, Syria and Russia.

Many politicians have appealed to the State Department, to a succession of presidents and to Congress insisting that the United States government acknowledge the Armenian genocide. It has become an annual exercise in frustration for U.S. Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa. Apparently the good graces of the Turkish government are more important than the truth.

Remembering the Armenian genocide is just as relevant to our time as awareness of the Holocaust, of slavery of African-Americans and of atrocities against Native Americans. Keeping those events fresh in our consciousness is important so that we don't repeat those awful stains upon history.

It's also important because of the diversity of our Valley, which includes many thousands of people of Armenian descent. To help us live together in a diverse community, we need to appreciate each other's history and culture, including refugees from war and genocide, such as the Southeast Asians and Armenians, immigration to escape deprivation, such as immigrants from Latin America and Asia, and the struggle against racism and bigotry in our own country, such as that suffered by African Americans.

In commemorating the Armenian genocide, we not only acknowledge this injury against the Armenian people, we repeat the refrain that we hope will one day also be common whenever anyone remembers the tragic events 92 years ago: Never again.

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.


Be honest - it was genocide

Wed, Apr. 25, 2007
McClatchy-Tribune News Service


The following editorial appeared in the Fresno (Calif.) Bee on Tuesday, April 24:

Time is running out on those who refuse to recognize what happened to the Armenians. Turkey and the United States are increasingly isolated in their revisionist position. Turkey, which desperately wishes to join the European Union, is finding its path to membership blocked by its intransigence on the genocide issue. The world knows the facts of the Armenian genocide, and the world demands recognition of those facts. Now is the time.
When is a genocide not a genocide? When nationalist fervor trumps history. When geopolitics trumps justice. When blindness to the truth trumps wisdom.

A genocide is not a genocide if you're the president of the United States, and the subject is Turkey and the mass slayings of 1.5 million Armenians in the period during and just after World War I. A genocide is not a genocide when you're the U.S. State Department and you're worried about ruffling the feathers of a close military and political ally - an ally so dedicated to U.S. interests that it closed its borders to the passage of U.S. combat troops in the invasion of Iraq.

The rest of the world has no trouble recognizing a genocide. That's why millions of people, Armenians and non-Armenians alike, marked the 92nd anniversary of the onset of the genocide Tuesday. It was on April 24, 1915, that the Ottoman Turks began the systematic roundup of Armenian intellectuals and other leaders. Around 250 were subsequently murdered.

Over the next eight years, Armenian were expelled from their ancient homeland and driven into exile. Many perished from the hardships of that forced expulsion. Many more were shot, hanged and otherwise butchered. It was planned and executed with a determination and precision not seen again until Nazi Germany refined the techniques of genocide and carried out the even bloodier Holocaust during World War II.

But what happened in Turkey nine decades ago wasn't genocide, according to President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The administration - like administrations of both parties in the past - is trying to block efforts in Congress to force official U.S. government recognition of the fact that genocide did, indeed, take place against Armenians. They may not be able to do so; congressional support for recognition is higher than it's ever been.

Time is running out on those who refuse to recognize what happened to the Armenians. Turkey and the United States are increasingly isolated in their revisionist position. Turkey, which desperately wishes to join the European Union, is finding its path to membership blocked by its intransigence on the genocide issue. The world knows the facts of the Armenian genocide, and the world demands recognition of those facts. Now is the time.


© 2007, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).

Visit The Fresno Bee online at

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.


Cyprus: Turkey ought to recognize dark pages of its history and apologize for Genocide


YEREVAN (YERKIR) - The Cyprus government condemns the Armenian Genocide, noting that the modern Turkey, which aspires to join the EU, ought to recognize the dark pages of its history and apologize for the crimes of its sinful past.

Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis stated, as 92 years are being marked since the Armenian Genocide, the Cyprus government condemns this abhorring crime and takes part in the national mourning of the friendly people of Armenia and especially the Armenian community in Cyprus.

He said, that the “refusal of Turkey to recognize the massacre of one and a half million Armenians constitutes “a ridicule and distortion of history”. “The Armenian Genocide is not a crime that can be wiped down with the violent abuse of the historical truth by guilty Turkey”, Christodoulos Pashiardis added, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.

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.


Turkey finds Canadian premier's Armenian "genocide" remarks unacceptable

April 27 2007
Anatolia News Agency
The articler below says "Turkey's proposal to establish a joint commission of historians is still on the table and has been brought widely to the attention of the international public opinion. This commission will be open to all concerned and competent historians regardless of their nationality,"

Here is the answer given by the Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan:

"TNA: If there isn't even agreement among the world's leading historians and experts on the 1915 tragedy, what was wrong with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's call last year to set up a joint committee of historians and experts to deal with the issue together?

OSKANYAN: I've got to be very honest with you here, we think it's not a genuine proposal, it's a smokescreen for Europeans to think that Turkey has made a positive step. Let me explain why we think it's a smokescreen.

Because of three reasons. One, there's already such a commission like many Turkish scholars, Armenians and foreign scholars have debated the issue, they have discussed the issue and they have declared their position. Those scholars wrote a letter to Prime Minister Erdogan when he issued this invitation and they said: Mr. Prime Minister, that issue has been already studied by different scholars and the conclusions are very clear. It is a genocide, so there's no need for further discussion. And second, with the law within Article 301, you can't be serious about such recommendations. I guess that if your scholars are on the commission, study this topic, they can't accept that it's a genocide. This is what it is. You have 301, that says if you say there's a genocide or even discuss the issue of the events of 1915, you can be punished. It's not compatible. Then today there's a vacuum between the Turkish and Armenian governments, between those two states, because there's no diplomatic relations. The border is even closed. So how do you imagine creating that commission among historians? How will they meet? Where? How will they interact? So there are many problems to be dealt with correctly." HERE.
Ankara, 26 April: "We find this reference in the statement of the Canadian prime minister unacceptable, unjust and incompatible with our relations as friends and allies," Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said when commenting on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's statement on 24 April related to the events of 1915 to which he referred as "genocide".

Releasing a statement, the MFA said, "Turkey remains committed to preserving its good will and constructive approach in order to assure that the events of 1915 are understood correctly in their entirety by the Turks, the Armenians and other nations."

"Turkey's proposal to establish a joint commission of historians is still on the table and has been brought widely to the attention of the international public opinion. This commission will be open to all concerned and competent historians regardless of their nationality," the statement pointed out.

"We regret Prime Minister Harper's statement which will contribute neither to the promotion of the Turkish-Canadian relations nor to a possible rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. We believe that Mr Harper continues to be misled, and suggest that he encourages competent Canadian historians into studying the events of 1915 on a proper basis," it added.


Armenians of Moscow called on Turkey to recognize Armenian genocide and confess

The duty of Armenians in keeping the memory of their genocide alive is before all, for the whole of humanity.
YEREVAN (YERKIR) - Events dedicated to the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide launched in Moscow late in the evening of April 23 in the Holy Cross Church.

Head of “Hay Dat” Moscow office Yuri Navoyan told PanARMENIAN.Net that on April 24, a service for the victims of the Armenian Genocide in the Holy Cross Church was offered by Archbishop Ezras Nersisyan, head of Russian Eparchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Representatives of the Armenian Embassy in Moscow, members of Armenian organizations of Moscow and youth organizations laid wreaths to the khatchkar in front of the church.

“At 3:00 p.m. representatives of Armenian youth organizations, totalling 500 activists, made for the Turkish embassy in Moscow. Representatives of Kurdish, Greece and Assyrian communities of Moscow accompanied them. Armenian youth organizations of Moscow issued a statement that calls on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide and confess,” Navoyan underlined.

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.


Events dated to Armenian Genocide 92nd anniversary held in Benelux states


YEREVAN (YERKIR) - On April 24 a service for the Armenian Genocide victims was offered in the St. Mary Magdalene Church of Brussels. Armenia’s Ambassador to Benelux states Vigen Chitechyan, leaders of Armenian and Jewish communities in Belgium and Tutsi organizations were present at the service.

After the mourning liturgy the present made for the khatchkar placed in memory to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Head of the Armenian community of Belgium Michel Makhmurian and a representative of ARF Dashnaktsutyun delivered speeches near the khatchkar. Representatives of all political forces of Belgium, as well as Senate Chairman Ann-Marie Lizin, MPs and representatives of the Armenian community came to the khatchkar to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Events dated to the Armenian Genocide 92nd anniversary were also held in the Netherlands. Services for the victims were offered in Amsterdam and Almelo, where Armenia’s Ambassador to NATO Samvel Mkrtchyan, representatives of authorities and politicians were present. Representatives of “Christian Union” party, which is a part of the ruling coalition in the Parliament of the Netherlands, stated their party is going to initiate a legislative bill in the country’s parliament on criminal punishment for denying the Armenian Genocide, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.

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 Genocide Commemoration in Times Square NYC


YEREVAN (YERKIR) - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) organized Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Times Square in New York on Sunday.

Senators Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez, Co-chair of the Congressional Caucasus on Armenian Issues Frank Pallone, Representatives Adam Shiff and Carolyn Maloney, former Ambassador to Armenia John Evans were speakers of the event. They urged the U.S. Congress to pass the Armenian Genocide resolution and call Turkey to responsibility for the crime, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.

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 Genocide victims commemorated in Krasnodar


YEREVAN (YERKIR) - An event in memory of the Armenian Genocide victims was held in the Armenian Surb Hovhannes Avetaranish Church in Krasnodar, reports Yerkramas, the newspaper of Armenians of Russia.

On behalf of organizations and private persons, wreaths were laid to the Khachkar to the Genocide victims. Bishop Movses Movsesyan offered a mass followed by a Commemoration Meeting.

“Each Armenian should remember the innocent victims,” Yerkramas editor-in-chief Tigran Tavadyan said. “Furthermore, recognition of the Genocide by the international community could bring not only satisfaction but also the possibility to return historical lands of Western Armenia.

Diaspora’s role is to prove the world that Armenians are struggling people, who have the right to Fatherland and repatriation. The Armenian Diaspora of Krasnodar consisting of natives of Western Armenia should also make its contribution,” he said.

Krasnodar City Duma member Vladimir Maranyan, ataman of the Kuban Cossacks Mikhail Timchenko, chairman of the Krasnodar Center of National Cultures Oleg Georgizov, chairman of the Krasnodar branch of the Union of Armenian of Russia Ramik Gevorgyan, representative of the Kranodar friendly association of Armenian students Artur Yeghikyan delivered speeches.

A group of Armenian young people burned the Turkish flag, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.

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.