Archive for January, 2006

No 301!

Turkish professors have started “no 301” campaign in Turkey. Article 301 from the penal code makes the recognition of the Armenian genocide criminal act in Turkey. European Union has harshly criticized the article. The newly-launched website of the campaign is (“No 301!”) and is available in Turkish language only.

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Photo from Ani

evrimnazli has lately taken photographs in eastern Turkey (Western Armenia). One of the photos, from 23 September 2005, shows the whitewashed frescoes of the Mother Cathedral in Ani, the ancient Armenian capital, now in ruins. The cultural cleansing against the Armenian heritage in Turkey continues.

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Report on Nakhichevan

Steven Sim is a Scot who visited Nakhichevan (currently part of Azerbaijan) in 2005 to check the situation of the Armenian monuments there, since he was continuously told by his Armenian friends the horrible situation of the Armenian monuments there. He was skeptical. He thought Armenians were exaggerating the situation. But after visiting Nakhichevan, Sim was shocked. The Armenians had not exaggerated the situation while speaking of the cultural destruction of their heritage in Nakhichevan. Not at all…

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Photo: The ground has been leveled where an Armenian church used to stand in Nakhijevan (from

Sim’s report on his trip (published in January of 2006) is available in a PDF file at…an%20report.pdf. I uploaded the same document to for easy access.

I am heading to a leadership conference right now, which will continue until tomorrow night. Thus, I may not be able to update the blog in the next 1-2 days.

Below is the concluding part of Sim's report:

…Everything in my bag was taken out and carefully looked at, and the bag itself was examined for any
secret compartments. This lasted for about 15 minutes, without a word being spoken. Then the younger
man spoke to me in English, mostly translating questions given by the older man (whom I took to be
some sort of security chief – he never gave me his name or position).
To start with I was asked “What was my job, how much did I earn, who paid me to come to Nakhchivan,
why would I use my own money to come here?”

He examined carefully a notebook I had with me. One of the things that I had written in it was the title
of a book about Ottoman Armenians I had seen in a bookshop in Turkey. Seeing the word “Ermeni” in
the title he asked me about it. When I told him what it was, there was incredulity in his voice – he was
clearly astonished that a book about Armenians, written by a Turkish Armenian, could be published in
Turkey, in Turkish, and that Turks would wish to buy it!

They checked through all the photographs stored in my digital camera. Fortunately I had left those of
the Yernjak valley in my hotel room. They showed most interest in a photograph I had taken in
Naxçivan city. It was of a stone slab that I had seen in the gardens opposite the Momina Hatun mausoleum,
surrounded by a large collection of ram-shaped gravestones. On this stone was carved a cross
rising from a rectangular base. The arms of this cross ended in a two-pronged fork, and the head ended
in a semicircle. When I had seen it I thought that it resembled a very simplified khatchkar. “What do
you think this is”, he asked.
“It looks like a cross”, I replied.
“No it isn’t. It cannot be. Only Muslims have ever lived in Naxçivan!” he replied.
“Well, what do you think it is?” I asked him.
They had a discussion amongst themselves for a while, before pronouncing that “the curved top is a
crescent moon – that is a Muslim symbol, so it is really an Islamic carving”.
They seemed pleased with themselves for concocting this explanation – so I was surprised to discover,
when checking over my pictures later, that they had deleted the two photographs that showed this

They asked me why I thought that there was a church in Shorut.
“Because a book had told me”, I said.
“It is wrong, it is lying to you. It is an Armenian book, yes?”
“Yes” I replied.
“You see, Armenians are always lying – they are lying to everyone”.
I couldn’t resist pointing out to them that there were photographs of the Shurut church in the book. To
this they responded by saying “Armenians, they came here and took photographs of Shurut village and
then they went back to Armenia and put into them photographs of a church in Armenia.”
“It is all just Armenian lies. They are lying to you! There never were any Armenian churches anywhere
in Naxçivan. There were no Armenians ever living here – so how could there have been churches here?
There never was a church in Abrakunis, there never was a church in Shurut, there never was a church
in Julfa!”

My interview culminated with them having a discussion amongst themselves, at the end of which they
said, “we think that you are not here with good intentions towards the Azerbaijan republic”. I was told
that I had to be out of Nakhchivan by midnight. It was agreed that for an additional 50 dollars on top of
the agreed fare to Shurut, my taxi driver would take me back to Naxçivan city and then on to the Turkish
border. I crossed the border with about 45 minutes to spare…[highlights by Blogian]

For the Record

Once upon a time, “Holdwater” (the author of the denialist hatesite, hidden under the nickname “mentor” at, asked in an offended tone why there were not Armenians who would deny the Armenian genocide!

Turkish nationalists had been in hunt for “Armenians who would deny the Armenian thesis” long before Holdwater was around. I do not know why Holdwater was searching for Armenian deniers, when one of his friends, Edward Tashji, was already in charge.

Who was Tashji?

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Photo: Edward Tashji, Turkish Day Parade, May 2003, holding the Turkish flag in front of Immortal Ataturk's portrait (from

Tashji, according to himself, was the son of Armenian and Assyrian parents. He was Christian, born in Turkey. For years, Turkish propagandists used Tashji to show “how objective Armenian dismisses Armenian genocide claims!”

But who was this “objective Armenian?” The “objective Armenian,” as it turned out after his death in June of 2005, had been on Turkish payroll for many years. “Tashji was
the public relations director for the New York-based Federation of Turkish-American Associations,” according to the Turkish Daily News (27 June, 2005).

Well, let us assume that Turks do not discriminate against Armenians and that they would hire an Armenian to work for them. But why, do you assume, this “Christian Armenian” was buried in Karacay Turkish Cemetery of New York?

Just for the record…


International Christian Concern finally reacts to the Azerbaijani vandalism in Nakhichevan. It has been over a month since about 100 Azerbaijani soldiers destroyed the surviving monuments of the ancient Armenian cemetery of Old Julfa (hin Jugha), but UNESCO has not condemned the vandalism yet (European Parliament did so on 19 January 2006).

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Photo: Few of the many khachkars of Old Julfa before the destruction

Azerbaijani Soldiers Desecrate Armenian Christian Cemetery

The Washington, DC-based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), has recently been informed that the government of Azerbaijan has destroyed an irreplaceable medieval Armenian Christian cemetery in the Djulfa region of Nakhichevan.

This act of cultural “cleansing" continues the spirit of the Armenian Genocide – an attempt by the Muslim countries in the region to erase all memory of a thriving Christian culture that has existed in the Caucasus area since the fourth century AD. Although this atrocity is on the same level as the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001 and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries throughout Europe, the US State Department has remained silent.

"We are profoundly troubled by the Azerbaijani government's desecration of the Armenian Christian cemetery in Djulfa – particularly the destruction of irreplaceable carved stone crosses, many over a thousand years old," said ICC president Jeff King. "The shocking videotape of the systematic demolition of this treasure of world Christian heritage documents for all to see a deliberate act of hatred against a long-persecuted Christian nation and – more broadly – an affront to all Christians around the world."

In mid-December of 2005, roughly 200 Azerbaijani soldiers were caught on videotape using sledgehammers to demolish a sacred site of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The cemetery dates back to the 7th Century and was once home to as many as 10,000 khatchkars (intricately carved stone-crosses). Sadly, this attack, which followed previous demolitions in 1998 and 2002, effectively destroyed this site – erasing forever a true treasure of world heritage.

In the years following the 1915 genocide of over 1.5 million Armenian, Hellenic, and Assyrian Christians, Azerbaijan and Turkey have sought to eradicate the historical memory of the thriving Christian presence in the Caucasus and Anatolia. The Christian Armenian legacy in this part of the world dates back to the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew and, later, Armenia's conversion to Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD.

To watch the video of the destruction:

– from

The Recognized Expert Revisited

Last week I informed about Turkish denier Holdwater’s (Hold Water) first “global” success! The “mysterious” author of the hatesite had published an “article” in Global Politician (see The Recognized Expert).

Photo*: Holdwater finds out his article was removed. "Why did not I sign it as Ilyas Botas?" wonders he/she/it

Holdwater’s “success” did not last that long. Global Politician, as Maral Der Ohanesian informs in a letter, has removed Holdwater’s “masterpiece” from its website and from the archives.

Similar removal was done by the Jewish Advocate about a month ago. This newspaper had published an article about the Armenian genocide, calling the murdered Armenians “alleged victims.” But the article was soon removed from the website and from the archives.

Both Global Politician and the Jewish Advocate, by the way, had published materials on the Armenian genocide before publishing denialist lies. It seems they both admitted their mistakes by removing the denialist writings.

*This photo is artistic conception. Hold water is not as cute (in reality) as the above emoticon.

UPDATE: In a private letter to Harut Sassounian, Global Politician explained the reason why Holdwater's article was removed: "We didn't think it was fair for him to publish under a pseudo-name, while everyone else reveals their name."

Support Shrjadardz

Shrjadardz is one of the best Armenian magazines I have ever encountered. To understand what I mean, visit and read the previous issues for free. Apparently, for financial reasons this great periodical is not being currently published, so Blogian is hoping for the support of its readers to the magazine.

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Shrjadardz in financial difficulties

Shrjadardz All Armenian Magazine was born in Armenia in 2004.

For several months the magazine has not been published due to financial problems. But since many readers are requesting the rebirth of Shrjadardz, donations are now accepted to continue publishing the magazine. Besides distribution of hard copies, all the issues of Shrjadardz will be available for free download at

Beneficiary Bank:
Yerevan, Armenia
Swift Address: MIDLAM22
Correspondent Bank in USA:
New York, US
Swift: MRMDUS 33
Beneficiary Bank A/C No. 000-05145-4

Name : “UNITE OF RENAISSANSE” PATRIOTIC PUBLIC ORGANIZATION A/C No: 001-213040-101/ “Shrjadardz” monthly.

– from

Turks to Honor Talaat

Turkish nationalists are set to “honor” Talaat, the chief organizer of the Armenian genocide, who was assassinated by Armenian survivor and nemesis Soghomon Tehlirian in 1921.

Talaat, who was sentenced to death penalty by Turkish military tribunal for war crimes, escaped to Berlin as a result of a secret English-Turkish deal that basically traded English prisoners with Turkish war criminals (the Turkish criminals were under English jurisdiction). Talaat pasha, the former head of the interior ministry of Turkey, escaped to Berlin and changed his name. He was, nevertheless, found by Tehlirian and assassinated. Tehlirian was recognized non-guilty by the German court, and, in essence, it was more of a trial of Talaat himself than of his assassin.

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Photo: Talaat's memorial in Istanbul

In 1944, Hitler gave order to transfer Talaat’s ashes to Turkey, the president of which at the time was one of the organizers of the Armenian genocide, as well.

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Photo: A Turkish nationalist, member of the Grey Wolves (Bozkurt) terrorist organization, is "honoring" the grave of Enver Pasha, one of the organizers of the Armenian genocide. Talaat's memorial can be seen on the far left (from a Turkish website)

Since then, there is memorial to that murderer in the “hill of liberty” in Istanbul, next to the tomb of Enver pasha, another chief of the Armenian genocide, whose ashes were given to Turkey by the Taliban regime of Afghanistan in the 1990s. There is a boulevard in Turkey's capital, Ankara, in "honor" of Talaat.

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Photo: Turkish map showing "Talat pasha bulvari" (Talaat Pasha Boulevard) in Ankara (from

Harout Sassounian, the publisher of California Courier, in his 26 January 2006 editorial is writing:

Just last week, a new denialist group was formed consisting of 50 Turkish parliament members, retired generals, former ambassadors, leaders of political parties, university presidents, professors, editors, non-governmental organizations and a former beauty queen! The group calling itself "Great Project – 2006" is headed by Rauf Denktash, the former leader of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Its members had their first meeting in Istanbul last week and announced that their inaugural activity would be held in Berlin on March 18-19, under the banner of "Operation Talaat Pasha." They plan to honor Talaat, the mastermind of the Armenian Genocide, on the 85th anniversary of his assassination by Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin. The honoring of Talaat by Turks is as despicable as the honoring of Hitler by neo-Nazis!

Fanatical Turks do not seem to realize that by their actions, rather than championing the Turkish cause, they are dishonoring their own people and helping to further publicize the Armenian Genocide throughout the world. These Turks are Turkey’s worst enemies!

Sassounian's article is at…s_Worst_Enemies.

Rescued by Armenians

Once upon a time at (perhaps the most tolerant Russian-language Azerbaijani forum), one of the users opened a topic about the ordinary Azerbaijanis who risked their lives to save Armenians in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan in 1988 and later.

It turned out that many family members of some Azerbaijani users had saved Armenian lives during the pogroms in Azerbaijan. The Armenian users of the forum called these people heroes and thanked them.

In return, an Azerbaijani user opened a topic seeking information about “Armenians who saved Azerbaijanis in Armenia” during the same years. The Armenian users, indeed, explained that there was no need to “save Azerbaijanis” in Armenia, since there were no pogroms or attacks against them in Armenia. The Azerbaijani users were disappointed, so Armenians tried harder to remember something. The only incident recalled was the potential attack against the Azerbaijanis of the city Masis, the Armenian population of which had stood up against any possible pogroms against their Muslim neighbors.

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Archival Photo: The Tamanian Armenian division celebrating victory by Armenian dance (kochari) after entering Berlin on 9 May 1945. About 600,000 Armenians from Soviet Armenia (the population of which was less than 2 million at the time) alone participated in the destruction of the Nazis during WWII.

The Armenian users proudly admitted they did not have stories of saving Azerbaijanis to share, since there had not been need (though they could have mentioned about the Armenian rescue of Azerbaijani girls from fire in 1995 in Moscow, despite the ongoing conflict).

Having the above information in my mind, I decided to write here about an interesting incident that I read about yesterday. Tribune reporter Jan Jona’s “Remembrance: Mershiewsky survived Soviet-era strife” tells us of a Ukrainian immigrant who witnessed many sufferings in her life; “Mershiewsky had survived the Bolshevik Revolution, the Terror Famine in Ukraine, a life of religious persecution and a German labor camp.”
The story goes on to tell, “[f]rom 1929 to 1932, Josef Stalin forced peasants living in Ukraine, then called the "bread basket of Europe," to give their grain to the government. Historians differ on his motive, but the result was the Terror Famine, during which at least 5 million people died of starvation. Some estimates are as high as 10 million to 14 million [Ukraine recently qualified this action as genocide; many genocide scholars think so too-Blogian].
Mershiewsky was rescued by Armenians who lived in Kharkhov. She was taken to Armenia but returned to her hometown in the late 1930s.”

Mershiewsky, 93, was buried on 13 January 2006 in her new home, America.

p.s. Armenians regretfully mention their rescues of their would-become assassins, like Talaat (who soon became the organizer of the Armenian genocide), Ataturk (who later forced the last survivors of the Armenian genocide out of Izmir and other cities in Turkey), but they don’t like sharing their stories of saving ordinary people. Maybe, it’s time to change the “tradition”?

Blasts Cut Gas to Armenia, Georgia

A Sunday blast of a pipeline at the Russian-Georgian border cut gas to Georgia and Armenia, world newspapers report.

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Apparently the blast happened a few hours ago (though the news is already all over the world). I just called my sister in Armenia. She said they still have gas. Armenia is apparently using its emergency gas reserves.

Georgia and Armenia are struggling with a sudden loss of natural gas supplies and reduced electricity as temperatures plummet.
Explosions disrupted pipelines from southern Russia to Georgia, which relies on its bigger neighbour for supplies. Armenia also uses Russian gas, delivered via Georgia.
Armenia was using its emergency gas reserves, AP reported.

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