Archive for April, 2008

U.S. Helsinki Commission: April 17 Hearing on Armenia

According to a press release posted on the website of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, the latter agency will hold a hearing on Armenia on April 17, 2008.

(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), will hold a hearing entitled, “Armenia after the Election,” on Thursday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m. in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Since the February 19 presidential election, Armenia has experienced its most serious political crisis in over a decade. The March 1 confrontation between the authorities and supporters of the opposition resulted in at least eight fatalities and the imposition of a state of emergency, causing serious damage to Armenia’s reputation. Although Prime Minister Serzh Sarkissian has been elected President, some opposition leaders refuse to recognize the outcome and government opposition relations remain tense. The state of emergency has been lifted but restrictions on freedom of assembly continue in effect.
The hearing will focus on the ramifications of these developments for Armenia and the United States, especially the ongoing Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia s qualifications for assistance from the Millennium Challenge Account.

Testifying before the Commission will be:

Mr. Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

Mr. Vigen Sargsian, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Armenia

Mr. Arman Grigorian, Spokesman for former President Levon Ter-Petrossian

1921: Seventeen Armenians Killed After Deported from U.S.


Source: Fort Collins Courier (Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, United States); Date: Dec 20, 1921 Page: 2

Israel: Move to Affirm Armenian Holocaust in Jeopardy Amid Angry Turkey

Portrait of  Zeev Elkin 

Image: Knesset member Zeev Elkin sounds positive that Israel will recognize the Armenian Genocide one day but given Turkey’s angry response and Armenia’s lack of reaction he is not so sure the move will take place this year

It sounds natural for the state of Israel to recognize genocides committed against others, but a move by a Jewish parliamentarian to do so for the Armenian Genocide is in jeopardy amid heavy Turkish lobby.

According to Haaretz, a Turkish delegation has asked Israel’s government to cancel a discussion on the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset, Israel’s legislature.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Turkish parliament, Hasan Murat Mercan, has asked the Prime Minister’s Bureau to cancel a scheduled discussion in the Knesset on the Armenian genocide.Mercan was in Israel this week at the head of a Turkish parliamentary delegation for talks with their Israeli counterparts.

Talks included discussions on Iran, the Palestinians and Syria, but the main issue the Turkish delegation raised was an upcoming Knesset debate on the Armenian genocide.

“The Armenian issue is very sensitive for Turkey,” the visitors told Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Turgeman, two of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s most senior aides, adding that, “We would prefer if this discussion would not take place at this time in the Israeli parliament because it may harm the relations between the two countries.”


It is not just the heavy Turkish lobbying that may kill the move, Knesset member Zeev Elkin has told The Armenian Reporter, but also the lack of Armenian reaction. 

[…] I have to note that there has not been any intense attention from the Armenian side – either from the diaspora or the government – to this issue. And this does not make things easier for me.  e fact that both Turkey and Azerbaijan are intensively lobbying the Knesset, and there is no similar effort from the Armenian side, makes the challenge we have even more difficult.


To the question of what Armenians can do, Mr. Elkin says:

Well starting just with communication by supporters of this issue with members of the Knesset – all member e-mails are available on the web site www., as are phone numbers. All parliament members pay attention to the public, even if that public is not part of their electorate.


Whether letters by Armenians will help is a question wide open but many are convinced Israel will recognize the Armenian Genocide sooner or later. “Turkey will eventually have to resign itself to the fact that the parliament of Israel, like parliaments of other countries before it, will take a position on this issue,” says Elkin.

Armenia: New President

A woman holds a black flag as she stands behind a riot police ... A woman holds a black flag as she stands behind a riot police cordon during an opposition protest in Yerevan April 9, 2008. Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan promised at his inauguration on Wednesday to heal rifts with his opponents, one month after clashes between police and protesters killed eight people. REUTERS/Nazik Armenakian (ARMENIA) 

Reuters reports:

Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan promised at his inauguration on Wednesday to heal rifts with his opponents, one month after clashes between police and protesters killed eight people.

After the inauguration Sarksyan, as expected, appointed central bank chief Tigran Sarksyan to be his replacement as prime minister. The two men are not related.

With his right hand lying on the Armenian constitution and an ancient religious text, Serzh Sarksyan was sworn in as president at Yerevan’s opera house in front of an audience of hundreds including parliamentarians and foreign guests.

“This ceremony takes place about a month after painful events, which inflicted wounds that are still fresh,” Sarksyan said in a speech.

“These wounds caused pain and bitterness to all of us. Today, I urge everybody to look forward, together, to seek and find the path of reconciliation, of development, for the future of Armenia.”

Former Soviet Armenia, a Christian state of around 3 million people which lies on the edge of the volatile Caucasus region, is an important energy transit route between Asia and Europe.

Anti-government protesters say Sarksyan and his ally, former President Robert Kocharyan, rigged a Feb. 19 election. Sarkysan was declared winner of the vote with around 53 percent, beating his nearest challenger who polled about 21.5 percent.

Armenian security forces broke up a peaceful rally in central Yerevan on March 1, triggering the worst urban violence in Armenia in a decade. Rioters smashed and looted shops during clashes with police in which eight people died.

During the clashes Kocharyan imposed a 20 day state of emergency which banned public meetings. Armenia’s parliament adopted legislation tightening restrictions on holding protests, drawing criticism from rights groups.

On the eve of Sarksyan’s inauguration both the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Brussels-based International Crisis Group released reports which strongly condemned the violence and restrictions on demonstrations.

“The new Armenian leader is facing serious challenges,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW. “He should take decisive steps to investigate the excessive use of police force and lift restrictions on freedom of assembly.”

Sarksyan, 53, indicated in his inauguration speech he would consider softening the restrictions.

“For any limitation of rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, we must strike a fair balance between public order and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, on the one hand, and the right to peaceful assembly on the other,” he said.

During Sarksyan’s inauguration between 1,000 and 1,500 protesters laid flowers in the central Yerevan square where the eight people had died in March’s violence.

Police watched on but did not intervene when the crowd started shouting anti-government slogans. A Reuters reporter said the crowd remained peaceful and dispersed without incident.

According to the BBC:


According to Armenian media, 200 people gathered on Wednesday for the memorial ceremony outside the mayor’s office in the capital Yerevan, where the clashes took place.

Police tried to turn them away, saying the rally had not been permitted.


A1Plus has posted the text of the inaugural address:

Distinguished President Kocharyan,

Your Holiness,

Fellow Citizens of the Republic of Armenia,

Dear Friends,

Today is an extremely responsible day for me. A few minutes ago, I swore an oath to our people to unconditionally follow the provisions of our Constitution. On this historic day, we all swear an oath: I do it aloud, and ask you to do it silently. I am confident that each of you has an oath of your own to serve our fatherland and people.

We all swear this oath for a brighter future of our country, for development, for democracy, for the rule of law, for a stronger and more prosperous Armenia.

May the Lord give me strength to not disappoint anyone of my supporters! May the Lord give us all strength to overcome difficulties, to find the cure for all the problems that worry the disappointed or disillusioned ones, the ones who today need hope, faith, and optimism.

Dear compatriots, dear guests;

I recognize the enormous responsibility I have assumed. I know that I will be the one whom you will consider responsible for everything. I pledge not to avoid the responsibility, the magnitude of which I realized when joining the Republican Party and declaring that I would agree to be nominated for the presidential elections only in case the Republican Party won the largest number of votes in the parliamentary elections. I realize the magnitude of the responsibility now, and I shall recognize it every day for the next five years. I shall bear with honor the responsibility of being the President of all citizens of the Republic of Armenia.

On this day, I wish to thank my supporters, all the individuals that have voted for my program. I am grateful for the confidence. I assure you that together we can improve life in our country. Today, I call for a change. Once again, we are proclaiming a new beginning for change. Everyone must be ready to start change from one’s own self.

A part of our people supported other candidates, and I now appeal to them: it was your right to vote for someone other than me, but I do not have the right not to be your president. We should not part, should not create division between various parts of our people, should not disregard each other’s concerns and pain, and should not go beyond each other’s reach. Even if a wall of misunderstanding stands between us, I urge you to join us in eliminating that wall.

I express my gratitude to President Robert Kocharyan, a man who will have a solid place in the Armenian history, as the decade of his presidency were years of significant achievements for our country, achievements based on which we have set ambitious targets for the future. President Kocharyan has performed an invaluable role in the establishment, advancement, and protection of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh. I am confident that generations will duly appreciate his service and contribution to the development and strengthening of our statehood.

Dear Friends:

Although the election campaign was intense and did not do without insults, I wish to thank my opponents for the struggle, with a special thank you to those who admitted their defeat with dignity, those who reciprocated the extended hand of cooperation and accepted the offer to come together to develop the Republic of Armenia.

I shall remain committed to all of my pre-election promises, and we shall join our efforts in fulfilling them.

We shall build the Armenia that brings together all Armenians, one that will be the fatherland of any Armenian.

We shall build the Armenia where mutual respect, love, and tolerance will prevail.

We shall build the Armenia where our citizens and families will live and realize their potential in security and dignity.

We shall carry out a proactive foreign policy, and do everything to find a just, peaceful, and favorable solution to the Artsakh issue.

We shall build a strong, proud, and democratic state of Armenia, where everyone shall be equal before the law.

I am confident that you, our fellow Armenians and friends, also hold the key to the success of all of our initiatives. To accomplish this historic mission, I once again urge us to unite. Unity will be the platform for fundamental value creation and progress along the path of democracy and freedoms.

I shall do all of this, because I wish to be a president who will fully implement his program, bring peace and stable development to Armenia, enhance the reputation and image of our country, overcome all of the major problems we currently face, and be capable of foreseeing and responding to all of the potential challenges. This is the type of President I can and shall be.

I am ready to contribute all my strength for an atmosphere of confidence to prevail in our society, for us to overcome any polarization, rough confrontation, and discredit. Alone, no one can turn Armenia into a country of dreams. All structures, various political and non-governmental forces, and civil society need to unite. This is where the President should act as the key actor in uniting the nation, a man who must use all the tools and mechanisms of power available to him in order to promote the best ideas and to preserve, develop, and put to the best use our country’s most precious capital, our human resources.

I shall seek ways of cooperating with all the political forces. My efforts will focus on achieving the nation-wide objectives, strengthening the link between generations, combining the interests of different social groups, ensuring respect for ethnic minorities, and preserving the Armenian identity.

I shall encourage a change of attitude towards the intelligentsia in our country. It is long time for the state to treat seriously our culture, scientific and educational potential, and every individual engaged in intellectual and creative work.

I shall make my humble contribution to the strengthening of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which will continue to remain a pillar of the Armenian soul and national identity.

Dear Friends:

This ceremony takes place about a month after painful events, which inflicted wounds that are still fresh. These wounds caused pain and bitterness to all of us. Today, I urge to look forward, together to seek and find the path of reconciliation, that of development for the Armenia of future. I am confident that we cannot have real and tangible success, unless we learn lessons from the past. What happened should teach all of us a lesson of vigilance and sobriety, compelling us to work with greater vigor and devotion.

Unchecked freedom can result in conflict with the public interests and the rights of others. To prevent such conflicts and to reconcile various rights and interests, the state may interfere with the exercise of certain fundamental rights.

Limitations of fundamental rights, however, cannot be absolute, as they would simply render the fundamental right meaningless. Limitations should not undermine the essence of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

For any limitation of rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, we must strike a fair balance between the public order and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, on the one hand, and the right to peaceful assembly, on the other.

Over a short period of time, along with dozens of other laws, we should revisit the legislation regulating the right to peaceful assembly with a view to safeguarding everyone’s right to peaceful assembly in accordance with European standards and precluding any public event that is either not peaceful or does not pursue a legitimate aim.

Dear friends:

Our people have given me their vote of confidence, and I must implement my program during the next five years. Our people have confided in me to overcome the challenges faced by our country and to meet everyone’s expectations. Five years is a rather short period to do all of this, hence it will be a period of everyday hard work. During this time, we shall manage to do what is possible and beyond, to address the development challenges faced by our country. That is why I consider this ceremonial day a working day for me and my political team.

So thank you, and let us get down to work!

Let us get down to work, and forward, Armenia!

April 9: How to Avoid Blood

April 9, 2008 is the day for the inauguration of Armenia’s next disputed president – Serzh Sargsyan. Armenia’s government has raised eyebrows by deciding to hold an unprecedented military parade in capital Yerevan’s Liberty Square on that day – with the apparent attempt to occupy a popular staging area for protests. The recent protests – that ended with the deadly clashes of March 1 followed by a 20-day state of emergency – had also started in the Liberty Square. So had Armenia’s call for independence from the Soviet Union – both for Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh).

April, as I have quoted a famous writer before, is the cruelest month of the year. We have to be careful for April 9. It seems that Armenia’s national church – the Armenian Apostolic Church – realizes that. They are having a memorial service on April 9 in all Armenian churches for the eight people who died on March 1, 2008. April 9th is the 40th day of the deaths – memorial that Armenians almost always mourn. The Apostolic Church is apparently trying to help avoid any further blood. And if this tactic works in the short run, it won’t work in the long run.

Many, including this blog, have argued that opposition and authority are not different in Armenia. They all want power. They all want to be in charge and oppress their opponents. It is time to move forward from this argument for the time and look into solutions. The fact is that many in Armenia are not as mad at the authorities as at the Public TV – which serves to the pleasure of the authorities often to a disgusting degree.

Here is my proposal – which has to be implemented before April 9, 2008. So the authorities have two days.

  • Armenia’s Public TV (H1) must offer airtime twice a day, effective April 10, to the de facto banned A1Plus TV station. The Public TV cannot review the content of the News provided by A1Plus Tv. Indeed, it seems that A1Plus TV shares my view that if there was free media in Armenia March 1 might have been avoided. After (and if) A1PlusTv gets back on the air, such programing on H1 shouldn’t continue
  • Armenia should cancel the military parade in the Liberty Square
  • Since the Liberty Square is a public park, the permit for protests and gatherings should be limited to 4 hours to any organizations or the government – with a first come first get basis
  • The board of directors for the Public TV should consist of seven publicly elected individuals: two have to be opposition members (elected by the people); two appointed by the government, one has to be a currently enrolled student between the ages of 18-25 voted for by the people, two can be any other citizens – not politicians or government or opposition employees – voted for by the people. This office should be limited to two years with maximum of three lifetime terms.  The first election should be set up for April 21
  • Armenia’s government must free all arrested opposition activists on April 24 – the day that Armenians commemorate the Genocide

This proposal itself is a short term (for the next 2 years) solution. But it must be done now.

Armenia: Popular News Website Reopens Comments Section

Less than a week after closing off its comments section, the popular news website has reopened its comments section. The initial closing of the comments came after many angry readers exchanged offensive remarks amid the post-election unrest in Armenia.

The comments – like before – are not being moderated but provide opportunity for readers to post their opinions. Although many comments in the past have been of quite offensive nature, there seems to be general moderate tone in most comments posted as of now.

In any case, kudos to Hetq for accepting constructive criticism and being a great example.

Turkey: Armenians “Massacre” More Turks in another Celebration

Armenians are committing genocide against Turks in the Republic of Turkey in 2008. That is, at least, the impression that Turkish children get as they are told to dress up as Turkish soldiers and chase Armenian militia after the latter massacre  women and children. This is of course just a theatrical play and somewhat entertaining for adults. But as some Turkish psychologists have suggested, this is how murderers are raised in Turkey.

According to the Turkish Daily News:

The 90th anniversary of the end of the Armenian occupation was celebrated in the town of Gürpınar, in the eastern province of Van, with a “theatrical” re-enactment of a massacre blamed on Armenians.

Around a dozen people, dressed as Armenian militia members, re-enacted the massacre of civilians and were then chased away by Turkish soldiers, played by primary school students.

While the shocked children watched the proceedings, Gürpınar’s mayor, Fuat Yaşar Atan, made a speech, saying the town had celebrated the end of the Armenian occupation with the same vigor for the past 90 years.

Ironically, it has taken 90 years before Turkish newspapers started reporting and criticizing such “celebrations.” Just last month, Armenians hanged a Muslim imam in another Turkish city and were then killed by Turkish soldiers played by High School students.

Now we know why so many Turks are ready to kill Armenians after the latter talk about the Armenian Genocide. It is interesting how after these celebrations all the Armenian bandits are killed. That gives the answer to the Turkish children why the indigenous Armenian population of eastern Turkey has totally disappeared. It is their fault!

Armenia: April Fools Day Joke Spreads as Real News

The April 1, 2008 news by a newsletter from Cyprus informing about the return of an occupied Armenian quarter in Nicosia by the Turks was an April Fools Day joke. But before the newsletter confessed the joke, several online Armenian websites used the information.

On April 1 Gibrahayer sent the following e-mail to its subscribers:

Nicosia April 1, 2008 – Gibrahayer – The opening of Ledra street as agreed by President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has brought about prospects for fresh restructuring of the Paphos Gate, that extends a hundred meters from the Ledra street check point.

To that end the Armenian quarter at Paphos Gate – now under Turkish occupation – is being returned to the rightful owners, the Armenian community of Cyprus.

As announced a few years ago the Armenian quarter on Victoria street, comprising of The Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church, The Armenian Prelature, The Armenian Genocide Memorial, the Melikian-Ouzounian elementary school and The Armenian Kindergarten started going through major renovations, funded by the UNOPS which have taken place on quarters on both side of Nicosia.

It is expected that the Armenian quarter on Victoria street will return to our community in a better condition than before the invasion and inter-community troubles.

The following day, the newsletter sent the following e-mail:

April 2, Nicosia, 2008

Dear subscribers,
Instead of our weekly dispatch on Wednesday, we sent out Gibrahayer e-magazine yesterday, because it was April 1, and we wanted to be part of the April Fools Day “celebrations” by sharing these stories with you.

* The Ledra street may be opening today, but Victoria street is not. Nor is the Turkish occupation regime returning the Armenian quarter.

* Recently, we have all been hearing Turkish voices accepting the Armenian Genocide, but Turkish Cypriots will not be commemorating the 1915 Armenian Genocide at Buyuk Khan on April 24…. well at least this year !

These were the stories that were included in the April Fool’s Day issue and we hope you enjoyed them.

Happy April Fools Day

Gibrahayer e-magazine.

Nice joke. But…, based in Armenia, has just issued the following breaking news:

/PanARMENIAN.Net/The opening of Ledra street in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, as agreed by President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, has brought about prospects for fresh restructuring of the Paphos Gate, that extends a hundred meters from the Ledra street check point. To that end the Armenian quarterat Paphos Gate – now under Turkish occupation – is being returned to the rightful owners, the Armenian community of Cyprus.

As announced a few years ago the Armenian quarter on Victoria street, comprising of The Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church, The Armenian Prelature, The Armenian Genocide Memorial, the Melikian-Ouzounian elementary school and The Armenian Kindergarten started going through major renovations, funded by the UNOPS which have taken place on quarters on both side of Nicosia.

It is expected that the Armenian quarter on Victoria street will return to our community in a better condition than before the invasion and inter-community troubles, Gibrahayer Magazine reports.

And HyeTert, based in Turkey, has copy-pasted’s above report.

Armenia: Photos Reveal Human Trafficking in Genocide

The website of the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum has posted archival photographs of some of the women and children who were sexually enslaved during the Armenian Genocide of WWI. The captives were tattooed as seen in the few photographs below.

Islamized and tattooed Armenian woman, Orient im Bild, Potsdam, 1927.

Victoria, 19 years old, from Adiyaman, Nubarian library collection, Paris.
Mariam Chaparlian, 27 years old, from Marash, Nubarian library collection, Paris.

Marie Bisninyan, 20 years old, Nubarian library collection, Paris.

Melek, 17 years old, Nubarian library collection, Paris

The Armenian genocide resulted in the kidnapping of thousands of Armenian women from their families, usually during deportations or overnight stops. After the organized mass killings of the Armenian male population, during the first stage of state-orchestrated policy of extermination, the Ottoman governors implemented another pre-meditated phase of the genocidal policy: the destruction of the rest of Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire, this time targeting the elderly, women and children.

Some of those individuals who were kidnapped and integrated into Muslim family life, over time forgot about their Armenian ethnicity and even lost the ability to speak their native language. In order to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones many Armenian women forcibly to adopted Islam. They eventually were married off to Muslim men and in keeping with local tribal customs, were marked with specific tattoos. Tattoos were extensively used as amulets in the Middle East and Islamic countries, with the wearers believing that the mark imbued them with magical powers. These tattoos were often in the form of dots or a small “x” and provided protection, strength or fertility. These new markings represented new belonging and a marked change in their life.

What is ironic in this story is that Armenia’s society and especially the government do almost nothing to stop the ongoing and current human trafficking of women and children from Armenia.

Turkey: Columnist Compares to Anti-Semitism

Justin Paul, an alleged law school student from Minnesota, has published an article in the Turkish Daily News suggesting Turks to find new, more civilized, methods of denying the Armenian Genocide. He compares some of the most anti-Armenian propaganda used by many Turks to anti-Semitism.

Speaking of the infamous, the hatesite operated by Disney cartoonist Murad “Holdwater” Gumen, the columnist suggests the unhealthy website is quite unhelpful in denying the Armenian Genocide:


An example of this [“shotgun” method] is the site, which, while done by a lay person, has been championed by some Turkish lobbyists as a resource.  The overall design of the site has become slightly less of an aesthetic blight over the years, but its content is jumbled, disorganized and often intellectually misleading. 

This site launches ad-hominem attacks on Turkish intellectuals closer to the Armenian side, such as disparaging Fatma Muge Gokcek about her weight.  It also portrays Armenians as arch Nazis on the basis of one particular collaborator, conveniently forgetting that many more Armenians died fighting Nazism. 

The site basically strays far and away from any noble defense of the Ottoman Muslims who lost their lives in World War I and enters a realm of vicious anti-Armenian diatribe. Its intellectual companionship would be such conspiracy oriented rags like the Protocols of Elders of Zion, as you would leave this site thinking the Armenian Lobby pretty much controls the United States and is one hateful cabal.

The columnist, who seems to be mocking the Turkish denial but apparently he is not, suggests nationalist Turks to stop calling Turkish historian Taner Akcam – the first Turk to openly research and acknowledge the Genocide as such – Osama Bin Laden. He calls a Turkish film denying the Armenian Genocide “another failed attempt to make a noble defense” and complains that “there have been the outlandish signs at Turkish demonstrations which allege that Armenian [sic] killed 3 million Turks and Azeris.” He also doesn’t like when Turks use Pinocchio imagery to deny the Armenian Genocide. Too bad – that was my favorite part.

Having in mind that the article is published on April 1 Fools Day, one would think that Mr. Paul is mocking the Turkish denial and telling them to drop their principle arguments in denying the Armenian Genocide – Pinocchio, Nazism, Osama Bin Laden and 3 million dead Turks.

What Mr. Paul doesn’t realize is that genocide denial is a hate crime and cannot be nuanced, rationalized and toned down. If those nationalists Turks who were denying the Armenian Genocide found enough humanity in Armenians to nuance their rhetoric, they would come to see the truth and there would not be genocide denial. Most denialists consistently use lower-case ‘a’ in the word ‘armenian’ and ‘armenians’ – to demonstrate that Armenians are not humans. And Mr. Paul is hoping that this kind of mindset can be changed.

Well, I do hope that the nationalist mindset will change. But when it changes, there will be no denial.

« Previous PageNext Page »