Friday, 27 May 2016

ARMENIAN NEWS... A Topalian... Preserve Disappearing Snows of Armenia 

Scientists come up with the idea to preserve the disappearing 
snows of Armenia
25 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

A team of scientists comes up with an unusual idea to preserve the
disappearing snows of Armenia, according to Fair Observer.

Because of climate change, the weather in the small mountainous
country of Armenia is getting hotter and hotter. The mountain snows
that normally serve as a source of water now melt earlier, meaning
floods in the spring and droughts in the summer.

Filmmaker Vardan Hovhannisyan follows a team of Armenian scientists on
Mount Aragats who has come up with an unusual new idea to preserve the
mountain snows. 
BBC: Azerbaijanis’ animosity and hatred for Armenians sometimes
reaches unimaginable level

Currently, there are hard times for the beautiful Karabakh, as the
Karabakh conflict broke out with a new force in April, journalist
Rayhan Demytrie reports in a BBC program The Fifth Floor.

The journalist particularly speaks about her first visit to the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) in 2015. Then, she visited settlements
close to the frontline and met a local woman, who told her that people
there lived with constant fears of the war starting again.

A year later, in April 2016, Demytriewent back to the same villages
and it was quite shocking for her to see that there was a grad rocket,
which landed not far from the house of the woman she had met a year
ago. The entire village was evacuated, and she watched with horror how
people were leaving in a rush.

Demytrie notes that at first glance,it is impossible to imagine how
deep the conflict is. Sometimes, the Azerbaijanis’ animosity and
hatred for Armenians reaches an unimaginable level.

For example, an Azerbaijani soldier undergoing training in Hungary in
2004 axe-murdered a sleeping Armenian military officer.It was a
cold-blooded murder. There was a trial, he was jailed; however, in a
few years, the Azerbaijani authorities brought this person back
promising that he would serve the remaining of his sentence at home.
He was greeted in his country as a national hero, and his photograph
is in every school in Azerbaijan. “It is absurd that this person is
considered a hero, only because he axe-murdered a sleeping man,”
Demytrie says in the interview with the BBC.

In 2004, the Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan took part in the
three-month English courses of the NATO titled "Partnership for Peace"
in Budapest. He was killed on 19 February, early in the morning.
Murderer, Azerbaijani officer RamilSafarov struck in the face of
sleeping Armenian officer with an ax for 16 times. Subsequently he was
recognized as imputable by the Hungarian court and was sentenced to
life imprisonment without right of pardon for 30 years. On August 31
it was stated that RamilSafarov will be extradited to his fatherland
and was pardoned by the decree of Azerbaijani President IlhamAliyev.

In Azerbaijan, the pardoned murderer RamilSafarovwas met as a hero, he
was given a department and was paid and officer salary for the 8 years
he had spent in prison. In addition, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister
awarded Safarov with a special rank of mayor wishing him “further
In connection with the extradition of Safarov to Azerbaijan, Armenian
President SerzhSargsyan announced a termination of diplomatic
relations with Hungary.

U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of State, Foreign
Ministries of Russia and France, Secretary General of the Council of
Europe, Secretary General of the CSTO, NATO and international
organizations of human rights condemned Safarov’s extradition,
pardoning and glorification in Azerbaijan. On September 13, European
Parliament adopted the resolution of condemnation too.

To the 10th anniversary of GurgenMargaryan’s murder, in the frameworks
of "Ordinary Genocide" project, a video-footage has been prepared
called "Azerbaijan: Racism has no borders." The footage is in English,
Russian, and Hungarian. It concisely presents the history of a murder,
which shocked the world, as well as the subsequent transfer and
glorification of Safarov in Azerbaijan. It is significant that the
authors chose a part of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (called
Leningrad) known as invasion of fascists as the soundtrack.

The "Ordinary Genocide" project is being implemented by the
Information and Public Relations Center under the RA President’s

RFE/RL Report 
Reforms `Critical' For Armenia'
Artak Hambardzumian

A senior official from the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday
urged the Armenian government to make good on its latest pledge to
step up the fight against corruption and significantly improve the
domestic investment climate.

"I think now is a critical moment [to do that,]" said Teresa Daban
Sanchez, the head of the IMF office in Yerevan. "If you have shocks
like Armenia has, fighting against corruption, curtailing monopolies
and improving the business environment becomes more important than
before. This process needs to be accelerated."

Daban Sanchez commented on Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian's May 12
pledge to speed up reforms because of "new challenges" facing Armenia
as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In particular,
Abrahamian said the Armenian authorities will make tax administration
less arbitrary and investigate de facto monopolies owned by wealthy
businesspeople close to the ruling establishment.

The premier went on to promise that the authorities will liberalize
lucrative imports of fuel and other essential commodities to Armenia
that have long been effectively controlled by a handful of
"oligarchs." "Any citizen can import anything they want," he
said. "There will be no artificial obstacles."

The IMF as well the World Bank have for years been calling for such
reforms, saying that they are vital for faster economic growth in the

Daban Sanchez stressed that a stronger ruler of law would translate
into more jobs and other economic opportunities for Armenians.

"Armenia is a small economy with a small-sized market," she told
RFE/RL's Armenian service ( "There is no room for many
players. Therefore, the rules of the game should be improved so that
even if there are only a few players [in a particular sector] they act
in a competitive way." 

Analysis: German bill on Armenian Genocide recognition 
seen as tool
against Turkey
By Naira Hayrumyan -
May 25, 2016

Germany’s Bundestag plans to consider passing a resolution on the
Armenian Genocide on June 2. Experts speak about the likelihood of
such a resolution being adopted, but note that this would depend on
global agreements between Germany and Turkey.

The German parliament failed to discuss a similar resolution in 2015,
when Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the Ottoman-era
Genocide. The vote then was repeatedly delayed, and many experts now
also believe that the Bundestag is using the resolution as a tool in
negotiations with Turkey. In particular, it concerns the issue of
immigrants to Europe. Turkey is accused of encouraging the flow of
migrants towards the continent and Brussels is trying to arrange a
deal for Turkey to keep migrants and refugees coming from troubled
regions of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Meanwhile, a German Bundestag delegation headed by Vice-Speaker
Edelgard Bulmahn has been in Yerevan this week. At a press conference,
the German politician said that the text of the resolution condemns
the violence and deportation against the Armenians and other peoples
of the Ottoman Empire, but also notes a sinister German role in the
crime. Germany was Turkey’s ally during World War I and, according to
historical evidence, did nothing to prevent the crime.

During these days German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Turkey where
she is attending the United Nation’s World Humanitarian Summit. During
talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Merkel expressed
dissatisfaction with the law adopted by the Turkish parliament on the
eve of her arrival under which lawmakers in Turkey will not enjoy
parliamentary immunity. The international community regards this as an
act against the Kurdish deputies in the Turkish parliament, who are
now effectively left defenseless before the authorities.

Germany is home to quite a large Turkish community, but a large part
of immigrants are also ethnic Kurds and other ethnic groups opposed to
Turkish dominance. Germany supports the Kurdish movement, including as
a tool of pressure on Turkey, whose authorities are now conducting
military operations against the Kurds. In this context, the assertion
that the Armenian issue is also a similar tool does not seem

It is noteworthy that the author of the Armenian Genocide bill is
German MP Cem Ozdemir, the son of a Turkish-Circassian gastarbeiter
from Turkey. 
Turkish nationalist threatening to hunt against Armenians 
in Kars city convicted
25 May, 2016

YEREVAN, MAY 25. Court of Turkey has convicted nationalist
Tolga Adıgüzel, who had earlier threatened to launch “hunt against
Armenians” in the streets of Kars city. Armenian member of the Turkish
parliament Garo Paylan filed a lawsuit against him after the
announcement of Tolga Adıgüzel. “Armenpress’ reports, citing Turkish
“Hurriyet”, the court sentenced him to imprisonment of 7 months and 15
days and obliged him to pay 11 thousand and 24 Turkish liras
(3800USDD) as penalty.

But the sentence has been postponed considering the fact that Adıgüzel
has not been convicted in the past.

Paylan has mentioned, “Hate speeches pave the way for crimes committed
on the grounds of hate. The verdict for the hate speech against the
Armenian identity gives hope to Armenians and the public order of
Turkey, as well as those who believe in justice. We will continue our
struggle against crimes on racial and hate grounds, search for justice
and make efforts for public order”.

Tolga Adıgüzel - head of the Kars branch of the “Ülkü ocaklar”
(Hearths of Ideal) radical group of the Grey Wolves - has voiced
threats towards Armenians of Kars after renowned jazz pianist Tigran
Hamasyan performed Armenian chants and verses in the ruins of the
historical capital of Armenia – Ani. Tigran Hamasyan’s and Yerevan
State Chamber Choir’s concert program “Luys i Luso” (Light of Light)
kicked off in Turkey on June 21. Adıgüzel threatened Armenians by
saying “What should we do now? Should we start a hunt for Armenians in
the streets of Kars?”

He accused Armenians of the ‘events of 1915’ and Khojalu. He also
accused all Turkish journalists and officials, who ‘support Armenians
launching activity in Turkey.” He urged Armenians not to test the
patience of Turks. He later added, “Turks, for example, cannot arrive
in Armenia and freely organize an event at a sacred site for
Armenians.” He threatened to take necessary measures if such steps
U.S. Military renovates elderly institute in Yerevan
25 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Since May 10, dozens of civil engineers and structural craftsmen based
at the Robins Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Georgia have been
working on important renovations at Yerevan Elderly Institute #1,
improving the safety and conditions of 12 residential suites and the
common area of the institute.

These members of the 116th Civil Engineer Squadron of the Georgia Air
National Guard came to Armenia as part of the U.S. military’s
Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program. The military engineers replaced
the flooring of the institute, making the entire facility safer for
the elderly who rely on it. They also repaired bathrooms in the
building, worked on sewage lines and electrical wiring, and replaced
and refinished many walls. The renovation provided crucial skill-set
training for the engineers, who were able to practice their skills in
real-world settings. At the same time, the renovation continues the
long-lasting friendship between the Armenian people and the citizens
of the United States.

“We will be grateful for many years for the work you have done here,”
said Khachik Sargsyan, director of Yerevan Elderly Institution No. 1.
“The work carried out here will help our residents with hot water and
heating and provide a safe and cleaning living environment.”

“These members of the Georgia Air National Guard represent some of the
best of the best in the U.S. military, and now they have a personal
understanding of the Armenian people that they can carry with them as
they return home,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr.,
who was joined at a ribbon cutting for the renovated facility on
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, by the Armenian Minister of Labor and Social
Issues Artem Asatryan.

This is the third year the U.S. European Command’s Humanitarian Civic
Assistance Program has been active in Armenia.

“Through efforts such as this renovation, in partnership with the
Armenian government and civil society, we at the Embassy are working
to improve the lives of the Armenian people and help this historic
nation have the secure, peaceful, and prosperous future it deserves,”
Ambassador Mills said. 
Serj Tankian releases “Aurora’s Dream”
25 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Grammy winning singer-songwriter and activist Serj Tankian has
released “Aurora’s Dream,” a song he was commissioned to write for the
recent “Aurora Prize” ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, according to

“Aurora’s Dream” was featured as the main theme song for the inaugural
“Aurora Prize” ceremony, which was organized by the 100 Lives
initiative to honor individuals whose actions have had an exceptional
impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes. On
behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to
their saviors, an Aurora Prize Laureate will be honored each year with
a $100,000 grant as well as the unique opportunity to continue the
cycle of giving by nominating organizations that inspired their work
for a $1,000,000 award. Though the April event was the first official
ceremony, it marked the second time an Aurora Prize has been awarded.

“‘Aurora’s Dream’ is the result of some of my best compositional
efforts in years,” says Tankian. “I’m glad it was for the 100 Lives
organization and for the wonderful things they’re doing with bringing
attention to devastating tragedies and the real heroes that rise to
the occasion, especially with their Aurora Prize events.”

An instrumental version of “Aurora’s Dream” served as the backdrop to
“Aurora,” a film by Eric Nazarian that was featured during the

“Aurora’s Dream” follows the recent release of “Artsakh,” an acoustic
song Tankian wrote in support of the people of Artsakh.

“These people have lived on those lands for thousands of years,” said
Tankian. “They have great struggle but also great beauty written on
their foreheads. The whimsical appropriation of land by an empire
(Stalin) placed them under Azerbaijan. They have since gained their
independence and have lived a prosperous existence for the last 20 or
so years. I do not believe in wars and ultimately borders but I deeply
believe in self-determination and life without oppression. Therefore
it is time for the world to recognize them as the Republic of Artsakh

Tankian recently composed the soundtrack for The Last Inhabitant and
just released the soundtrack for 1915, a film created by
writer-directors Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian about the
Armenian genocide, an attempted extermination of the Armenian people
by the Ottoman Empire.

With his band System of a Down, last year Tankian commemorated the
100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with a global arena tour
that included the group’s first-ever performance in Yerevan’s Republic

Bundesliga Man: Mkhitaryan voted best in Germany’s soccer 
in 2015-16
May 25, 2016

Borussia Dortmund’s Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been
named the player of the Bundesliga 2015-16, according to a poll
conducted by German magazine Kicker.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder topped the list with over 31
percent of the votes, followed by Bayern Munich’s Polish striker
Robert Lewandowski, who has about 22 percent of the votes.

Bayern’s Thomas Muller and Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came
third and fourth with 13.6 and 13.2 percent, respectively.

Scoring 23 goals and creating a further 32 in 51 appearances for
Dortmund in the 2015-16 season, Mkhitaryan earlier made it into the
Bundesliga and Europa League dream teams decided by media. With five
goals scored in the Germany Cup, Mkhitaryan has also been recognized
as the tournament’s best scorer.

Mkhitaryan is likely to stay in Dortmund for 2016-17 despite media
speculations linking him with possible Arsenal or Chelsea moves.

The Bild wrote earlier this week that Borussia’s management had made a
“shock decision” to keep Mkhitaryan for one more season and allow him
to leave for free next year. The decision, the paper suggested, was
due to the apparent unpreparedness of the Bundseliga’s 2015-16
runners-up to lose another player after Mats Hummels’ transfer to
rivals Bayern Munich and Ilkay Gundogan’s likely move to Manchester



‘I wait for the stroke of death without fear’ said Archbishop St Thomas Becket, that exemplary turbulent priest, refusing to run away from the wrath of King Henry II. And death did come to him when he was slaughtered in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1179.

St Thomas’ medieval shrine drew pilgrims from all over England and Europe, until pillaged by another crowned head, the syphilitic wife-murderer, monster and tyrant Henry VIII. He had the Saint’s remains sacrilegiously destroyed or scattered but after 800 years a bit of Becket is back. Lo and behold, a relic, a surviving bone from Thomas’s elbow kept in Hungary will tour major English churches. A quaint, outmoded veneration to make you smile? Not if it reminds Christians of St Thomas’ immense present significance. Verily, a Saint for our time.

Why so? The King demanded that the Archbishop take an oath that he and the clergy would abide by the ‘customs of the kingdom’. Thomas knew that many of those customs were abusive and unjust, so he added to the oath the rider ‘as far as lawful’. Lawful meaning not just the law of the land, the State’s law, but the Law of God.

Becket’s reasoning was logical, Christian and daring. If the secular law, i.e. the ruler’s, conflicts with Divine Law it is a Christian’s sacrosanct duty to disobey it, to challenge it and to oppose it. This is what Christ commands. As St Peter proclaimed long ago in Jerusalem before the Jewish High Priest: ‘We must obey God rather than men’. (Acts 5:29) Hear! Hear!

Cardinal Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England, spoke so well in answer to a somewhat sneering female on BBC radio. Becket’s relic sends out the powerful message that ‘there comes a point when loyalty to Christ becomes an overriding loyalty for Christians…they may have to pay the final price.’ He meant a price paid with your own blood. It is called achieving the crown of martyrdom.

‘Crown’ is the right word. Till the Reformation the crown-shaped part of Canterbury Cathedral which housed the Saint’s body was known as the Crown Chapel. An allusion to a gruesome detail as to how he was murdered. One of the four Norman knights who did the bloody deed was Richard Le Breton. With a mighty stroke of his big sword he sliced off the top of the Archbishop’s head. So violent was the blow that the knight broke his sword against the pavement, striking sparks as he did.

T.S. Eliot’s fine play about Becket’s death, Murder in the Cathedral, was written in the 1930’s, when communism and fascism were alive and kicking. Was Eliot gunning for dictators? That would date him. Today it is democratic regimes and squalid politicos that hold unrivalled sway over Europe. Secularism – the peculiar lie that God does not matter in the life and mores of the polis, the national community – is the dominant, arrogant hegemony. Secularism tolerates no rivals. It seeks to bully, even criminalise people of faith when they follow their conscience and stand up to the State. Secularism relegates religion to the ghetto of the inner, the private, the merely personal. But you can’t have a private God, an exclusively private religion – anymore that you can have, as Wittgenstein conclusively showed, a private language…

Becket was a man of tremendous holiness, asceticism and character. Virtues that enabled him to resist the will of a bossy, fiery monarch like Henry II. In fact, there is a tradition that the Saint’s mother was a Syrian Arab. A Saracen princess, daughter of an Emir, who had fallen in love with Becket’s father when a pilgrim in the Holy Land. She had followed him to England and embraced her husband’s faith. As an incurable romantic, the priest fancies that the ancient, noble Arab blood running through Thomas’ veins might have fortified his resistance to the obnoxious, secular powers that be.

Like the early Christian martyrs, Becket did not oppose armed resistance to his killers. That is Christ’s example. Besides, as a priest it would have been unbecoming for him to shed human blood, even if self-defence, because a priest is ordained to the ministry of the altar which sacramentally re-enacts Christ’s own sacrifice. However, that rule would not apply to a layman.

Instances come from the 1925 Mexican Cristero War. The fanatical, anti-clerical masonic President Calles sought to suppress Mexican Christianity. Public worship became illegal. Even using phrases like ‘God willing’ was made a criminal offence. Then the faithful formed themselves in Cristeros – Soldiers of Christ. They felt they had no choice. The Cristeros took up arms to defend themselves and their religion. Many were killed, martyred but they fell fighting. Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, alludes to that impressive struggle.

British Christians are not like hot-blooded Mexicans. Cannot see them rising up in rebellion against the ungodly ensconced at Westminster and Downing Street. Unless the Becket’s holy relic works the most impossible miracle…But of course Archbishop Nichols is right. The bit of the Saint’s elbow bone will perform a miracle if it reminds faithful people of that timeless verity: the will of God must be accomplished – whatever the cost. Even martyrdom.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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Sunday, 22 May 2016


Subject: Non-governmental organization:
Hello there,

I just signed the petition "Non-governmental organization: STOP TURKISH AGGRESSION TOWARDS GARO PAYLAN - ASSAULTED FOR BEING ARMENIAN" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 2,500 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:


Armenian News... A Topalian... Inspiration from Der Kuregh Dalian

See the attachment for a scene from the
Anointing of the Holy Martyrs Icon
St Sarkis Church, Kensington 

on 22 May 2016
in the presence of Lord Darzi, who donated the icon.
There was also a blessing of a new wood bench in
memory of Barkev Kassarjian.


Isobel and Paul Manook came to know Der Kuregh 2001 during
their first visit to Armenia. They came to love and respect him
as a pastor, human being and a friend. He is a highly educated
but a humble, inspirational and dedicated priest in the Armenian
Church in Jervish. He left everything to follow Christ and serve
the people through the church.

They want to share with you this wonderful and encouraging talk
by Der Kuregh and hope all will enjoy his talk as much as they did, i
rrespective of whether you believe or not: 

Independent Catholic News
May 20 2016
Armenian church leaders from Syria visit UK
May 20, 2016  

Two Armenian Christian leaders from Syria have been in the UK to speak
about the realities facing their country where half the population are
either refugees or have been internally displaced. Bishop Armash
Nalbandian, the Armenian Orthodox Bishop of Damascus, and Reverend
Harout Selimian, a pastor of the Armenian Armenian Evangelical Church
in Aleppo met with Church leaders in England, Scotland and Wales -
including the Chair of the International Affairs department Bishop
Declan Lang.

They discussed the challenges they are facing both from the
established political institutions on the one hand and terrorist
organisations on the other. They asked that the Christian communities
in the UK hold the people of Syria in their prayers and actions.

Dr Harry Hagopian, consultant to the Catholic Bishops' of England and
Wales on the Middle East North Africa region, joined the two men and
Bishop Declan Lang at Bishop's House in Clifton, Bristol for a frank
and candid conversation on the situation in Syria. He said: "The
impression I got was one of pain, one of grief and one of frustration.
When I explained the geo-politics of how we view this conflict, with
the regime on one side and Daesh on the other, I then asked what they
want us to do over here. Bishop Armash told me just before he went to
the airport 'One thing only... please help to stop the war.'"
Discussion on Armenian Genocide at European Parliament

A discussion on the Armenian Genocide will be held at the European
Parliament on May 31.

The discussion titled “Armenian Genocide, Recognition & Restoration of
Cultural Heritage, Legal and Political Aspects” will be hosted by
member of the European Parliament Charles Tannock, European Armenian
Federation for Justice & Democracy reported.

The panelists are human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson, Professor
of International Relations Ove Bring, Turkish human rights lawyer Cem
Safuoglu and journalist Guillaume Perrier.
Azerbaijan keeps Armenian border under sporadic fire

The situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border remained 
unchanged overnight, with Azerbaijan’s armed troops continuing 
to release sporadic fire against Armenian border guards in the 
country’s north-east.

In a press release, the Ministry of Defense says that the adversary
shoot billets from firearms of different calibers to incite tension.

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia keep the situation 
along the border under control, confidently continuing their military 
Average life expectancy for Armenia is 74.8 years, according 
to World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the SDGs
by Naira Badalyan
May 21, 16:46

The average life expectancy in Armenia is 74.8 years, according to
the World Health Organization.

The World Health Statistics 2016: Monitoring health for the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) says that that dramatic gains in
life expectancy have been made globally since 2000, but major
inequalities persist within and among countries.

Life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the
fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during
the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS
epidemic and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet
Union. The increase was greatest in the African Region of WHO where
life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by
improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and
expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.

Global life expectancy for children born in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8
years for females and 69.1 years for males), but an individual child's
outlook depends on where he or she is born. The report shows that
newborns in 29 countries - all of them high-income -- have an average
life expectancy of 80 years or more, while newborns in 22 others - all
of them in sub-Saharan Africa -- have life expectancy of less than 60

With an average lifespan of 86.8 years, women in Japan can expect to
live the longest. Switzerland enjoys the longest average survival for
men, at 81.3 years.  People in Sierra Leone have the world's lowest
life-expectancy for both sexes: 50.8 years for women and 49.3 years
for men.  Healthy life expectancy, a measure of the number of years of
good health that a newborn in 2015 can expect, stands at 63.1 years
globally (64.6 years for females and 61.5 years for males).

In the European region, the lowest indicator is for Turkmenistan -
66.3 years. The indices for Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine are 72.7,
72.3, 71.3, respectively.

Published every year since 2005, WHO's "World Health Statistics" is
the definitive source of information on the health of the world's
people. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality,
disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy,
illness and death from key diseases, health services and treatments,
financial investment in health, and risk factors and behaviours that
affect health.  WHO's Global Health Observatory updates health
statistics year round of more than 1000 health indicators. Members of
the public can use it to find the latest health statistics on global,
regional and country levels.

RFE/RL Report
Villagers Continue To Protest Controversial Irrigation Project
Ruzanna Gishian

Hundreds of residents of a big village in central Armenia again
blocked a highway on Friday in continuing angry protests against
government plans to divert water from a river serving as their main
source of irrigation.

The government wants to build a canal there as part of a broader
irrigation project that will be mainly financed by a $30 million loan
allocated by the World Bank three years ago. It envisages a switch
from pump-based to gravity irrigation in four agricultural regions of

Announcing the release of the loan in May 2013, the World Bank said
the project will allow the country to save both irrigation water and
electricity used for pumping it to farming communities. "This will
potentially bring about 2,400 hectares of formerly irrigated
agricultural fields back to irrigation, leading to increased
agricultural production," it said in a statement.

Under the project, water from the Azat river flowing by Garni, a
village 30 kilometers east of Yerevan, is to be delivered to 12
villages in the southern Ararat province through a gravity irrigation

Many Garni farmers have opposed that from the outset, saying that the
river is already barely able to meet their needs for irrigation and
drinking water and that the government would wreak havoc on local
agriculture by diverting it. Armenian environment protection groups
have backed their demands.

The critics also claim that it is Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian,
rather than the Ararat farmers, who would be the main beneficiary of
the project. Abrahamian reportedly owns large swathes of agricultural
land in that fruit-growing area south of Yerevan. Government officials
have denied these allegations.

The protests in Garni, which has a population of more than 5,000
residents, intensified last month as authorities deployed heavy
machinery in preparation for the construction work. The local farmers
have since repeatedly blocked a highway that passes through the
village and leads to two of Armenia's most famous tourist
attractions. One of them is the pagan Garni temple built in the 1st
century A.D.

The angry protesters again kept the road closed for several hours on
Friday. They refused to unblock it despite an appeal from the police
chief of the Kotayk province encompassing Garni. The protesters gave
the government until Sunday to scrap the controversial project.
Energizing the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Argument
Editorial, 10 May 2016 

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”- -F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The above doublethink by the author of “The Great Gatsby” is his most popular quote although its cognitive dissonance is jarring. How much of the tortuous and tortured thinking was a result of his alcoholism and mental illness should make an interesting topic for a Ph.D. thesis. Meanwhile, sagacious diplomats around the world seem to live by the American novelist’s tendentious pensee. To wit: they simultaneously believe in the concept of a state’s territorial rights while claiming to honor the contradictory principle of respect for a people’s right to self-determination.

That brings us to the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict.

Which concept should the world respect when deciding the fate of the unrecognized Armenian republic? So far, the world has generally given precedence to Azerbaijan’s “territorial rights” argument.

Global diplomatic ethics being what they are, it’s no surprise that consistency and integrity take back seat to self-interest in the tension between the two concepts. Thus when it was in the interest of the Western powers to dismantle Yugoslavia, they were for self-determination for the various nations which comprised that republic. Russia, which opposed self-determination for the Yugoslav nations recently advocated self-determination in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile Moscow opposes self-determination movements in Northern Caucasus. Similar inconsistencies abound in global diplomacy (Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, the separation of southern Sudan from Khartoum, East Timor, etc.).

States give short shrift to self-determination mostly because many of them have separatist, secessionist, autonomist movements. From Albania (the Northern Epirus minority) to the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) to France (Corsica), states feel threatened by minority groups which demand some sort of self-determination. When Canada faces separatism in Quebec, Ottawa will not support separatists in Spain, France, or in the Caucasus.

Since the Armenian espousal of self-determination for Artsakh has failed to get traction, Yerevan/Stepanagert need a new game plan which will advance a more persuasive rationale for self-determination.

But first Armenians should put aside the argument that they have been in Artsakh for millennia. Recent history (Persian, Russian, and Soviet Azeri rule of Artsakh) has more weight at the UN than our 1,500-year-old churches. As ineffective is the argument that Stalin illegally granted Armenian lands (Artsakh/Nakhichevan) to Azerbaijan. Historian Rouben Galichian’s sensible argument (“The Invention of History, Clash of Histories in the South Caucasus”) that the decision of one of the world’s cruellest dictators should not become the basis of international negotiations has fallen on deaf ears. Let’s also not waste time pushing the argument that Azerbaijan is a recent fabrication. Many states are…from Israel to Jordan to the Gulf States and practically all the African states. There are no buyers of that argument.

A new blueprint for advancing the self-determination principle is eloquently supplied by Dr. Armen Mazmanyan, director of the Apella Institute and its Centre for Constitutional Studies. Dr. Mazmanyan argues that Azerbaijan is interested in territorial integrity but without the people who inhabit it. Azerbaijan’s April attack demonstrated that Baku is intent at eliminating Artsakh Armenians. The Azeri army’s use of weapons of mass destruction , the shelling of settlements, the threat to shell Stepanagert, the slaying of elderly civilians in their homes, and the ISIS-style killing of soldiers are evidence that Baku is intent at ethnic cleansing in Artsakh—a repeat of the genocide Azerbaijan’s older brother committed a century ago.

Azerbaijan’s state policy of anti-Armenian racism is another reason why Armenians can’t trust Azeri rule over Armenian lands and people. All day long, on Azeri media and in schools, Baku spouts anti-Armenian propaganda. Meanwhile Azeri columnists spread calumny about Armenians.

The case of Lieut. Ramil Safarov, the Azeri axe-man who killed an Armenian officer in Hungary during a NATO military gathering, is another reason not to trust Baku. When the killer of Lieut. Gurgen Margaryan, was prematurely released by the Hungary (the release was lubricated by Azeri purchase of Hungarian government bonds) in 2012, the murderer was welcomed in Baku as a hero. No less than Azerbaijan’s president welcomed the coward. The axe murderer was granted the title of National Hero, promoted from to major, given a house, a car…Why Baku has been tardy in making a movie about Safarov is a mystery. Perhaps Azeri officials are negotiating with Ben “Batman” Affleck who now shills for the Turkish Airlines.

Upon his “triumphal” return to Azerbaijan, the murderer, who had killed the Armenian officer while the latter was asleep, said: “My job is to kill Armenians. As long as they live, they will suffer...If there were more Armenians I would have killed them all. However, this was the first and I didn’t have time to prepare more punctually to commit this action.”

As if the rewarding Safarov wasn’t sufficient barbarity, a few weeks ago Aliyev personally gave an award to the Azeri soldier who, during the early April Azeri attack, had decapitated Kyaram Sloyan, the Yezidi soldier in the Armenian army.

Despite Safarov’s crime and his obscene crowing, the international community hardly condemned Azerbaijan for its scandalous celebration of Safarov’s brutality. The world also didn’t condemn Aliyev for honouring the Azeri soldier who beheaded Sloyan. So how can Armenians trust the goodwill of states which are now telling Armenians that everything will be fine if Armenians allow Azeris to rule over them?

When Armenians of Artsakh say they can’t trust Azeri rule, they have a lucid exhibit next door in Nakhichevan. That Armenian region was heavily inhabited by Armenians when Stalin handed it to Baku. Seventy years later—supposedly under the even-handed umbrella of Big Brother Moscow—there were no Armenians left in Nakhichevan: they had been pushed out by the Comrade Azeris. This is further proof of the maniacal Azeri hatred of Armenians. Although there are no Armenians left in Nakhichevan, several years ago Baku authorities went on a paroxysm of destruction and shattered thousands of Armenian graves, some from the Middle Ages. How can any reasonable person maintain that ethnic harmony can prevail in Artsakh if Baku is handed the stamp-sized Armenian republic?

The same argument applies to the Azeri territories occupied by the Armenians. An independent Artsakh would be at the mercy of Azeri guns if the seven areas are handed to Baku. Suicide is not an acceptable national policy. Israel, which has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967, advances the same argument for holding on to the heights. Tel Aviv cites UN Security Council Resolution (Nov. 22, 1967) which calls for “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” for every state.

Armenian diplomats, political scientists, and international lawyers have their job cut out for them. They should use these and other relevant arguments to buttress the thesis that Artsakh self-determination is the only viable solution to the conflict. Raffi K. Hovannissian, the first foreign minister of present-day Armenia and a former presidential candidate writes, "Azerbaijan’s belligerent conduct, a hell-bent design developed over the years to wipe out not only Karabakh but Armenia in toto, renders a negotiated settlement no longer possible, and it is imperatively time for the international community to take a stance in equivalent application of international law and, yes, in pursuit of guaranteeing strategic security interests" ( Foreign Policy Journal, May 6, 2016 ).

Finally, error-prone, dim-witted Baby Aliyev unintentionally betrayed secret Turbeijan intentions when he said that not only Artsakh and Zankezur belong to Azerbaijan but also all of Armenia because “Armenia was part of ‘ancient’ Azerbaijan”. In other words, the grey wolf will not be content with Artsakh. Next on the vulpine menu is Yerevan. Aliyev’s statement is the clincher. It’s the nail in the coffin in the concept of the so-called Azeri territorial integrity in Artsakh.
A beautiful song by Majida Al-Roumi... A dedication to all L
ebanese Armenians to thank them for their contribution and loyalty to Lebanon. 
(in Arabic & Armenian with folkloric dances)

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... We have Garo Paylan in the Turkish Parliament

We have our hero in the Turkish Parliament, Garo Paylan 
whose parliamentary immunity together with with other 
HDP members has been rescinded (see last article). 

But just listen to this from a courageos Kurdish MP 
confronting nationalist AKP members including the 
Speaker of the House. [1] 

Iran Daily
May 15, 2016 Sunday
Azerbaijan to conduct drill ahead of Nagorno-Karabakh talks

Azerbaijan on Sunday announced joint military exercises with Georgia
and Turkey, plans which are likely to raise tensions with neighboring
Armenia a day before talks in Vienna over the breakaway region of

The territory, which lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by
ethnic Armenians, has run its own affairs with heavy military and
financial backing from Armenia since a separatist war ended in 1994.

A cease-fire agreed on April 5 after an outbreak of fighting has been
violated every day, say locals.

"To increase the combat capabilities and combat readiness of the
Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, we deemed it worthwhile to carry out
joint military exercises," Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Gasanov
said on Sunday.

It was not immediately clear when the exercises, which have also taken
place in past years, would be carried out.

A spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry did not comment on the
implication of the exercises for Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

Several soldiers, from both sides, have been killed in exchanges of
fire since the cease-fire was declared.

Both the Azeri and Armenian presidents, as well as diplomats from
Russia, the United States and France, will meet in Vienna on Monday to
discuss the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

Irish Mirror
May 16, 2016
Children's European Championship in Kung Fu ends in chaos 

as adults brawl with bars and poles in ring
By Kelly-Ann Mills

The shocking scenes were caught on camera as people used bars and
poles to attack each other

This was the moment a children's kung fu competition ended in a mass
brawl as adults piled into the ring.

The brutal scenes took place at the European Championship in Kung Fu
being held in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

As the footage shows, the brawl started when two youngsters in the
ring from Armenia and Azerbaijan refused to stop battling it out
despite the bell being sounded.

It was a semi-final match and 12-year-old Armenian David Petrosyan was
about to win, when support staff from the Azeri athlete ran into the
ring and joined in.

Then about around 50 men started fighting, using bars and poles to
attack each other.

Even the President of the Kung Fu Federation of Europe, Nikolai
Matulevskiy, ended up being hit, apparently by a member of the
Azerbaijan team when he was trying to hide the Armenian athlete
Nikolai Matulevskiy behind him.

The fight escalated quickly, moving from the fighting ring to rest of
the gym, with some of the people using sticks and poles to fight each

The fight was eventually stopped by security guards.

The team from Azerbaijan has been disqualified for inappropriate
behaviour at the competition. 

The Economist
May 19 2016
Nagorno Karabakh: A squalid little war
Twenty years on, Azerbaijan and Armenia are fighting in 
the same trenches
May 21st 2016

THE road to Agdam, a small town that was once part of Azerbaijan, runs
out abruptly and turns into a front line. Soldiers walk nervously
along the mound of earth that separates Azerbaijan from
Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory controlled by Armenia since the
two countries fought a war in the early 1990s. That war left at least
20,000 dead and a million displaced. Most of the conscripts are
younger than the conflict, and have seen Armenians only through a slit
window in a machinegun redoubt.

The conflict has been simmering ever since, and in early April it
erupted again. Azerbaijan’s well-equipped troops staged an offensive,
retaking a couple of hills. Total deaths, on both sides, were
estimated at 200. But the psychological effect of the“four-day war”,
as it is now called in Azerbaijan, vastly exceeded the military gains.
Baku was filled with national flags as crowds celebrated Azerbaijan’s
first “victory” since the humiliating defeat 20 years ago.

“Psychologically, it was like Stalingrad. It proved that we can
achieve victories,” says Fariz Ismailzade, a vice-rector of ADA
university in Baku. Many were furious that Azerbaijan’s army stopped
after Russian interference.

Russia is both a mediator and a party in the conflict: it has military
bases in Armenia and sells arms to both sides. The standoff allows
Moscow to keep the entire region on tenterhooks. “Had it not been for
Russia, we would have probably settled the conflict by now,” says
Elkhan Shahinoglu, the head of the Atlas Political Research Centre in

Both Azerbaijan and Armenia are weary of Russia. Serzh Sargsyan,
Armenia’s president, shunned a Russian invitation to come to Moscow
for talks with his counterpart in Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Armenia,
meanwhile, was angry that Russia did not back it fully in the clash.
Instead Mr Aliyev and Mr Sargsyan met in Vienna on May 17th, along
with the foreign ministers of Russia, France and America, and agreed
to hold more substantial talks next month.

Turkey, Iran and Russia all have interests in the South Caucasus, and
none wants a full-blown war. But the patriotic euphoria in Azerbaijan
and Armenia may not be entirely controllable. In the Caucasus emotions
often run too hot for reason to prevail.

RFE/RL Report 
Armenian Catholics Look Forward To Papal Visit
Satenik Kaghzvantsian

The spiritual leaders of Armenia's Roman Catholic community hailed on
Thursday Pope Francis's upcoming visit to the country as a recognition
of and strong support for its Christian heritage.

Francis is scheduled to arrive in Armenia on June 24 on a three-day
trip that will underscore the Vatican's growing links with the South
Caucasus state and the Armenian Apostolic Church. He will visit the
Armenian genocide memorial in Yerevan, attend an ecumenical service in
the Armenian capital's central square and hold an open-air mass in

Armenia is home to tens of thousands of Catholics following
traditional Armenian religious rites. They are concentrated in the
northwestern Shirak province, of which Gyumri is the
capital. Thousands of other Armenian Catholics live in Georgia's
Javakheti province bordering Shirak.

Archbishop Rafael Minasian, the head of the Armenian Catholic Church
in Armenia, Georgia and Eastern Europe, said his community is looking
forward to the papal trip.

"We, the Armenian people, have proudly kept our Christian identify for
many centuries," he said in remarks posted on the church's
website. "Over the centuries this identity has resulted in millions of
martyrs who sacrificed themselves for Christ."

"As head of the Catholic Church, the Pope is obviously looking to
appreciate our Christian testimony. We are honored to see such a
tribute to our nation and our martyrs," added Minasian.

Armenia -- A prayer service in a Catholic church in Yerevan.
In Minasian's words, Armenia's Catholic clergy also views the trip as
an opportunity to personally thank Francis for publicly recognizing
the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

Father Hovsep Galstian, a spokesman for the Armenian Catholic
congregation, expects the Pope to also bring a "message of peace to
the region" following the recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. He noted that Francis will visit Azerbaijan later this year.

Another Gyumri-based Catholic priest, Father Grigor Mkrtchian,
stressed the importance of the Pope's decision to visit Armenia's
second largest city and hold a mass there. He said the decision is
related to not only Gyumri's status as the center of Armenia's
Catholics but also the city's grave socioeconomic problems.

"As a poor-friendly Pope, he decided to come here and stand with the
people of this poor region," Mkrtchian told RFE/RL's Armenian service
( He expressed hope that the resulting international
media spotlight will serve as a catalyst for economic betterment in
the poverty-stricken city.

Mkrtchian also predicted that at least 20,000 people will attend the
Papal mass in Gyumri's central square slated for April 25. He said
they will be joined by more than 3,000 Catholic pilgrims from abroad.
Turkey Warns Germany: Do not recognize Armenian Genocide
May 19, 2016

The Turkish government has cautioned Germany against classifying a
century-old Ottoman Empire campaign to deport and kill Armenians as

The warning made on May 18 comes two weeks before the Bundestag, the
lower house of Germany’s parliament, is set to discuss the topic.

“Speaking about it without historical or legal proof is nothing other
than a misuse of political power,” said Turkish presidential spokesman
Ibrahim Kalin, as quoted by DPA, adding that the issue has actually
been put to rest, but is “continually put on the agenda again and
again under different pretexts.”

On May 9, one of the Vice Presidents of Bundestag, Claudia Roth,
remembered that Ambassador of Turkey to Germany, Huseyin Avni
Karslıoğlu, warned Bundestag about the draft bill on Recognizing the
Armenian Genocide and responded “We don’t accept it. I hope the groups
in parliament won’t obey Turkey once again and the draft will be
accepted as planned.”

The German government is set to vote on the resolution on June 2
whether to officially condemn the displacement and killings of
Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Armenia and about three dozen other countries refer to the deaths as
genocide, a designation Turkey has routinely disputed when the
question comes up in other countries.

More than 1.5 million people of the Christian minority were estimated
to have been killed during the Armenian Genocide in 1915. As the
successor to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey acknowledges some of the
killings, but vehemently denied 
Discussion on Armenian Genocide at European Parliament

A discussion on the Armenian Genocide will be held at the European
Parliament on May 31.

The discussion titled “Armenian Genocide, Recognition & Restoration of
Cultural Heritage, Legal and Political Aspects” will be hosted by
member of the European Parliament Charles Tannock, European 
Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy reported.

The panelists are human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson, Professor
of International Relations Ove Bring, Turkish human rights lawyer Cem
Safuoglu and journalist Guillaume Perreir. 

First Armenian woman reaches top of Everest
May 20, 2016 

On Friday, May 20, at 8:00 am Nepal time, IrenaKharazova became 
the first Armenian woman to conquer Mount Everest,
Mountain Tourism and Rock-Climbing Federation of Armenia reports.

Kharazova climbed to the highest point on the Earth as a member of a
Russian team headed by Alexandra Abramova, who summited Mount Everest
for the seventh time.

According to Kharazova, the expedition to Everest can’t be compared
with any of her previous trips either in terms of the duration or the
psychological and physical difficulty.

This was sent as background information relating to Boris Johnson MP
who won the New Statesman £1,000 prize for ridiculing Erdogan in
a poem to assert the right of freedom of speech.

Boris Johnson great-grandfather was a Turkish journalist named Ali Kemal. Ali Kemal Bey (1867 – 6 November 1922 ) was a liberal Ottoman journalist , newspaper editor , and poet [1] who was for some three months Minister of the Interior in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha , Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire . He was murdered (lynched) during the Turkish War of Independence .

Kemal Bey is the paternal grandfather of the British politician Stanley Johnson and great-grandfather of the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson , British Member of Parliament Jo Johnson , and journalist Rachel Johnson .

On 4 November 1922 , Ali Kemal was kidnapped from a barber shop at Tokatliyan Hotel in Istanbul , and was carried to the Asiatic side of the city by a motor boat en route to Ankara for a trial on charges of treason. On 6 November 1922 , the party was intercepted at İzmit by General Nureddin Pasha , then the Commander of the First Army which was aligned with Mustafa Kemal Pasha . Ali Kemal was attacked and lynched by a mob set up by the General with sticks, stones and knives, and hanged from a tree. His head was smashed by cudgels and he was stoned to death. As described by Nureddin personally to Dr. Riza Nur , who with Ismet Inönü was on his way to Lausanne to negotiate peace with the Allies , "his blood-covered body was subsequently hanged with an epitaph across his chest which read, "Artin Kemal"". This bestowal of a fictitious Armenian name administered a final indignity to the victim. [13]
Al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt
May 14, 2016
Garo Paylan: Turkey's voice of the voiceless

After the attack on an Armenian MP in the Turkish parliament, the
Istanbul Human Rights Association has urged that action be taken
against any similar attacks, writes Nora Koloyan-Keuhnelian

After videos on social media went viral the past weeks showing
fisticuffs breaking out between Turkish parliamentarians as they
fought over a proposal to lift immunity from prosecution, Istanbul’s
Human Rights Association’s Committee Against Racism and 
Discrimination has complained to the speaker of the assembly 
demanding that such actions not be repeated.

During the fighting MP Garo Paylan representing the Turkish-Armenian
community and a member of the Kurdish HDP Party was attacked. Paylan
has been the target in recent weeks of verbal and physical attacks by
members of the ruling Turkish AKP Party as a result of his free
expression of his views on democracy, tolerance and human rights.

The letter, addressed to Ismail Kahraman, said that “this act of
racism against Garo Paylan under the roof of the Grand National
Assembly of Turkey violates international conventions signed by the
Turkish state that prohibit racism and discrimination.”

“Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights prohibits
discrimination in no uncertain terms. The Republic of Turkey has also
signed the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 1993 that
obligates signatory states to take precautions against racism.”

“The United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Turkey has also consented to
adopt, dictates the signatory states’ obligations regarding the
prohibition, investigation, punishment, denunciation and compensation
of the victims of racist acts,” the letter said.

The “AKP MPs yelled ‘Armenian bastard’ and ‘ASALA’s child’ at Paylan,
which is the very definition of racism,” Turkish human rights activist
Ayse Gunaysu told Al-Ahram Weekly. “In order to continue its denial of
the Armenian Genocide the Turkish establishment is keeping public
hatred against the Armenians alive and at times even escalating it,”
she added.

Genocide denial, she said, was “like an atmosphere – a climate that
embraces the lives, of victims and perpetrators alike.” She added that
she used the word victims, “because Armenians living in Turkey have no
alternative but to ‘tolerate’ denialism. It becomes a way of life.
Throughout the history of the Turkish Republic, any crisis in the
country fuels racism against Armenians.

In the construction of Turkish identity, Armenians are 
systematically turned into a collective enemy that binds the 
Turkish nation together,” Gunaysu said.
Just days before Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day during a session
of parliament Paylan condemned the murders and suggested forming a
committee to investigate the killings of Armenian intellectuals in
1915. In his address, he read out the names and displayed the
photographs of those who had been killed, arrested or exiled during
the genocide.

He also condemned the fact that places in Turkey are named after the
organisers and perpetrators of the Genocide. “Can you imagine going to
Germany and walking down an avenue named after Hitler,” Paylan asked,
ending his speech with the words “may God bless their souls” in the
Armenian language.

Paylan, born in Istanbul in 1972, was elected to the Turkish
parliament in June 2015 on the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party
(HDP) list. He is an activist who struggles for Armenian and minority
rights, and he has also supported the rights of Turkey’s Kurds. The
AKP has one Armenian MP, Markar Esayan, as does the CHP (Republican
People’s Party), Selina Ozuzun Dogan, both of whom were elected last

Although Armenians have distanced themselves from the 
Turkish state’s ongoing war against the Kurds, the security 
forces’ hostility towards the Armenians is still obvious. 
“They are supposed to guarantee the rule of law. In reality, 
they violate all the laws – national and international,” Gunaysu 

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has raised its voice
in support of Paylan. On 5 May, US State Department deputy
spokesperson Mark Toner answered a question from ANCA on Paylan’s
safety by saying that though he did not have details of the case, a
“member of any political party who is being harassed or beaten or
detained in any way would be of concern to us.” The question came as
ANCA has called upon US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass, in an open
letter, to publicly voice official US concern regarding the safety of

“We are troubled by Toner’s assertion that he was unaware of the
violence and threats against Garo Paylan,” executive director of ANCA
Aram Hamparian told the Weekly, as it had been the subject of major
media coverage.

“Toner has been asked about it during a press briefing. There’s no
excuse for further silence, particularly in the light of the US
government’s shameful record of inaction regarding the threats against
the life of [Turkish Armenian journalist] Hrant Dink in the past,”
Hamparian asserted.

ANCA has set up a petition for people to call on the US State
Department and the international human rights organizations, Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch to raise their voices in defence
of Paylan.

“I share the urgent concerns voiced in this letter and call upon each
of you to take a public stand against those who would silence Paylan,”
the petition read.

However, Gunaysu said that while “Armenian diaspora organisations are
condemning Turkey’s violations, such petitions may have an adverse
effect as Paylan could be associated with the ARF [Armenian
Revolutionary Federation] Party and other hate figures in Turkey, and
consequently the hostility against him could rise even though the ANCA
has every right to draw attention to the situation.”

“As for the Turkish public, regrettably human rights organisations’
efforts attract little attention, because the mainstream media never
covers such efforts and they remain unknown.”

Although nine years have now passed since the assassination of Dink in
the streets of Istanbul, last week’s fighting in the Turkish
parliament has raised fears that Paylan could face a similar fate,
particularly as he has vowed to carry on Dink’s work.

“Prior to the political assassination of Armenian journalist Hrant
Dink in 2007, far too few voices were raised in his defence.

Despite all the warning signs and many public appeals the US
government did not utter a single official word about the serious
threats to his life. It was only after Dink’s murder that it found its
voice, condemning a murder it had done little to prevent. Let us draw
the right lessons from this shameful record and act now before it is
too late,” concluded the ANCA petition.

The Turkish government also has an obligation to protect Paylan as a
Turkish citizen. “It should do everything possible to guarantee his
safety. But it is not in its tradition to do so. Only international
pressure can have an influence on what is going on in Turkey,” Gunaysu
told the Weekly.

Last week prominent Turkish journalist Can Dündar, editor of the
newspaper Cumhuriyet, was sentenced to more than five years in prison
after surviving an attack by a gunman who had attempted to assassinate
him outside a courthouse in Istanbul.

“Dündar, escaped an assassination attempt, but remember that Dink and
Sevag Şahin Balıkçı, who fell victim during his military service in
2011, were murdered. There are also dozens of Kurdish journalists in
jail now, and others who were killed during the army’s operations in
Kurdish towns and districts. There is a lot of interest in Dündar’s
case, but very little in the persecution of the Kurdish journalists,”
Gunaysu said.

The letter addressed to the speaker of the Turkish parliament also
said that “you partake in these crimes by excluding this racial
targeting from your agenda, not denouncing it, not imposing sanctions,
and not declaring that you prohibit such acts. You have first
responsibility for Paylan’s security since you are the head of 
the legislature in which he has been targeted. You are responsible 
before the world and before history.”

The Istanbul Human Rights Association invited the speaker of the
parliament to fulfill his responsibility, denounce the acts against
Paylan, and declare that he was against racism and would apply
sanctions against those committing racist assaults under the roof of
the parliament.

Turkish denialism is still widespread among the wider Turkish
population. “The vast majority believe that what the state says 
is true. So there is deep-rooted racism, at times open and 
aggressive, at times covert and subtle, against the Armenians 
and other non-Muslim groups,” Gunaysu said, adding that this 
was nevertheless the first time that such hatred had been 
displayed in parliament.

“What is particularly shocking is that no investigation has been
announced of this racist attack, and no one has been called to 
account for it,” Ayse Gunaysu, the Turkish human rights activist 
and member of the Committee Against Racism and Discrimination,