Wednesday, 26 April 2017

PETITION TEAM UK GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT

 
Click this link to sign the petition "The UK government must recognise the Armenian genocide"
Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament
 
 

Armenian News... The Promise is in the Uk Friday...



'The Promise' is coming to the UK cinemas! 
This epic and fascinating film about the Armenian Genocide will be screened at the following cinemas:

https://www.cineworld.co.uk/films/the-promise 

http://www.odeon.co.uk/films/the_promise/17238/#showtimes

https://www.myvue.com/cinema/westfield/film/the-promise 

http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/synopsis/the_promise/f5532 

VOTE FOR 'THE PROMISE' AT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITES:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4776998/?ref_=nv_sr_1

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_promise_2017 

#KeepThePromise 
#WatchthePromise 
#VotethePromise


To obtain the most from the historical aspects, read the attached study guide.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenian pundits...



Kavkazsky Uzel, Russia
April 20 2017
Armenian pundits play down large-scale drills in Azerbaijan

[Groong note: the below was translated from Russian]

Armenian pundits have opined that a large-scale army drill in
Azerbaijan is aimed at exerting psychological pressure on Armenia,
while official Yerevan complained about the drill to the OSCE,
Kavkazsky Uzel website reported on 20 April.

The Azerbaijani army is holding the large-scale drill on 16-21 April
to test the combat readiness of troops. The exercise involves up to
30,000 troops and over 250 tanks and armoured vehicles.

Armenia's Defence Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that
Yerevan complained to the OSCE about the drill. "Armenia has filed a
petition with the OSCE, saying that Azerbaijan did not inform the OSCE
member states about holding large-scale drills," Hovhannisyan was
quoted as saying.

He said that the OSCE's Vienna Document 2011 "On Confidence and
Security-building Measures" says that the OSCE should be informed if a
drill involves over 9,000 troops.

The head of the Modus Vivendi research centre, Ara Papyan, said that
the drill is aimed at exerting psychological pressure on Armenia.
"Azerbaijan realises that it will not manage to win a war and is
carrying out a creeping war against Armenia, trying to exhaust its
resources," Papyan was quoted as saying.

"The president of Azerbaijan has said repeatedly that the Karabakh
conflict will be resolved in a military way. The Azerbaijani army is
being trained for this now," he added.

Editor-in-chief of New Defence Order magazine Leonid Nersisyan said
the date of the drills was chosen to remind the Armenian side about
the April 2016 flare-up. He said that due to the large-scale drill the
Armenian army would be put on high alert which is disadvantageous for
the side wishing to launch an offensive, Kavkazsky Usel said.

The deputy head of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute, Sergey
Minasyan, said that the Azerbaijani army drill is aimed at
pressurising Armenia and breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh into making
concessions in the peace talks.

"The Armenian sides [Armenia and Karabakh], in turn, are employing a
deterrent policy, demonstrating to Azerbaijan that any threat to
resume hostilities will lead to serious consequences, which will
demonstrate that unleashing war was not worth it," Minasyan was quoted
as saying.

He added that during the drill Baku did not demonstrate any new
weapons which could cause Armenia's concern. There is military parity
between Baku and Yerevan, he said. "Azerbaijan has the edge on air
force, including UAVs, while Armenia has stronger air defence," he
said. 


RFE/RL Report 

French Presidential Hopefuls Woo Ethnic Armenian Voters
April 20, 2017
Emil Danielyan

Candidates for the 2017 presidential election in France (left to
right): Francois Fillon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Marine
Le Pen and Benoit Hamon.

The four main candidates in France's tight presidential race have
lavished praise on the influential French-Armenian community and
called for closer ties with Armenia ahead of Sunday's elections.

Two of them, the conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillon
and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, have also made pro-Armenian
statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in comments to the
"Nouvelles d'Armenie" magazine.

The French-Armenian publication asked Fillon, Le Pen, centrist
Emmanuel Macron and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon the same
questions and posted their written answers on its website
(Armenews.com) this week.

"France and Armenia share a great friendship which I would like to
reinforce further," said Macron, the election frontrunner. This
"privileged relationship" should be specifically strengthened by
greater French investments in the Armenian economy, he added.

Macron spoke of his "admiration" for an estimated 500,000 French
people of Armenian descent, most of them descendants of survivors of
the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. "Here Armenian culture
is an integral part of French and European culture," he said. "There
[in Armenia,] on the confines of the West and the East, it is an
outpost."

Le Pen, who narrowly trails Macron in opinion polls, also paid tribute
to the French Armenians, saying that they "have contributed a lot to
our nation." "They are perfect examples of what I often say: French
nationality is inherited or deserved," said the candidate campaigning
on a tough anti-immigration platform.

Speaking about relations with Armenia, Le Pen said France must restore
its historical role as a "protector of the Christians of the East." On
the unresolved Karabakh conflict, she said: "I believe it would be
desirable for Azerbaijan and Armenia to reach an agreement allowing
Nagorno-Karabakh to be reunified with Armenia."

Fillon similarly declared that Karabakh was "arbitrarily detached from
Armenia" by Joseph Stalin in 1921. He also blamed Azerbaijan for the
April 2016 outbreak of the worst fighting in Karabakh in over two
decades.

"Faced with international indifference, Azerbaijan attempted to retake
by force Nagorno-Karabakh," said the center-right candidate who served
as France's prime minister from 2007-2012. "This deadly offensive
ended with a shaky ceasefire."

"The links between France and Armenia have always been strong #
Franco-Armenian friendship has long and beautiful days ahead," Fillon
went on.

Melenchon's spokeswoman, Charlotte Girard, also voiced support for
"privileged" ties with Armenia, citing the South Caucasus state's
"geostrategic importance" and the existence of the French-Armenian
community.

Both Girard and Macron took more cautious positions on the Karabakh
dispute. The latter said that France should continue seeking a
peaceful settlement based on the principles of territorial integrity
of states and peoples' right to self-determination.

France has long maintained a warm rapport with Armenia. Its outgoing
President Francois Hollande and his predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy and
Jacques Chirac, have paid high-profile official visits to Yerevan. The
Armenian government will underline these close ties when it hosts next
year a summit of La Francophonie, a grouping of over 70 mainly
French-speaking nations.

France also officially recognized the Armenian genocide with a special
law enacted in 2001. All four presidential hopefuls referred to the
1915 slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians as a proven fact that
should be recognized by the entire international community. Fillon
criticized Turkey for refusing to acknowledge the genocide, while
Macron signaled support for further efforts to criminalize its public
denials in France.


OUPblog
Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World
April 21 2017
Reflecting on the Armenian Genocide
Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Robert Melson. Professor Emeritus at Purdue University 

The major forum for scholarship on the Holocaust and other genocides, Holocaust and Genocide Studies is an international journal featuring research articles, interpretive essays, and book reviews in the social sciences and humanities. It is the principal publication to address the issue of how insights into the Holocaust apply to other genocides.

April 2014 marked the centenary of the initiation of mass murders of Armenians in Anatolia—events now known as the Armenian Genocide. As Robert Melson notes in the below introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies ’ virtual issue on the subject, Turkish governments have consistently denied that the persecutions resulted from a policy of genocide.

The six articles in the issue, including contributions by Donald Bloxham and Taner Akçam, examine various aspects of the Armenian Genocide and its denial.

Between the onset of World War I and the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 approximately 1.5 million Armenians, or more than half of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population, died as a result of deportations, starvation, serial massacres, and mass executions. Though there were individual survivors, by the end of that period, the Armenian community in Anatolia had been essentially destroyed. Not only were Armenians killed, but surviving elements of their cultural heritage, including churches and works of art, were either obliterated or incorporated into the dominant culture—which now claimed that they were of Muslim or Turkish provenance.

These events constitute what has come to be known as the Armenian Genocide. Ever since, the Turkish state has denied that the Armenians were victims of genocide. The official argument has been that massacres occurred on both sides during the First World War, and that, to the extent that Armenians were targets of Turkish or Muslim violence, this was due to Armenian provocations and not to a policy of genocide.

The Turkish “provocation thesis” blames the Armenian victims for the genocide, asserting that Armenian peasants living in the eastern vilayets (provinces of the empire) had nationalist aspirations and were thus prepared to join the Russian invaders at the beginning of World War I. Further, these Armenians aspired to carve out an independent Armenia in eastern Anatolia, and this, according to the thesis, would spell the demise of Turkey.

Though there were individual survivors, by the end of that period, the Armenian community in Anatolia had been essentially destroyed.

Armenians therefore had to be eliminated in order that Turkey might survive. What Turkish deniers leave out is any discussion of independent Turkish nationalist motivations or of policies that included the destruction of Christian minorities in the empire.

Even before the war, the Young Turks had advocated for the creation of a homogeneous Turkish and Muslim society from the multicultural mosaic of the Ottoman Empire. They felt that only a unified state could defend itself against the European Great Powers, and especially from the Russians, who in their view wanted to destroy Turkey. The Young Turks believed that though all Christian minorities were obstacles to Turkish unification, the Armenians in particular constituted a “problem” that needed to be solved. The Armenians living in eastern Anatolia could claim to be the original inhabitants of the area, preceding the Turkish invasion and settlement by centuries. They clung to their culture, language, and religion, and were unlikely to assimilate and become Muslim and Turkish. Moreover, the Armenian peasant masses were concentrated in regions of eastern Anatolia that bordered Russia. The Young Turks argued that, were there to be a Russian invasion, Armenians would support the enemy. World War I provided the Young Turks with the excuse and opportunity to “solve” the Armenian “problem.” That solution, involving deportations, mass starvation, and serial massacres, added up to genocide.

The history of the Armenian Genocide, like that of the Holocaust, and like all history, creates puzzles that seem never to be completely resolved. Meanwhile, for the survivors of the genocide, and for their children and grandchildren, that history is neither academic nor official; it is personal, and it hurts. It is even more traumatic when its truth is denied and its victims are insulted.


New York Times
April 21 2017
Battle Over Two Films Represents Turkey’s Quest to Control a Narrative
By CARA BUCKLEY  

If history was any guide, the director Terry George figured there’d be weirdness around his new film, “ The Promise ,” about the Armenian genocide. Sure enough, he was right.

One of the actors, Daniel Giménez Cacho, said he was contacted before filming by a Turkish ambassador. Keeping in line with Turkey’s official stance, the diplomat insisted that the genocide, in which nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed, had never occurred. After the movie’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, it racked up 55,000 lowly one-star votes on the Internet Movie Database, which is quite something considering only a few thousand people had actually seen it at the three public screenings.

And then, six weeks before “The Promise” hit theaters this weekend came another film that shared uncanny parallels. Like “The Promise,” “ The Ottoman Lieutenant ” hinges on a love triangle set in Turkey during the early days of World War I. Unlike “The Promise,” “The Ottoman Lieutenant,” which stars Michiel Huisman and Josh Hartnett, was backed by Turkish investors and has been pilloried by critics for whitewashing historical events. 

The battle over these two new films represents just the latest front in Turkey’s quest to control the historical narrative. In 1915, Ottoman Turks, fearful that the restive Christian Armenian population would side against them in the war, began massacring Armenians and force-marching them to their deaths. The United Nations, the Catholic Church, the European Parliament, historians and scholars have roundly recognized the atrocities as a genocide, the 20th century’s first.

But Turkey has insisted that many people, both Turkish and Armenian, carried out — and bore the brunt of — wartime horrors, and that no concerted extermination effort existed. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, acknowledged in 2014 that Armenians had “lost their lives” and sent condolences to their descendants. But he implied that they were victims of a war in which all Ottoman citizens had suffered — rather than the victims of a genocide.

“The Ottoman Lieutenant” which tells of a dashing Turkish officer who helps save imperiled Armenians — while carrying on with an American nurse — reinforces that debunked Turkish narrative, detractors say. The American Hellenic Council, calling for a boycott, said the film was plainly aimed at undercutting “The Promise,” and falsely painted the genocide as two-sided.

“It’s a sort of mirror image of our film, but with a totally denialist perspective,” said Mr. George, adding that he suspects the Erdogan government had a hand in the rival film.

Yet as it turns out, there was bitter division among key players on “The Ottoman Lieutenant,” both during production and after. According to several people familiar with the project, Turkish producers oversaw the final cut, without the director’s knowledge.

The people familiar with the project said that tensions emerged on the “Ottoman” set after producers pushed to minimize depictions of Turkish violence against Armenians. Several people who worked on the project felt the final version butchered the film artistically, and smacked of denialism: Dialogue that explicitly referred to systematic mass killing had been stripped out. The director, Joseph Ruben, who refused to comment for this article, ended up doing no publicity for the film.

“As we were making the film, he always knew they could control the editing room, so this was a tightrope that he had to walk,” said Michael Steele, a first assistant director and producer on the film, referring to the Turkish producers. “Joe was so enraged by their version of events he attempted to take his name off the film, but he realized contractually he was obliged to remain silent.”

The producers, distributor and lead actors in “The Ottoman Lieutenant,” which according to BoxOfficeMojo.com has taken in just $241,000 since its release in March, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. 
The struggles over the two films are the latest in a series of attempts by Turkish interests to absolve their country of responsibility for the genocide, efforts that go back decades and have extended to Hollywood.

In the 1930s, MGM scuttled a plan to make a movie about the killings after Turkey exerted intense pressure on the State Department and the studio itself. When the Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, who is of Armenian descent, was making “Ararat,” his 2002 film about the genocide, he was deluged with threats and told that Armenians in Turkey might be harmed as a result. An ultranationalist group later threatened Turkish theaters planning to show the film, resulting in canceled screenings.

“The Promise,” which stars Oscar Isaac as an Armenian medical student and Christian Bale as an American journalist, was unfettered by studio pressures. The film’s financier was Kirk Kerkorian , the colorful Hollywood mogul and casino magnate, and the son of poor Armenian immigrants, who before his death in 2015 at 98, pledged $100 million toward the film, making it the biggest budget picture about the genocide yet.

“He felt if we don’t shine a light, we’re doomed,” said Eric Esrailian, a lead producer with Survival Pictures, Mr. Kerkorian’s production company.

Still, precautions were taken. Mr. George, whose credits include “Hotel Rwanda” (2004), said he ensured that “The Promise” was made under the radar, with no publicity. Production took place in Portugal, Malta and Spain, and there was tight security on the set.

Joe Berlinger, who embedded with the “Promise” production to shoot a documentary about the genocide, said everyone on the set was concerned about safety. “A lot of that is overblown — I think we’ve gone from historical assassinations to digital assassinations,” he said. “But we all had this nebulous fear.”

Mr. Berlinger said he repeatedly reached out to Turkish officials for his documentary, “Intent to Destroy,” and was eventually invited to Ankara for meetings on the condition that he not bring recording devices or his crew. The Turks also refused to say who he’d be speaking with. He demurred. (The film is to play the Tribeca Film Festival next week.)

“I felt like it would be a useless trip and one that was potentially dangerous, frankly,” Mr. Berlinger said. It was in “Intent to Destroy” that the actor Mr. Giménez Cacho revealed that a Turkish ambassador had bombarded him with denialist propaganda, which Mr. Berlinger believes is part of a Turkish campaign to discourage people from tackling projects related to the genocide.

Whether “The Promise” does well or not at the box office this weekend, it continues to garner attention. In the week leading up to its release, it racked up thousands more votes on IMDB.com . It’s at 126,000 votes and counting, largely split between 1-star and 10-star ratings. And last week, Kim Kardashian West, arguably the world’s most famous Armenian American, tweeted her support of the film, having visited Armenia in 2015 to highlight the genocide.

There are no plans yet to release “The Promise” in Turkey (“The Ottoman Lieutenant” will open there May 19 ). Either way, Taner Akcam, a leading historian on the genocide and a professor at Clark University, said that officials there might characterize it as Armenian propaganda made with Armenian money, if they say anything at all. “Silence, this is their usual strategy,” he said.

“The Promise” opens this weekend by design. April 24 marks the 102nd anniversary of the first stage of the genocide, when hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested in Istanbul, a date Armenians worldwide commemorate each year.

“The genocide is burned into the soul of the Armenian diaspora,” Mr. George said. “And until they get some kind of recognition, it’s not going to go away.”

The filmmaker Joe Berlinger, seen here in New York in 2012, embedded with “The Promise” during its production for his documentary, “Intent to Destroy,” about the Armenian genocide. On the set, he said, “We all had this nebulous fear.”


New York Times
‘Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide’ Uncovers Lost Evidence
By TIM ARANGO APRIL 22, 2017 

For more than a century, Turkey has denied any role in organizing the killing of Armenians in what historians have long accepted as a genocide that started in 1915, as World War I spread across continents. The Turkish narrative of denial has hinged on the argument that the original documents from postwar military tribunals that convicted the genocide’s planners were nowhere to be found.

Now, Taner Akcam, a Turkish historian at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., who has studied the genocide for decades by piecing together documents from around the world to establish state complicity in the killings, says he has unearthed an original telegram from the trials, in an archive held by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

“Until recently, the smoking gun was missing,” Mr. Akcam said. “This is the smoking gun.” He called his find “an earthquake in our field,” and said he hoped it would remove “the last brick in the denialist wall.”

The story begins in 1915 in an office in the Turkish city of Erzurum, when a high-level official of the Ottoman Empire punched out a telegram in secret code to a colleague in the field, asking for details about the deportations and killings of Armenians in eastern Anatolia, the easternmost part of contemporary Turkey. Continue reading the main story

Later, a deciphered copy of the telegram helped convict the official, Behaeddin Shakir, for planning what scholars have long acknowledged and Turkey has long denied: the organized killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by the leaders of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, an atrocity widely recognized as the 20th century’s first genocide.

And then, just like that, most of the original documents and sworn testimony from the trials vanished, leaving researchers to rely mostly on summaries from the official Ottoman newspaper.

Mr. Akcam said he had little hope that his new finding would immediately change things, given Turkey’s ossified policy of denial and especially at a time of political turmoil when its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has turned more nationalist.

But Mr. Akcam’s life’s work has been to puncture, fact by fact, document by document, the denials of Turkey.

“My firm belief as a Turk is that democracy and human rights in Turkey can only be established by facing history and acknowledging historic wrongdoings,” he said. Continue reading the main story

The gutted and abandoned interior of an Armenian monastery, north of Diyarbakir, Turkey, which, according to locals, is now used to house livestock. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

He broadened his point to argue that much of the chaos gripping the Middle East today was a result of mistrust between communities over historical wrongdoings that no one is willing to confront.

“The past is not the past in the Middle East,” he said. “This is the biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Eric D. Weitz, a history professor at the City College of New York and an expert on the Armenian genocide, called Mr. Akcam “the Sherlock Holmes of Armenian genocide.”

“He has piled clue upon clue upon clue,” Professor Weitz added.

Exactly where the telegram was all these years, and how Mr. Akcam found it, is a story in itself. With Turkish nationalists about to seize the country in 1922, the Armenian leadership in Istanbul shipped 24 boxes of court records to England for safekeeping.

The records were kept there by a bishop, then taken to France and, later, to Jerusalem. They have remained there since the 1930s, part of a huge archive that has mostly been inaccessible to scholars, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Mr. Akcam said he had tried for years to gain access to the archive, with no luck.

Instead, he found a photographic record of the Jerusalem archive in New York, held by the nephew of a Armenian monk, now dead, who was a survivor of the genocide.

While researching the genocide in Cairo in the 1940s, the monk, Krikor Guerguerian, met a former Ottoman judge who had presided over the postwar trials. The judge told him that many of the boxes of case files had wound up in Jerusalem, so Mr. Guerguerian went there and took pictures of everything.

The telegram was written under Ottoman letterhead and coded in Arabic lettering; four-digit numbers denoted words. When Mr. Akcam compared it with the known Ottoman Interior Ministry codes from the time, found in an official archive in Istanbul, he found a match, raising the likelihood that many other telegrams used in the postwar trials could one day be verified in the same way.

For historians, the court cases were one piece of a mountain of evidence that emerged over the years — including reports in several languages from diplomats, missionaries and journalists who witnessed the events as they happened — that established the historical fact of the killings and qualified them as a genocide.

Turkey has long resisted the word genocide, saying that the suffering of the Armenians had occurred during the chaos of a world war in which Turkish Muslims faced hardship, too. Photo

Tripods used for hanging people during the Armenian genocide that started in 1915. Credit Culture Club/Getty Images

Turkey also claimed that the Armenians were traitors, and had been planning to join with Russia, then an enemy of the Ottoman Empire.

That position is deeply entwined in Turkish culture — it is standard in school curriculums — and polling has shown that a majority of Turks share the government’s position.

“My approach is that as much proof as you put in front of denialists, denialists will remain denialists,” said Bedross Der Matossian, a historian at the University of Nebraska and the author of “Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire.”

The genocide is commemorated each year on April 24, the day in 1915 that a group of Armenian notables from Istanbul were rounded up and deported.

It was the start of the enormous killing operation, which involved forced marches into the Syrian desert, summary executions and rapes.

Two years ago, Pope Francis referred to the killings as a genocide and faced a storm of criticism from within Turkey. Many countries, including France, Germany and Greece, have recognized the genocide, each time provoking diplomatic showdowns with Turkey.

The United States has not referred to the episode as genocide, out of concerns for alienating Turkey, a NATO ally and a partner in fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Barack Obama used the term when he was a candidate for president, but he refrained from doing so while in office.

This year, dozens of congressional leaders have signed a letter urging President Trump to recognize the genocide.

But that is unlikely, especially after Mr. Trump recently congratulated Mr. Erdogan for winning expanded powers in a referendum that critics say was marred by fraud.

Mr. Shakir, the Ottoman official who wrote the incriminating telegram discovered by Mr. Akcam, had fled the country by the time the military tribunal convicted him and sentenced him to death in absentia.

A few years later, he was gunned down in the streets of Berlin by two Armenian assassins described in an article by The New York Times as “slim, undersized, swarthy men lurking in a doorway.”


telegaph.co.uk
Christian Bale historic romance The Promise is targeted by Turkish online trolls who deny the Armenian genocide
Raf Sanchez
21 APRIL 2017 

The makers of The Promise, a Hollywood film about the Armenian genocide, knew their movie would not go down well in Turkey, where acknowledging the mass slaughter is illegal.

What they didn’t expect was tens of thousands of negative reviews from people claiming to have seen the film - before it was even released.

The Christian Bale picture appears to be the target of a concerted campaign by Turkish cyber trolls who hope to destroy it before it is widely released in cinemas.

The film currently has more than 120,000 reviews on IMDB.com, the online movie ranking website. That is almost double the number of reviews for Beauty and the Beast, which was released last month and seen by millions around the world.

The online onslaught appears to have been directed partly from places like Incisozluk, an anarchic Turkish forum where digital trolling campaigns are often marshaled.

Several pages urged their followers to head to IMDB and give The Promise one star out of ten, the lowest rating possible.

“This a lesson that you don't f*** with Turks. We'll kick your a****! This is just a start,” wrote one user.

“F****** liars made a movie about so-called Armenian genocide,” wrote another. “Please if you have a membership vote one star.”

Mike Medavoy, producer of The Promise, said those complaining about the film should "move on" and accept historical fact.

"I couldn't understand why this film hadn't been made before," he told The Telegraph. "Now I know."

Mr Medavoy, who as vice president of production for Universal was responsible for films such as Rocky, Terminator and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, said he did not anticipate so strong a backlash against this film.

Charlie Chaplin was once in talks to tell the story, he later found out, but the film was dropped under Turkish pressure.

"And nowadays it's perhaps even more relevant - with what's going on in Syria. There are people who still deny the Holocaust, too."

The 67-year-old producer, whose films with his own company include Black Swan, Shutter Island and The Thin Red Line, said he was not aware of the sensitivities before he embarked on the film, but "knew there would be some issues" when the film team came to him with the idea.

He was not warned off the film, though.

"If they did, they'd have gotten to the wrong guy," he said.

The campaign seems to have worked but also triggered an equal and opposite backlash from Armenians and other supporters of the film. Out of the 126,000 ratings on the site 63,000 of them are ten stars and 61,000 are one star. There are barely any rankings inbetween.

“Very proud there is a movie coming out about the Armenian genocide,” wrote one user who gave it a ten-star rating. “My great grandparents survived this genocide and went through hell.”

The £78 million movie was bankrolled by Kerkor Kerkorian, an Armenian-American businessman who was determined to spread awareness of the genocide even if the film did not make profit. It is directed by Terry George, an Irish filmmaker who also directed Hotel Rwanda, about the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The Promise stars Bale as an American reporter who covers the killing and Oscar Isaac as a young Armenian medical student who gets caught up in the slaughter.

Around 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Turkish soldiers and mobs in the final days of the Ottoman empire. In 1914 there were around two million Armenians living in Ottoman-controlled territory. By 1922, after years of killings and displacement, there were fewer than 400,000.

Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale are part of a love triangle in the film CREDIT: JOSE HARO/OPEN ROAD FILMS VIA AP

Turkish citizens can be prosecuted for talking about the genocide and no US president has ever formally acknowledged the slaughter out of fear of angering Turkey, a Nato ally. Barack Obama promised he would recognise the genocide when he was a candidate but backtracked on the promise once he was elected.

A Turkish-funded film called The Ottoman Lieutenant was released several weeks ago and appears to be an effort to counterbalance The Promise.

Both films feature are set in the same period and centre around a love triangle but the Ottoman Lieutenant, which features Ben Kingsley, portrays the genocide as a series of sporadic killings rather than an organised campaign by the Ottoman government.

Mr George, the director of The Promise, called The Ottoman Lieutenant "an alternative fact-type smokescreen".

“It’s not hard to see the motivation. Clearly, they had to have gotten wind of us making this film,” he told Hollywood Reporter.

Bale has been outspoken about the genocide since becoming involved in the film and said it was “tragically relevant” at a time when the Islamic State (Isil) is trying to wipe out Yazidis, Christians and other minorities.

Asked what he would say to Turks who denied that the genocide ever took place, Bale told MovieWeb: “There's a false debate that's been created, like climate change. As though there's strong evidence on one side, as on the other. There isn't. There isn't just as strong an argument. The evidence backs up the fact that it was a genocide.”


Yahoo! News
April 21 2017
Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac's 'The Promise' Headed for Epic Box-Office Meltdown: Forecasters
Nick Schager  
Epic starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac , helmed by a critically respected director like Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) would seem like a decent bet with mainstream moviegoers. And yet this Friday’s debut of The Promise is shaping up to be a big loser on the balance sheet, at least according to this weekend’s box office preview at The Hollywood Reporter .

In her forecast, THR ’s Pamela McClintock writes that things are looking exceedingly bleak for the Bale-Isaac romantic drama, which is set against the backdrop of Armenian genocide. Produced for $100 million by the late Kirk Kerkorian via his Survival Pictures, The Promise is predicted to net only about $4 million domestically, which — considering what that means for its prospects in subsequent weeks — is a doomsday scenario. While producers are downplaying such a situation, claiming that what’s really important is that all theatrical receipts go toward funding nonprofits (including Elton John’s AIDS foundation ), there’s no way to truly sugarcoat its expected box-office crash and burn.

Eric Esrailian, now in charge at Survival, told THR where he places the blame: “It became clear that the government of Turkey was going to have an influence on this movie. One of the most insidious realities of our existence in the United States is that foreign governments can control art. I would say at the highest levels from different studios, we were just basically told that no matter how good the film would be, it was never going be released by certain companies. I think that that’s truly shameful, but it’s just a reality that we had to deal with.”

What’s left unsaid by Esrailian, however, is the more basic reality that, as large-scale film budgets soar, so too do the financial risks. Deadline recently reported that the Scarlett Johansson -led Ghost in the Shell remake stands to lose around $60 million (after costing close to $250 million to make/promote). And both Ghost in the Shell and The Promise come on the heels of a 2016 in which numerous tentpole spectaculars took a huge financial bath , including Alice Through the Looking Glass (estimated $70 million loss), Allied (somewhere in the $75M-$90M range), The BFG (close to $100 million), and Ben-Hur (as much as $120 million).

That studio filmmaking is a dicey financial proposition is nothing new; movie moguls have been producing epic flops for decades. But with costs only on the rise, films like The Promise may soon become gambles that make even the most spendthrift of financiers think twice.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Show us your guts!


independent.co.uk

Will Donald Trump have the guts to call the Armenian genocide what it was?
Robert Fisk
4/24/2017 


Well, it’s now Trump’s moment of masculinity. Will he – or will he not – have the guts to call the 1915 Armenian genocide a genocide? A small matter for a guy who’s shooting from the hip across the Muslim world, you may say. But he congratulated the Caliph Erdogan on winning his dictatorial referendum and I doubt that Trump has the courage to offend him this month by telling the truth about the slaughter of one and a half million Armenian Christians during the First World War.

After all, Bill Clinton didn’t call it a genocide. Nor did George Bush. Nor did Obama. They all promised they would before they were elected. But my guess is that Donald Trump will be as cowardly as them, bowing towards the sensitivities of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wretched generals, those of them who still have jobs after Erdogan’s post-attempted-coup purge of the last nine months.

Yet the deliberate mass slaughter of the Christians of the Turkish Ottoman Empire – the victims had their throats cut, Isis-style, or were shot or tied together and thrown into rivers – was the first industrial holocaust of the 20th century. The women were raped or sold into slavery or starved to death. There were thousands of eyewitness testimonies to these atrocities, including the burning of babies by Turkish gendarmes. And Trump, as we all know, cares very much about “beautiful babies”.

But under no circumstances will the President of the United States, I suspect, have the honour to admit that the Armenian Holocaust – and Israelis use this same word in Hebrew for the Armenian genocide, even though their government does not acknowledge it – was a fact of history. Indeed, it even taught Hitler how to commit the Jewish Holocaust. And quite by chance this April, when the Armenians commemorate the start of their genocide – a word coined by the Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin after the Second World War for the Armenian massacres – up comes more fool-proof evidence of the atrocities committed by Erdogan’s Turkish predecessors in the Ottoman Empire which he admires so much.

A copy of the original Turkish pamphlet on the genocide presented to the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 – when the Turkish state and parliament actually acknowledged the massacres – has been unearthed by Armenian researcher Missak Kelechian, whose earlier work disclosed the existence of a Turkish orphanage for Armenian children in Beirut who were “Turkified” and forced to adopt the Muslim religion after the 1915 massacres. The text of the 1919 document proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the genocide happened, calling it “a great crime” committed at “a time when by the operation of war the laws of humanity in their general acceptance were suspended.”

The same document, sent to Versailles by the Turkish government of the time, refers contemptuously to the “Committee of Union and Progress” which ruled Turkey during the First World War and declared itself an ally of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire during the conflict, as “the Unionist organisation” and states that the “guilt” of the three pashas who ran the committee is obvious because it “conceived and deliberately carried out this internal policy of extermination and robbery…”

The paper even admits that the Muslim population of Turkey joined in the extermination of the Armenians with “savagery”, adding that those officials responsible for the massacres had been “arrested”. Alas, most were later freed and when Turkey declared itself independent under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 all thought of punishing the murderers of the century’s first holocaust disappeared. But the 1919 document, when the Allied powers still controlled Constantinople (now Istanbul) shows clearly that the Turks of that period knew and fully admitted the terrible crimes which had been committed under Ottoman Turkish rule.

At one point in the text, the Turkish government actually refers to “these manifestations of human wickedness surpassing in horror the worst that has been committed in Turkey still fresh in the minds of all.” In another passage the document says that “true it is contended that Musulman [sic] population joined on its own account the massacre of Armenians collectively or individually and therefore that the Turkish people is responsible for the terrible tragedy conjointly with the Unionist organisations and this not only indirectly and materially but directly and morally”.

Turkish and Armenian scholars have referred in the past to the 1919 booklet but with no specific references to the text – which led the Polish-Jewish lawyer Lemkin to his creation of the word “genocide”. But alas again, an American president who doesn’t read books cannot be expected to weep over the million and a half Armenian men, women, children and “beautiful babies” murdered in that 102-year old genocide – a mass slaughter carried out in some of the lands which Isis currently controls. So will Trump have the courage to use the word “genocide”? Like most bullyboys, I think he is a coward. So I have my doubts. 


No, he does not! 


THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24 , 2017 

Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Armenian Remembrance Day 2017

Today , we remember and honor the memory of those who suffered during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. I join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the loss of innocent lives and the suffering endured by so many.

As we reflect on this dark chapter of human history, we also recognize the resilience of the Armenian people. Many built new lives in the United States and made indelible contributions to our country, while cherishing memories of the historic homeland in which their ancestors established one of the great civilizations of antiquity. We must remember atrocities to prevent them from occurring again.

We welcome the efforts of Turks and Armenians to acknowledge and reckon with painful history, which is a critical step toward building a foundation for a more just and tolerant future.


Have you encouraged your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, club members ..
to see The Promise?


The Times of Israel
March 23 2017
Our Obligation to See ‘The Promise’
by Simon Hardy Butler
Piles of dead bodies. Men, women and children stuffed into boxcars. Forced slave labor.
Does any of this sound familiar?

If, on Yom HaShoah, these records of villainy hit close to home, then we, as Jews, should also remember another genocide that included these horrors yet preceded our own: that of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish regime starting in 1915.

The great film The Promise , now in theaters, highlights all of these occurrences from that era.

I just saw it last night in Manhattan, at a big theater more often known for blockbusters and crowd-pleasing entertainment. But The Promise is no such film; it had a large budget, for sure, and is important in that it is the first mainstream Hollywood film to call attention to the Armenian genocide, yet there’s more to it than that. It’s extraordinarily moving. It has scenes that are unforgettable: atrocities beyond scope, humanity beyond reason. It is powerful. It is essential.

All of my fellow brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith should watch it.

We say: “Never again.” And “never again” is what we should adhere to. Still, that mantra didn’t exist in its present form when Armenians were being massacred by Ottoman Turks, when they were being removed from their homes, when their villages were decimated, when their children were murdered.

We say: “Never again.” We must mean it.

To do so, we must understand all genocides, all holocausts, anti-Semitic and otherwise. The Armenian one is particularly crucial, as it took place only a few decades before our own and extinguished 1.5 million Armenian lives. There is no place for such villainy in the world. We cannot just say that, however. We must exemplify it.

So we must educate ourselves further on the subject. We must watch films such as The Promise to make sure we never forget. It is not only a work of art, but it is also a teaching tool. Like Schindler’s List , another cinematic masterpiece. In many ways, The Promise is very similar. It has a terrific score, by Gabriel Yared. It has brilliant performances, especially by Oscar Isaac, who will touch your heart in the picture like few will. It has superb cinematography, editing, production design. It has fearless direction. It even must be subject to the minor quibbles I had with Schindler’s List … that it didn’t show the full, vile extent of the violence and heinous crimes perpetrated by those who orchestrated the genocide. Yet both showed enough. Both made their point well. Both made the terror clear.

That’s why both are critical movies in the history of the silver screen. That’s why both will live forever.

As with Schindler’s List , The Promise is hardly one-dimensional. It is not didactic. Characters are fully developed. Heroes exist on both sides … including Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the Jewish-American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, whose portrayal during a scene with a government official might bring you to tears. On this day of remembrance, the people who fought for justice need to have their names recognized. We, as a people, should know why we do this. We, as a people, should be able to see the import.

I urge every Jewish man and woman who can to see The Promise . I do it with a warning: You may be upset. You may cry. Yet I do it also with the reminder that watching this film ensures a better world for us and all who surround us. It makes us better people. It makes us better rememberers.

Surely, not all memories are the same. The exceptional ones, however, must never be forgotten.

The Promise makes sure of that. We must do so as well.


asbarez.com
Editorial: World Events Raise Urgency of Justice for Armenian Genocide
2017 Armenian Genocide Special Issue
Editorial
22/04/17
The elections in Turkey on April 16 reversed what one expert called the country’s 100-year experiment in democracy and cemented the fact that successive Turkish governments will continue to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of architecting a Turkey in the 21stcentury based on its barbaric Ottoman past won narrowly during Sunday’s referendum, effectively giving him carte blanche to continue his persecution of minorities and violent breach of human rights. The stage is being set for a repeat of the 1915 events, as once again world powers turn a blind eye to this situation.

Here in the United States, the new administration’s actions, or lack thereof, raises the uncertainty over any official action regarding the Armenian Genocide, despite bi-partisan Congressional calls on the Trump administration to recognize that crime.

The passage of a resolution last June in the German Budenstag that not only recognized the Armenian Genocide but also highlighted German complicity in its genesis brought Europe a step closer to advancing justice and human rights in the face of resistance by Turkey and the United States.

Having said that we are far from proclaiming victory on this front. Other world events, such as the war in Syria, are shifting the balance in the region and affecting the posturing of world powers toward Turkey.

At the same time, the tenuous and fragile situation on the frontlines of Artsakh following last year’s “Four-Day War,” continues to threaten the security of Armenians in Armenia and Artsakh. At the same time, the international community’s refusal to properly condemn Azerbaijan for its heinous actions, only emboldens Baku—and by extension Ankara—to continue its barbaric policies toward Armenians.

Outside of world capitals and power centers, however, a new wave of Armenian Genocide recognition has emerged, continuing a trend that started in 2015, with the centennial, when major media outlets in the United States and around the world began urging Turkey to recognize the Genocide. This, coupled with the pope’s reaffirmation of the Genocide not only in 2015 at the Vatican, but also during his visit to Armenia in June 2016, as well as an urgent interest by members of the entertainment community has created a groundswell—and even more popular—of support for the just recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

This year, the premiere of the film “The Promise,” which was produced by Kirk Kerkorian’s Survival Pictures, has turned the conversation from denial to absolute recognition, with Hollywood A-listers lending their voice to the cause of advancing justice for the Armenian Genocide.

The climate that efforts like “The Promise” have created, and the resulting crescendo on social media, should not take the place of activism and the proper articulation of our just demands, which include reparations and restitution for the crime of the Armenian Genocide, the advancement of which requires recognition by Turkey, which can be hastened by the United States stepping up.

On April 24, Armenians around the world will commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, with most Diasporan communities focusing their protests at Turkish embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions. The target of our demands is the Turkish government and we must continue our demands for justice.

World events, especially developments in the region, have raised the urgency of Genocide recognition and advancement of justice. Each and every Armenian must pledge to fight for this not just on April 24 but every day of the year in order to guarantee that the just aspirations of the Armenian people are realized.


ITAR-TASS, Russia
April 21, 2017 Friday 3:31 PM GMT
Armenian archbishop says genocide of Christians underway 
in Syrian land
MOSCOW 

HIGHLIGHT: The situation in Syria where thousands of people have died
in recent years testifies to the fact of an ongoing genocide of
Christians in the war-torn country, Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan, the
head of the Russian and New Nakhichevan diocese of the Armenian
Apostolic Church said on Friday at a news conference hosted by TASS.

The situation in Syria where thousands of people have died in recent years 
testifies to the fact of an ongoing genocide of Christians in the war-torn country, 
Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan, the head of the Russian and New Nakhichevan 
diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church said on Friday at a news conference 
hosted by TASS.

He addressed reporters on the occasion of commemoration of the
Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and the 300th anniversary
since the foundation of the Armenian diocese in Russia.

"I wouldn’t shy away from saying the genocide of Christians is
underway in Syria today," the Most Reverend Nersisyan said when a
reporter asked him about the events in Syria.

He recalled that more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians, all of the
disciples of Christianity, had lived in Syria before the outbreak of
the civil war in 2011 but their number has reduced by a factor of
almost ten now.

"Many Armenians died without water on the way to the Dayr az-Zawr
desert without water and under the scorching sun," the Most Rev.
Nersisyan said. "The numeric strength of the Armenian community has
reduced to 10,000 to 15,000 persons. Of the 32 Armenian churches that
functioned previously, only one is functioning now, while the number
of Armenian schools has fallen from 40 to a maximum of five."

The archbishop said the genocide of the World War I era was a tragedy
for the whole world, not only for the Armenian people. "Not only did
we lose brothers, sisters, parents, and ancestors. We lost spiritual
treasures that belonged to the entire humanity, including 22,000
manuscripts, and more than 3,200 churches and monasteries that simply
vanished from history."

The Most Rev. Nersisyan paid special attention to preparations for
celebrating the 300th anniversary since the establishment of the
Armenian Church diocese in Russia. Festive events will be held in many
Russian cities and especially in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan,
and Nakhichevan.

The archbishop recalled that the Russian and New Nakhichevan diocese
was the largest in terms of size in the Armenian Apostolic Church.

"The Russian diocese embraces a territory from Vladivostok to (the
Baltic exclave region of) Kaliningrad and it also includes the eastern
Baltic states, the Central Asian countries, Moldova and Belarus, the
Most Rev. Nersesyan said.

"This diocese has 48 churches and we also plan to consecrate another
seven this year," he said.

At the news conference, the Russian musician, composer and producer
Stas Namin presented a show commemorating the victims of the 1915
genocide.

The Day of Memory of Armenian genocide is marked annually on April 24.
Deportation of Armenian intellectuals from Constantinople began
exactly on that day in 1915.

The mass deportations and extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire lasted through to the end of World War I.


armradio.am
Armenian peacekeepers not hurt in Taliban attack
22 Apr 2017 

Armenian peacekeepers are safe after the Taliban attack on an army base on Friday, Spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan reports.

“No of the Armenian peacekeepers has been hurt in the attack on the Mazar-e Sharif in northern Balkh province. they continue service in another base,” Hovhannisyan said in a Facebook post.

More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded in a Taliban attack on an army base on Friday.
armradio.am


epress.am
Armenian Minister Urges Protesting Farmers to Rob Winery Owner’s House
April 20, 2017
A group of grape farmers from the Ararat province village of Kaghtsrashen gathered again Thursday outside the Armenian government’s offices to demand a meeting with prime minister Karen Karapetyan and talk with him about the millions of drams they are still owed from 2015 harvest.

Nonetheless, protester Nerses Ghazaryan said in conversation with Epress.am the farmers no longer believed that state officials would take any steps to solve the issue. “We are fighting for money we’ve earned with our own sweat and toil, but they keep lying to us. Our prime minister talks big on TV but he won’t come out and speak with us personally. His predecessor Hovik Abrahamyan, at least deigned to meet with us and sent 50 million [drams] which was distributed among some of the farmers. If the current prime minister followed suit, the entire debt would be covered. We have even appealed to the president, but to no avail. It is all a lie; they only pretend to work,” Ghazaryan said.

The farmers did not get to meet with the head of the government today after all; however, they managed to stop agriculture minister Ignaty Arakelyan on his way to a Thursday government sitting. Arakelyan, for his part, insisted that he had no relation whatsoever with the issue at hand since the villagers have been deceived by the Vinar winery. The minister further insisted that he has done his best to help the farmers by referring the matter to the office of the Prosecutor General.

As the conversation went on, however, Arakelyan began offering the protesters alternative ways of settling the issue. The minister, for example, proposed that the farmers should enter Vinar co-owner Avet Galstyan’s house and take his property. “He has taken something that belongs to you; he is not giving you your money. You have to go to his house and take away whatever catches your eye; there is no other way,” Arakelyan urged.

The protesters, in turn, replied that they would only resort to such a step if the minister guaranteed that they would not be arrested afterwards. “We are not afraid of Avo, we are afraid of these guys in uniform. Who the hell is Avo to eat my money? We are afraid that [the police] will come and say to us. ‘Who the hell are you to lay a finger on Avo?’ Where did Avo come from? The government has brought him around, not my father. Let someone from the government then come and take responsibility of him,” one of the protesters told the minister.

Arakelyan, in response, insisted again that he had no authority over such matters, said he was late for the meeting and hurried to the government building.

Deputy agriculture minister Robert Makaryan also came out today to speak with the protesters and told them that Avet Galstyan has promised to distribute 10 million drams among the farmers in the coming days. When asked by a reporter where Galstyan was going to get the money from – since he has been constantly claiming that he has no money to pay the villagers – Makaryan replied; “It is not our responsibility to establish the source of the funds. But today he is coming to the ministry, and we will decide when and how we will give out the 10 million drams he has promised.”

The protesters, for their part, claimed they would begin taking extraordinary measures if they were lied to again.


panorama.am 
State Tourism Committee of Armenia launches campaign within “Clean Armenia” program

On 
the basis of Armenian Prime Minister’s instruction made at the Cabinet Session on 20 April, the State Tourism Committee of Armenia of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments announced about the launch of a campaign aimed at actively involving the Armenian citizens in the “Clean Armenia” program.

The Tourism Committee told Panorama.am that any citizen can take a picture of areas full of garbage at the country’s tourist attractions, send it to the Facebook page of the State Tourism Committee of Armenia, noting the community, city and the province, as well as the day the photo was taken.

To make the activities more effective, you can use the #CleanArmenia hashtag. The results well be presented online, in the public platform.

The source notes: “Let’s make Armenia’s tourist attractions more attractive together for the tourists visiting our country.”

Finally, in contrast to the mentioned, we present photos of the clean Armenia, when the man is in harmony with the nature and the environment.


arminfo.info
Armenian Government notifies the critical situation with the garbage removal
April 20 2017
Naira Badalyan 
The Government head reminded that based on results of Clean Armenia Project launched on February 16, 2017 it was discovered that only waste disposal sites occupy up to 430 ha. " the absence of proper control, incomplete work on garbage removal in cities and towns and at road sectors - the situation is close to tragic. I think everybody noticed that," the Prime Minister accentuated. According to him, this situation is the result of long and wrong organization of the waste removal works, and mistakes of regions governors and communities heads, "who perform their duties in imperfect manner and sometimes even fail performing those properly". They are liable not only for the proper organization of waste removal, but for correction of the situation formed," Karapetyan stated.

"The Clean Armenia Project implementation starts today," Karen Karapetyan summarized, instructing the regions and communities to develop and to submit in two months terms an appropriate program on cancellation of the problems mentioned. According to the Prime Minister, the situation is unacceptable for today.


theindependent.co.uk
The Independent: Football and hope in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
21 Apr 2017
By Robert O’Connor
The Independent 


High up in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, the tiny de facto republic at the crossroads of the Eurasian continent, hope is a priceless currency. Few people appreciate its value more than Samuel Karapetyan.

Inside the offices of the Artsakh Union of Freedom Fighters, the Head of the Artsakh Football Association (AFA) uses carefully chosen words to explain how his organisation has begun the long process of winning UEFA recognition for a region which has spent 30 years living in the shadow of war.

“All this war and conflict is temporary”, he says lighting a cigarette. “One day soon, the Artsakh national team will participate in the World Cup or European Championship”.

“We are hopeful”, reiterates Karapetyan. “In fact we are convinced that recognition will come soon, because all the world is interested in establishing peace in this region. Sooner or later Azerbaijan will recognize Artsakh, then we will participate not just in football but in every aspect of international life”.

The preliminary discussions with Uefa over the AFA’s membership began in November 2016. The dialogue remains embryonic, but Karapetyan says it represents a crucial first step in eventually bringing the territory out of isolation.

“The process is underway. We are confident that the Artsakh team will participate in international tournaments, and that it is coming soon. If we were not confident in our success then we wouldn’t live here”.

“Before 2006 there was no organised football in Artsakh” says Slava Gabrielyan, the Uefa Pro-license coach with responsibility for selecting the nascent NKR national team. March 1st of that year saw the establishment of FC Artsakh, the region’s only formal football club, but there has never been a national championship here for the team to compete in. “We have some friendly games against teams from Armenia and sometimes from Georgia”, he says. “But we never have competitive games. It’s not possible for us”.

“In Crimea, Uefa have recognised that the territory is neither part of Russia nor Ukraine” says Gabrielyan. “They have put measures in place to allow football there to prosper. We hope and expect that Uefa will do the same here in Artsakh”.

“The problem is that we don’t have the means to show the world that we can play”, says FC Artsakh coach Levon Mkrtchyan. “We only play here for ourselves, but our aim is to show outsiders what we can do. We want the world to know about Karabakh and Karabakh footballers”.

One of the realities of living in a region stalked by conflict is that security measures trump most other considerations. When Artsakh men reach 18 years-old they are whisked away for two years of military national service. Gabrielyan and Mkrtchyan believe footballers should be exempt from the rule but the status quo holds, meaning FC Artsakh’s players have their development interrupted a delicate stage.

The AFA does what it can to limit the disruption. Much of the funding it receives from the Ministry for Sport is reinvested in training up local coaches to international standard; Mkrtchyan currently holds a UEFA B-license, and plans to match his colleague’s Pro-license soon. With the NKR a non-entity in world football, both coaches are registered with Uefa via the FFA in Yerevan

“We take coaching seriously here”, says Karapetyan. “This year we will have some international coaches from other countries coming to Stepanakert to work with our players. However, we mostly have to use retired coaches so as not to cause problems for other national football associations”.

Internationally, the AFA’s work continues largely under the radar. In 2010 FC Artsakh competed in a tournament in France organized by the Armenian diaspora, and later this year they will travel to Catalonia as part of a similar arrangement.

For Gabrielyan’s national team, their most conspicuous foray into the international scene remains the 2014 ConIFA World Cup in Ostersund, Sweden, where defeats to the County of Nice and the Isle of Man’s Ellan Vannin saw them eliminated in the first round. A formal protest made to ConIFA by the AFFA in Baku over Karabakh’s involvement went unheeded by the organizers.


armbanks.am
Fitch: Armenian banks have stronger capital buffers, growth prospects moderate
22.04.2017 14:11 
Fitch Ratings said Armenian banks have strengthened capital buffers following recapitalization during 2015-2016. However, prospects for growth remain moderate as credit demand is yet to recover along with improving macro trends.

The recapitalization process has triggered M&A activity and sector consolidation, which we think is likely to continue over 2017 as competition in the market intensifies. The sector structure has changed moderately, with the top 10 banks gaining market share, due to both M&A activity and rapid expansion by some domestically-owned banks in 4Q16. However, the latter was largely driven by operations with non-residents rather than financing of domestic growth, and we expect new lending to remain moderate in 2017.

Achieving improvements in profitability remains a challenge and will likely depend on loan growth and stabilization in asset quality metrics. The stock of problem assets decreased in 4Q16, in part due to balance-sheet clean-up activity accompanying recent M&A deals. Borrower performance remains highly sensitive to recovery in domestic demand and stability of the dram, as lending dollarization remains high.

In late 2014, Armenia’s Central Bank decided to raise the minimum amount of the total capital of commercial banks from 1 January 2017 to 30 billion drams instead of 5 billion drams. The decision prompted mergers and acquisitions. As a result, out of 21 banks there remain now 17. ($ 1 - 486.09 drams).

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Armenian Church News - Latest E-Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 1 23rd April 2017

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["Armenian Diocese of the UK"]
Diocese of the Armenian Church of the United Kingdom and Ireland

Dear E-Newsletter subscriber, please find volume 4, issue 1 of the Armenian Church News of the Diocese via the link below.Some subscribers have reported that they have not been receiving our newsletters - firstly, please check your spam folders as sometimes emailing systems erroneously put emails in there. Also in Gmail accounts, check your "Promotions" tab and transfer the newsletter that may be in there into the "Primary" inbox. If someone still cannot find their newsletters, please forward this email on to them so that they can read these instructions.
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E-newsletter
Latest E-Newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 1
23rd April 2017
Please click here for the full pdf of this week's newsletter.
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Easter Weekend Liturgy at the Armenian Church
Easter Celebrations were marked at St.Sarkis and St. Yeghiche Armenian Church.Our Bishop Hovakim Manukyan marked Easter Blessings of the Resurrection of Christ. To view the video for both events please see below.   
Easter Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church, April 15th, Video.
Full video of event at St. Sarkis Church that took place on Saturday.   
Click here
Easter Liturgy at St.Yeghiche Church, April 16th, Video.
Full video of event at St.Yeghiche Church that took place on Sunday. 
Click here
The Promise, 2017. 
The Promise will be coming to the screens near you. A story that talks about the Armenian Genocide. Please check with your local cinema. 
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, May 2017
Please join us on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 2nd - 9th May 2017.  Details of the itinerary can be viewed by clicking on the image (left).
The cost is £1250 per person for a twin room, the single room supplement is £300. 
Flight details: BA167 2nd May from Heathrow at 16:45 arrives Tel Aviv 23:35
BA166 9th May from Tel Aviv at 07:45 arrives Heathrow 11:10
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0208 127 8364
 
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