Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Armenian News

The Prayers for the Day with an Armenian theme will be broadcast on

Thursday 12 April. BBC Radio 4 FM Only .

RFE/RL Report

Armenian Growth Data For 2011 Released


Economic growth in Armenia accelerated to 4.6 percent last year in

line with government projections, according to official GDP statistics

released this week.

The Armenian economy expanded by over 2 percent in 2010 following a

sharp downturn in 2009 caused by a global financial crisis.

The latest macroeconomic data from the National Statistical Service

(NSS) shows that its faster growth in 2011 was mainly driven by the

manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Industrial output rose by 14

percent and accounted for more than one-quarter of Armenia's GDP worth

3.82 trillion drams (about $10 billion).

According to the NSS, growth in agricultural production was just as

fast largely owing to relatively favorable weather conditions. The

sector's share in the economy reached about 22 percent as a result.

The 2011 growth would have been faster without a further double-digit

drop in construction. The Armenian construction industry is still

reeling from the 2009 recession.

The Armenian government expects the economy to grow at a slightly

slower rate, 4.2 percent, this year. Government officials acknowledge,

though, that the uncertain global economic outlook could translate

into a more sluggish growth.

The International Monetary Fund last week revised downwards its growth

projection for Armenia. A senior IMF official said in Yerevan that

growth will likely slow to 3.8 percent in 2012 `against the backdrop

of weak external environment.'

The NSS has reported strong gains in industrial and agricultural

outputs as well as services in January and February.

April 10, 2012 | 07:57
YEREVAN. - There is an ancient city in the area of Armenia's
Tatev Monastery, under the earth. This city is not yet studied, and
archaeologists from Russia are planned to come to carry out studies,
Iravunk daily writes, referring to the information it has received.
"Senior specialist Boris Gasparyan of the [Armenian] Institute of
Archaeology said: 'There is a dwelling place here, but no one has
excavated to understand what it is.
When a church is restored here, first its surroundings must be
excavated to reveal the economic life around it. And this is expensive
and demands a long time.
And with respect to inviting archaeologists from Russia, pursuant
to Armenia's law this is possible solely in the case when this is
permitted by our archaeology commission; and our director is the vice
chairman of that commission, so if there were such thing, we would
have known.
No foreign expedition can carry out any activities in Armenia without
the Armenians' participation,'" Iravunk writes.
Vestnik Kavkaza
April 9 2012
The Journalist Club in Armenia's Gyumri will host an Azerbaijani Film
Festival on April 12, Georgia Online reports.
4 short films made in Azerbaijan in 2007-2008 (1 documentary and
three feature films will be demonstrated).
One of the films will be awarded with a premium for Audience's
Special bus transport Yerevan-Gyumri-Yerevan was organized for everyone
willing to attend. The festival is organized within the framework of
the Caucasus World Center and the British and US embassies in Armenia.
Russia is moving more troops and modernizing its base in Armenia in
anticipation of the whole crisis in the Middle East from Syria to
Iran, Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon official from Washington,
said in an interview with Press TV commenting on potential risks for
the Russian security to be caused by Syrian crisis.
"It's making Moscow increasingly uneasy in terms of instability in the
region of what Syria is just one aspect of a larger problem that the
Moscow has now seen. For example, Russia is moving more troops and
modernizing its base in Armenia in anticipation of the whole crisis
in the Middle East from Syria to Iran," said Mr. Maloof.
Michael Maloof said Russia has some major military assets in Syria
itself that they'll probably come in the play if the opposition
continues to bombard., Turkey
April 6 2012
Turkey returns historic graveyards to non-Muslim communities
Six historic graveyards were returned to Ä°stanbul's Jewish, Greek and
Armenian communities.
Six historic graveyards were returned to Ä°stanbul's Jewish, Greek and
Armenian communities on Thursday, following a decision by a government
board that regulates the practices of the country's non-Muslim
The decision of the Directorate General for Foundations (VGM) to
restore the cemeteries to their respective minority communities is the
first ruling on a February application by 19 non-Muslim foundations
for the return of 57 historic properties. In September, the government
authorized the return of properties seized from non-Muslim religious
communities in decades past.
Thursday's VGM ruling saw the return of two cemeteries to the BeyoÄ?lu
Yüksek Kaldırım Ashkenazi Jewish Synagogue Foundation, as well as the
repatriation of cemeteries belonging to the BeyoÄ?lu Greek Orthodox
Churches and Schools Foundation, the Balat Surp HreÅ?tegabet Armenian
Church and School Foundation, the Kadıköy Hemdat Israel Synagogue
Foundation and the Kuzguncuk Beit Yaakov Ashkenazi Synagogue
Laki Vingas, the representative of non-Muslim foundations at the VGM,
told the Radikal daily on Thursday that the decision is a sign that
the minority property law passed in September is being acted upon by
the government. This week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told
the US Congress that she was encouraged by the `concrete steps ¦
Turkey has taken over the past year to return properties to religious
communities.' Turkey's mostly Muslim population of nearly 75 million
includes roughly 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 20,000 Jews,
15,000 Assyrians and about 3,500 Greek Orthodox Christians. While
Armenian groups have 52 foundations and Jewish groups 17, Greeks have
75. Some of the properties that were seized from those foundations
include schools and cemeteries.
Turkey's Foreign Minister In Search of `Soft' Armenians
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Monday 9 April 2012
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's `man on the run 'has added
to his extremely busy schedule the new task of travelling around
the globe trying to recruit `sensible' Armenians.
Davutoglu has embarked on such a desperate initiative after the failure
of all Turkish attempts to divide and conquer the Armenians and weaken
their resolve to pursue their just cause. The Turkish Foreign
Minister openly acknowledged that his urgent efforts are prompted by
the looming 100thanniversary
of the Armenian Genocide that hangs like a Damoclean Sword over
his country.
After the collapse of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission
(TARC) and Turkey's futile attempts to seek `friendly' Armenians around 
the world, Ankara gave up on the Diaspora altogether and turned its
attention to a `softer target' – the Government of Armenia.
Initially, Turkey registered some success when the Armenia-Turkey
Protocols were signed by both countries, under the guise of opening their 
Mutual border. However, this latest attempt to drive a wedge between `soft'
Armenian officials and `hard-line 'Diasporans also failed, when the
much-touted Protocols were not ratified.
Realizing that Turkey had to deal with the Diaspora, not just Armenia
to resolve genocide related issues, Davutoglu once again turned his
attention to Armenian communities worldwide. During a March 24, 2010
CNN-Turk interview, he announced that Turkish authorities would
initiate a dialog with `sensible' Diaspora Armenians.
To pursue this stratagem, in April 2010 Davutoglu met in Washington
with Turkey's ambassadors to the United States and Canada, and Consul
Generals in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Toronto. He
Instructed them to contact Armenians who are open to dialog, and to
avoid `hard-line groups,' according to the Turkish `Today's Zaman'
A few weeks later, `Hurriyet' reported that the Foreign Ministry issued
a 10-point action plan, instructing Turkish diplomats worldwide to:
Invite and involve local Armenians in Turkish events;
Participate in Armenian community activities;
Contact Armenians who are materially benefiting from making genocide
claims as well as recent immigrants from Turkey; and invite to Turkey 
those who harbor anti-Turkish sentiments;
Establish good relations with Armenian diplomats and attend their
official events;
Accept speaking opportunities at local community and university events
to explain Turkey's position on Armenian genocide claims;
Establish contacts with local academics to explain to them
Turkey's position;
Develop contacts with diplomats of countries neighboring Turkey and
familiarize them with Turkey's position on Armenian genocide claims;
Advocate the creation of `a joint commission of historians';
Promote normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations;
Emphasize that the peaceful resolution of the Karabagh conflict would
benefit Armenian-Turkish relations.
In December 2011, Turkey announced a revised concept of `Diaspora' to
include all descendants of `Anatolia,' regardless of their religion or
sect. Davutoglu instructed all Turkish diplomats to hold `face-to-face'
meetings with such individuals in order to discuss their `joint
history' and "the suffering of all Ottoman people during the incidents
of the World War I era."
Dissatisfied with the efforts of his diplomats, Davutoglu decided to
take matters into his own hands. Last month, he spent several hours in
Washington meeting privately with several Armenians and non-Armenians
from the Los Angeles area to discuss `Armenian-Turkish reconciliation.'
The Turkish Foreign Minister also invited the attendees to come to
Ankara and bring along other `prominent' Armenians. Since then,
Davutoglu has held similar meetings elsewhere.
Meanwhile, another Turkish-initiated group on `Armenian-Turkish
reconciliation' will be launched on April 12 in Washington. The host
group `HasNa' is set to meet at the offices of Arnold & Porter, a
lobbying firm hired by the Turkish government. The attendees will
include some Armenians and Turks, U.S. government officials, members of
the media, non-governmental organizations, academics, and others.
Armenians who choose to get involved in Turkish recruitment schemes
could well be seeking fame or fortune, or are well-intentioned,
but naive do-gooders. However, regardless of the reasons for their
involvement in such questionable practices, they should be mindful of
the consequences of their actions:
Dialog for the sake of dialog could do more damage than good to the
Armenian Cause. The Turkish government would exploit such efforts
To create the false impression that Armenians and Turks are in the
process of reconciling, thereby derailing the recognition of the
Armenian Genocide by other countries.
Unless a specific positive outcome is agreed upon in advance, there is
a good chance that the Armenian participants would end upholding an
empty bag.
Only Armenian officials and credible leaders with diplomatic expertise
should be negotiating with shrewd and skilled Turkish
diplomats. Otherwise, Turkish officials will cleverly cut a deal with
those who are bound to be less demanding and more accommodating.

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