sent in by A Topalian
Stepa Safaryan: 'Demolition of Yerevan covered market's arch roof is a crime'
Monday, May 28, 16:44
Dozens of green activists have gathered near the covered market in
Yerevan today on May 28 to take the situation under control and save
the market after the arch roof of the market was demolished overnight.
It is noteworthy that the market is included in the list of historical
monument of Yerevan and demolition of the roof was, inherently, illegal.
"Demolition of the market's arch roof is a crime. The developer
company neglects relevant authorities and keeps destroying part of
Yerevan's history," Stepa Safaryan, a member of Heritage Party, told
media. "It is a developed illegal work style when construction is
carried out at nights, while there is no one on the construction site
in daytime to explain the illegal actions," he said.
Safaryan recalled the first attempt to demolish the roof was in March
and resulted in a 200,000 drams fine imposed on the construction
company. In addition, the developer had no necessary documents.
Nevertheless, there is no poster of the future market on the
construction site. "It is not only violation of the law. It also shows
that there is not approved project of the future market yet," Safaryan
In this connection, activists will send a letter of the Yerevan
Police demanding punishment of those guilty for demolition of the arc
roof of the covered market. Earlier Mass Media reported that Armenian
parliamentarian Samvel Aleksanyan acquired the closed market from
Gagik Tsarukyan, Leader of Prosperous Armenia Party. The market is to
be transformed into a Yerevan City supermarket.
Demolished during re-equipment?: Pak Shuka lost some of its arches
despite owner's promises
Society | 29.05.12 | 14:20
By Siranuysh Gevorgyan
Yerevan's well-known and beloved Pak Shuka (Indoor Market) has again
appeared in the center of public attention when on Sunday heavy
machinery demolished some arches of the roof of the building, included
on the State List of Immovable Historical and Cultural Monuments of
Yerevan. Public activists, concerned about the future of the market,
called this `vandalism' and `illegality'.
After some photo and video materials posted on Facebook as well as
after the interference of a representative from the Ministry of
Culture of Armenia, the construction works done at nights were ceased.
Owner of the market, lawmaker and businessman Samvel Alexanyan, who
also owns Yerevan City supermarket network, refuses to make any
When it was published that Alexanyan bought the indoor market which
was put into operation in the 1950s in central Mashots Avenue of
Yerevan, many people were worried that he was planning to build
another Yerevan City in the place of the market, however, Alexanyan
has repeatedly refuted this information, saying that he planned only
to renovate and re-equip it and build underground parking.
Styopa Safaryan from Heritage Party, who initiated a
signature-collection campaign in front of the market on Monday, posted
on his Facebook page: `It is demanded to launch a criminal case
against the perpetrators of the vandalism, besides, to take measures
with the entitled bodies to return the former image of the market.'
Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan has also referred to the issue, posting
on his Facebook page that the municipality had provided no license for
the construction in the market.
`What has happened refers to the collapse of the building structures;
and the economic entity on his own initiative has taken measures to
strengthen it, aiming to avoid accident-prone states and collapse,'
Mayor Margaryan wrote.
A group of citizens on Monday argued with the activists, saying that
Alexanyan has done a good deed by clearing out the old structure.
Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Time) daily writes that according to its
sources, the largest, four-storey Yerevan City supermarket in Yerevan
will be located inside Pak Shuka despite Alexanyan's promises.
`However, the roof of the market cannot carry such weight, therefore
the roof is being `neutralized',' the daily writes.
Clinton To Visit Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Yerevan on June
4 at the start of what will be her second tour of Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Georgia in less than two years.
Clinton will visit the three South Caucasus states as part of an
eight-day trip to countries in northern Europe, the Caucasus and
Turkey, which she is due to start on Thursday.
She will discuss `regional security, democracy, economic development
and counterterrorism' in Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi, the U.S. State
Department said on May 25. The State Department also said Clinton
would meet with leaders from civil society groups in all three of the
The Armenian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that Clinton will
hold talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward
Nalbandian on `a broad range of issues relating to the development and
deepening of the U.S.-Armenian friendly partnership.' A ministry
statement said they will also discuss the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict and `regional and international issues of mutual interest.'
Clinton already toured the region in July 2010. U.S.-backed efforts to
normalize Armenia's relations with Turkey were high on the agenda of
her talks in the Armenian capital. She publicly praised Sarkisian's
position on the issue as `very statesmanlike and very impressive' and
said the onus is on Ankara to revive the normalization process.
The chief U.S. diplomat also met with Armenian journalists, human
rights campaigners and other civic activists at the time. She promised
continued U.S. support for their activities.
Armenians Should Form a United Front Before Any Negotiations
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
My latest column on Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's efforts
to initiate a dialog with the Diaspora generated numerous reactions
both Armenians and Turks.
Turkish newspapers, TV stations, and websites gave extensive coverage
to Davutoglu's reported overtures to Armenians. The Turkish
media linked the Foreign Minister's initiative to Armenian plans for
the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide in 2015.
Armenians posted dozens of comments on websites and facebook in
my column which was circulated worldwide in English, Armenian, Turkish,
French, and Russian. The Armenian reaction was understandably skeptical
and cautious. Armenian government officials quietly followed
the reports on Davutoglu's meetings without making any public comment,
while the Armenian press in Istanbul simply reprinted what the Turkish
media had published on this topic.
Armenian readers raised two key issues: Who would represent tthe
and when Armenians start negotiating with Turkey, and what should be
the specific Armenian demands from the Turkish government?
These are highly complex issues deserving serious consideration by
Armenians worldwide. Ideally, Diaspora representatives should be
selected through elections in various countries, as proposed in my
earlier columns. Those elected would have the right to represent
Diaspora Armenians in any negotiations.
These representatives would have to coordinate their decisions and
actions with the Armenian government, particularly on the critical
issue of negotiating with Turkey, by forming a joint delegation. As
Armenians learned from the recent fiasco of the
Armenia-Turkey Protocols, it would be unthinkable to reach a settlement
with Turkey without the participation and agreement of both Armenia and
In the absence of an elected Diasporan structure, representatives of
the three main Armenian political parties, jointly with the Armenian
government, could take the lead in forming a single negotiating
team. To make the delegation more inclusive, several major community
organizations and prominent individuals could be asked to join,
including representatives of Armenians in Turkey.
Another critical issue is framing the agenda of negotiations with
Turkish officials. What are the Armenians' concrete demands from
Turkey? This is an extremely serious and sensitive matter that requires
In depth knowledge of the Armenian Cause and expertise in negotiating
strategies and tactics.
It would be instructive for Armenians to review how Israel and 23 major
Jewish organizations came together as the
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, to obtain
for Holocaust victims; and how these organizations coordinated their
positions with the State of Israel which signed a separate Reparations
Agreement with West Germany? Over the years, as a result of
Their collaborative efforts, the coalition of Jewish Diaspora
organizations and Israel received more than $70 billion dollars
in restitution from Germany.
Additional lessons could be learned from examples of financial
settlements resulting from mass torts, asbestos exposure and
product liability, and claims arising from destruction of the World
Trade Center and the Gulf oil spill.
There is, however, a significant difference between the Holocaust and
the Armenian Genocide. While the Jewish people were exterminated in
European countries under Nazi rule, Armenians were massacred and
Forcefully driven from their ancestral homeland. Therefore, no amount
of monetary payment will fully
compensate Armenians for the loss of their historic
lands. Armenians should
seek not only compensation for their personal losses, but also
the return of Western Armenia as arbitrated by Pres. Woodrow Wilson --
a claim Turkey has repeatedly rejected.
Should serious negotiations materialize, the joint Armenian delegation
could ask Turkey to take the following preliminary actions to show its
-- Compensate all Genocide victims;
-- Rebuild and return all religious sites to the Armenian Patriarchate
-- Return all confiscated private and community properties to their
-- Provide the Republic of Armenia with special access to the Turkish
port of Trabzon for commercial purposes;
-- Give Armenians visa-free entry to Ararat, Ani, and other Armenian
historical sites in Turkey;
-- Lift the blockade of Armenia;
-- End Turkey's official policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide and
annul Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code;
-- Refrain from all hostile policies directed against Armenia and
These measures, if agreed upon, would represent significant progress in
The pursuit of Armenian claims from Turkey, whereas the issue
Of territorial restitution could be addressed separately through
International legal action.
Prominent Turkish Publisher Gets Armenian State Award
Ragip Zarakolu, a prominent Turkish human rights campaigner and book
publisher, received an Armenian state award on Tuesday for what
President Serzh Sarkisian called a `remarkable contribution' to
international recognition of the 1915 Armenian massacres in the
Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Zarakolu was among more than two dozen mostly Armenian scientists,
writers and artists chosen for annual presidential awards given by
Sarkisian. He arrived in Armenia with his wife and daughter to accept
the prize less than two months after being released from prison
pending trial on controversial charges of aiding the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey.
`His activities have been an exceptional mission,' Sarkisian said at
the awards ceremony held in the presidential palace in Yerevan. `His
struggle for conveying historical truth to the Turkish society is a
brilliant example of high civic stance and courage.'
`Your presence here and acceptance of this prize today is also an act
of courage,' he told Zarakolu.
In his speech at the ceremony, Zarakolu reaffirmed his belief that the
World War I-era mass killings and deportations of Armenians were a
genocide that must be acknowledged by modern-day Turkey. `Turkey must
accept historical truth,' he said. `Only in this way can Turkey regain
`Even after Turkey apologizes and compensates [Armenians,] Armenians
and Turks can't be as before,' he said. `But we can look to the future
Zarakolu, 63, rose to prominence in the 1970s as a newspaper columnist
and editor highlighting human rights abuses committed in Turkey. He
was twice imprisoned by military governments in Ankara before
founding, together with other prominent Turks, the Human Rights
Association of Turkey in 1986.
Around that time, Belge began publishing books on taboo subjects such
as the Armenian genocide. Belge has since translated into Turkish more
than a dozen books by Diaspora Armenian authors challenging the
official Turkish version of the 1915 events.
At least two of those translations landed Zarakolu in court. A Turkish
court ruled in June 2008 that the publication of one of those books
insulted `the institutions of the Turkish Republic.' The publisher
received a suspended five-month prison sentence.
Zarakolu was again arrested by the Turkish police in October last year
for `knowingly aiding and abetting a terrorist organization' together
with dozens of other Turks. If convicted, he will face up to 15 years
in prison. The European Union and international human rights groups
have expressed serious concern over the case.
Zarakolu was honored at the Armenian National Library during his
previous trip to Yerevan in February 2011. Its director, Davit
Sargsian, handed a medal to the publisher, praising his decades-long
activism and thanking him for donating dozens of books to the
Turkish human rights activist: Cynicism and denial of the Armenian
Genocide is the core of Turkey's governmental and scientific policies
Tuesday, May 29, 20:12
Cynicism and the denial of the Armenian Genocide is the core of
Turkey's governmental and scientific policies. The attempts to deny
the centuries-long existence of Armenians in Anatolia and to wipe off
Armenian geographic names are an unprecedented example of a continued
genocide, Turkish human rights activist and publisher Ragib Zarakolu
said after being awarded the Armenian President's Prize for his
efforts to inform Turkish society of the Armenian Genocide and his
struggle for the freedom of speech and the protection of human rights.
Zarakolu said that it was an honor to receive that prize and it was a
special feeling to be in independent Armenia. He said that two weeks
before, together with his wife and son, he traveled to Cilicia. He
visited Sis, Zeitun, Urfa and Musa Dag, and seeing the local ruins, he
remembered that in its reviews about those monuments the History
Museum of Anatolia said nothing about Armenia or Armenians.
"They allow mentioning only Urartu but without mentioning the
Armenians. This is the climax of denial, the last stage of genocide,"
According to him, a millennium of Armenian-Turkish co-existence has
been destroyed in a second. Turkey prefers denying its own culture,
but today the recognition of a historical fact, the Armenian Genocide,
has become a precondition for democracy building in Turkey.
Zarakolu believes that only recognition, condemnation and compensation
can help to revive the Armenian-Turkish brotherhood.
Zarakolu realizes that Armenian-Turkish relations can never be the
same but he hopes for some progress in the future.
Baroness Cox will continue her activities for strengthening
On May 28 Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandyan
hosted Baroness Caroline Cox. Press and information department of
Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs about this.
Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs welcomed the guest and rated
highly the assistance by Caroline Cox towards Armenia including
Artsakh. E. Nalbandyan thanked for her humanitarian activities and her
Baroness Caroline Cox also thanked for the warm words and said that
she would continue her activities for strengthening Armenian-British
During the meeting the sides referred to some issues of
On the request of Baroness Cox Edward Nalbandyan presented the last
developments of Artsakh issue settlement process.