Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Restoration of Jesus' tomb
Armenian Church participates in restoration of Jesus’ tomb 

in Jerusalem
07 Jun 2016 

A team of experts has begun restoring the ancient tomb in Jerusalem 
 where Christians believe Jesus was buried, in the first such works 
for 200 years, the BBC reports.

The renovation in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre aims to reinforce 
and conserve the structure.

Rivalry between the three denominations that run the church has 
delayed work.

But clerics from the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian 
churches have put aside their differences, recognising the need to 
begin repairs.

The work will focus on the Edicule, the ancient chamber housing 
Jesus’s tomb which Christians say stands above the spot where 
Jesus’s body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried.

The last restoration work to take place there was in 1810 after a 

The Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian authorities 
are responsible for running different parts of the church but share 
responsibility for the shrine.

Relations between them can be tense – in 2008, an argument 
between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks escalated into a 
brawl – but they have decided to act jointly after Israel’s antiquities 
authority last year said the church was unsafe and Israeli police 
briefly closed it.

“We equally decided the required renovation was necessary to 
be done, so we agreed upon it,” said Samuel Aghoyan, the top 
Armenian church official there.

The scientific co-ordinator for the repairs, Antonia Moropoulou, 
said the tomb was stable but warped and needed attention after 
many years of exposure to water, humidity and candle smoke.

The structure also needed to be protected from the risk of 
earthquake damage, she said.

Work is expected to take between eight and 12 months and 
during that time pilgrims will be able to continue visiting the site, 
church officials said.

Each denomination is contributing funds for the $3.3m (£2.3m) 
project. In addition, King Abdullah of Jordan has made a personal 

Jordan controlled Jerusalem’s Old City, where the church is 
located, until the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and continues to play 
a role in safeguarding Muslim and Christian holy sites there. 

[the following letter could have been dictated by the President's
office. We outside Turkey do not fully grasp the oppressive 
pressures that exist there, see extract from this week's Economist 
at the end of this email. Nevertheless this sycophancy seems 
to be quite inappropriate]

Ateşyan's letter to President: we submit our regret to your 
dignified office

Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, General Vicar of Armenian Patriarch 
in Turkey, sent a letter to President Erdoğan about the Armenian 
Genocide resolution of Bundestag. In the letter, Ateşyan defined 
the passing of the resolution as “abuse of Armenian nation by 
imperialist forces”. Claiming that the decision caused a deep 
regret in Armenian nation, he said “we submit our regret to your 
dignified office”.  [eh?]

The message shared on Facebook account of the Armenian 
Patriarchate, which is signed by Aram Ateşyan, is as the following:

“Dear Mr. President,

The decision that Bundestag made about the events happened 
during the tragic times of World War I caused regret in our nation. 
As the Turkish Armenians society, we submit our regret to your 
dignified office as an expression of our heartfelt and sincere 

Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey is a religious institution which 
performs its obligations to the state perfectly and got over the 
delusion of seeing itself different from the other citizens. Also, its 
maxim is to express the feelings of Christian-Armenian Turkish 
citizens, who know how to protect their rights when necessary. 
The Patriarchate is aware of the fact that some people are not 
happy with its stable attitude that it maintains by abiding the 
traditional way. Our late patriarchs not only provided religious 
services to our community with their statements and constructive 
attitude, but also put their stamps on the history with their 
exemplary behaviors, which still guide us today.

In this regard, it is unacceptable that a parliament, which was 
formed by the votes of German citizens and has the duty of 
establishing laws for the peace, prosperity and security of their 
nation, expressed its opinion, though it has no right to do so. 
It is unacceptable that this parliament legalized its decision on 
behalf of the entire German nation and considers itself a judge. 

“ A controversial issue”

Sliding the role of German Reich over by a few sentences and 
pointing the Ottoman Turkey as the sole perpetrator is ethically 
controversial. It is also questionable to what extent this decision 
expresses the feelings of German citizens.

As we stated on number of occasions, using this tragedy that 
traumatized the Armenian nation in international politics causes 
sorrow and pain. This resolution and similar resolutions hit us 
hard. Unfortunately, this historical pain of Armenian nation is 
considered as a tool for accusing and punishing Turkish state 
and nation. And because of this ugly mentality, sub- and 
supra-identities of Turkish Armenians are harmed. The ones who 
are willing to see the truth can realize how Armenian nation has 
been abused by imperialist powers.

Turkish and Armenian peoples have to live together. These two 
ancient and neighboring peoples shouldn't be driven apart from 
each other by hatred inciting discourses. Instead of politicising 
the history, the aim should be the fellowship and peace. Two 
neighboring peoples, who have common history and similar 
traditions, will live together with peace one day, as long as we 
deem it possible and prevent the unnecessary steps.

“ Some people will react against this attitude”
In a world where politicians express their opinions about our 
people's suffering by taking their interests into account, we, as 
the Patriarchate, will continue to pray for the fellowship of Turkey 
and Armenia. This attitude is the force of our faith and the  expression 
of our sense of citizenship. On the other hand, we know that some 
people will react against this attitude of ours. May God take root 
in the hearts of the citizens of the both countries. May God 
help the souls who devote themselves to create what is good. 

On this occasion, we once again express our regret and pray to 
God for bestowing health, success and happiness on you. Also, 
we pray to God for making the state dignitaries, who work for the 
good of people, succeed in their services. 

Archbishop Aram Ateşyan
General Vicar of Armenian Patriarch in Turkey
Agos” slams Ateshyan’s pro-Erdogan claims 
7 June, 2016 

YEREVAN, JUNE 7. Armenian “Agos” journal of Istanbul published 
an open letter to Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, General Vicar of 
Armenian Patriarch in Turkey, who was severely criticized by 
the Armenian society because of his letter addressed to President 

“Agos” editorial board stated that they read Ateshyan’s letter with 
irritation where the Archbishop says to Erdogan that the Armenian 
community of Turkey admitted the fact of the Bundestag resolution 
on the Armenian Genocide with pain. 

“Armenpress” presents the entire letter:

“Dear Mr. Archbishop,

We have read your letter about the Armenian Genocide resolution 
of Bundestag, which is addressed to the President and signed on 
behalf of "Turkish Armenians Society", with sorrow, anger and 
shame. Please regard this letter as the voice of those members 
of that society who disagree with the content and style of your letter.

You define the systematic and almost complete annihilation of a 
people by the decision of the state itself as “the events happened 
during the tragic times of World War I”; this is an affront to the 
ancestors, victims and the survivors in the eyes of the society to 
which you also belong.

The society that you defined as “Christian-Armenian Turkish citizens 
who perform their obligations to the state perfectly, got over the 
delusion of seeing themselves different from the other citizens and 
know how to protect their rights when necessary” doesn't have a 
homogeneous structure; rather, it consists of individuals who have 
their own independent feelings, opinions and firm acknowledgment 
of truth. The thing is, Armenians are not the ones who see 
themselves different from other citizens. After 1915, whenever 
the political atmosphere gets intense, Armenians become subjected 
to discriminatory, fascist and obviously threatening discourses and 
threats, especially in times of 1942 Wealth Tax and 
September 6-7 plunders. And on January 19, 2007, they witnessed
the assassination of Hrant Dink, one of the most precious figures 
who devoted himself to the peace between and in two peoples. 

You said, “We, as the Patriarchate, will continue to pray for the 
fellowship of Turkey and Armenia”;

How could you justify this statement of yours, given the fact that 
your addressee President Erdoğan threatened the citizens of 
Armenia to send them back to Armenia two days ago? Doesn't 
it trouble your conscience? Let us remind you those statements 
of the president, in case you have forgotten: “Currently, there are 
almost 100.000 Armenians in my country. Almost half of them 
are Turkish citizens. However, the other half are citizens of 
Armenia and we can send them back to Armenia, like Europe 

You said that you are aware of the fact that "some people are 
not happy with your stable attitude that you maintain by abiding 
the traditional way”. Honestly, we are having difficulty in 
understanding how forelock-tugging can be considered as an 

The Armenian Genocide, as a crime against humanity, is a 
concern of the whole humanity. You said that you pray for the 
good of two peoples. The common future of those peoples would 
be possible only when an honorable reconciliation is achieved, 
because then, there won't be this kind of oppression that caused 
you to deny even your own history.

Dear Mr. Archbishop,

Since you said that “the role of German Reich is slid over by a 
few sentences”, we see that you have failed to comprehend the 
content of the resolution. Almost 80% of this resolution, which 
declares German Reich as the accomplice to the genocide, 
consists of Germany's confrontation with its own history.

Let us continue: you said, “using this tragedy that traumatised 
the Armenian nation in international politics causes sorrow and 
pain.” Indeed, the oppression that led you to write this letter 
causes sorrow and pain. Also, the sub- and supraidentities of 
the Armenian society in Turkey is not harmed by this resolution, 
but by your words. Above all, your words on “abuse of Armenian 
nation by imperialist powers” are recorded as an example to 
the denialist discourse; not by the ones who will take advantage 
of your usage of the official state discourse, but by your own 
people. In the near future, we will see who will appreciate your 
discourse with “enthusiastic applause”.

On this occasion, borrowing your style in your letter, we once 
again express our sorrow, uprising and anger and pray to God 
for you; may God bestow sense, intelligence and comprehension 
on you.

We also pray to God for giving you a dignified attitude, which you 
obviously lack, since you said that “you pray to God for making 
the state dignitaries, who work for the good of people, succeed 
in their services” in a time when tens of people are being killed 
every day in a civil war”. 
Merkel says Turkish slurs against German MPs incomprehensible
07 Jun 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said accusations levied by Turkey
against German lawmakers of Turkish origin after its parliament passed
a resolution declaring he 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces
a genocide were incomprehensible, Reuters reports.

“The lawmakers in Germany’s lower house of parliament are freely
elected without exception and the accusations and statements which
have been made by the Turkish side are incomprehensible,” Merkel told
a joint news conference with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in

On Sunday, Erdogan lashed out at the German parliament for passing the
resolution and suggested that Germany was being hypocritical given its
own history.

Erdogan has also been widely reported in German media as saying that
German lawmakers of Turkish origin who voted for the resolution have
“tainted” blood and that their blood must be tested in a lab.
French to arrive in Armenia to help produce European cheese

YEREVAN. – French cheese producers are preparing to arrive in Armenia
for a second time, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan
told Armenian

The program, which is supported by the European Union and the French
government, provides expert assistance in the production of a variety
of European cheese.

The French cheese producers had come to Armenia two to three months
ago, to get familiarized with the respective abilities of their
Armenian colleagues. During their second visit, they will stay longer
in the country to pass on their knowhow in this domain. They will come
a third time in 2017, also for a long stay.

Hard cheese was produced in northern Armenia during the Soviet era.
And one to two years ago, a local producer began producing blue
cheese. Several other types of known hard cheese have also begun to be
produced in the country.

“They are studying, seeking export opportunities,” said Harutyunyan.
“New knowhow and track-record can be useful.” 
Czech President to call on Government and Parliament to recognize
Armenian Genocide
07 Jun 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

President of teh Czech Republic Milos Zeman will ask the Government
and Parliament to officially recognize the massacre of Armenians by
Turks as genocide.

“I expressed my stance on the Armenian Genocide, when the President of
Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, was visiting Prague in 2014,” President Zeman
said in an interview with

The President said he will reiterate the position during his state
visit to Armenia. “But more steps are needed, and after my talks in
Armenia I’ll call on the Czech Government and Parliament to follow the
example of the German Bundestag,” he stated.

The President recalled that the Armenian Genocide has been recognized
not only by Germany, but also a number of other countries, including
France, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Italy and others.

President of eth Czech Republic Milos Zeman has arrived in Armenia for
a two-day state visit today at the invitation of Armenia’s President
Serzh Sargsyan.
Stop hate speech against Armenians: CoE Anti-Racism 
Commission tells Azerbaijan
07 Jun 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today
published its new report on Azerbaijan. While progress was achieved in
areas such as migration legislation and living conditions of
historical minorities, other issues give rise to concern, such as the
continued use of hate speech, a crackdown on independent civil society
and media, prejudice against LGBT people and discrimination against
religious minorities.

ECRI expresses concern about a wide ranging crack-down on independent
civil society and media. As a result, vulnerable groups can no longer
turn to NGOs for assistance in cases of racism, hate speech and

“Political leaders, educational institutions and media have continued
using hate speech against Armenians; an entire generation of
Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to this hateful rhetoric.
Human rights activists working inter alia towards reconciliation with
Armenia have been sentenced to heavy prison terms on controversial
accusations and there are big concerns that hate speech provisions
have been misused against the Talysh minority,” the report reads.

“The authorities should ensure that public officials at all levels
refrain from hate speech towards Armenians and create adequate
conditions for the development of a diverse and independent civil
society,” it continues.

“An entire generation of Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to
constant rhetoric of Armenian aggression. According to a 2012 survey,
91% perceived Armenia as Azerbaijan’s greatest enemy.”

ECRI reiterates its recommendation that the Azerbaijani authorities
ensure that public officials at all levels refrain from hate speech
towards Armenians.

“Even though no violent hate crime based on ethnic affiliation has
been registered in Azerbaijan during the last five years, political
leaders, educational institutions and media have continued spreading
hate speech. The pardon, release and promotion in 2012 of Ramil
Safarov, who had been sentenced in Budapest to life imprisonment for
the murder of an Armenian army officer, contributes to a sense of
impunity for the perpetrators of racist crime. The report recommends
that authorities put an end to the constant, mediatized use of hate
speech, and rather promote mutual understanding and confidence,” the
report says.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of
independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia,
antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as
“race”, national/ethnic origin, color, citizenship, religion and
language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues
recommendations to member States. 

Extract from the Economist deploring the state for freedom of speech:

"One strongman who has enjoyed tweaking the West for hypocrisy
is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey. At home, he will 
tolerate no insults to his person, faith or policies. Abroad, he demands 
the same courtesy—and in Germany he has found it. In March 
a German comedian recited a satirical poem about him “shagging 
goats and oppressing minorities” (only the more serious charge 
is true). Mr Erdogan invoked an old, neglected German law against 
insulting foreign heads of state. Amazingly, Angela Merkel, the 
German chancellor, has let the prosecution proceed. Even more 
amazingly, nine other European countries still have similar laws, 
and 13 bar insults against their own head of state."

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