Sunday, 5 June 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian...Armenia wins one gold two silver 

Armenia wins one gold two silver medals at the 2016 Men’s 
European Championships
30 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Armenian gymnast Harutyun Merdinyan won a gold medal in the pommel
horse competition of the 2016 Men’s European Championships held in

The win marked the first ever European title for independent Armenia
and the first for an Armenian gymnast since Albert Azaryan in 1955.

Vahagn Davtyan and Artur Davtyan brought Armenia two silver medals. Armenia wins one gold two silver medals at the 2016 Men’s European Championships
Azerbaijan denies entry to 8-year-old boy with Armenian surname
May 30, 2016

An 8-year-old child with an Armenian surname was denied
entry to Azerbaijan at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev international
airport, an Instagram post by a Russia-based family said.

The boy’s name is Luka Vardanyan.

“Both parents are Russians, and they have all the documents testifying
they are Russian citizens. But all the Armenians are viewed as enemies
in Azerbaijan, as is an 8-year-old boy,” the child’s mother wrote.

This isn’t the first case when Azerbaijan denies entry to people with
Armenian surnames irrespective of their citizenship, even deporting
them in some cases. In 2013, a Russian journalist, Anna Sahakyan was
not allowed to enter Azerbaijan, later being even declared a persona
non grata for her Armenian family name.

At various points, Azerbaijan Airlines refused to transport people
with Armenian surnames, citing an order from Baku as a reason behind
such a decision. 
Armenia’s IT sector reports 17% growth in 2015
YEREVAN. Armenia’s bourgeoning IT sector saw a 17%
growth in 2015 and a combined output soaring to about $550 million,
according to economy minister Artsvik Minasyan.
Speaking at the parliament today he said a last year survey revealed
around 400 active IT companies with about 15,000 employees on their

He said due to a string of tax breaks designed to boost the IT sector,
79 startups were founded last year with 329 new jobs.

A government bill approved by the National Assembly last year, exempts
IT startup companies from profit tax until the end of 2019. Besides,
the government lowered income tax rate for their employees to 10
percent of their gross wages as opposed to the minimum payroll tax
rate of 24.4%.

According to official data, the export-oriented sector has been
expanding by more than 20 percent annually from 2008, driven largely
by the subsidiaries of U.S. hi-tech firms such as Synopsys, National
Instruments, Mentor Graphics and VMware, as well as Oracle, D-Link
Corporation and others. 
Armenian minister suggests mulling over legalizing of some 
YEREVAN, May 30. In a move to back monopolies Armenia’s
economy minister Artsvik Minasyan said today monopolies can exist in
the country, but only under special circumstances and strict state

"There are some areas where the state may tolerate the dominance of
monopolies, but they must be lawful, transparent and bear the social
burden,’ Minasyan told reporters.

He stressed that this concept should become a subject of public
discussion so that future potential monopolies realize the scale of
heavy burden and responsibility they will have to assume.

"We have a sugar factory that operates at 25-30% of its capacity. The
question is which is better?  Not to allow it to work at its full
capacity or recognize its monopoly by law  and make it operate at
least 90% of its capacity, secure a certain number of jobs, fiscal
revenues and transparent activity, ‘ the minister said.

According to him, in that case, regardless of the factory’s
shareholders, the government may show support to that company in the
organization of exports.  When asked whether this does mean that the
government is trying to legalize what is illegal today, the minister
replied: "No, I'm just saying that these issues should be brought up
for discussion». 

Middle East Eye
May 30 2016
Turkey warns Germany over Armenian 'genocide' vote
Ankara says crucial bilateral ties are at risk over a vote on Thursday
vote that could see Germany officially use contested term

Turkey on Monday strongly warned the German parliament against
adopting a resolution recognising the mass killings of Armenians under
the Ottoman Empire as genocide, saying it could have repercussions for
bilateral ties.

The German lower house of parliament is set to vote on Thursday on the
resolution over the two years of slaughter from 1915, at a crucial
time for German-Turkish relations.

The resolution uses the highly controversial word "genocide" - which
Turkey has long rejected - throughout its text.

"Germany is our friend and our ally, where many citizens of Turkish
origin live," said deputy prime minister and government spokesman
Numan Kurtulmus. "Germany must be careful concerning its relations
with Turkey."

"I do not think that the German parliament will destroy this
relationship for the sake of two or three politicians" who put the
resolution before the Bundestag, he added.

The debate over the resolution also comes at a hugely sensitive time
in Berlin-Ankara relations.

Turkish authorities are angry over the failure to grant citizens
visa-free travel to the EU, while Germany says it is worried by the
worsening rights situation in Turkey.

Germany and other EU members are also keen to keep intact a fragile
deal that sees Turkey accept asylum seekers rejected from Europe and
deported back to Turkey.

Turkish authorities have long lobbied Western allies not to recognise
the killings as genocide and stepped up efforts last year on the 100th
anniversary of the tragedy.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed between 1915 and
1917 in a targeted campaign of genocide by top Ottoman officials to
wipe out their people from Anatolia.

Modern Turkey insists comparable numbers of Armenians and Turks died
in a collective tragedy when Armenians sided with invading Russian
troops in World War I.

Fear The Wall
May 29 2016
International Friendly: Mkhitaryan leads Armenia to historic 
By Dan Shulman

The Dortmund winger netted a hat-trick as Armenia defeated 
Guatemala, 7-1.

ess than 10 minutes into Armenia's first of two international
friendlies at the StubHub Center this week, the outlook was grim. A
seventh minute, free-kick goal by Carlos Ruiz put Armenia in an early
hole. But Borussia Dortmund Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his Armenia side
held their resolve.

After being behind for over a half-hour, Mkhitaryan scored the first
of his three goals on the night to equalize, en route to Armenia's
largest victory ever, 7-1.

Edgar Manucharyan put Armenia ahead just ahead of halftime off an
assist from Mkitaryan, signaling the floodgates were just about to
open. Mkhitaryan scored in the 60th and 70th minute to complete his
hat trick.

It was his second tally that was perhaps one of the best goals
Mkhitaryan has ever scored. Intercepting a long throw from the
Guatemala keeper, Mkhitaryan raced the ball up the left side of the
pitch before sending a chip shot on goal from the left edge of the
18-yard box. The ball, much to Mkhitaryan's surprise, arched over the
keeper and into the net.

Mkhitaryan's speed led to his third goal of the night, beating the
Guatemala keeper to the ball at the edge of the penalty area. He
proceeded to round the keeper and a pair of defenders before slotting
a calm finish into a vacant net.

Two more Armenia goals, both assisted by the Dortmund winger,
solidified a historic victory for Armenia; the largest in history.

Armenia will take on El Salvador on Wednesday in Carson, California.

President Erdogan knows that visa-free travel for Turkey could 
solve his 'Kurdish problem'

Europe’s growing Kurdish diaspora would be vastly increased
if the crushed and war-suffering masses of Diyarbakir could 
find their way to Germany, Denmark and Sweden

Robert Fisk

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience during a
meeting in Ankara, Turkey

Just why is the Sultan of Turkey so impatient to get hold of that
visa-free EU travel for his people to visit Schengen Europe? If the EU
doesn’t jump to it, he orated last week, the Turkish parliament would
scupper the whole deal and – for this was the implication – let that
army of Arab refugees set sail again across the Aegean for Greece.
And where was the €3bn Turkey was promised?

What few Europeans asked, however, was whether this travel stuff just
might have something more to do with a particular group of Turkish
people: the Kurds.

The Europeans, who are engaged in a massive campaign of bribery to
stop the hordes of Middle Eastern poor arriving in their lands,
fluffed on about Erdogan’s desire to keep his vicious anti-terrorism
laws. Angela Merkel, who drew up this awful deal to avoid a repeat of
her finest hour last year, tut-tutted away in the background. But in
the Arab world – from which so many of the teeming masses are coming –
the great and the good have taken a rather more cynical view.

Turkey: Erdogan cites Hitler's Germany as 'example' of presidential state

Folk from several foreign ministries in the Middle East (the Syrians
excluded, since they would have their own reasons for saying this)
suspect that Sultan Erdogan is keener to clear up a little local
problem, especially in the south-east of his country, by encouraging
his 16 million Kurdish citizens to avail themselves of that precious
visa-free EU travel.

“Do you think Erdogan expects his people to flock to Europe because
they want to go on a shopping spree to Paris?” an Arab diplomat based
in Beirut asked, in an unpleasant and ungenerous spirit.

Of course, the Sultan wishes to join the EU, wants the initial €3bn
payment, and intends to keep his growing dictatorial powers intact.
And Turkish gastarbeiter have been in Europe for decades.

But Schengen Europe’s growing Kurdish diaspora – it’s probably well
over 1.5 million people – would be vastly increased if the crushed and
war-suffering masses of Diyarbakir could find their way to Germany,
Denmark and Sweden.

To touch a live wire for a moment: the Ottoman Empire destroyed most
of its Christian population in the 1915 Armenian genocide of a million
and a half souls, and its Ataturk successors butchered more than
50,000 Kurds and Alevis between 1937 and 1938. Amid another war in
Turkish Kurdistan, caused by our modern Sultan’s refusal to adhere to
a ceasefire, there’s added incentive for another non-Turkic exodus.
Welcome to the EU.

Yes, this is meant to be just “visa-free travel”, but we all know what
that means. And we would tolerate the arrival of even hundreds of
thousands of Kurds in order to avoid another million gaunt faces at
the border wire.

Bingo. The Sultan reduces his Kurdish “problem” with EU generosity,
and further ‘Turkifies’ his nation; and we still keep the hordes at

History, of course, plays strange tricks amid the embers that still
smoulder from the old Ottoman Empire. Time was (about five years ago)
when the bling-literati told us all that democratic Recep Tayyip
Erdogan was a role model for a future Arab leadership.

The man who had turned his back on Ataturk, the previous role model
for the poor old Arab world, may have been a bit of a Muslim
Brotherhood fellow, but he believed in free elections, free press,
market economy and massive anti-terror campaigns – the latter being an
immediate winner in Washington, London and Paris – and other ‘soft
targets’, provided it was smothered in a veneer of concern for human

But now the Sultan, in his 1000 room palace with his preposterous
golden chairs of state (just look at how Merkel leaned forward
uncomfortably on hers when she was conducting ‘Operation Bribery’),
looks less of an Ottoman than an Ataturk, the man he was supposed to

He’s still going through the motions, reintroducing the Ottoman
language – in Arabic script, though presumably many Ottoman archives
on the Armenian genocide will remain closed – and encouraging ladies
to wear the veil. But the Sultan is now beginning to act more like the
Father of His People.

It’s instructive to remember that one nation in Europe had tremendous
admiration for Ataturk and his new land: Nazi Germany. The Turkish
Fuhrer was lauded in the Nazi press for obvious reasons. He had
restored his nation after defeat by France and Germany in the First
World War; he ruled a country freed (by the Ottomans) of a hated
minority group; he ran a largely one-party system, ruthlessly
suppressing opposition, and marginalised religion.

Does that remind you of anyone? The ex-corporal chappie, perhaps? The
one with the moustache?

The most brilliant academic work on these distressing parallels is the
scholar Stefan Ihrig (he would not agree with my conclusions), who has
scrupulously unearthed heaps of Nazi German newspaper clippings in
which Ataturk’s Turkey was virtually deified, its leader obviously
carrying out “the will of the nation”.  A purified Turkey mirrored
back to Germany what the Nazis wanted their own creation to 
become: a Teutonic, purified Germany.
No wonder Hitler asked his generals before they set out on their
genocidal campaign into 1939 Poland:  “Who, after all, is today
speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?” In reality, Ataturk 
was uninvolved in the Armenian genocide and loathed the Ottomans
But I’ve watched the newsreel film of Ataturk’s funeral and you can 
clearly see the Nazi German military and civilian dignitaries clustered 
around the front of the horse-drawn cortege. Volkischer Beobachter, 
the party newspaper, dripped obituaries of the great man.

But who is Erdogan today, the man who restarted the Kurdish war and
now wants his visa-free travel to Europe so quickly? Is he the Sultan
in his palace, master of a great if imaginary empire? Or, as one
Turkish journalist bravely put it, “Ataturk’s kid”?  I’m not going to
say a bit of both.

I think Erdogan’s trying to combine the two. Father of the Nation and
Cleanser of the Land, Father Figure of a purified Turkey and a Middle
East Emperor whose voice, from the palace on the Sublime Porte, will
thunder through the halls of Gulf potentates.

And where is that EU visa-free travel by the way? Come along now,
cough it up, Angela. You may get a lot of Kurds in Berlin, but when
you sign up for a Bribery Treaty you can’t complain about the uses to
which the other side puts the deal. That’s called “interference in the
internal affairs of a sovereign state”. 

The Standard Digital News
May 28 2016
Allure of Armenia
By Shamlal Puri

Nature has been generous to landlocked Armenia by bestowing it with
stunning natural beauty which is relatively untouched. Locals say it
is a land where God descended from Heaven.

Surrounded by Georgia in the north, Iran in the south, Azerbaijan in
the east and Turkey in the west, Armenia is a mountainous country in
the southern Caucuses. This is the region between Black and Caspian
Seas, bordering Europe and Asia.

Armenia boasts history which is longer than other European countries
even though it gained its independence from the Soviet Union only in
1991 after the Russians had colonised it in the 1920s. It has one of
the earliest Christian civilisations with churches built in the Fourth

Choked by a trade blockade by its neighbours Turkey and Azerbaijan due
to historical political differences, Armenia is a relatively poor
country with a high unemployment and poverty levels. It depends on
development of its international tourist industry to beat abject

History hangs in the neck of the country and its capital Yerevan. The
city’s claim to fame is its religious heritage because it is dotted
with monasteries going back to centuries. The museum of Matenadaran
houses over 1,500 religious manuscripts going back to ancient times
revealing its past.

Today, Yerevan is a compact metropolis affectionately called the City
of Cafes. It is gaining in popularity as a holiday destination and a
springboard for travel into the rest of the country.

The lack of sea and ocean coasts, except for an inland lake,
compensates with mountains and valleys. Mount Ararat, with its
snow-dusted crown rising above the hazy clouds is a national symbol
offering a tantalising sight from Yerevan city nestling under its

Yerevan has many attractions a city can offer but one has to venture
further out to enjoy the thrill of an adventurous holiday. Top of the
list is the Republic Square in the heart of the city. It is a nice
place to wonder around. The large clock on the Government building at
the entrance of the square grabs attention.

This 92-year-old Russian-built majestic square looks like something
out of Walt Disney’s stories! The musical water fountains featuring
computer-controlled displays amid the sounds of jazz, pop, classical,
and rock music are a special attraction in the evening.

This is a beautiful place at night when the lights come on and crowds
turn up to enjoy some unforgettable moments.

Interesting Insight

The square is close to the National Gallery and the History Museum
which houses over 20,000 exhibits of Armenian, Russian and European
paintings. The History Museum is home to more than 400,000 items of
Armenian heritage.

The buildings are largely made of Armenian rose tufa stones. Armenian
architecture also gives an interesting insight into the country’s

Enjoy some tranquillity at The Cascade, an amazingly beautiful place
with fountains and sculptures where you can sit and meditate amid the
sounds of falling water.

Described as a “giant stairway” connecting downtown Kentron with the
Monument neighbourhood, the Cascade stands out on its own making it a
symbol of Yerevan. It has an arts centre, cafes and restaurants.

You have to climb more than 570 steps to get to the top to enjoy
breath-taking views of Yerevan city and Mount Ararat in the distance.
There is also a lift to the top if you do not wish to use the stairs.

The Vernissage Market is a huge street market which captures the
attention of many visitors.

Vendors have a rich display of traditional Armenian handcrafts, silver
jewellery, carpets, souvenirs and paintings. I also saw stalls selling
replica Russian military peaked caps and collectors’ items such as old
cameras and antiquated ribbon typewriters! Haggling is strongly
recommended as vendors can rip you off! Best time to visit is the
weekends when there is a bigger selection of items on sale.

Quality Music

The nearby Blue Mosque is the only place of prayers for Yerevan’s
Muslim community. The ornately-designed mosque, with its beautiful
Persian architecture and art in several shades of blue tiles is an
interesting attraction because of its colourful dome. The Iranian
Government pays for its maintenance.

Classic music lovers should not miss the Opera Hall in the heart of
the city. Enjoy an afternoon of high quality music and dancing.

Though Armenians are not known for binge drinking, the country
produces famously high strength brandies and wines mainly for
alcohol-loving Russians. Most production is concentrated in the Ararat

There are many brandy companies that offer guided tours of their
distilleries. However, the Yerevan Brandy Company is more popular and
visitors enjoy their famous Ararat brand vintage cognac with
chocolates and cigars for free. It is a treat to see the huge barrels
of brandy in storage. Interestingly, their building is also built
using brandy coloured stones!

There are plenty of thrills outside Yerevan. Winter sports are very
popular in Armenia and there are several places to enjoy skiing.

Head off to the mountain spa town of Jermuk in the Vyots Dzor
Province, southern Armenia for a fascinating spectacle of fire and

After walking for a few hours in the deep snow, you come across the
amazing spectacle of a natural hot spring with abundant supply of
mineral water. You will be tempted to spend a few hours soaking in the
hot water!

The beautiful Tatev, Garni and Goris monasteries are among the many
picturesque places worth visiting.

Armenia’s only inland Lake Sevan, with its beaches and scenic
mountains is a powerful attraction. Described as the Pearl of Armenia,
this is one of the largest mountain lakes in the world with rare
beauty. Thousands of holidaymakers descend on this area every year.

Like the rest of Armenia, Yerevan is bound to increase in popularity
among international holiday seekers in coming years.

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