Sunday, 21 August 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Turkey, the Legacy of Silence New Film.

A new film that is publicised in the following clip: 

August 19, 2016 Friday
Source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 17, 2016, p. 2


Armenian society is agitated. Topic of the "prepared
treachery" in unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, that is
unilateral concessions to Azerbaijan, is nearly the most discussed

Armenian society is agitated. Topic of the "prepared treachery" in
unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, that is unilateral concessions
to Azerbaijan, is nearly the most discussed one.

Recent meetings of President of Russia Vladimir Putin with Azerbaijani
and Armenian colleagues Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsian did not add
quietness to Armenians. The essence of the negotiations remained
unknown. According to the "hints" about the Nagorno-Karabakh
regulation that sounded then it was possible to presume anything. But
taking into account demands of the opponents we may draw a conclusion
that if people speak about a shift in this process the Azerbaijani
party is rather closer to promotion of its interests, although minimal
and local ones, than the Armenian one because Azerbaijan has several
demands from restoration of jurisdictions in the districts of the
so-called security belt around Nagorno-Karabakh and return of refugees
there to giving up of sovereignty of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by
Armenians. Along with this, the Armenian party has one demand, namely
recognition of sovereignty of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic or, in the
worst case, leaving it in peace and forgetting about a forceful
solution for the problem.

President of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan reported this to
a parliamentary newspaper of France and the next meeting on the
supreme level might take place there. Sahakyan confirmed that a new
stage might begin in the process of regulation if only Baku would
start respecting the agreement on the truce signed in 1994. Sahakyan
confirmed the wish to return to the negotiation process that
Nagorno-Karabakh quit according to initiative of Yerevan that believed
that its efforts were sufficient for protection of Armenian interests.
Finally, he remarked that mutual concessions should be "sober,
sensible and equal, the Armenian party is ready for them if they do
not undermine security and do not become a pretext for a new attack
for the enemy."

In other words, the Armenian party demands firm guarantees of peace.
Only in this case it may consider satisfaction, naturally partial, of
demands of Azerbaijan. It is understandable that it is impossible to
achieve recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and framework peace
agreement from Baku. It is also difficult to imagine that the level of
confidence between the parties will suddenly grow to the degree when
they confine their efforts to a "gentlemen's agreement." First of all,
the matter is about mistrust of Armenians moreover substantiated after
the "four-day war" in April. This means that in such case the
situation may be confined to a need of insertion of a dividing force
into the region. It is easy to presume who will be in this role. It is
possible that these will be mixed international forces but definitely
with participation or even with domination of Russia. Russia will
object against another scenario. Its leading peacekeeping role may
also be the most acceptable of all other theoretical ones.

Azerbaijan will agree only to achieve at least some progress in the
matter. A noticeable warming up of relations between Baku and Moscow
and simultaneous chilling of relations of Azerbaijan with the West
speaks in favor of this. Of course, Azerbaijan would not be against
participation of Turkey but it does not seem possible to persuade
Armenia to agree with this.

Situation regarding Armenia is simpler: Russia remains its strategic
ally, a Russian base is stationed in the country and appearance of
another one, formally with different tasks and less powerful one, will
not change anything from the standpoint of foreign military presence.
Besides, recently Armenia started receiving Russian armament under a
credit agreement.

In this case Russia will increase its ability to influence the
conflict, will strengthen positions in the region, which taking into
account an axis being built with Iran through Azerbaijan and through
Armenia, relieving of tension in relations with Turkey and prospects
for their improvement enables us to speak about serious geopolitical
success that Moscow has not experienced for a long time. But all this
is possible only if the parties of the conflict decide that this
scenario does not contradict their interests.

The Daily Star, Lebanon
Aug 19 2016
Armenians, a founding pillar of the Lebanese society
by Joseph Haboush

Under the shadow of Armenian and Lebanese flags that line the
tight alleyways of Burj Hammoud, 75-year-old Hagop Mandalian popped
his head out of the door of his shop. With his thick-rimmed glasses,
slick white hair and a firmly pressed button-down, Mandalian is one of
the estimated 150,000 ethnic-Armenians in Lebanon that today are part
of the famously diverse country that has welcomed many refugees from
across the region.

Settling into a chair and lighting his pipe, he described what has
helped the Armenian community thrive where other minority groups have

"We did not have money or gold to bring with us. We had our minds and
with our minds we were able to depict our struggle through different
forms of art," Mandalian told The Daily Star. "But I want to make it
clear that I am Lebanese first, with Armenian roots. One should not
forget his roots," he added.

Armenians have been a part of Lebanon's social, political and cultural
makeup even before Lebanon gained its independence in 1943.

The majority came to Lebanon after escaping the Armenian Genocide
carried out by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. An estimated
1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered but Turkey claims the
casualties were due to civil unrest in the empire. Those who settled
in Lebanon joined the small community who had earlier immigrated to
the area.

Like the Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis and Kurds, Armenians initially
came to Lebanon seeking safe haven. However, unlike the other minority
groups, the community as Lebanese nationals achieved not only economic
success, but political recognition. Armenians have their own political
parties with Cabinet and parliamentaryrepresentation in every Lebanese
government since independence. As a matter of fact, countless Lebanese
companies and businesses are owned by and employ Armenians in
high-level managerial positions.

"Although it is significant for Armenians to have a word in government
decisions, money and politics are not important," Mandalian ten added.

Mandalian only moved to Lebanon after getting married, having been
born in Aleppo. Growing up in the Syrian city, he worked in a bakery
until he started a vegetable stall at the age of 10 to provide for his
mother and younger brother. After arriving in Beirut, he continued his
community's long tradition of artisanal craftsmanship and trade.

He made his living as a photographer and painter before his
deteriorating eyesight led him to open a shop – Jack's Gifts in Burj
Hammoud. "If we can have a successful painter, this is a big
accomplishment," he added.

Guy Manoukian, a renowned Lebanese pianist with Armenian roots, echoed
Mandalian. "When you have art in your life, you have love. You learn
tolerance," he said.

Manoukian also attributed Armenian successes to being industrious, "We
love to work, which is why our ancestors came and built Burj Hammoud."

Manoukian said he does not consider himself, or other Armenians, as
foreigners in Lebanon. "We are a part of the founding fathers of this
country. My ancestors were in Lebanon before the Armenian Genocide and
before many Armenians fled to Lebanon," he said. This sense of
belonging to Lebanon is distinct from communities like the
Palestinians or Syrians who still call strongly for the right to
return to their homeland.

While maintaining close ties to their Armenian roots, the community
considers itself firmly Lebanese. "I am Lebanese but I have Armenian
heritage and roots," said Hagop Donabedian, a 34 year-old professional
football player for the local Armenian team Homenetmen. Donabedian was
also the former captain of the Lebanese National Team, representing
the Cedars in both Asian and World Cup Qualifiers.

While the Lebanese nationality is important to the community so is
preserving their heritage. Lebanon hosts the only Armenian university
outside of Armenia, Haigazian University.

Many local news outlets provide news in Armenian and there are two
official Armenian radio stations. Armenian is considered an endangered
language globally by UNESCO but is widely spoken in the country. "My
generation and my son's were the first ... to inherit land or
businesses. We had to earn what we wanted. This is why we are proud to
be Lebanese first and foremost," Manoukian said. "But obviously we
have Armenian roots." 

Daily Sabah, Turkey
Aug 19 2016
Former Dink murder case judge detained

The judge in the murder trial of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant
Dink was taken into custody in the western province of Manisa Friday
in connection with a probe of Dink's 2007 assassination, according to
security sources speaking on condition of anonymity due to
restrictions on speaking with the media.

Rüstem Eryılmaz, former president of the Istanbul 14th High Criminal
Court, which handled the Dink murder trial, had been wanted since July
19 for being a member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is
blamed for the July 15 coup attempt.

Dink was murdered in broad daylight outside his office in Istanbul on
Jan. 19, 2007. A founder of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, he
was considered one of the most prominent Armenian voices in Turkey.

Ogün Samast, aged 17 at the time of the killing, claimed he murdered
Dink for "insulting Turkishness" and was jailed in 2011 for 23 years.

Since then, several prosecutors have become involved in the
investigation, believing Samast was not the only person involved in
the killing.

In April 2007, Istanbul prosecutors Selim Berna Altay and Fikret Secen
prepared an indictment of over 18 suspects, including Samast.

In 2012, Eryilmaz acquitted the other suspects, saying there was not
enough evidence indicating formation of a criminal organization.

In July 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled the murder case had been
an "ineffective investigation."

Last December, another indictment was filed calling for the
prosecution of 26 former police officers on charges of establishing an
armed organization and dereliction of duty.

Gülenist links and allegations of a cover-up in the case were under
the spotlight after 2013 coup attempts by Gülenist prosecutors and
police. An Istanbul court reopened the case and the subsequent legal
process saw former police chiefs detained for negligence and
cover-ups. Most recently, several gendarmerie intelligence officers
were arrested for negligence in the case. The gendarmerie's role in
the alleged cover-up has never been investigated thoroughly, according
to lawyers for the Dink family while photos showing several
gendarmerie intelligence officers at the crime scene shortly before
the killing were recently published by media outlets. Rio 2016 – Armenian boxer representing Germany wins bronze medal

Armenian boxer representing Germany Artyom Harutyunyan 
won bronze medal in the 31st Summer Olympic Games. 
20 August 2016

It is a great success for 26-year-old athlete, although he was very 
close to win gold medal.

He expressed his satisfaction for winning the Olympic bronze medal. 
“I am very proud to be able to win bronze medal for Germany. I have 
always dreamed of taking part in the Olympic Games. I am very 
satisfied and proud of my performances”, Artyom Harutyunyan said.

In the quarter finals Artyom Harutyunyan defeated Turkish boxer 
Batukhan Gyozgek, but in the semi-finals he lost the bout to the 
representative of Azerbaijan.
1,5% of households in Armenia remained in food insecurity 
since 2010
August 20, 2016
About 15% of households in Armenia remained in food insecurity 
since 2010 and a large proportion is in a risk of food insecurity, 
according to a joint report by the National Statistical Service, the 
World Food Programme (WFP) and the Fund UN Children. Many 
households in Armenia have serious nutritional problems reflected 
in a large number of stunted children or overweight.

According to the report, the burden of malnutrition hampers the 
ability of Armenia to reach its full human potential and socio-economic.

The report says that Armenia is exposed to multiple risks, and that 
28 percent of households are at risk of food insecurity if they suffer 
a shock. In addition, 19% of children under 5 years are reported 
to have stunted growth and nearly 15% were found to be overweight.
Carolyn Rafaelian joins Forbes’ list of Richest Self-Made Women 
Armenian American designer Carolyn Rafaelian has joined the 
Forbes’ annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
Carolyn Rafaelian founded fashion jewelry company Alex and Ani 
in 2004, taking over what had been her father’s Rhode Island 
jewellery factory to manufacture the new age, celestial-chic bangles 
that have become the brand’s staple. 

To say growth has been explosive would be an under-statement. 
In 2010, Alex and Ani — named after two of Rafaelian’s daughters 
 — did an estimated $4.5 million in revenues. By 2015, sales had 
hit $500 million, catapulting the 49-year-old onto Forbes’ second 
annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women thanks to her 
majority ownership. 

Rafaelian joins the ranks at #22, with an estimated net worth of 
 $700 million, making her the second richest newcomer to the list, 
after Gail Miller, billionaire owner of basketball’s Utah Jazz. 

She’s the richest self-made woman in the nation to derive her wealth 
from jewelry, and joins an impressive group of fashion and retail 
moguls on Forbes’ ranking that includes Spanx founder Sara Blakely, 
preppie-chic designer Tory Burch, and bridal tycoon Vera Wang.
What will happen to 90-years-old Melkonian?
Baruyr Kuyumciyan 
Thousands of graduates of the educational institute in Cyprus want to know what will happen to Melkonian... 

Established in 1926 by Krikor and Garabed Melkonian brothers in Cyprus, Melkonian Educational Institute (MEI) has celebrated the 90th anniversary of its foundation this year. On the occasion of the 90th anniversary, the graduates of the institute organized a celebration and commemoration event in Cyprus. MEİ has been closed since June 2005 by the decision of Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Central Executive Board. Thousands of graduates haven't been succeed in convincing AGBU to reopen the institute despite their countless efforts. Constituting the last pillar of Western Armenian language and culture, the institution is abandoned to its fate. Thanks to Fethiye Çetin's article published in Agos, we found out that the historical buildings are in bad shape. Afterwards, we asked some questions concerning the future of Melkonian to the responsible parties. Unfortunately, AGBU's response frustrated us. Though we desperately tried to contact to AGBU President Berge Setrakian, the answer came from AGBU Education Department Head Artoun Hamalan. The response was as the following: “Before we decided to close Melkonian on June 2005, our central executive board had discussed this issue in a very detailed way. Back then, the official statement of our union was released and our attitude was presented. After all, I don't think that there is any recent development that makes re-answering your questions necessary. The attitude of our union is clear and hasn't been changed since then.” 

This statement means that Melkonian's land will be sold in order to provide fund for educational activities in Armenia. However, Cyprus government registered that land as “unsaleable cultural asset” in 2007. This dilemma raises the question whether this valuable institution will be let to rot. 

Led by Mesrob Mutafyan, graduates of Melkonian living in Istanbul struggled to initiate the reopening of the school. Famous second-hand bookseller Püzant Akbaş was one of those graduates. Here are the highlights of our conversation with Akbaş about the history of the school, the struggle for it and the reason why it should be reopened. 

66,000 English gold coins 

“Established by the donations of Krikor and Garabed Melkonian brothers, Melkonian Educational Institute's construction was started in 1924 and completed after 2 years. Melkonian brothers had been engaged in tobacco trade in Egypt during World War I and their business was of great volume. After the construction of Melkonian was completed, they donated 66,000 English gold coins for the survival of the school. The school was established for taking care of the majority of Armenian orphans in Middle East and provide them a good education.” 

International prestige 

“Successfully maintaining its mission of sheltering orphans and preparing them for life, Melkonian became a unique safe haven for Armenians during World War II. People like Püzant Yeğyayan, Vahan Tekeyan and Hagop Oşagan worked as teachers and principals in the school. The school had always have a qualified teaching staff; thus, the graduates made great contributions to Western Armenian language and culture. I started to go to Melkonian in 1962. Even then, there were many scholarship students. I mean, the funds were enough for maintaining the school back then. During my term, it was internationally renowned and respected. Students were able to continue their education in England or in the US with their diplomas that were compatible to educational systems of those countries.” 

It had income 

“In the foundation certificate, the administration of the school was left to AGBU, Patriarchate of Constantinople and Jerusalem. Over the years, AGBU became dominant in the administration and ended up being the sole authority during the last period. When they decided to close the school in 2004, it had 250 students. Modern buildings were added to the complex and with the commercial complex built within the land of school, they had been receiving rental income. Moreover, there was enough space to built another commercial complex. Their justification for closure was the number of students. However, students from Armenia and other countries were coming to the school.” 

Efforts of Mutafyan 

“When AGBU's closure decision was put on the agenda, two graduates from the US contacted to Patriarch Mutafyan and asked for support. His Eminence Mesrob Mutafyan wanted to keep the school open and made efforts for it. He went to Patriarchate of Jerusalem and researched the archives of Patriarch of Constantinople Zaven Der Yeğyayan. I still remember what he told me: 'In the first box that I opened in Jerusalem, I found the foundation certificate of Melkonian brothers. When I saw that document, I realized that I should do whatever I can for keeping the school open.” Our Patriarch really devoted himself to this issue, but because of his medical condition, he couldn't have continued. He played a major part in the lawsuit against AGBU. After he fell ill, the lawsuit was decided against us. Unfortunately, he went through very troubled times because of Melkonian case. For the graduates of Melkonian, the Patriarchate of Constantinople's support was very important. This support influenced Cyprus government, which suspended the sale of the school land. That certificate is in the archive of the Patriarchate today, but nobody from the Patriarchate has done anything after Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan.” 

Given the situation in Middle East... 

“If AGBU would decide reopen the school after all these years, they could easily find support for this project. Melkonian Alumni has many supporters. On the other hand, the situation in Middle East and the condition of Armenians living in the region is obvious. Even in Beirut, Armenian population is decreased. Given these conditions, Melkonian would be very useful. There is no reason for keeping it closed. Selling the land in Cyprus and moving Melkonian to Armenia is against Melkonian brothers' will and their certificate.” 

Raffi Zinzalian: You will hear that AGBU is closing sales in the coming years 

Melkonian Alumni and Friends Association Chair Raffi Zinzalian made important statements concerning the recent condition of Melkonian. Being one of the prominent figures who have been struggling for reopening of the school, Zinzalian pointed out that AGBU has financial problems: 

“As Melkonian Alumni and Friends Association, all of our efforts, including our latest campaign that we launched in 2014, for reaching an agreement with AGBU have been left unanswered. The efforts of our philanthropist friends from Sweden, who have been supporting us from the beginning, is at a dead end now. 

We should understand AGBU's condition. The current board has no sources for reopening Melkonian. They even have difficulties to keep their own school open. We understand that perfectly. 

AGBU desires to obtain an operational budget by selling the land of Melkonian. With that budget, it will survive in diaspora for another 10 years and after that, they will move to Armenia, keeping only a few centers open. Probably next year, you will hear that AGBU is closing sale of some parts of the land of Melkonian. 

Since Armenia's independence, institutions and parties in diaspora have been trying to be more active in the homeland. Sometimes, such efforts cause them to cut down some supporting activities in diaspora. 

We, as diaspora Armenians who acknowledge the facts, are still hopeful about the reopening of Melkonian. On the other hand, year after year, possibilities for achieving our goal waste away. However, some wealthy Armenians, like Melkonian or Esayan brothers, might come together and work for reopening Melkonian. I don't see why not.”

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