Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Erdogan proclaims Mosul and Aleppo belong to Turkey

- Video
By News Desk - 23/10/2016 

ANKARA, TURKEY (1:20 P.M.) - Speaking during an opening ceremony for an educational institution in Bursa on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared the way that Syrians and Iraqis have been driven away from homes because of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; ISIS/ISIL), to how Turkish people were once forced out from the same cities. 

Erdogan added that the cities of Mosul and Aleppo belong to the Turkish people. 

Video footage of this speech was broadcasted by Ruptly on Sunday morning: 

This is not the first time that Erdogan has said something this controversial; just last week, the Turkish President told Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-'Abadi, he should know his place and that they are not equals. 


News Busters
Oct 24 2016
Genocide Film Attacked With 55,105 One-Star Ratings 

After Only 3 Screenings
By Sarah Stites | October 24, 2016 

It has been more than five weeks since The Promise debuted at the
Toronto Film Festival, but the independently financed historical
romance has yet to secure a distributor. Producer Eric Esrailian
believes the reason is Turkey’s strong genocide denialist lobby.

Hollywood has generally not shied away from portraying genocide
stories on film, but that rule has not applied to the 1915–1922
Armenian massacre. Because Turkey continues to deny its culpability
for the 1.5 million deaths that resulted from the conflict, any media
discussion of the historical period is often fraught with tension.

According to Variety film reporter Brent Lang, this controversy may
explain the reason that distributors have balked at picking up the
film which follows a love triangle set in the Ottoman Empire on the
brink of the genocide. “I’ll just say that there are some studios that
have business interests in Turkey, and you can form your own opinion,”
Esrailian told Lang.

The film’s producers also believe that the denialist lobby has skewed
ratings downward on IMDb – a database that allows viewers to evaluate
films. “The day after we screened the movie, 70,000 people went on
IMDb and said they didn’t like the movie,” explained co-producer Mike
Medavoy. “There’s no way that many people saw the movie after one
screening. There aren’t that many seats in the theater.”

Currently, after a total of only three screenings, the film has a
whopping 86,553 ratings (to put that in perspective, according to
Lang, 2016's highest grossing movie – Finding Dory  – has only
72,833). Nearly 64% of those ratings are one-star. Just over 35% are
ten-star. It's clear to see that issues well beyond cinematographical
quibbles are at play.

Ararat, a 2002 genocide film that delved into the theme of denial,
faced similar backlash. Disney-owned Miramax distributed the movie,
but as a result, the entertainment company received thousands of
negative emails that ended up crashing its website.

According to Ararat writer/director Atom Egoyan, the effort to air and
discuss the events of 1915-1922 on film is going to be a “tough ride.”
As far as The Promise is concerned, it doesn’t help that President
Obama has neglected to keep his own promise to recognize the genocide.

France education minister establishes genocide research mission

Several days ago, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Research of France, launched an initiative.

The initiative envisions the studying of genocides and mass crimes, with the objective of grasping them to the utmost as well as fighting against denial, reported Nor Haratch Armenian newspaper of France.

This mission, which is to be established one year after the Armenian Genocide Centennial, will be entrusted to Vincent Duclert, General Inspector of National Education of France.

He will head the 46-member team comprising citizens of 12 countries.

This team shall prepare a report on genocides and mass crimes, so as to facilitate their comprehension and create new ways for their prevention.

The mission shall summarize its respective conclusions within one year.

Minister Vallaud-Belkacem noted that she hereby wishes to run a “policy of just memory.” She added that in this era, when denial is a reality and it “prospers,” the transmitting of history becomes an imperative in the fight against lack of memory.

Paris Bring Change into Artsakh Process
Hakob Badalyan, Political Commentator
23 October 2016 

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs are visiting the region. Earlier the French president Francois Hollande replaced their co-chair. Pierre Andriot has been replaced by Stefan Visconti.

What will the replacement of the co-chair change in the actions and policy of France? As a rule, the replacements of co-chairs do not have a significant impact on the process of settlement of the Karabakh conflict. However, there are exceptions. For instance, such is the American co-chair Warlick. The U.S. Department of State announced upon his affirmation that the new co-chair will try to apply new approaches and activate the process.

Warlick applied new approaches. He started using Twitter actively, often making ambiguous hints on the process of settlement. Warlick’s tweets significantly “dismantled” the process and made it more accessible to the public eye or, in other words, to a greater extent more subject to public control.

In addition, it should be stated that the American co-chair with his new approaches appeared in the process of settlement in a period when Russia had actually taken control of the three-party format of settlement and was trying to promote the “Kazan plan”. Warlick with his new approaches helped thwarting the “Kazan plan”, which is welcome from the point of view of the interest of Armenia because as a few media, experts and commentators wrote, there were dangerous aspects in that plan for Armenia and Artsakh, which Serzh Sargsyan confessed only after the April war.

What will the debut of the French co-chair be like? In this sense, it should be noted that on the whole the French co-chairs were relatively the most unnoticeable ones, which is apparently determined by the French policy.

Will France change its style along with the replacement of the co-chair? At least, now France has appeared at the front line. First, after the April war the United States undertook the Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting in Vienna, stressing the international mechanism of ceasefire on the agenda. Azerbaijan and Russia disliked that and Moscow initiated the meeting in Saint Petersburg in June, where they tried to bypass that issue.

On the next day the French ambassador in Armenia held a press conference in Yerevan and announced that Paris will organize a new Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting. The ambassador also said that though there is no word on the ceasefire mechanism in the final statement of Saint Petersburg but it is primary for them.

However, France did not initiate the third meeting. The July developments in Yerevan and the terrorist attack in Nice took place over this period. Interestingly, the terrorist attack in Nice was on July 14, and the storming of the Police Patrol Regiment was on July 17. There was another interesting circumstance on June 20. A few hours prior to the meeting in Saint Petersburg Zhirair Sefilyan was arrested, suspected of preparing storming of government buildings and other armed actions in Yerevan.

The process of Artsakh was pushed aside.

Currently France is at the front line. A few days ago the French Senate again adopted the bill penalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide, which will be submitted to the French president to sign. This bill was adopted in 2012 but was suspected by the Constitutional Assembly.

Ahead of the new Senate decision and Hollande’s approval France appeared at the front line of the international policy of isolation of Russia. The French president Hollande who was a relatively restrained side of this policy has recently cancelled the meeting with Putin in Paris, therefore Putin cancelled his visit to Paris. Afterwards, quite tough negotiations between France, Germany and Putin on Syria took place.

The replacement of the French co-chair in the OSCE Minsk Group is taking place in the context of these developments, and the co-chairs arrive in the Caucasus where the organization of the third Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting following April is viewed as a primary issue for them, at least judging by the statements made so far.

Is Paris trying to return what had been lost in Artsakh?

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, UK
Oct 24 2016
It's Hard To Be Gay in Armenia
Widespread prejudice in Armenia leaves few 
LGBT-friendly public spaces.
By Arman Gharibyan

Life for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in
Armenia, a socially conservative society where homophobia remains
entrenched, is not easy.

The difficulties are multiplied for those living outside the capital,
where society is even less tolerant towards LGBT people.  Socialising
is particularly difficult, with no LGBT-friendly venues and few public
places where gay people can be sure they will not be subject to abuse.

Arthur (not his real name), 25, said that there were no public
entertainment spaces in Gyumri or Vanadzor, the country´s second and
third largest cities respectively, where LGBT people could feel safe.

 “It is impossible for me to go to a coffee shop and not hear hurtful
comments or catch hostile glances.  Once I got into a verbal exchange
with one of the customers because of an off-the-cuff remark by him,
but the manager came and demanded that I leave, saying that the
dispute began because of me,” said Arthur, who lives in Gyumri.

Instead, Arthur and his friends go to Yerevan on weekends, over 120 km
away, where they can feel more at ease.

“Yerevan also does not have a particularly friendly attitude towards
gays, but this is the only place in Armenia where you can feel
relatively free,” he said.

Sergei Gabrielyan, head of the New Generation NGO, believes that such
intolerant attitudes towards LGBT people in more remote places of the
country has caused internal migration.

“An LGBT person who lives in the province tries at all cost to enter
any educational institution in Yerevan to move to the capital.
Outside the capital, it is extremely difficult to live a gay
lifestyle,” Gabrielyan said, whose organisation works to protect the
rights of LGBT people across Armenia.

“Living in the provinces, an LGBT person is forced to hide his own
nature, because he will not be accepted as an equal,“ Gabrielyan said.

Research on attitudes towards LGBT people published earlier this year
by the Pink Armenia NGO shows that the country still has a long way to

According to the survey, 93.8 per cent of the 1,017 people interviewed
said they did not want to see gay couples holding hands in the street
and 97.5 per cent were against them kissing in public.

LGBT people are “one of the most marginalised, least visible and
discriminated against groups” in Armenia as well as in neighbouring
Georgia, according to a June report by the Tbilisi-based Women´s
Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG).

“Despite a degree of success achieved in recent years, … members of
the group continue to face violence, oppression, and harassment from
the general public, as well as specific institutions, including
medical facilities and the workplace. Bias-motivated violence based on
sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) frequently goes
unreported and, hence, remain without proper investigation and
retribution,” the report said.

Life in the capital is by no means easy. Among the hundreds of
restaurants, pubs and coffee shops in Yerevan, not a single public
entertainment venue caters to the members of the LGBT community.

In 2012, the DIY Club in Yerevan - known as a gay hangout – was
firebombed and its owner harassed.

(See also Gay Rights Under Attack in Armenia).

Since then, no one has dared to open a public entertainment venue for
LGBT people in Armenia.

There is a private social club for gay men and transgender women in
Yerevan, which is open daily to members and their friends.

Nelly (not her real name) the club’s 32-year-old director, is
originally from Vanadzor.  When she moved to the capital to join her
brother, she found out that he was gay.

“I accepted him from the very beginning.  Through my brother, I met
this community,” she explained.

She opened the club last year following her brother’s death “so that
people like him can feel comfortable here,” she continued.

Nelly launched by handed out 100 membership cards to people who are
still the core visitors to the club.

“I try not to let many people in, so that my [customers] feel
comfortable here.  I know everyone personally.  I try to make sure
there are no problems, and they listen to me,” she said.

Nelly said she believes that many in the city are aware of her club,
but does not expect any attacks.

“We do not interfere.  These people need entertainment.  I told them –
do not leave the club, do not attract attention so as to not disturb

Among those in the know, the club is much valued resource.

“This is the only place where I can be who I want to be,” said Milena,
a regular visitor. “None of the local visitors… will cast me sidelong
glances.  No one will make unpleasant remarks about me.”

Ashot, a security guard at the club, who did not want to use his real
name, told IWPR he did his best to protect visitors from unpleasant

“When strangers try to enter the club, I try to explain in my own way
that there is no admittance.  Sometimes I just say that this is a gay
club, and people will go away.  It happens that they are persistent in
wanting to enter, but I certainly will not allow it,” he said.

In the absence of LGBT clubs, some members of the community try to
organise their own parties.

Sarkis, 26, explained how he and a friend had begun putting together nights out.

They first had to reach an agreement with the management of a club,
ensure the premises would be protected and put together a guest list.

 “The first party was attended by about 160 people,” he said. “We were
able to organise great fun for them, but we were very tense.”

Earlier that day he had received phone calls threatening to blow up
the club if the party went ahead.  Later, a group of unknown people
tried to break down the door and get inside.

“After that, we thought for a long time that it was no longer worth
organising LGBT parties,” Sarkis said.

However, demands remained so high that Sarkis and his friend organised
another two club nights, the last one attended by around 250 people.

“This was an unprecedented figure for Armenia.  It proved that the
community needs such events,” Sarkis said.

Vahan Ishkhanyan, editor-in-chief of Inknagir Literary Magazine, has
written about LGBT issues for a long time.

His first article on gay men was published in 2002, when homosexuality
was still officially illegal in Armenia.

 “Journalists did not want to touch this topic.  Although my editor
published my first article, he said that he hoped his son would not
read this material,” Iskhanyan said.

The following year Armenia joined the Council of Europe and
homosexuality was decriminalised.

Despite deep-rooted discrimination, social attitudes towards LGBT
people have indeed softened since then.

“Today, there are homosexuals who publically acknowledge their sexual
orientation,” Ishkhanyan said.  “In the 2000s, there were many cases
of homosexuals who were murdered.  Today, the level of physical
violence has decreased, relatively.  We see people who look different
from others in their appearance.  It was not like that before.  When I
see these changes, I begin to believe that there will be new changes.”

Arman Gharibyan is a freelance journalist

The Times (London), UK
October 22, 2016 Saturday
Mkhitaryan 'confused' by omission
by Paul Hirst

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been left confused and unhappy after being
omitted from the Manchester United squad to face Fenerbahce even
though he claims that he was fully fit.

Mkhitaryan, the £26.3 million summer signing from Borussia Dortmund
watched from the directors' box at Old Trafford on Thursday night
while United eased to a 4-1 victory in the Europa League.

The Armenian suffered a thigh injury playing for his country last
month, but has been training with the United squad and expected to
feature against the Turkish side.

José Mourinho, the United manager, had hinted that Mkhitaryan would be
involved in the match, claiming at his pre-match press conference that
the midfielder was "not injured" and had been "training with the team
with no limitation". But the 27-year-old was not even named on the
substitutes' bench - as was also the case for Monday's 0-0 draw away
to Liverpool.

The Times understands that the midfielder, who won the Bundesliga
player of the year award last season, was stunned to hear that he
would not be taking part on Thursday.

It is understood that Mkhitaryan feels he was fully fit and has told
friends he cannot fathom why he was not in the 18-man squad.

When asked about why Mkhitaryan, who has made one start for United,
had not been selected, Mourinho said after Thursday's match: "He has
to work more to get the intensity and fitness to play at a high level.
To have him on the bench and give him 15 or 20 minutes like I did to
Memphis [Depay], I think it is much better for him to work and wait
for his chance, but he is ready very soon." 

Manchester Evening News
October 22, 2016 Saturday
It's time for the missing Mkhitaryan to be given his chance!
IN the end, the United fans querying the whereabouts of Henrikh
Mkhitaryan at Old Trafford on Thursday night got their answer very

He was in the director's box, sat next to John Murtagh - one of the
men responsible for helping to bring him to United.

Having taken part in a full training session earlier in the day,
Mkhitaryan was given the night off as his team-mates thumped
Fenerbahce in the Europa League.

He has had a lot of time off recently, only making one start since his
summer move from Borussia Dortmund - against City last month, and he
was hauled off at half-time.

There has been some surprise at how little Mkhitaryan has been used by
Jose Mourinho.

But his situation at United makes more sense to those who have
followed him closely.

His career so far has been stepping stone after stepping stone.
Starting at Pyunik Yerevan in Armenia in 2006, he moved to Ukraine
with Metalurh Donetsk in 2009, reached the Champions League with
Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010 before moving to Germany with Borussia
Dortmund in 2013.

It sounds like a steady rise to the top. But it hasn't always been that easy.

Mircea Lucescu, Mkhitaryan's Romanian manager at Shakhtar, remembers
the midfielder struggling when he first arrived.

It was only after he was pushed into a more attacking role that he
scored 25 goals in 29 league games to convince Borussia Dortmund,
Champions League finalists in 2013, to part with more than £20m that

There will questions given another against tomorrow Rob Staff at
Borussia Dortmund tell a similar story of his time in Germany. Initial
problems were followed by a fantastic third season - he scored 23
goals in 51 games last year - and then a bigmoney move away.

"Henrikh has been at Dortmund for three years," said former teammate
Ilkay Gundogan over the summer. "The first two years were not so easy
for him, to be honest."

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said something similar last week.

"When you are playing in surroundings where things are working for
you, like in Dortmund, then it is quite strange to give that away
again once things have finally started to work out for you after a
long time settling in."

He is starting all over again at United. He has been dropped into a
big squad. And it means that players not among the best on the
training pitch during any given week are likely to find themselves in
the www.stands.be more if he is day off. Chelsea Dawson Mourinho said
after the 4-1 win over Fenerbahce that Mkhitaryan had to 'work more'
before revealing he thought the 27-year-old would be ready 'very

Finally free of the thigh injury that has dogged him for more than a
month, there is a chance he could feature in the squad to face Chelsea
at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

There will be more questions if he is given another day off.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasn't in the United squad on Thursday he was He at
There will be more questions if he is given another day off against
Chelsea tomorrow Rob Dawson

Inside Mkhitaryan's Man Utd hell 

The news of Mkhitaryan joining the Premier League side came within 24 hours of Ibrahimovic announcing on social media that he was to be a United player in 2016-17. While Zlatan’s was undoubtedly the more high-profile move of the two, the excitement over the addition of one of the Bundesliga's most gifted attacking players captured the imagination of supporters who, for two years, had watched their side take a rather stunted approach to attacking football under Louis van Gaal.

Mkhitaryan’s ability with both feet, his eye for the game and weight of pass, his explosive style and fondness for running beyond opposition defenders left United fans anticipating a high-impact addition to the club’s forward department. Having watched Memphis Depay come to England with a similar billing only to fall flat on his face during his debut campaign, there was a belief that in Mkhitaryan their side had found somebody who could truly take United to another level.

Less than four months later there are serious concerns being raised about Mkhitaryan’s position at the club amid a hugely underwhelming beginning to his United career, and Jose Mourinho’s approach to helping the Armenian through his difficult start to life in England has been called into question.

When Mkhitaryan was announced as a United player, Juan Mata’s future looked increasingly likely to lie away from Old Trafford following his previous issues under Mourinho at Chelsea. The former Dortmund and Shakhtar Donetsk star looked to be a ready-made replacement for the Spaniard. But just when Mkhitaryan has struggled to adapt, Mata has experienced a rejuvenation in exactly the position the Armenian was expected to thrive.

After impressing in the No. 10 role against Wigan in his preseason debut, Mkhitaryan has since been used as a right-sided midfielder or not at all. His only competitive start came on the flank in the Manchester derby loss to City in September, and after being hauled off at halftime he has not been seen in a United shirt since.

He had picked up a thigh injury during a friendly with Armenia against the Czech Republic the previous week, but there was no doubting the disappointment in his performance too. His lapse of concentration in not closing down Aleksandar Kolarov led to one of City’s goals, while Mourinho later blasted: "I told them at halftime – some of you are trying to do what I told you not to do."

While the party line remains that Mkhitaryan is still not 100 percent fit following that thigh trouble, Mourinho’s message has barely been an encouraging one for the No. 22 when he has been pressed regarding the player’s role in his plans.

"The situation is that we played with Lingard, with Mata and Martial," Mourinho said this week. "I am not an Einstein, I don't know a tactical system to play with four wingers at the same time. He has to work more to get the intensity and the real fitness to play at the high level.

"To have him here tonight on the bench and to give him 15 to 20 minutes, like I did with Memphis, I thought it would be better for him to work the way he did yesterday and much harder, obviously. I thought it would be much better for him to work today, like he did in the specific session, than to wait for his chance. But he is ready. He is ready very soon."

The fact that he refers to Mkhitaryan as a winger first and foremost is a worry given how much more he can be when used centrally and expressing himself in a more crucial part of the pitch. But perhaps of more concern is the manager’s insistence on constantly asking questions of his summer signing.

"Now he is fit and it is now time for him to go back to the levels that we know he can achieve," Mourinho said earlier this week, but quite how he is meant to do that without chances is anyone’s guess.

Mkhitaryan didn’t exactly get off to a flying start at Dortmund but eventually grew into his role with the club. The hope now is that he can replicate that rise at Old Trafford, but he will need the good faith of those in charge if he is to succeed.

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