Thursday, 24 November 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Economy in Crisis


bloomberg.com
Nov 21 2016
Armenian Economy in Crisis Needs Rapid Change, 

New Premier Warns
Sara Khojoyan &
Anthony Halpin 

Armenia’s new prime minister has what he believes is a vote-winning
message before parliamentary elections in May: The economy’s in
terrible shape and he’s the man to fix it.

The impoverished ex-Soviet republic needs “profound change,’’ Karen
Karapetyan, who took office in September, said in an interview in the
capital, Yerevan, on Saturday. “We’re proposing the most rapid change
that’s possible,” including measures to combat corruption by
streamlining bureaucracy and a government fund to support enterprise,
he said.

“Businesses shouldn’t be obstructed’’ by corrupt officials seeking
payments for administrative decisions or by dominant rivals using
political ties to restrict competition, said Karapetyan, a former
mayor of Yerevan who took office after returning from Russia, where he
worked in Moscow since 2012 for a subsidiary of Gazprom PJSC, the
world’s largest natural-gas exporter. “We will create an even,
competitive, level playing field.’’

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan called the new premier a “symbol of
change’’ when he named him to replace Hovik Abrahamyan. The economy’s
in an “extremely bad” state and needs “structural” overhaul,
Karapetyan told lawmakers next day. Sargsyan made the change after
thousands joined street protests in July in support of armed men who
took hostages at a Yerevan police station and demanded the president’s
resignation.

The Caucasus nation of three million people is reeling from the impact
of the recession in Russia, its main export market, as well as a slump
in remittances from Armenians working in that country.

Fiscal Rule

Karapetyan, 53, is seeking to expand the economy even as he must slash
state spending next year to halve a budget deficit now running at 5.9
percent. A self-imposed fiscal rule obliges the government to limit
the deficit to no more than 3 percent when foreign debt exceeds 50
percent of gross domestic product.

Armenia’s foreign debt is $5.8 billion with GDP at $10 billion, while
growth of 3.2 percent in 2017 won’t be enough to raise living
standards significantly, Karapetyan said. “We also have external debt
growing faster than the GDP growth and growing faster than revenues,’’
he said.

While Armenians are desperate for change amid rising poverty,
Karapetyan won’t be able to break the economic grip of a few wealthy
oligarchs, particularly on imported goods, with support from powerful
politicians, according to Hayk Gevorgyan, economic commentator at the
Armenia Times newspaper.

“Monopolies and corruption are Armenia’s biggest problems because of
the connections between business and politicians,’’ Gevorgyan said in
an interview. “He can’t resolve this.’’

No Privileges

Changes in the leadership of the customs service and in the tax code
are improving transparency, and he won’t allow dominant players to use
“administrative support that isn’t available to others’’ to suppress
competition, Karapetyan said. “No one is immune and no one is
privileged,’’ he said.

While he’s focused on immediate improvements, Karapetyan said he’ll
also form an advisory group including foreign specialists to
“brainstorm how we can develop the country’’ for the long term,
including with tax changes and support for businesses in areas such as
health care, education and agriculture.

Armenia rejected a trade pact with the European Union to enter the
Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union of former Soviet states in January
last year. While critics say there’s been no economic benefit so far,
nobody knows what would have happened if Armenia hadn’t joined and
“the negative impact could have been much greater,’’ while membership
doesn’t stop Armenia developing EU trade, Karapetyan said.

Armenia’s also seeking to bolster trade with Iran following the
lifting of international sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear
program. Karapetyan said he’s ordered plans developed by December 25
to implement a free economic zone near Armenia’s southern border to
boost ties in areas including agriculture and food production.

‘Credibility’ Issue

Armenia’s in a “challenging’’ position after absorbing “tremendous
shocks’’ when Russia’s ruble devalued following the fall in oil
prices, Teresa Daban Sanchez, the International Monetary Fund’s
resident representative in Yerevan, said in an interview. While the
economy’s been more resilient than the IMF forecast, “the external
environment is not going to improve,’’ domestic demand is subdued and
price deflation has emerged, she said.

“There’s an issue of credibility’’ for the government in implementing
its debt rule for the first time and “drastic’’ budget cuts are being
made, mainly by rescheduling capital expenditure, she said.

“We clearly understand that reduced public spending may have a
downside effect,’’ while businesses are delaying investment until
after the elections, Karapetyan said. Amid speculation he’s a
short-term appointment to improve the ruling Republican party’s
prospects, it’s “inappropriate’’ to say if he’ll be prime minister
after the vote because nobody can predict the outcome, he said.

Even so, he’s seeking to develop clear long-term plans over the next
six months so that “from 2018 we’ll have sustainable year-on-year
growth,’’ Karapetyan said.

arka.am 
Corruption is the biggest obstacle to foreign investments 
in Armenia
November 21

Corruption and unhealthy atmosphere in the domestic business are  the biggest obstacle to foreign investments  in Armenia,  the head of the National Union of Employers  Gagik Makaryan said today citing data of the Transparency International organization which rates Armenia as a regional leader in terms of corruption.

According to the latest  study of Transparency International - Global Corruption Barometer, Armenia is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe and Central Asia.

The respondents of the survey singled out the  high level of corruption in government institutions and the insufficient efforts of the authorities to combat  it.

Makaryan believes that a special investment fund should be established and a working group that will support investors from abroad.

"The working group will make recommendations to investors, helping them to adapt to the local  environment and enforce their rights. Even the example of Syrian Armenians who have decided to invest in Armenia, shows that we" speak different languages "and perceive many things  differently,"- Makaryan said.

According to Makaryan, Armenia’s most important economic sector is agriculture, as there is always a great demand for fresh fruits, vegetables, and dried fruits.

"Modern fruit gardens, new greenhouses - all this will create great opportunities for exporting quality agricultural products", - he said.

Makaryan said the second important branch is energy. In his words, traditional energy sources in Armenia have been exhausted, but instead there are good prospects for the development of alternative energy. And the third, the most attractive sector for foreign investors is engineering and IT technology.

"Armenia demonstrates quite a good performance in this area. Our advances in technology can really attract investors, " he said.

(no change in the character of the Turks, whether in Turkey or Azerbaijan) Trend, Azerbaijan
Nov 21 2016
Mevlut Cavusoglu: Armenians among PKK terrorists
By Orkhan Quluzade 


There are Armenians among detained and neutralized members of the
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization, said Turkish
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu answering the question of the
Armenian member of parliament Koryun Nahapetyan during the 62nd
meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Haber 7 newspaper
reported.

Cavusoglu said that Armenia chooses a lie and doesn’t 
believe even in itself.
“Until today, you have had a lie about the “Armenian genocide” on your
agenda. You refused our proposal to create a commission to investigate
the events of 1915,” noted the Turkish foreign minister.

“You choose a lie, and don’t believe even in yourselves. If you don’t
believe in scientific research, it means that you choose a lie,” he
added.

The conflict between Turkey and the PKK, which demands the creation of
an independent Kurdish state, has continued for more than 30 years and
has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

The UN and the European Union list the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Dr. Akcam Confirms Turks’ Genocidal Intent
By Proving Validity of Talat’s Telegrams
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier 

Prof. Taner Akcam struck a major blow to Turkish denials of the Armenian Genocide in a highly informative lecture at Ararat-Eskijian Museum-Sheen Chapel in Mission Hills, California, on November 20. Dr. Akcam, a Turkish scholar, is holder of the Robert Aram & Marianne Kalousdian, and Stephen & Marion Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. 

In his recently published book, “The Memoirs of Naim Bey and Talat Pasha’s Telegrams,” Prof. Akcam laid to rest persistent Turkish denials of Naim Bey’s existence and authenticity of the telegrams he sold to Aram Andonian, who published them in his book, “Meds Vojire” (The Great Crime), in the early 1920’s in English, French, and Armenian. Andonian, a genocide survivor, first met Naim Bey, an Ottoman official, in the concentration camp of Meskene, Turkey, in 1916, and later in Aleppo, Syria, in 1918. 

In a crucial telegram dated Sept. 22, 1915, Interior Minister Talat gave “the order that all of the Armenians’ rights on Turkish soil, such as the right to live and work, have been eliminated, and not one is to be left [alive] -- not even the infant in the cradle; the government accepts all responsibility for this.” In another cable sent to the Provincial Governor of Aleppo on Sept. 29, 1915, Talat wrote: It “was previously reported that the decision to eliminate and annihilate all Armenians present in Turkey had been taken by the government, on orders of the Committee [of Union and Progress]… regardless of how horrible the annihilation measures, and without giving in to the pangs of conscience, an end will be put to their existence, be they women, children, or invalids.” 

In 1983, the Turkish Historical Society published a book by Sinasi Orel and Sureyya Yuca, claiming that Talat’s telegrams published by Andonian were forgeries and that Naim Bey never existed. Orel and Yuca raised 12 arguments as to why they believed that these documents were fake. Although Dr. Vahakn Dadrian had published a detailed rebuttal to Orel and Yuca in 1986, some scholars remained doubtful of the materials included in Andonian’s book. 

After a lengthy and painstaking research based on Ottoman archives made available in recent years, Prof. Akcam was able to prove conclusively that Orel and Yuca’s accusations were wrong and baseless. In his newly-published Turkish-language book and Nov. 20 lecture, Prof. Akcam asserted: 

1) There was in fact a Turkish civil servant by the name of Naim Bey. Original Ottoman records confirm his existence. In fact, Volume 7 of the Turkish Military Archive published in 2007, contains a document that describes him as: “Naim Effendi, son of Huseyin Nuri Effendi, age 26, from Silifke, married, former dispatch officer at Meskene, currently employed as grain storehouse officer of the municipality (Nov. 14-15, 1916).” Akcam confirmed that there are three other Ottoman records with Naim’s name; two of them are in the Boghos Noubar Library in Paris. 

2) Prof. Akcam announced that he had in his possession a copy of the original memoirs of Naim Bey, handwritten in Ottoman Turkish. He found the memoirs in the archives of noted researcher Father Krikor Guerguerian who had photographed Naim Bey’s 35-page manuscript while visiting the Boghos Noubar Pasha Library in 1950. The original has since disappeared from the library.
 
3) The names of individuals and events Naim Bey had described in his memoirs are corroborated by materials Akcam recently obtained from the Ottoman archives.
 
4) Akcam was able to confirm that Orel and Yuca’s main arguments about various aspects of Talat’s telegrams, including the type of paper used and coding techniques, were incorrect. 

In his scholarly quest to prove that Talat’s telegrams included in Andonian’s book are authentic, and debunk Turkish claims that they are forged, Prof. Akcam has made a much more significant revelation. Talat’s Sept. 22, 1915 telegram confirms that Turkish leaders had ordered the wholesale massacre of all Armenian men, women, and children, and not simply their deportation as Turkish denialists have falsely claimed for over a century. By authenticating these telegrams, Dr. Akcam has shown that Talat had a murderous INTENT -- a crucial element in qualifying the Armenian mass killings as genocide, according to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

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