Saturday, 12 November 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... His Holiness Aram I and Pope Francis Meet in Vatican 11 November 2016 Antelias


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aravot.am
 “Trump has serious connections with Aliev’s despotic family and his ex-relatives-by-marriage”. political scientist
November 10 2016

“Trump has serious connections with Aliev’s despotic family and his ex-relatives-by-marriage”. political scientist

Aravot.am asked political scientist Gagik Hambaryan what it would give the Armenians that representative of Republican Party millionaire Donald Trump became the US president. In anser to the question the political scientist said;

“Trump has cooperated with the two families in the South Caucasus for many years, one was Saakashvili, and during the latter’s governance Trump entered the South Caucasus and started extensive construction in Georgia both in Tbilisi and in Batumi.

Secondly, I should say that Trump has had very intense connections with the family of Aliev. He conducted big construction projects with the Aliev family in Baku, but when the presidential campaign started, Trump, who has his official website and all the information on the countries where “Trump Incorporation” operates, removed that information. It may be deduced from here that it is not beneficial to Trump to reveal his connection with Aliev family, which is famous in Europe and the US as a corrupted and tyrannical family.

Besides that, I should mention that Trump has close connections with the family of Aras Agalarov, who is the ex-relative-by-marriage of Aliev. He carries out business projects with him in different places including Russia. By coming to power, Trump will change the vector of the US foreign policy but not abruptly.

I do not believe that these presidential elections will have great influence on the US foreign policy. Of course, they have but America cannot change its foreign policy sharply because president id not th only one who makes decisions regarding the foreign policy there are appropriate institutions, centers, that even 15-20 years ago were writing what foreign policy should the US carry out in 2016-2017 or in general from 2020-2025.

But I note it again that Trump’s victory was a gold shower for the whole West. And whether it will be good or not for the Armenians, it should not be said whether Trump has pro or con Armenian position, because the Armenian community has quite strong positions the camps of both the Democratic and the Republican parties.

I do not think that the US will abruptly change its position in the Artsakh issue. The American Co-Chair of the Minsk Group will continue his so-called policy of hitting neither the horseshoe nor the nail. I do not think that the election of Trump will abruptly improve or have a bad influence on the Armenian-American relationships.”


Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia
His Holiness Aram I and Pope Francis Meet in Vatican
11 November 2016
Antelias

 On Friday morning the scheduled meeting between the Pope and the Catholicos was held at the Papal office in the Vatican.

After sharing greetings, Catholicos Aram I expressed his great appreciation for the Pope’s two pronouncements on the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as the first genocide of the 20 th century, which he had made in 2015 at the Vatican and in 2016 in Yerevan. His Holiness Pope Francis reiterated his conviction on this matter.

Speaking of the conflicts in the Middle East and the current problems of the churches, Aram I said that the churches had endured difficulties at the cost of martyrdom for centuries, and, yet presently, they remain committed to their vocation. He then thanked Pope Francis and the Vatican for defending the rights of Christians in the Middle East and for supporting efforts towards Christian-Muslim cooperation and conviviality. Pope Francis welcoming the Catholicos’ reminder, stressed, in his turn, the vital importance of the Christian presence in the Middle East and assured of the continuing solidarity of the Vatican to this effect. In this context, the two Pontiffs emphasized the need to continue, with renewed pace, interreligious dialogue and collaboration in general, and Christian-Muslim in particular, to face together concerns and challenges of modern societies.

His Holiness Aram I speaking about the importance of the unity of the church, pointed out that establishing a common date for Easter would be a visible _expression_ of Christian unity. The Holy Father reminded Aram I that during the last few decades the Catholic Church has given special attention to this matter and welcomes any efforts aimed at fixing a common date, which could be acceptable by all the churches.

Aram I shared with Pope Francis the good news that eventually Lebanon had a new president in the person of Gen. Michel Aoun. The Pope warmly greeted the election of a president, considering it an important step towards deepening the Christian-Muslim cohabitation in Lebanon.

Referring to the historical relations between the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia and the Vatican, which dates back to the time of the Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia, His Holiness Aram I reaffirmed his commitment to continue bilateral relation and collaboration with the Vatican. At the end of their meeting, both Pontiffs reemphasized the decisive importance of taking the church to the people through the kind of initiatives, which make the church a living and relevant reality in the life of the people.


armradio.am
Armenia beat Montenegro 3-2 in 2018 World Cup qualifier
11 Nov 2016 

A last-minute goal from Gevorg Ghazaryan earned Armenia a 3-2 win against Montenegro in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

An incredible last-minute strike from Gevorg Ghazaryan completed the turnaround, giving Armenia their first win since a 2-1 victory against Bulgaria in October 2013.

Montenegro was ahead in the first half thanks to goals from Damir Kojasevic (36′) and Stevan Jovetic (38′).

Artak G. Grigoryan sent a right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner at the 50th minute. Varazdat Haroyan scored the equalizer at the 71st minute.


RFE/RL Report
Armenian Soccer Star Gets UN Role
November 09, 2016
Artak Hambardzumian


Armenia - Armenian football star Henrikh Mkhitaryan becomes UNICEF's
National Goodwill Ambassador to Armenia at a ceremony in Yerevan,
9Nov2016.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has appointed Henrikh
Mkhitaryan, Armenia's most famous and popular football player, as a
"goodwill ambassador" who will help it promote proper education for
disadvantaged children in the country.

Mkhitaryan, who plays for the Armenian national team and the English
club Manchester United, formally took on his new role at a ceremony in
Yerevan held on Wednesday. "Education will be the pillar of my
cooperation with UNICEF," he told an ensuing news conference.

"It's very sad to see that not all children have the same
opportunities to attend school and they don't get access to quality
early learning and education," he said. "All children should be able
to enjoy the opportunity to reach their full potential so they can
become productive citizens,"

"Together with UNICEF, I will try to encourage Armenian families to
get active and enable a fair chance for every child in the country,"
added the 27-year-old attacking midfielder, who was signed by United
from Germany's Borussia Dortmund this summer for a reported $37
million fee.

"We are excited to have Mkhitaryan join us as the newest UNICEF
Ambassador in Armenia," the head of the UN agency's Yerevan office,
Tanja Radocaj, said for her part.

In a separate statement, UNICEF said Armenia has made "considerable
progress" in expanding children's access to pre-primary
education. "However many children are still left behind, including
children with disabilities and children living in remote rural areas,"
it said.


telegraph.co.uk
Why Armenia might be Europe's best-kept secret 

It’s mid afternoon in a mountain village close to the Azerbaijan border and the air is thick with the smoke of a dozen chargrill barbecues. Men are turning giant skewers of chicken and lamb on the coals while their obedient sons fan the flames, dressed in traditional Armenian costume.

High above the gorge the sun is pouring down from a cloudless sky and beyond the river bridge there’s dancing: troupes of young men and women, linking arms, kicking their legs and singing in unison as wild music blares out from speakers beneath the chestnut trees.

Armenia is a tranquil land of epic vistas, crumbling churches and rolling vineyardsArmenia is a tranquil land of epic vistas, crumbling monasteries and rolling vineyards

On the trestle tables there are baskets overflowing with freshly picked fruit and bottles stacked up high, filled with a dark red liquid. It’s semi-sweet wine from the areni grape because today, October 1, is the annual Areni wine festival.

You know you’re in wine country the moment you arrive at Yerevan airport. You can’t really miss it as there’s a 20ft high inflatable wine bottle parked outside the terminal.

A Christian country sandwiched between predominantly Muslim Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan, Armenia likes its alcohol. They also produce what they say is the best brandy in the world and driving into town the advertisements are everywhere for Ararat brandy and Noy cognac.

My driver deposits me at the quaint Villa Delenda, one of the few surviving relics of 19th-century town houses in the capital, Yerevan. Outside its ivy-covered walls stone bollards line the cobbled pavement, stencilled with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and the words “Defend Yerevan”.

Was this, I wondered, a reference to the deadly on-off conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region? No, says Maryam, one of the girls who run the villa as a guesthouse, with part of the proceeds going to charity. It’s a campaign to stop the developers from bulldozing the last of Yerevan’s historic buildings.

Inside the villa its all woven carpets, wooden floorboards and exquisite locally-made ceramics which they sell from a shop in the basement. A kindly old woman bustles around me, speaking only Russian. It’s late and the staff have gone home but she fetches me a bowl of potato soup, floating with mushrooms and herbs, and stands, arms folded, to watch appreciatively as I wolf it down with hunks of bread.

She tells me her name is Amelia and I wish I had enough Russian to ask her about her life. I put her age at about 75, meaning she would have lived two thirds of her life in the USSR, when Armenia was part of the Soviet Union, before it disintegrated in 1991 and Armenia became an independent country.

Despite the developers, Yerevan is a delightful capital. Its wide, leafy boulevards are lined with caf├ęs and wine bars where Armenians like to sit chatting late into the night.

People here still talk about the recent visit of the world’s most famous living Armenian , Kim Kardashian, when her husband, the singer Kanye West, jumped into a fountain after a concert and invited the crowd to join him.

Armenians from the large overseas diaspora who visit for the first time are said to be pleasantly surprised by how modern, safe and civilised Yerevan is, and then rudely disappointed to find the suburbs and roadsides littered with the hangover detritus of the failed Soviet economy.

Driving out of the capital on my first morning, two things are immediately apparent. The abandoned, derelict factory buildings and the grim, Russian dormitory blocks surrounded by empty carcasses of old vehicles, rusting oil tanks and decrepit machinery overgrown with weeds. Armenia needs a clean-up.

But then you look up to the horizon and there, towering over everything, is the magnificent, awe-inspiring snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat, 5,165 metres high and just across the border in Turkey. “It used to be ours,” lament Armenians.

The mountain, together with its smaller sister, Little Ararat, form a stunning backdrop for the monastery of Khor Virap, meaning “Deep Dungeon”. This hilltop fortress is allegedly where St. Gregory the Illuminator was incarcerated for 12 years by a pagan king who was then cursed by sprouting the head of a boar. On a more practical note, my advice would be to get there early to beat the coach tours.

We drive on, to two more jewels in Armenia’s cultural crown: the Hellenic-style temple of Garni and the monastery at Geghard. Both are nearly 1,500m up in the foothills of the Geghama Range where the air is cool and fresh. Buzzards soar on the wind then swoop down into the ravines to snatch prey.

Garni is a sort of miniature Parthenon, built in the 1st century AD, reduced to rubble by an earthquake in 1679, then rebuilt in the Seventies. It’s an extraordinary building in a dramatic setting but Geghard Monastery is, to my mind, even more impressive.

Up a steep, cobbled road, through an archway, past pine trees swaying beneath yellow crags, this World Heritage-listed monastery is named after the lance said to have speared Christ’s flesh at the crucifixion.

My driver and I enter the main church, protected by high walls, and suddenly we are plunged into semi-darkness and 800 years of history. Devout Armenians are crossing themselves as they enter and lighting thin candles in a tray of sand.

Suddenly we are plunged into semi-darkness and 800 years of history

Outside in the breeze I glance up at the rock face above and can see it is pitted with ancient caves: monastic cells once inhabited by monks. Somehow I can well imagine this place surviving intact for a further eight centuries.

Back at the wine festival in Areni, on my second and final day, the sun is slowly sinking towards the top of the gorge and people are winding their way home in groups, clutching bags and bottles.

I stop to talk to an elderly couple selling necklaces of dried cherries. The old man places one around my neck then resolutely refuses payment. He and his wife ask me to take their photograph and they sit there side by side, this happy old couple, perched on a wall, leaning into each other with this stupendous view behind them, all sunlit vineyards and ochre mountain ravines. And then I feel somebody fiddling with my pocket.

And then I feel somebody fiddling with my pocket

My urban antenna immediately makes me think I’m being pickpocketed, but then I realise it’s just a kind old fruit vendor, donating me some apples from his stall. We both laugh.

The apples are crisp and succulent and I eat them one after another on the way back to the car. It is a scene of utter peace and tranquillity and I make a vow: next year I’m bringing my family.

The essentials
Getting there 

There are no direct flights to Armenia from the UK. Aeroflot, Ukrainian International Airlines, Air France and KLM all offer indirect services. Staying there

Villa Delenda in Yerevan (00374 1056 1156; info@ villadelenda.com ) offers double rooms from £40 a night, including breakfast. Staff can arrange a private car, complete with their own excellent driver, Artus. Currency

£1 = 592 AMD (Armenian Dram)

A three-course meal with wine cost as little as £10 in a mid-range Yerevan restaurant.


gatestoneinstitute.org
Turkey Converts Hagia Sophia to Mosque
by Robert Jones
November 9, 2016  

This is how the minds of Islamic supremacists seem to work: If you want churches to remain churches, it means you are "disturbed by the Koran or Islamic prayers," and you disrespect or "insult" Islam. According to Islamic scriptures, those who "insult" Islam or its prophet Muhammad are to be executed.

    • So if one wants to survive under Islamic rule, one has to submit to Islam and accept one's own inferior status. There is apparently no place for diversity or civilized, equal coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic nations.
    • "I can only think of one reason [to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque]. As a shout of Islamic triumphalism. What a mistake that would be. Christians would rightly consider it an intentional insult. The international community would see it as an open rejection of its diversity agenda. Moreover, I think that a relatively secular Turkey acting so radically would demonstrate to the world that despite moderate Muslims' many assurances to the contrary, contemporary Islam is intolerant in outlook, belligerent toward non-believers, and dangerously hegemonist in its intentions." — Wesley J. Smith, author.
    • The West did not protect Anatolian Christians during the 1 914-1923 genocide. It does not seem as if the West will protect Europe against what seems to be the current bloodless Muslim invasion, either.

The process of converting the historic Hagia Sophia church-then-museum in Istanbul into a mosque, in the works for the past three years, now seems to have been finalized.

In 2013, the deputy prime minister of Turkey Bulent Arinc at the time, while speaking to reporters, signaled that Hagia Sophia Museum would be used as a mosque.

"We currently stand next to the Hagia Sophia Mosque ... we are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia, but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon," Arinc said during the opening ceremony of a new Carpet Museum, located next to the ancient Hagia Sophia, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet had reported.

The pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah ran a story on June 1, 2016 entitled, "Historic Moments at Hagia Sophia. The longing is about to be over!... The mosque of Hagia Sophia will witness historic moments in the month of Ramadan..."

The Greek Foreign Ministry reacted with a written statement: "Obsessions, verging on bigotry, with Muslim rituals in a monument of world cultural heritage are incomprehensible and reveal a lack of respect for and connection with reality." The ministry added that the practice contradicted the values of modern, democratic and secular societies.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Tanju Bilgic, responded in a written statement on June 8:

"The Greek Foreign Ministry's statement with regards to TRT Diyanet TV's suhur program entitled 'Hagia Sophia at the time of abundance,' which will be broadcast throughout the month of Ramadan, is unacceptable".

Pro-government Turkish media interpreted the criticism of the Greek ministry of foreign ministry as follows: "They have been disturbed by the reciting of the Koran at Hagia Sophia."

This is how the minds of Islamic supremacists seem to work: If you want churches to remain churches, it means you are "disturbed by the Koran or Islamic prayers", and in so doing, you disrespect or "insult" Islam -- and according to Islamic scriptures, those who "insult" Islam or its prophet Muhammad are to be executed.

So if one wants to survive under Islamic rule, one has to submit to Islam and accept one's own inferior status. There is apparently no place for diversity or civilized, equal coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic nations.

In the meantime, the Hellenic American Leadership Council has begun a campaign to ask the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to issue a statement against the creeping conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, writing:

In 2014, USCIRF condemned attempts by Turkey's parliament to change the status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque. In its statement at the time, USCIRF said "...opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque would clearly be a divisive and provocative move. It would send the message that the current government sees the sensitivities of Turkey's religious minority communities, particularly its ancient Christian community, as being of little or no consequence."

Instead of following USCIRF's recommendations, Turkey ignores them, apparently now choosing a path of "creeping conversion" to alter the status of this historic site.

However, all of the criticisms, calls and campaigns do not seem to have worked. A few months after a decision by Turkish authorities to allow readings from the Koran to be broadcast from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey has now decided to appoint a permanent imam for the site.

According to the state-funded Anadolu News Agency, Turkey's Directorate for Religious Affairs ( Diyanet ), and the mufti of the Fatih district, have agreed to assign a permanent imam who will lead five daily Islamic prayers at the Hagia Sophia, instead of the current two.

According to the 2015 statistics of Diyanet , there are 3317 mosques in Istanbul and 86,762 in Turkey. There is no shortage of mosques in the country. So why is the Turkish government converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque?

"I can only think of one reason," writes the author Wesley J. Smith.

"As a shout of Islamic triumphalism. What a mistake that would be. Christians would rightly consider it an intentional insult. The international community would see it as an open rejection of its diversity agenda. Moreover, I think that a relatively secular Turkey acting so radically would demonstrate to the world that despite moderate Muslims' many assurances to the contrary, contemporary Islam is intolerant in outlook, belligerent toward non-believers, and dangerously hegemonist in its intentions."

Constantinople 

Constantinople, now termed Istanbul, was reinaugurated by Roman Emperor Constantine I (324-337).

"Constantine," writes the scholar Nikolaos Provatas, "chose as the location of his new capital the ancient Greek city of Byzantion. In 324 Constantine transformed Byzantion into 'The New Rome' or 'Constantinopolis', the City of Constantine. The people often referred to it simply as 'The City' or, in Greek, 'Hi Polis'.

"Christianity was also to form the strongest cohesive glue that bound the peoples of the Eastern Roman Empire, regardless of their language and ethnic origin. To the inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire, the words 'Romaios' -Roman- and 'Christian' were often synonymous."

The Church of the Holy Wisdom, known as Hagia Sophia, designed to be the major basilica of the Byzantine Empire and a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, was built in the city by Justinian I in 532-537 CE.

When Constantinople was invaded and captured by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in a bloody military campaign in 1453, it brought an end to the Byzantine Empire.

Steven Runciman, in his book, The Fall of Constantinople 1453 , writes that congregants and refugees became spoils -- to enslaved, violated or murdered. The church was desecrated and plundered, the infirm and elderly were slaughtered, women and girls were raped and the rest sold into slavery.

Mehmed II then converted Hagia Sophia church into a mosque.

The name Constantinople was changed to "Istanbul" in 1930 by republican Turkey, and Hagia Sophia converted to a museum in 1935.

Today , there is no sizeable Christian community in Turkey to oppose the ongoing oppression and tyranny. From the great Christian Byzantine Empire, now less than 0.2% of Turkey's 80-million population is Christian.

This is the result of the genocide of Greek Christians by Ottoman Turks from 1 913-1923 -- the annihilation of the majority of Greek Christians in Constantinople and Anatolia, in what was the heart of Christendom before the Islamic invasion.

"The decision for the genocide against Greeks," wrote the scholar Theofanis Malkidis, "was taken by the Young Turks (Cemal, Enver and Talat pasha) in 1911, was put into practice during the World War I and was completed by Mustafa Kemal (1919 – 1923).

"The persecutions were originally appeared in the form of cases of violence, destruction, deportations and exiles. Soon though, they became better organized and extensive and turned massively against the Greeks (and against the Armenians)."

As a result of centuries-long campaigns of violent jihad and cultural jihad, the Christians of Anatolia and Constantinople were exterminated. The West did not protect Anatolian Christians during the 1 914-1923 genocide. It does not seem as if the West will protect Europe against what seems to be the current bloodless Muslim invasion, either.

Today , other remaining churches in Turkey are also targeted and converted to mosques. And the West is still silent, submissive and bowing to jihadists for its own ill-informed and misguided agenda.

Robert Jones, an expert on Turkey, is currently based in the UK.

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