Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Spitak, 28 years after earthquake
28 years after the devastating earthquake in Spitak
07 Dec 2016 

December 7 marks the 28th anniversary of the destructive earthquake in Spitak. The earthquake hit 40 % of the territory of Armenia, densely populated region with 1 million people. 

The cities of Spitak, Leninakan, Kirovakan and Stepanavan, as well as hundreds of villages were totally or partially destroyed. Twenty-five thousand people were killed, 500 thousand were left without shelter. 17% of the buildings were destroyed, the work of 170 industrial companies was halted. 

Immediately after the earthquake Armenians all over the world united and offered comprehensive support to the Motherland. “SOS Armenie,” “Aznavour for Armenia” and tens of other organizations were created. Many Diaspora Armenians rushed to Armenia, bringing food, clothes and medicine. 

Many of them – doctors, psychologists, constructors, architects – stayed in Armenia and personally participated in the rescue works. 

A number of countries of the world continued to support Armenia years after the earthquake. Italians built a whole dwelling district in Spitak, Norwegians built a hospital, which was named after great humanist F. Nansen. 

A school built by an Englishmen was opened in Gyumri. Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher participated in the opening ceremony.
Return of Sis Catholicosate Case to be Formally Submitted to the European Court of Human Rights

Aram I: ‘Recognition and Reparation: This is Our Clear and Firm Position as a People and a Church.’ 

ANTELIAS, Lebanon (Armenian Weekly)—Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia announced on Monday that the Cilician Catholicosate will be submitting the legal case for the return of the Sis Catholicosate to the European Court of Human Rights on December 6. 

“Tomorrow, the sixth of December will be an important day for the Armenian people in general and the Armenian church in particular,” Catholicos Aram I announced in a live video address from the current seat of the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon. 

The Catholicos said that the decision was made after Turkey’s constitutional court denied the request of the Catholicosate. 

“This is the first legal action taken against Turkey after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This legal action is the result of a long and serious reflection, consultation, and study, and is based on the provisions of international law, including the decisions of the Lausanne Conference of 1932 pertaining to the minorities living within the boundaries of the Republic of Turkey,” Catholicos Aram said in his December 5 address. 

The Catholicos first announced that the Cilician See was preparing to initiate legal claims against Turkey to regain ownership of the historic headquarters of the Catholicosate of Sis back in September 2014. 

On April 28, 2015, the Catholicosate of Cilicia submitted a brief to the Constitutional Court in Turkey requesting the return of its historic spiritual center in Sis. 

The Catholicosate’s St. Sophia church and monastery, and their surrounding lands, are located in the city of Kozan, in the Adana Province of the present-day Republic of Turkey. The headquarters, a center of Armenian religious life for more than seven centuries, was confiscated by the Turkish Government during the Armenian Genocide. 

Below is the Aram I’s English address as transcribed by the Armenian Weekly. 


Tomorrow, the sixth of December, will be an important day for the Armenian people in general and the Armenian church in particular. 

The lawsuit demanding the return of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in Sis will be formally submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. In fact, this is the first legal action taken against Turkey after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This legal action is the result of a long and serious reflection, consultation, and study, and is based on the provisions of international law, including the decisions of the Lausanne Conference of 1932 pertaining to the minorities living within the boundaries of the Republic of Turkey. 

This is a very important action—legal action—taken by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. In fact, for a hundred years, we laid the emphasis in our continuous efforts, within the framework of the Armenian cause, on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I believe that this is the time that we move from the stage of recognition to reparation, of course, without undermining the pivotal importance of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. 

I do believe that this is the high time, and, in fact, our legitimate right and sacred obligation, to claim the restoration of the ownership of the centuries old seat of the Catholicoasate in Sis. We should not forget and the international community should know that besides the one and a half million victims of the Armenian Genocide, thousands of Armenian churches, monasteries, community and church properties, including the individual properties, were confiscated by the Turkish authorities. Furthermore, 48 hours were given to the Catholicos Sahak of Cilicia to leave the premises of the Catholicosate with his parishes. 

These are not fictions; they are facts of history. And we never forget these painful experiences of our people a hundred years ago. And it goes without saying, that forceful confiscation of properties is against international law. 

Tomorrow, in Brussels, a press conference will take place with the participation of four members of our legal team. And through this press conference, our representatives will explain the various stages and dimensions, and expectations pertaining to this lawsuit. 

Dear fellow Armenians, 

The Armenian cause is the case of justice. It is the cause of violations of human rights. It is the cause of our people. We never forget the Armenian Genocide. 

Recognition and reparation: this is our clear and firm position as a people and a church. 

Therefore, it is my firm expectation that our people will continue to support all actions, initiatives, and programs that are aimed at the restoration of justice. 

Justice—we want justice from the international community. That is the clear and firm position of our people. 

May God bless you all.
Diaspora Armenians to observe parliamentary elections in Armenia
05 Dec 2016 

Thousands of Diaspora Armenians have joined the “Justice Within Armenia” initiative launched on September 21, famous Canadian Armenian actress Arsine Khanjyan told reporters in Yerevan today.

The Diaspora Armenians have set up an observervation mission for the sake of democracy, justice and transparent elections. The group will have a practical participation in the parliamentary elections next year.

“Armenia’s independence was an important achievement, gift and a dream come true for Diaspora Armenians, but we, as individuals, were unable to make our contribution at the time,” Arsine Khanjyan said.

“However, we have always lived with the consciousness to support Armenia, to help the country rise not only in the cultural field, but also develop as an independent, sovereign and democratic state,” she added.

She noted, however, that the situation is getting more and more troublesome, and this has caused concern among Diaspora Armenians and served as a basis for the “Justice Within Armenia” initiative.

“Our young soldiers’ endless love for the Motherland made us reassess our views and steps. The present and future of Armenia is now measured by the life of those guys, the state they defended should be worth their endless love,” Khanjyan said.

According to her, the July events (the seizure of a police headquarters) alerted that urgent changed are needed and signaled that Diasporas Armenians should have a practical participation.

Actor Hrant Tokhatyan has joined the initiative from Armenia. Speaking to reporters today, he said “the unity of concerned individuals will always benefit Armenia.”

Speaking through Skype, System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian expressed concern over the split among Diaspora Armenians and the Motherland.”

According to Canadian Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, the Diaspora should realize its responsibility and the role it can play in Armenia. “This year’s events showed that the Diaspora should have a practical participation, e.g. on justice-related issues, including elections,” he said.

The Diaspora Armenians plan to arrive in Armenia next spring to observe the parliamentary elections in the country.
(sourced from
Turkish Bosphorus tunnel to be named after Armenian Genocide perpetrators
06 Dec 2016 

The tunnel that will cross the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, is set to be named after a perpetrator of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocides, or someone responsible for the death of thousands of Armenians and Bulgarians.

The competing names according to CNN Turk are between Kemal Ataturk, the first President of the Turkish Republic, and Abdul Hamid, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Almasdarnews reports.

CNN Turk have also revealed that Ataturk is winning the poll so far.

Ataturk was partially responsible for the genocide of millions of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians that began during the First World War.

Abdul Hamid, who struggled to maintain a fracturing empire, saw a pogrom against thousands of Armenians and Bulgarians.

Daily Sabah, Turkey
Dec 6 2016
Obama’s UN envoy refers to 1915 events as 'genocide'

U.S. President Barack Obama's UN envoy Samantha Power referred to the
1915 events as 'genocide' on Tuesday, in a move very likely to
infuriate Turkey.

The term has long been taboo for U.S. officials, including President
Barack Obama, who have instead talked of historical tragedy. But
Obama's U.N. ambassador last week went further than her boss,
describing the event as genocide. In a speech hailing the work of
Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel, Samantha
Power lamented the injustices that continue to this day. Among these,
she listed: "Genocide denial against the Armenians." Power didn't

From Turkey's perspective, the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia
in 1915 occurred after some Armenian nationalists sided with the
invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent
relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties. Turkey
describes the events of 1915 as a tragedy for both sides. Ankara has
repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians
from Turkey and Armenia, along with international experts, to tackle
the issue.

Even though President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan challenged Armenian
authorities to form a joint history commission to investigate the
incidents and pledged to accept any decision that will come out, his
counterpart and other officials remained silent.

When he first ran for president, Obama promised he would recognize the
killings as genocide if elected. But he has repeatedly stopped short
of doing so. Marking Armenian Remembrance Day in April, Obama called
the 1915 events "a tragedy that must not be repeated." Before entering
government, the second highest ranking diplomat of the United States,
Power was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote extensively
about America's responses to the 1915 events. Officials say she has
lobbied hard behind the scenes for Obama to formally recognize the
atrocities as "genocide."

Former President Ronald Reagan also referred to the 1915 events as
"genocide of the Armenians" in 1981. But since then, presidents have
avoided such language.
Why do US Jews celebrate Hanukkah with Azerbaijani Embassy?

The Conference of the US major Jewish organizations’ representatives will celebrate Chanukah together with the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington. As Haaretz reports, the event will be held on December 14 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. This decision has provoked various reactions in the Jewish community.

Firstly, it leaves an impression of heaping upon adulation for the new elect president. Secondly, it is unclear why the US Jewish community is organizing an event with an embassy of a Muslim country to celebrate their holiday. The author explains it, as of prevailing close relations between Israeli and Azerbaijani governments. " Azerbaijan became Israel’s largest oil supplier several years ago and in turn purchased large amounts of Israeli military hardware.”

The article notes, that the Azerbaijani government spends millions to promote its interests in Washington D.C. and advice its image. However, it gets regularly criticized for human rights’ violations by international NGOs.

In addition, it is planned open a Trump International Hotel in Baku, the construction of which, according to the Associated Press, has been postponed because of "economic reasons."
Private remittances to Armenia in October fell by 7.1 percent
December 5

Private remittances sent to Armenia via banks in 2016 October dropped by 7.1% when compared to the previous month to $136.4 million, the Central Bank of Armenia reported. According to it, compared to the same month of 2015 the remittances fell by 5.7%.

Remittances from Armenia in October 2016 abroad totaled about $76 million, an increase of 21.3% from October 2015. Compared to 2016 September they were down by 5.2%. Thus, the net inflow of remittances in 2016 October stood at approximately $60.4 million, which was 26.3% less than in the same period last year. Compared to 2016 September they were down by 9.3%.

Approximately 64.6% of the total amount of private money transfers came from the Russian Federation, down from 70-80% in the previous year.

Remittances from Russia to Armenia decreased by 4.7% from the year ago to approximately $88.2 million. The decline over the previous month was 0.9%, while the outflow from Armenia to the Russian Federation increased by 47. 6% to $39.1 million. The increase over the previous month was 39.9%.
In 2015 remittances to Armenia slashed by 30% to $1.208.470, caused by the huge depreciation of the Russian ruble. ($ 1 - 480.74 drams). -0-

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