Thursday, 19 January 2017

Armenian News ... A Topalian... Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide will be remembered again this year 

in Derby during the holocaust memorial day.

This is all due to the hard work of Mr Russell Pollard, who knows 
Armenia and Artsakh very well.

It is near impossibility to get The Armenian genocide mentioned 
during the HMD.
But this is the 3rd year in a row its happening!

In order to show your appreciation. please try to attend if you can.

If you would like to book your free place, please contact 
the Quad Theatre with the link below.
--- --- ----

HMD this year is on the 26th January, and will be at the QUAD centre 
at 7:45pm. I will be speaking again at that event.

If you are able to make it then please book as per previous years, 
Other details of the programme can be found on our website 

Hope you can make it.
Russell Pollard

RFE/RL Report
Intense Mortar Fire Reported In Karabakh
January 16, 2017
Sisak Gabrielian 

The Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries on Monday accused each other
of using mortars to intensify ceasefire violations around
Nagorno-Karabakh overnight.

The two warring sides reported intense gunfire along the Karabakh
"line of contact" the day after the death of an Azerbaijani soldier
serving there.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said the 26-year-old contract soldier,
Fikret Bashirov, was shot dead by enemy fire. Nagorno-Karabakh's
Armenian-backed Defense Army denied responsibility for Bashirov's
death, however, claiming that he was killed by other Azerbaijani

The Defense Army also reported on Monday that one of its soldiers,
Arayik Sargsian, was found shot dead early in the afternoon at one of
its frontline positions "in still unclear circumstances." Military
authorities in Stepanakert are investigating the incident, it said.

It was also announced that another Armenian soldier, Garik Vartanian,
died in a military hospital late on Sunday from gunshot wounds
sustained in Karabakh on December 30. Vartanian, 20, was reportedly
shot by an Azerbaijani sniper.

In another statement issued earlier in the day, the Karabakh Armenian
army said Azerbaijani troops "intensively" violated the ceasefire
regime on the night from Sunday to Monday. It said they fired over 50
mortar shells at its troops stationed east of Karabakh.

An army statement added that Karabakh Armenian forces returned fire
"at some sections" of the frontline. "If the enemy continues such
behavior, the Defense Army will take tougher actions," it warned.

The Defense Ministry in Baku, claimed the opposite, saying that its
frontline troops came under intense Armenian mortar fire. "The armed
forces of Azerbaijan took adequate retaliatory measures to prevent
enemy activity," it said.

Both sides said that they suffered no casualties in the overnight
exchange of gunfire.

The latest escalation came one week after the U.S., Russian and French
co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group again urged the conflicting parties
to avoid truce violations. They said the parties should also "strictly
observe" confidence-building agreements that were reached by Armenia's
and Azerbaijan's presidents at their last two meetings held in May and

The agreements call for concrete measures designed to prevent armed
incidents in on "the line of contact" and the Armenian-Azerbaijani
border. Those include international investigations of truce violations
and deployment of more OSCE observers in the conflict zone.

Davit Babayan, a senior Karabakh official, on Monday reaffirmed the
Armenian side's unconditional support for the truce safeguards sought
by the U.S., Russian and French mediators. "The sooner the
confidence-building measures are taken, the fewer casualties and the
more stability in the region there will be," he told RFE/RL's Armenian
service (

Armenia's leaders have repeatedly accused Baku of dragging its feet
over the agreed measures.

Agence France Presse
Turkey suspends pro-Kurdish lawmaker for 'genocide' comment
Istanbul, Jan 14 2017 

A pro-Kurdish lawmaker has been temporarily suspended from the Turkish
parliament for saying the word "genocide" during heated discussions on
changes to the constitution, state media said on Friday.

Member of parliament for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Garo
Paylan said four communities had been lost and "driven from these
lands in large massacres (and) genocides," referring to Armenians,
Assyrians, Greeks and Jews, according to Anadolu Agency.

Videos showed lawmakers from the pro-government Justice and
Development Party (AKP) angrily interrupting Paylan's speech.

He has been banned from attending three sessions in the parliament,
which is currently voting on provisions in a controversial bill to
change the constitution and increase presidential powers under Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Paylan made the comments during a speech in which he criticised the
draft constitution for giving one man extensive executive powers.

Turkey vehemently denies a genocide against Armenians took place. AKP
lawmaker Naci Bostan slammed Paylan's comments as "provocative" and
"unfair", Anadolu said.

But Armenians, backed by many historians, a growing number of foreign
parliaments and the European parliament, say up to 1.5 million of
their kin were systematically killed in the dying days of the Ottoman

Turkey admits large-scale massacres took place, but says they were
perpetrated in self-defence against what it describes as a
Russian-inspired uprising by Armenians. It says 500,000 Armenians 
died in fighting and of starvation.

Paylan's comments came after a vicious fight broke out in parliament
on Thursday as lawmakers voted on parts of the 18-article constitution
bill which -- if passed -- will be put to a referendum at the end of
March or early April.

RFE/RL Report
Karapetian Admits Potential Election Hurdle
January 13, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan
Ruzanna Stepanian 

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian admitted on Friday that he may not be
eligible to stand as a candidate of the governing Republican Party
(HHK) in Armenia's forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The Armenian constitution stipulates that only those citizens who have
permanently resided in the country for the past four years can run for
the National Assembly. Karapetian worked in Russia from 2011 until
President Serzh Sarkisian appointed him as prime minister in September

Karapetian commented on the issue at a news conference held in his
office. "For the past five years I have been a citizen of the Republic
of Armenia and lived outside Yerevan," he said. "Does the
[constitutional] restriction cover the period of my residency? Can I
be on the Republican Party's [electoral] list? I don't know the answer
to this question."

"If it covers, then I won't be on the list," added Karapetian.

Armen Ashotian, the ruling party's deputy chairman, also acknowledged
on Wednesday that the prime minister may not be legally allowed to run
for parliament. But he made clear that Karapetian will retain his post
if the HHK wins the elections scheduled for April 2.

Naira Zohrabian, the chairwoman of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK),
the second largest in the current parliament, claimed on Friday that
Karapetian has already decided not to participate in the
elections. She said that the HHK was ready to break the law and
register him as a candidate but that the premier rejected this option.

"It is certainly Karen Karapetian's personal decision not to allow the
Republican Party to commit yet another act of fraud," Zohrabian told
RFE/RL's Armenians service (

Speaking to journalists, Karapetian again indicated that he would like
to stay on as prime minister after the end of President Sarkisian's
tenure in April 2018 if his government succeeds in improving the
economic situation in Armenia.

"Am I inclined to be [prime minister after April 2018?] Yes, if we
work productively and if the Republican Party wins the April
elections," he said.

Sarkisian has yet to clarify what he will do after completing his
final presidential term in time for Armenia's transition to the
parliamentary system of government. He has declined to rule out the
possibility of becoming prime minister.

RFE/RL Report
Government Committed To Major Reforms, Insists PM
January 13, 2017 

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian assured on Friday senior foreign
diplomats based in Yerevan that Armenia's government is committed to
holding democratic elections, combatting corruption and implementing
far-reaching economic reforms.

Echoing statements by President Serzh Sarkisian, Karapetian said the
Armenian parliamentary elections slated for April 2 should have a
"fundamentally new quality." "We stand ready to do everything to
ensure that these elections are transparent," he told the heads of
foreign diplomatic missions in Armenia.

Late last year, the Armenian authorities enacted a set of
opposition-backed legal amendments aimed at minimizing serious
electoral fraud. The United States and the European Union welcomed
those anti-fraud measures, promising millions of dollars in funding
needed for their enforcement. The Western powers cautioned at the same
time that the proper conduct of the vote primarily hinges of the
political will of the Armenian authorities.

Karapetian also told the Yerevan-based Western, Russian and other
foreign ambassadors that his cabinet formed in October will follow
through on economic reforms promised by it. "The main economic
objective is to create maximally equal, open and fair conditions for
business," he said. "In this regard, we have declared that we are
going to make many changes and we ourselves must change first and

As part of its plans to improve the domestic business climate, the
premier said, the government will "simplify" tax and customs
administration. He went on to promise "consistent steps" to reduce the
scale of government corruption in Armenia.

"Without fighting against tax evasion and corruption # and creating a
fair and transparent environment for business we will fail to achieve
progress," added Karapetian.

In its policy program approved by parliament in October, Karapetian's
cabinet likewise promised a tougher fight against corruption, better
tax administration and "equal conditions" for all businesses.

Armenian opposition politicians have dismissed this reform
agenda. They say that the government reshuffle is only aimed at
mitigating public discontent with the authorities ahead of the

Karapetian said on Thursday that international assistance is important
to the success of the promised reforms and that the government is
"open to advice, criticism and proposals" from Armenia's foreign

The prime minister answered questions from the foreign envoys after
his opening remarks. A government statement on the meeting gave no
details of the question-and-answer session.

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