Thursday, 11 May 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... 'At least read the confiscated books'Zarakolu is known for recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Armenpress News Agency (English), Armenia
May 8, 2017 Monday
'At least read the confiscated books' - Garo Paylan on Belge
Publishing House police raid

Garo Paylan, the ethnic Armenian MP of Turkey’s parliament, 

commented on the May 7 police raid on the BelgePublishing House.

‘Belge Publishing House has written down the history of Turkey’s
crimes……..At least read the confiscated books”, Paylan said on

Turkish police raided on May 7 the Belge Publishing House, founded by
Turkish human rights activist Ragıp Zarakolu and his wife, Turkish
media reported.

Zarakolu is known for recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Police confiscated over 2000 books from Belge, the house which
publishes opposition content literature for over 40 years.

Although cops said they have orders to confiscate the ‘Kurds not
having a state’ and ‘More difficult decisions than death’ books, they
also took many others.

Mehmet Ali Varis, an employee of Belge, was detained and later released.

Belge is known for publishing several dozens of books on the Armenian
Genocide and the Armenian Cause.

Ragıp Zarakolu has visited Armenia on numerous occasions, condemned he
Armenian Genocide and urged the Turkish government to face the

Zarakolu is currently residing in Europe 

Interfax - Russia & CIS General Newswire
May 7, 2017 Sunday 2:50 PM MSK
Baku reports detaining group of "Armenian agents"

A group of servicemen and civilians who secretly collaborated with
Armenian security services have been arrested in Azerbaijan, the
country's Prosecutor General's Office, Interior Ministry, Defense
Ministry and State Security Service said in a joint statement.

"As a result of inquiries into the information about a provocation
being plotted by Armenian security services and troops against
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry positions and populated localities in
Terter district, it was established that a group of servicemen and
civilians, who committed treason against Azerbaijan driven by their
material interests, were in close collaboration with hostile
intelligence and periodically passed information constituting military
secret to the enemy," the statement says.

"As a result of urgent investigative measures, the provocative and
terrorist activities the hostile security services had been planning
in public places in Baku were prevented. The group of servicemen and
civilians involved in secret collaboration with enemy security
services has been arrested," the Azeri agencies said.

Based on the material gathered, the Military Prosecutor's Office of
Azerbaijan launched a criminal inquiry under Article 274 of the
Criminal Code and a joint investigative team was set up of officers
from the Prosecutor General's Office, Defense and Interior Ministries
and the State Security Service.

Panorama, Armenia
May 8 2017
25th anniversary of liberation of Shushi city-fortress 

May 8 - 9 marks the 25th anniversary one of the most significant victories and excellent operations in the history of the Armenian military art – liberation of Shushi. The military operation was organized and directed by the Armenian talented commanders and the heroes of liberation struggle led by legendary general Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan (Commandos), Commander of the self-defense forces of Artsakh in 1992.

The implementation of the heroic step was carried out by the commanders of the 4 fronts who put the glorious end to the military operation named “Wedding in the Mountains”, and at dawn of May 9 entered Shushi, with Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan declaring all adversary units had abandoned Shush and the town is liberated.

The victory at Shushi had a crucial importance in the Karabakh war first to end the relentless bombing of the capital city Stepanakert and the suffering of its population, living in the conditions of the total blockade. The imperative was to silence the Azerbaijani intensive and constant shelling, break the imposed blockade and save the starving the city population from annihilation.

The Shushi liberation was preceded by the operation of Khojalu village (Ivanyan), while the Lachin (Berdzor) corridor was ultimately opened in May 18.

Daily Sabah, Turkey
May 8 2017
Creator of nationalist party logo, Turkish-Armenian author Dabağyan passes away at 84 

Levon Panos Dabağyan, a Turkish-Armenian author who proposed the use of Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) iconic three-crescents logo, passed away at age 84 late Monday.

In an interview he gave previously, Dabağyan said he proposed using the logo during MHP's 1969 congress convened in Adana. "I rose up and shouted 'We are Ottomans!' and said that we should use the Ottoman Empire's three-crescents sign." Dabağyan, being inspired by the Ottoman Empire's coat of arms, designed the logo on a red background instead of the original dark green one.

Dabağyan is one of the few Armenians who joined MHP and got involved in politics. Describing himself as "Ottoman-Armenian," he was known for his strong nationalist views.

He is the author of "Leader Türkeş and Nationalism: My Political Life and Views," a book that champions MHP's ideal of unity under a single national identity, and also the author's personal efforts to improve Turkish-Armenian relations. The book also tells about the Armenian diaspora's accusations targeting Dabağyan, and how he got involved in politics with MHP.

MHP is an opposition party in the Turkish parliament, with 36 deputies. The party sided with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in April 16 referendum, which granted Turkey a switch to the presidential system from the current one. In 2019 general elections, the first election under the terms of the new presidential system will be held.

Migrant Remittances To Armenia Rebound In 2017
May 09, 2017
Emil Danielyan

After three years of rapid reduction, multimillion-dollar remittances
from Armenians working abroad, a major source of consumer spending in
Armenia, rose by almost 15 percent in the first quarter of this year.

According to the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA), they totaled $313
million, up from $273 million in January-March 2016.

This seems to be one of the factors behind a 5 percent year-on-year
rise in the nationwide volume of retail trade registered by the
National Statistical Service (NSS) in the same period. The increased
retail sales bode well for faster economic growth anticipated by the
Armenian government in 2017.

The International Monetary Fund last month forecast a 2017 growth rate
of around 3 percent for Armenia. It cited improving conditions in
Russia as well as additional capital spending planned by the
authorities in Yerevan.

The Armenian economy was virtually stagnant in 2016 amid a continuing
recession in Russia, the South Caucasus country's number trading
partner. The Russian economy is on track to recover slightly this

Cash transfers from Armenian migrant workers in Russia accounted for
just over half of the overall remittance inflows and soared by more
than 20 percent in the first quarter, the CBA figures show. A more
than 20 percent strengthening of the Russian ruble since the beginning
of 2016 is one reason for this increase.

Accordingly, the ruble's sharp depreciation in 2014 and 2015 resulting
from the collapse of world oil prices explains why the total amount of
Armenian remittances shrunk from $2.3 billion in 2013 to $1.53 billion
in 2016. Armenia's entire Gross Domestic Product is equivalent to less
than $11 billion.

The stronger ruble also contributed to a 20 percent rise in Armenian
exports recorded by the NSS in 2016. According to the Armenian
government agency, exports to Russia continued to grow rapidly in
January-March 2017. 

Human Rights Watch
May 8 2017
Diminishing Public Trust in Armenia’s Electoral Process
Published in Open Democracy
Giorgi Gogia , South Caucasus Director, Europe and Central Asia Division 

Last month Armenia held its watershed parliamentary election, initiating the country’s transfer to a parliamentary form of government. The process will be completed after next year’s presidential vote, when the president’s post will become largely ceremonial, while parliament will form a government that will hold full executive powers.

An opposition party has unsuccessfully challenged the legitimacy of the elections in the Constitutional Court, and the newly elected parliament is set to convene on May 18. So although the dust hasn’t fully settled yet on the post-election outcome, it’s a good time to take stock of the election itself. The vote was well administered, but failed to bridge the gap in public confidence and trust in the electoral process. International observers, led by the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, said fundamental freedoms were generally respected in the process. However, they also noted that the elections “were tainted by credible information about vote-buying, and pressure on civil servants and employees of private companies.”

Government pressure on civil servants around elections has been a persistent problem in Armenia, giving unfair advantages to the party in power. In its assessment of 2012 parliamentary polls, the OSCE noted with concern numerous cases of the ruling party using teachers and pupils in campaign events, including during school hours, “creating unequal playfield for political contestants.”

The story of one Armenian nongovernmental organization’s efforts to expose the involvement of public school staff in campaigning and recruiting supporters for the ruling party paints a vivid picture of what that pressure looks like, and the retaliation people face when they try to uncover it.

Ten days before the April 2 vote, the Union of Informed Citizens published an expose about an unorthodox experiment its staff conducted. The Union of Informed Citizens is a local nongovernmental group, established in 2013, which raises public awareness about policy issues and promotes informed decision-making. Its donors include European Endowment for Democracy, Open Society Foundations, National Endowment for Democracy, and others. As part of the experiment, the group’s activists had called 136 public school principals and preschool directors across Armenia, pretending to be representatives from the ruling Republican Party, inquiring about the preparations for the polls. The group said that 114 of the principals admitted collecting lists of schoolteachers, preschool staff, and parents of students who pledged to support the Republican Party at the polls. These lists, the unsuspecting respondents said, were submitted to local municipalities and the ruling party campaign offices. The Union of Informed Citizens also publicized audio recordings of the phone conversations.

While the ruling party acknowledged that school officials had indeed compiled the lists, they insisted that it was part of legitimate campaigning, as it did not occur during work hours. The Central Election Commission supported the official position, claiming that there was not enough evidence that administrative resources had been used in the process of drawing up those lists. Everyone seemed to demonstratively ignore the obvious: that the party’s access to such lists, which teachers and principals have thanks to their positions, is the issue. Plus, of course, the unspoken pressure that the authorities put on school staff who need their jobs.

As the authorities swiftly dismissed the allegations, and a concerted campaign to discredit the Union of Concerned Citizens and its leader, Daniel Ioannissyan, soon got underway.

A day after the expose was published, an online news agency published an article revealing certain private details of Ioannissyan’s family’s private life, which, according to Ioannissyan, could only have been found in police records. Several weeks later, the authorities opened an inquiry into possible breach of Ioannissyan’s privacy, but have not yet identified any suspect in the case.

Also, on April 10, the principals of 30 public schools and kindergartens sued the Union of Informed Citizens and Ioannissyan personally, seeking a formal apology and total of 60 million drams (over US$ 120,000) in damages to their honor and dignity.

While one could take issue over how the Union of Concerned Citizens went about obtaining the information from the schools, it is also clear that what they were exposing was of high public interest. International norms provide extra protections for people who expose certain kinds of abuse when that information is in the public interest. These protections grant whistleblowers leniency for breach of other laws, such as privacy, or even national security.

Unfortunately, Armenia’s civil defamation laws don’t include public interest defense arguments, leaving a gap in the legal protection that should exist to safeguard the importance of freedom of _expression_ on matters of public interest. The authorities have a responsibility to protect groups like the Union of Concerned Citizens when exercising their right to impart information in the public interest.

If the defamation suits are successful, they will no doubt inhibit future efforts by activists to expose entrenched, hidden abuses. Armenia needs more transparency, and more protection for people who expose potential political misdeeds or abuse of public resources. And more activists like the Union of Concerned Citizens.
iran Armenia gas pipeline far more than meets the eye .

hus, Gazprom took major precautionary measures against an expansion of Iran’s role and indeed against any independent Iranian gas-export policy in Armenia or beyond. It imposed from the outset on Yerevan - against Tehran’s will - to reduce the Iran-Armenia pipeline’s diameter from the originally designed 1,420 millimeters (the size of major gas export pipelines) to 700 millimeter. This measure precludes any transit of Iranian gas to third countries through this pipeline, confining Iran to the Armenian market.”
May 6, 2017
Manchester United player Henrikh Mkhitaryan gets four Goal of the
eason nominations
By Alex Porter

Man Utd news includes the list of goals on the shortlist at the Player
of the Year awards.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's knack for a spectacular strike means he is the
favourite to winManchester United's Goal of the Year award.

Four of the Armenian's goals this season are included on the ten item
shortlist forfans to choose their top strike.

Signed in the summer from Borussia Dortmund, Mkhitaryan has netted ten
times in his first season underJose Mourinho, including in both legs
of the Europa League quarter final victory over Anderlecht.

Mkhitaryan has been nominated for his Boxing Day scorpion kick against
Sunderland, while his goals against Zorya Luhansk, Wigan and Leicester
also make the list.

Anthony Martial won the award last season for his stunning debut
strike against Liverpool, but the Frenchman is not nominated this time

Manchester United squad vs Arsenal revealed

Jesse Lingard's Wembley strike against Leicester in the Community
Shield, Juan Mata against the Foxes at home, Paul Pogba away at
Swansea, Wayne Rooney's record breaking goal against Stoke, Zlatan
Ibrahimovic against Southampton and Lingard's effort at Middlesbrough
complete the list.

United haveannounced the nominees for Young Player of the Year and
Reserve Player of the Year.

The winners will all be announced at the ceremony on Thursday, 18 May.

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