Sunday, 23 July 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... 8000 yr genetic continuity...

A New Study Reveals 8000 Years of Genetic Continuity in Armenia
16 July 2017 
(includes a link to a series of old and new images of female Armenian costumes
July 18 2017
Armenia: A Year On, Police Station Attack Still Divides Society
by Joshua Kucera 

Armenians marked the one-year anniversary of an armed takeover of a Yerevan police station with commemorations both for the police officers who died in the attack, and for the attackers themselves. The dual events underscore that the country is still wrestling with the incident’s legacy. 

On July 17, 2016, armed gunmen from the group Sasna Tsrer (the name referring to a medieval Armenian epic) stormed a police station, took several hostages, and demanded the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan. The attackers quickly became folk heroes in the eyes of many Armenians, whose frustration with the government prompted them to accept the use of violent methods in opposition to the leadership. The attackers held the police station for two weeks, during which time three police officers were killed and more than 100 demonstrators – who flocked to the station to support the attackers – were injured in clashes with police. 

A year later, officers unveiled a memorial at the police station, in the Yerevan suburb of Erebuni, to their colleagues who were killed. Later in the evening, about 150 Sasna Tsrer supporters marched in Yerevan’s central Freedom Square. 

Among the marchers was Zaruhi Postanjian, leader of the opposition Yerkir Tsirani party, who told that the attackers were “heroes” who took the first step towards the creation of a “free and independent Armenia.” Another supporter, who declined to give her name, explained: “Maybe this was not the most correct method, but they [the attackers] were driven by despair and that was their last hope to change the situation.” 

An opposition news website ran a poll asking whether the attack was a “rebellion” or “terrorism,” and by the end of the day, a slender majority had opted for “rebellion,” prompting police spokesman Narek Malyan to weigh in and claim that the poll was rigged. 

Most Armenians do sympathize with the hostage takers, said Boris Navasardyan, chairman of the Yerevan Press Club. “A large part of the population is dissatisfied with the current socio-political situation, and to a significant degree that dissatisfaction is expressed in the position that any methods against the authorities are acceptable, since the authorities themselves use so many unacceptable measures against their own population,” Navasardyan told the Armenian service of RFE/RL. 

“I would say that sympathizers of Sasna Tsrer, or at least those who don’t see what happened last July negatively, outnumber those who see it only in the context of unacceptable, violent terrorism,” Navasardyan added. 

Even a few of Armenia’s leading human rights activists have defended Sasna Tsrer’s actions, dismaying some of the international organizations that support them. Veteran activist Avetik Ishkhanian described the hostage takers as “political prisoners,” while another, Artur Sakunts, called the attack “a revolt against the illegal regime.” 

A year later, the attack has had a wide-ranging impact on Armenia. For one, it exposed a willingness among many Armenians to accept radical measures to oppose the government, said Styopa Safaryan, an opposition politician and analyst in Yerevan. “Why did society support them? At least they took some action,” Safaryan said. “People take you seriously when you have a success.... They took one of the ‘castles’ of the authorities.” 

But when the takeover ended in failure, it only added to the despair that many Armenians feel about their country’s prospects. “On the one side, society doesn’t believe in changes through elections. On the other hand, society doesn’t believe in changing power through force. Those two options are effectively discredited,” Safaryan said. That loss of faith in any sort of change was one of the reasons that parliamentary elections earlier this year saw “unprecedented” levels of vote-buying , Safaryan added. 

The episode also highlighted a hardline public attitude on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, the de jure part of Azerbaijan that is now controlled by an Armenian de facto government. The Armenian government, under a years-long international mediation process, has agreed in principle to several concessions, including the return to Azerbaijan of seven territories surrounding Karabakh that Armenia occupies for security reasons. But one of Sasna Tsrer’s main grievances against the government was its willingness to compromise on Karabakh, and that complaint resonated widely. 

“What hardcore positions society takes when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh, including the return of the seven surrounding territories, that was really shocking,” one Western diplomat in Yerevan told, speaking on condition of anonymity. That is going to make it all the more difficult for the Armenian government to sell the public on an eventual peace deal, the diplomat added. 

The government has made some domestic concessions as a result of last year’s attack, bringing in a new group of relatively young officials led by Prime Minister Karen Karpetian. “There are more and more technocrats and fewer oligarchs, or at least they’re trying to show that,” said Alexander Iskandaryan, a Yerevan-based analyst. “For the first time in 15 years, I see some hope, now they’re trying to do something. We’ll see how it will go, but this is a result of the July [2016] events.” 

Meanwhile, the one-year anniversary occurred as the trial of several of the attackers is taking place. 

The trial, which began June 8, is echoing many of the patterns of last year’s drama: the defendants have repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, have refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court, and have demanded the violent overthrow of the government. The police, meanwhile, are accused of heavily beating the suspects in the courtroom basement between sessions. The proceedings are “a circus,” another Western diplomat said, on condition of anonymity. 

The 14 defendants currently on trial (out of 32 total suspects) have not moderated their positions from last summer. On June 21, one defendant called on those in the courtroom to revolt: “I’m calling for an armed uprising,” said Varuzhan Avetisian. 

Another session a week later lasted only a few minutes because of scuffles between the defendants, their lawyers, and police. After that hearing, four of the defendants were badly beaten by police in the basement of the courtroom, their lawyers assert . 

Editor's note: Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at, and author of The Bug Pit. He is based in Istanbul. With reporting by Oksana Musaelyan. 

Armenian Weekly
July 17 2017
French-Armenian Georges Képénékian Elected Mayor of Lyon 

LYON, France (A.W.)—According to preliminary reports, Georges Képénékian was elected Mayor of Lyon—France’s second-largest city—on July 17

Képénékian’s candidacy was proposed by former mayor Gerard Collomb, who was appointed as the country’s Interior M inister in May.

Born on Aug. 9, 1949, Képénékian is surgeon-urologist and the Director of Strategic Development at the Saint-Joseph Saint-Luc Hospital Center of Lyon since 2005. He has served as First Deputy Mayor of Lyon since 2014, and councilor for culture, major events, and citizens’ rights since 2008.

Képénékian is an active member of the Armenian community of France and a board member of the Bullukian Foundation of Lyon.

“[Képénékian] has been quite helpful to Armenian organizations,” Co-chair of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organization in France and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau member Franck Papazian told Armenia’s Yerkir news. “He has been a positive presence in Lyon and developed cultural policy there,” Papazian added.

Last month, four ethnic Armenians—Danielle Cazarian, Nadia Essayan, Guillaume Kasbarian, and Jacques Marilossian— were elected to France’s National Assembly on June 18. All four Members of Parliament (MP) represent newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche (LREM), which won 308 seats with 43 percent of the vote.

Pascal Chamassian, A fifth French-Armenian candidate (LREM) was defeated by the pro-Armenian Valérie Boyer of the Republicans. On Dec. 2011, the National Assembly of France adopted a bill presented by Valérie Boyer, penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide. , Armenia
July 15 2017
Armenian troops participate in NATO exercises 

Armenian troops are participating in the exercises of NATO and partner countries at the Cincu shooting range in northwest Romania.

President Klaus Iohannis and NATO Military Committee head Gen. Petr Pavel attended military drills on Saturday.

Troops from Romania, the U.S., Ukraine, Armenia and Croatia opened gunfire, backed by U.S. and Romanian military aircraft, AP reported.

Overall, the exercises involve 25,000 military personnel from more than 20 allied and partner countries.

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
July 17, 2017 Monday
Sevan Nishanyan officially declared fugitive by Turkish authorities
following prison break
Sevan Nishanyan, the Istanbul-based ethnic Armenian scholar 
and linguist has officially been declared a fugitive by Turkish authorities. 
An arrest warrant has been issued, Hurriyet reports.

Nishanyan has been serving a 17-year prison term since 2014 in a
minimum security “open” correctional facility. On July 14, he exited
the premises and never returned.

Since he refused to surrender to authorities within 48 hours, he was
declared a fugitive on July 16.

Shortly after escaping prison, the scholar tweeted : “The bird flew
away – with the same wishes to the remaining 80 million”.

He even gave an interview to a local newspaper, mentioning that it’s
easy to escape prison if one has the necessary financial means.

Nishanyan was arrested and imprisoned in Turkey for carrying out
“illegal” construction in his own garden.

Even Turkish media said the arrest was an obvious framing by Turkish
authorities, because Nishanyan has publicly criticized Turkey’s
government’s mistakes.

Numerous activities and individuals have called for his release,
saying that the true reason of his arrest is the fact that he dared to
criticize the official history of Turkey by writing the “False
Republic” book. , Armenia
July 16 2017
Arthur Abraham fails to win IBO world super-middleweight title 

37-year-old Abraham lost to British Chris Eubank Jnr by the unanimous decision of the judges—118-110, 118-110, 120-108. The fight took place at Wembley Arena in London.

The former WBO super-middleweight title holder Arthur Abraham participated in his 52nd fight at a professional ring, suffering his 6th loss (46 victories). Chris Eubank took part in his 26th fight, this being his 25th victory.

The winner of the fight will take part in the World Boxing Super Series. In his previous fight held in German city of Erfurt on April 22, Arthur Abraham beat Polish boxer Robin Krasniqi

The Daily Telegraph (London), UK
July 17, 2017 Monday
Sir Richard Paniguian; BP troubleshooter who became head of defence sales at UKTI 

SIR RICHARD PANIGUIAN, who has died aged 67, became head of defence sales for UK Trade & Investment after a wide-ranging and intrepid career as an executive of the oil giant BP.

An Arabic speaker of Armenian ancestry, Paniguian was a troubleshooter and project leader for BP in some of its most challenging territories. From 1999 to 2002, as vice president for the Middle East and the Caspian region, he was much occupied with the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline - the world's longest - across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. On the eve of the Iraq War, he was to be found in Whitehall corridors arguing for a foothold for BP and other UK oil companies in post-conflict Iraq, amid rumours that the Americans were offering oil deals to France and Russia to secure their support for the war.

He also drove gas exploration projects in Libya, Egypt and Oman, and BP's first oil project in Angola. As group vice president from 2002 to 2008, he wrestled with the complexities and tensions of TNK-BP, a joint venture formed by bringing together BP's existing Russian oil and gas interests with those of a trio of politically connected oligarchs.

On his retirement from BP in 2008, Paniguian became head of the Defence and Security Organisation within UKTI, working alongside defence manufacturers in their export sales efforts, leading a successful drive to boost Britain's growing reputation as a global centre of excellence in cybersecurity, and accompanying defence ministers on trips abroad.

Successive ministers found Paniguian a tower of strength in this sensitive role, as well as excellent company. At ease with foreign rulers and princelings, he was a consummate professional in his mastery of technical briefs and tireless in pursuit of key relationships. If there was an opportunity to spend time with an Asian prime minister during a refuelling stop at a UK airport at 4.30am, Paniguian would be there. If one of his own political bosses was stuck in a corner at an arms sales conference, Paniguian was ready with a twinkling eye to effect a rescue with "Minister, I'm so sorry to interrupt but I must introduce you to the Panamanian ambassador …" Richard Leon Paniguian was born in London on July 28 1949. His father, Hracia "Pan" Paniguian, born in Constantinople, was a director of the J Walter Thompson advertising agency in London; he also worked for British intelligence, and in SOE and the Political Warfare Executive - where he met his wife, Mary Hubbard, Richard's mother.

Richard was educated at Westminster, where in 1966 he was favourably reviewed by a national newspaper for his performance as Busy in a school production of Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair. He went on to study Arabic at Durham University and later took an MBA at Insead.

After joining British Petroleum in 1971, he worked in Oman and the Emirates until 1978, then for two years in Tehran, where he was briefly arrested as a spy by the revolutionary regime after the fall of the Shah, having been found in possession of a transistor radio.

In the 1980s, he ran BP's oil trading activity, spent two years as vice-president of BP America, and was group finance director (1987-89). He was then posted to Turkey and was director for Europe before moving to the maritime side of the group in 1995. He was chief executive of BP Shipping for four years, and also served as president of the UK Chamber of Shipping.

Richard Paniguian was appointed CBE in 2007 and knighted in 2015, at the end of his tenure at UKTI. He listed his recreations as "cricket, kayaking and contemplation".

He married, in 1991, Nil Okan Kapanci; she survives him with her two sons from a previous marriage.

Sir Richard Paniguian, born July 28 1949, died June 25 2017

Horizon Armenian Weekly, Montreal
July 17 2017
The “Alien Megastructure” Star named after Armenian astronomer Dr. Tabetha Boyajian 

Something massive, with roughly 1,000 times the area of Earth, is blocking the light coming from a distant star known as KIC 8462852, and nobody is quite sure what it is. As astronomer Tabetha Boyajian investigated this perplexing celestial object

(PeopleofAr) – The 2015 publication of an enigmatic star made huge waves in the media. People quickly started to speculate of a possible “Alien Megastructure” that is blocking the view of the star KIC 8462852 colloquially known as “Tabby’s Star” or “Boyajian’s Star” . Bizarrely enough, however, this is not outside of possibility.

“We’d have to rewrite astronomy’s textbooks… This could be the biggest story of the past 500 years…” – said America’s famous theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.

The lead scientist responsible for decoding its signature from Kepler’s data in 2015 and authoring the discovery paper is the Armenian-American astronomer Dr. Tabetha Boyajian (assistant professor of astrophysics at Louisiana State University), in whose honor the star has been named. Boyajian serves today as a postdoc with the Yale Exoplanet group, whose research is assisted by the Planet Hunters – a citizen science group that combs data from the NASA Kepler Space Mission for evidence of exoplanets and other unusual interstellar activity. Her Ted talk in 2016 has been viewed for over 2,6 million times online.

So, what is this structure you might ask? Well to be precise it is still very much unknown what it really is. The only thing they do know is that something massive, with roughly 1,000 times the area of Earth, is blocking the light coming from a distant star. And that object is of an irregular shape, it’s not circular like a planet for example. Dr. Boyajian has described various hypothesis in her paper including collisions of asteroids, planets crashing into each other, irregular clouds of dust surrounding planets or a swarm of comets. But an “alien megastructure” is not outside of possibility, since nothing concrete has been discovered yet that could prove or disprove any of these theories. In fact since the last month Tabby’s Star is at it again , displaying huge irregularities by dimming and shining again. (May 19, 2017) describes it as follows:

The perplexing cosmic object known as “Boyajian’s star” is once again exhibiting a mysterious pattern of dimming and brightening that scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures.

Dr. Boyajian is quite active on twitter encouraging her team of Planet Hunters – a citizen science group, to remain alert in the coming months. Hopefully someday soon this mystery will be resolved, but until then we’ll have to do with speculation.

The Armenian Weekly
July 11, 2017
The Armenian Who Helped Create Today’s Turkish Language
By Uzay Bulut
“Turkey’s president wants to purge Western words from its language,” reported The Economist on June 15.

[Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s] latest purge has a more abstract target. Mr. Erdoğan wants to rid Turkish of unsightly Western loan-words. Turkey faces a mortal threat from foreign “affectations”, Mr. Erdoğan declared on May 23rd. “Where do attacks against cultures and civilisations begin? With language.” Mr. Erdoğan started by ordering the word “arena”, which reminded him of ancient Roman depravity, removed from sports venues across the country.

Hagop Martayan, or Agop Dilaçar, was the first Secretary General and head specialist of the state-funded Turkish Language Institution (Türk Dil Kurumu, TDK) founded in 1932 in Ankara. (Photos: Ara Güler)

In 2014, Erdoğan had proposed introducing mandatory high school classes in Ottoman Turkish.

During the six centuries of the Ottoman Empire, the language in which laws, religious texts, and literature were written was called the Ottoman language. It was written in Arabic script and extensively used Arabic and Persian words.

The Turkish Republic, founded in 1923, took on a challenging task: creating a new language to be written in Latin script. Doing so would require a lot of work and imagination. Researchers developed new grammar rules, invented new Turkish words, and borrowed words from Western as well as other languages. And that language became the Turkish language the people in Turkey speak today.

“Who helped redesign the way an entire nation would write and express itself?” asks The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project . “None other than one Hagop Martayan.”

Hagop Martayan, or Agop Dilaçar, was the first Secretary General and head specialist of the state-funded Turkish Language Institution (Türk Dil Kurumu, TDK) founded in 1932 in Ankara. He worked as a professor of Turkish at Ankara University between 1936 and 1951. He also was the head adviser of the Turkish Encyclopedia between 1942 and 1960. He wrote books and articles on the Turkish language. Beside his mother tongue, Armenian, he knew English, Ottoman, Azeri, Uighur, Latin, Greek, German, Russian, and Bulgarian.

He devoted most of his life and his entire career to developing Turkish and uplifting Kemalist ideals—including the irrational and unscientific “Sun Language Theory,” which claimed that Turkish was the language from which all civilized languages derived. According to this theory, all human languages could essentially be traced back to Turkic roots.

In an article about Martayan’s life (“The Good Child of the Republic: Hagop Martayan or A. Dilaçar”), Levent Özata, a journalist with the newspaper Agos , writes that Martayan was sent to the Caucasian front to fight as an Ottoman soldier during WWI. After the war, Martayan held various positions, including principal of an Armenian school in Beirut, Lebanon, and then a lecturer of Turkish and Uighur in Sofia, Bulgaria. But when the newly formed Turkish state decided to invent a new language in the 1930s, Martayan’s life changed course.

With his articles on the Turkish language, Martayan had attracted the attention of the authorities. But he had been denationalized, stripped of citizenship; he was wandering around with a certificate documenting his statelessness. He was allowed to enter Turkey as “a special guest of Mustafa Kemal, the first president of Turkey, to develop the Turkish language.

With the founding of the new republic, the political leaders of Turkey accelerated the process of forced Turkification through several policies that targeted the non-Muslim and non-Turkish citizens of the country.” The historian Rıfat Bali writes :

Another indication of being Turkified was to Turkify names and surnames. The Law of Family Names accepted in 1934 made mandatory for everybody to take a family name. However, the law prevented the adoption of names of tribes, foreign races and nations as family names. The Greeks of Turkey would Turkify their names by dropping the “-dis” and “-poulos” suffixes. Most of the Jews would Turkify their names and surnames by finding a Turkish equivalent for each Jewish name.

And it was Mustafa Kemal who suggested Martayan’s surname, Dilaçar [literally, “one who opens up the tongue (or language)”; perhaps better translated as “language-giver”] because of his contributions to Turkish after the promulgation of the Law of Family Names.

Yalçın Yusufoğlu, a journalist, politician, and author, wrote that his mother, who worked as a primary school teacher between 1926 and 1970, said “Professor Agop was one of those who taught us Turkish. He was the professor of professors.”

Martayan held his position and continued his linguistics research at the Turkish Language Institution until his death on Sept. 12, 1979, in Istanbul. Yet, despite his contributions, Martayan’s death once again showed the insane levels of Armenophobia in Turkey. His hard work, his loyalty to the Turkish government, and even his turning a blind eye to the persecution of his own people did not pay off, for he was still an Armenian—the identity that Turkey tried to annihilate in 1915.

Upon his death, he was treated like a second-class citizen without a name. The TDK, for which he had toiled for decades, published a note of condolence on newspapers in which his full name was censored, written as “A. Dilaçar.”

Even when government authorities attempted to “award” him, they hid his Armenian name. “There is a street named after him in the Şişli town of Istanbul: ‘A. Dilaçar Street’ (‘A. Dilaçar Sokağı’),” Özata reported.

Turkish journalists also joined the chorus and concealed his name. Yusufoğlu wrote an article describing how all Turkish newspapers—other than Gerçek (The Truth), the daily that Yusufoğlu worked for at the time—censored the name Agop:

It was September of 1979. That evening, those watching the main news bulletin of the TRT [state-funded Turkish Radio and Television Corporation] learnt that ‘Adil Açar’ was dead. No one listening to the news report had heard that name. They learnt from the TRT that the said person had contributed to the Turkish language, was one of the former officials of the Turkish Language Institution and would be laid to rest on the scheduled day.

The next day we learnt from newspapers that the name of the scholar was not ‘Adil Açar’. The announcement that the TDK got published on newspapers referred to the deceased as ‘A. Dilaçar’. it did not mention at what mosque the funeral would be held and at what cemetery he would be buried. Moreover, all newspaper reports covered it saying ‘A. Dilaçar has died’. The [state-funded] Anadolu Ajansı (Anatolian Agency/AA) also covered it in the same fashion. And none of the newspapers later made a correction, either out of ignorance or to follow the official jargon. In brief, the deceased had no name or last name.

Agop’s full name is not written even on the cover of his biography, published by the Turkish Language Institution, to which he dedicated his entire career. Instead, it is written as “A. Dilaçar.”

Martayan was not the only Armenian linguist who researched and developed Ottoman and/or modern Turkish. The researcher Yaşar Şimşek listed some of them, as follows: Edvard Vladimiroviç Sevortyan, Pars Tuğlacı (Parseh Tuğlaciyan), Kevork Pamukciyan, Lazar Zaharoviç Budagov, Artin Hindoghlou (Hintliyan), Bedros Keresteciyan, Karekin Deveciyan, Anton Tıngır, Krikor Sinapyan, Armenak Bedevyan, Bedros Zeki Garabedyan, Cosimo Comidas de Carbognano (Kömürciyan).

Another Armenian linguist from Turkey, Sevan Nişanyan, who is one of the leading intellectuals and authors in the country, has been jailed since 2014 on trumped-up charges against him.

Turkish curricula at schools does not mention even the name of Martayan or any other Armenian intellectual. For teaching Turkish children about Armenians who made massive cultural and intellectual contributions to their homeland could lead to some “unwanted” consequences for the Turkish government.

Children have curious minds. A Turkish child who has not been brainwashed by official Turkish propaganda could well ask “dangerous” questions even if taught a little bit about the Armenians: Since when have Armenians been living in Asia Minor? Was there a time when they were the majority? Or have they always been a tiny minority as they are today? How many Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire? Besides Martayan, who were the other famous Armenians? And what has happened to all those hundreds of thousands of Armenians? Where have they disappeared?

Teaching Turkish children about real Armenians with real stories—not lies about Armenians as “treacherous enemies” who tried to destroy Ottoman Turkey and who thus deserved to get “neutralized”—could help Turkish children develop humane bonds with and fraternal feelings for the Armenian people.

Of course, such questions would greatly challenge the status quo for the Turkish government. And intellectual dissent—no matter where it comes from—is what the Turkish government detests and punishes most severely.

Moreover, recognizing and respecting Armenian people are not what the founding fathers of the Turkish Republic have taught their Turkish citizens. Ataturk, who gave Martayan his Turkish last name, is quoted as having said on March 16, 1923, in a speech to the Adana Turkish Merchant Society: “The Armenians have no right whatsoever in this beautiful country. Your country is yours, it belongs to Turks. This country was Turkish in history; therefore it is Turkish and it shall live on as Turkish to eternity…. Armenians and so forth have no rights whatsoever here. These bountiful lands are deeply and genuinely the homeland of the Turk.”

The etymology of Turkish words is not what matters in a country that still has much bigger, more serious moral and ethical issues to tackle. The words that Turks use might well be rooted in Arabic, Persian, French, English, or—God forbid—Armenian, Greek, or Kurdish. What matters is the need to face the pathological racism and bigotry in Turkey that have concealed the Armenian name of the linguist who helped create the modern Turkish language.

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