Monday, 4 September 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian...SG Desecration

Armenian Weekly Exclusive: 
Secretly Taken Photographs of Surp Giragos Desecration 
Exclusive Photographs: Surp Giragos Has Been Off Limits to the Public Since the Most Recent Clashes Between the Turkish Military and Kurdish Fighters in Diyarbakir

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—The Armenian Weekly has received a set of secretly taken photographs inside Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian Apostolic Church, off limits to the public since the most recent clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish fighters in Diyarbakir. The photographs were taken in July 2017 .

Armenians from around the world flocked to Surp Giragos on Oct. 22, 2011 , to attend both the consecration of the largest Armenian Church in the Middle East and the Badarak held the following day The church had been recently renovated by the Surp Giragos Armenian Foundation, with the support of the local Kurdish-controlled municipality of the time.

During the past two tumultuous years, the church has been desecrated and largely damaged, as the photographs show.

See attachment.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Lawmakers Plan Rare Trip To Azerbaijan
August 30, 2017

Armenia's parliament announced on Wednesday that two of its members
will visit Baku next month to attend a meeting of lawmakers from the
European Union and ex-Soviet republics involved in the EU's Eastern
Partnership program.

One of those deputies, Armen Ashotian, heads the Armenian parliament's
foreign relations committee and is also a deputy chairman of President
Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party. The other lawmaker, Mane
Tandilian, is affiliated with the opposition Yelk alliance.

"Logistical issues relating to the delegation's participation in the
conference are being worked out," the National Assembly's press office
said in a statement.

The Baku meeting slated for September 22 will be organized by a
standing committee of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, an Eastern
Partnership body. It will focus on gender equality and women's health,
according to the statement.

Mutual visits by Armenian and Azerbaijani officials and other citizens
of the two warring nations are extremely rare because of the
unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. They usually take place
within the framework of multilateral events.

Azerbaijan has minimized such contacts since the early 2000s. It
considers the presence of Armenian officials and public figures on
Azerbaijani soil to be an affront to the country's territorial

Interior Minister Ramil Usubov is the most high-ranking Azerbaijani
government official to have visited Armenia in the past decade. He
took part in a 2011 meeting in Yerevan of Council of Interior
Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Investigation into the Ambassador's finances 
[it is very conceivable no salary is drawn , however his asset accounts is ver impressive]
Poignant peaceful protest infuriates Armenians 

Rising above the hubbub of the London streets, the timbre of the violin soared like the sound of a human voice at the touch of the deft fingers of a mysterious musician. The dark gloomy skies and spatters of rain were a fitting backdrop to this sombre event. 

Shrouded in black, to signify mourning, the soloist played the melancholy melodies of her homeland – Azerbaijan – in commemoration of the district of Qubadli. 

This fell under Armenian occupation 24 years ago on 31 August 1993, during the invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions. 

Despite the right to peacefully demonstrate on the streets of London being enshrined in UK law, one Armenian diplomat emerged from inside the Embassy and objected noisily – at one stage even reaching out as though to grab the violin. After Jack Pegoraro, Head, London Office, The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), explained about the remembrance, the Armenian diplomat disputed the occupation of Azerbaijani territory by the armed forces of his country and carried out his threat to call the police. The policeman who responded to the complaint understood the nature of the demonstration, replying: “This is the UK – you have a perfect right to a peaceful protest.” 

Recognised for its mysterious mountainous beauty and rich range of flora and fauna, the fighting over Qubadli cost the lives of 238 Azerbaijanis. Over the following five years, 146 others died from injuries sustained during the assault. 

Many unaccounted deaths occurred when civilians attempted to swim their way to safety under Armenian fire across the Hekeri River, having not been permitted a free corridor for escape – such a policy being reminiscent of the massacre at Khojaly , just over one year earlier, which claimed the lives of 613 civilians in one dreadful night. 

This invasion led the 31,364 residents of Qubadli to become internally displaced persons (IDPs), joining almost one million compatriots in encampments spread across Azerbaijan. Nearly 7000 private houses were destroyed as part of the Armenian ‘scorched earth’ policy, which attempted to ensure that Azerbaijanis could not return home, other casualties being numerous monuments, bridges and tombs, some of which dated back to the 4th–5th centuries. 

On 14 October 1993, the UN Security Council passed resolution 874, which called for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops from Qubadli, in addition to the districts of Fizuli and Jabrayil . This was one of four resolutions that have remained unimplemented for over 20 years. 

Jack Pegoraro commented: “The significance of today’s protest is to mark the 24th anniversary of the occupation of the Azerbaijani region of Qubadli. The veiled woman in black playing Bayati Shiraz and Sari Gelin symbolises the loss of the local Azerbaijani population who were either killed or forced to flee their homes. We are here in front of the Embassy to remind the Armenians that Azerbaijan will never forget until Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding occupied territories are returned to Azerbaijan.” 

Poet Charles Baudelaire once wrote: “The violin quivers like a tormented heart.” As the violin sounded outside the Armenian Embassy, the hearts of onlookers and listeners remembered the tragedy of Qubadli; the men, women and children who lost their lives; those who never saw their homes again; and those for whom Qubadli is but a distant, beautiful memory.
Caving in to Baku’s Pressures, OSCE Closes its Office in Yerevan 

Azerbaijan ousted the OSCE from Baku in 2015 

YEREVAN–The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose Minsk Group is tasked with mediating a peace in the Karabakh conflict, closed its offices in Yerevan on Thursday, per a decision in May , which came under pressure from Baku. 

On the same day, Azerbaijani forces opened fire at an OSCE monitoring mission in the Chinari village of the Tavush Province. 

In an announcement issued in May, the OSCE leadership expressed regret over the decision to close the Yerevan office, with a representative of Austria, the holder of the OSCE chairmanship, saying at the time that the Azerbaijani government’s adamant demands were at the heart of the decision. 

Last year, Baku vetoed the extension of the OSCE’s office in Yerevan, which opened in 2000, by objecting to a humanitarian demining program that the Yerevan office was implementing. 

In January, the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE headquarters in Yerevan stated that the Yerevan office “can strengthen the capacity and skills of relevant Armenian structures” within the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, accusing Armenia of seeking to “misuse the OSCE Office in Yerevan against legitimate interests of Azerbaijan.” 

In an ironic twist in this story, the Azerbaijani government, in June of 2015, gave the staff of the OSCE mission in Baku one month to vacate the premises and the country , ejecting the organization from Azerbaijan. It was a direct reaction to the OSCE Baku office’s criticism of the Azerbaijani government’s crackdown on the media and opposition activists. 

Opening of OSCE office and extending their mandates require unanimous approval by all 57 member-states. Baku’s veto last year effectively thwarted the continuation of the OSCE mission in Armenia. 

Although, the Armenian government agreed to drop the demining project in January, Baku continued its objections to the mission in Yerevan, angering Washington, which warned Azerbaijan at the time that the closure of the Yerevan office would reflect poorly on Azerbaijan. 

“Should the Office in Yerevan be forced to close, this will reflect poorly on Azerbaijan and its government’s commitment to the OSCE,” Kate Byrnes, the charge d’affaires of the U.S. mission to the OSCE warned at the time. “We urge the government of Azerbaijan to constructively engage in finding a compromise solution as soon as possible that will allow the office in Yerevan to remain open.” 

“The United States regrets the impending closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan,” Byrnes said at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly meeting in May. “We lament the loss of the last OSCE field operation in the South Caucasus.” 

“Armenia, in the spirit of compromise, agreed that the Office in Yerevan would end these [humanitarian demining] activities,” she added. 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Baku’s uncompromising stance on the issue during the May meeting with its spokesman, Tigran Balayan, saying that Azerbaijan’s authoritarian leadership is highlighting its dismal human rights record and “deepening the gap between itself and the international community.” 

RFE/RL Report
New Armenia-Karabakh Highway Inaugurated
September 01, 2017

A newly built second highway connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh
was inaugurated in the presence of President Serzh Sarkisian and other
senior officials on Friday.

Work on the 115-kilometer -long road began in 2011 and was essentially
completed months before the inauguration ceremony, costing 17 billion
drams ($36 million) in funding. The Armenian and Karabakh governments
footed 56 percent of the bill.

The rest of the sum was raised by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund in
annual telethons broadcast from Los Angeles in 2013 and 2014. In a
statement on the ceremony, the pan-Armenian charity headquartered in
Yerevan noted the "strategic significance" of the project.

Passenger and cargo traffic between Armenia and Karabakh has until now
been mainly carried out through a highway passing through Lachin, one
of the seven districts in Azerbaijan proper that were partly or fully
occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces during the 1991-1994 war.

The Lachin road stretches for more than 80 kilometers from the
Karabakh capital Stepanakert to the southeastern Armenian town of
Goris. It was built in 1997 with the financial assistance of the
Armenian Diaspora and the late U.S.-Armenian billionaire Kirk
Kerkorian in particular.

The second highway runs from the northern Karabakh town of Martakert
to Vartenis in eastern Armenia through the Kelbajar district that has
been under Karabakh Armenian control since 1993.

Officials say that the new highway will not only shorten travel time
between Yerevan and northern Karabakh but also stimulate economic
activity in nearby rural communities and bring more tourists to the
Armenian-populated territory. In particular, it will significantly
facilitate visitors' access to two medieval Armenian monasteries
located in the area.

The Vartenis-Martakert road should also benefit an Armenian company
mining gold and copper in northern Karabakh. It is Karabakh's single
largest corporate employer and taxpayer. 

ARKA, Armenia 
Sept 1 2017 
Grape production in Armenia to be down 10 percent 

This year Armenia’s grape production is expected to be 10% less than in 2016, agriculture minister Ignaty Arakelyan said today citing the findings of a study made by experts. 

Speaking at a meeting attended by prime minister Karen Karapetyan and representatives of wine and brandy producing companies, the minister blamed the anticipated output drop on the cold winter and the impossibility of carrying out all the necessary seasonal work. 

According to the minister, in 2016 wineries purchased about 110 thousand tons of grapes, while this year the purchases will grow to about 141 thousand tons. Arakelyan urged the processing companies to conclude contracts with the winegrowers in order to avoid problems in the future. He said also that export of brandy this year has already grown by 30%. 

In his turn, Prime Minister Karapetyan said the government has raised the threshold of provided loans by setting them in the amount of 3-10 million drams. He added that interest rates for beneficiaries from poor communities are set at 3%, and at 5% for representatives of other communities. 

According to him, the government provides loans to purchasers in the amount of up to 150 million drams at a 3% rate. 

"The price of natural gas for processing companies has been reduced by 40%; I know few governments that render such financial and other assistance to the agricultural sector. We are implementing these programs because we are sure that Armenia has a great future," Karapetyan said. -0- 

Panorama, Armenia 
Sept 1 2017 
Education 14:10 01/09/2017 Armenia Armenian schools welcome over 40,000 first-graders as academic year kicks off today 
Over 40,000 first-graders are attending school in Armenia today as the academic year kicks off in all the educational institutions of the country. 

“The exact number [of the first-graders] will become clear after 5 September. Meantime, the number of first-graders have increased compared to the past year, when it stood at some 39,000,” Ashot Arshakyan, the head of the General Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Science, told 

Mr. Arshakyan also informed that nine schools have not admitted first-graders this year. “According to initial data, nine schools do not have first-grade students. Most of them are in Syunik Province,” he detailed. 

Ashot Arshakyan added that the number of schools that did not welcome first-graders have reduced from 13 recorded in the last year. 

Panorama, Armenia 
Sept 1 2017 
Sport 17:03 01/09/2017 Armenia Levon Aronian comes 4th in latest FIDE Rankings 
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has published FIDE Rating List as of September 1, 2017. World Champion Magnus Carlsen (2827) continues to lead the Top Players List. 

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2804) ranks the second and Vladimir Kramnik (2803) concludes the top three. Armenian GM Levon Aronian holds the 4th position with 2803 points. 

Standard Top 100 Men September 2017 features four other Armenian chess players. In particular, Sergei Movsesian (2671) ranks the 72nd, Vladimir Hakobyan (2667) comes the 79th and Gabriel Sargsyan (2652) – 100th. 

The Top 100 Women June 2017 list is headed by Yifan Hou (2670). Anna Muzychuk comes the second with 2576, while Ju Wenjun (2574) holds the third position. 

Armenian chess player Elina Danielian ranked the 51st with 2415 points and Lilit Mkrtchyan took the 56th position with 2401 points. 

No comments: