Saturday, 17 February 2018

ARMENIA at the Winter Olympics

(as reported in Turkish press) 
Istanbul Governor’s Office cancels elections for Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey 

The Istanbul Governor’s Office has canceled elections for the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey on the grounds that the necessary conditions for the electoral process have not been met. 

The Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey had been planning to carry out patriarchal elections to replace Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan, who fell ill and could no longer perform his duties in 2008. 

The Patriarchate sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, in which they expressed their wish to hold an election for a new patriarch. 

However, the Istanbul Governor’s Office on Feb. 5 rejected the Patriarchate’s demands, saying that Mutafyan is alive and the necessary conditions in the election process had not been met, which meant keeping Mutafyan in the position. 

The letter from the Istanbul Governor’s Office reportedly used the word “so-called” in relation to Karakin Bekçiyan, who was unanimously elected as the “değabah” (caretaker patriarch) last year. 

The move has drawn a fierce reaction from the Turkish Armenian community. The Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos said the letter was “historic” in terms of charting the relationship between the Armenian community and the state in an editorial published on Feb. 8. 

“The AK Parti [Justice and Development] government has openly intervened in the traditions of the church and told them they cannot elect their own patriarch,” the article said. 

The article also regarded the use of “so-called” with regard to Bekçiyan as “a sign of disrespect” to the community. 

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin met the representatives of the Turkish-Armenian community on Feb. 8 to evaluate the situation, Agos reported. Soylu said he would discuss the community’s concerns with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. 

Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan withdrew from his position in 2008 due to a deteriorating health condition, diagnosed as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). His seat remained vacant for two years until Aram Ateşyan was appointed as acting Patriarch in 2010. 

However, the Turkish Armenians have demanded an election, expressing their unease that patriarchal elections were not held at that time. In the end, the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey announced the vacancy, which initiated the election process. 

Panorama, Armenia 
Feb 10 2018 
Armenia Armenian Church commemorates memory of 150 Pontiffs participating in Constantinople Ecumenical Council 

The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates today the memory of 150 Pontiffs participating in the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381. reports during different periods of history the Ecumenical Church has faced various problems of doctrinal, administrative and organizational nature, solutions to which have been provided during the Ecumenical Councils. One of such councils was the Second Ecumenical Council convened upon the order of the King Theodosios in Constantinople, in 381. 

As the result of Arian disputes a new heresy had appeared, the head and supporter of which was Bishop Makedon of Constantinople, who denied the deity of the Holy Spirit. The Ecumenical Council convened in Constantinople on that special occasion, re-endorsed the definition of the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea and stack for the formulation “One deity, three persons”. 

Accepting the Ecumenical Council, the Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates the memory of 150 Patriarchs participating in the Council. 

The Armenian Weekly 
Feb 9 2018 
Yerevan Slams Aliyev’s Latest Territorial Claim on Armenia; Calls Azerbaijani President’s Remarks ‘Racist’ 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev vowed to “return Azerbaijanis” to Armeniam during his address to his party faithful ahead snap presidential elections slated for April 11. 

Our historical lands are the Irevan [Yerevan] Khanate, Zangazur, and Goycha. Younger generation and the whole world should know this,” Aliyev said in his address. “Irevan is our historical land, and we, Azerbaijanis, should return to these historic lands. This is our political and strategic goal, and we must gradually approach it,” he added. “This is our strategic goal and we must gradually move closer to achieving this goal,” he then declared. 

Armenia Reacts to Aliyev’s Comments 

Armenia’s Minsitry of Foreign Affairs harshly criticized Aliyev’s comments on Friday. Ministry spokesperson Tigran Balayan said in a statement that Aliyev’s call is a manifestation of the “racist essence of the ruling regime in Baku.” 

“The territorial claims of the President of Azerbaijan—a state that emerged on the world’s political map only 100 years ago—are not new. This statement, together with repeated declarations that Armenians of the world are the number one enemies of Azerbaijan, once again demonstrate the racist essence of the ruling regime in Baku,” Balayan said. 

Aliyev made several similar claims in the past. In Jan. 2014, Aliyev claimed that present-day Armenia was, in fact, Azerbaijan’s historic territory and vowed that the future would see a “return of those lands.” His remarks had come days before a scheduled meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers. 

The Deputy Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Eduard Sharmazanov called Aliyev’s latest comments “empty pots make the most noise.” “In the 21st century, it is unacceptable when a president of a country expresses territorial claims in relation to the neighboring country. Such verbal attacks of Ilham Aliyev remind us of Adolf Hitler,” Sharmazanov said, speaking to reporters in Yerevan. 

Commenting on Aliyev’s dreams of annexing Yerevan, Sharmazanov noted that one of the Azerbaijani President’s predecessors, Abulfaz Elchibey, also made similar claims of intending to taking over “having tea” in Stepanakert. “The results are obvious,” Sharmazanov said about Elchibey’s comments. 

Sharmazanov then urged the Organization for security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs and the wider international community to pay close attention to Aliyev’s statement and draw appropriate conclusions. 

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian also mentioned “the latest statements coming from Baku” during talks on Friday with the U.S., Russian, and French Minsk Group CO-Chairs. During a meeting in Yerevan with Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russia, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the U.S., and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk. 

During the meeting, Sarkisian noted that Aliyev’s latest comments prove how far Azerbaijan is from the readiness to advance the Artsakh negotiation process on the basis of proposals presented by Co-Chairs. The briefed the President of Armenia on their forthcoming work plans. Sarkisian then reaffirmed Armenia’s readiness to continue together with the Minsk Group in their efforts towards the peaceful settlement of the conflict through negotiations. 

RFE/RL Report 
Armenian President-In-Waiting Downplays British Citizenship
February 09, 2018
Ruzanna Stepanian

Former Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian insisted on Friday that he is
eligible to become Armenia's next president despite being a former
British citizen.

The Armenian constitution requires presidential candidates to have had
only Armenian citizenship for the last six years.

Sarkissian, who is currently the country's ambassador to the United
Kingdom, said that he does meet that requirement.

"Yes, I was a citizen of Great Britain," he told reporters. "After I
was relieved of my ambassadorial duties in 2000 I applied for and
received British citizenship in 2002. I renounced that citizenship in

"I renounced it because I didn't it anymore, not because in 2011 I
thought that you are going to change the constitution and that I'm
going to become ambassador and then a [presidential] candidate," he

"This is not an issue for me," he added in reference to a media report
that questioned his eligibility., an Armenian investigative publication, revealed on Wednesday
a 2014 British government document referring to Sarkissian as a
British national. The documents relates to the activities of Eurasia
House International, a London-based organization set up by the former
premier in the early 2000s.

Sarkissian insisted that the information is outdated because Eurasia
House stopped functioning in 2010. "Do you think that when somebody in
Britain gives up [citizenship] their name is immediately removed from
all places?" he said.

Sarkissian, 64, has lived in London for nearly three decades. A
physicist and mathematician by education, he worked at the Cambridge
University before being appointed as newly independent Armenia's first
ambassador to Britain in 1991. He served as prime minister for four
months in 1996-1997 before being again named ambassador in London in

After his second ambassadorial term was cut short in 2000, the
ex-premier stayed in the UK and made a fortune there in the following
years. He was named Armenian ambassador in London for a third time in

President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation) formally offered last month to
nominate the envoy as his ruling Republican Party's presidential
candidate. Armen Sarkissian said he will decide whether to accept the
offer after holding consultations with major Armenian parties and
other organizations.

The nominee met on Friday with parliament deputies representing the
opposition Yelk alliance. The latter had agreed to talk to Sarkissian
despite making clear that they will not vote for him.

Armenia's next president will be elected by the parliament, rather
than popular vote, early next month. He or she will have largely
ceremonial powers in line with the country's transition to a
parliamentary system of government. Serzh Sarkisian's final
presidential term expires on April 9. 

(and the PR choreography continues

ArmenPress News Agency , Armenia
February 8, 2018 Thursday
Baroness Caroline Cox highly appreciates Armen Sarkissian's diplomatic
experience which will greatly contribute to Armenia

Baroness Caroline Cox, member of the UK’s House of Lords,is extremely delighted by the exciting prospects of Armen Sarkissian who has been nominated by the Republican Party of Armenia as a candidate for the President of Armenia, Armenpress reports.

“It was many years ago I knew Dr. Sarkissian and his wife very well
when he was very very ill here in London. I visited him many times.
But now it’s wonderful to see Dr. Sarkissian so healthy, so vibrant
and so full of energy. And I am absolutely delighted by the thought of
what he can bring to people of Armenia with his diplomatic experience
and his international connections”, Baroness Caroline Cox said in a
video message.

She adds that it’s fantastic to see someone who was ill, but now is so
healthy, vital and with such a wonderful contribution to make to
Armenia, and the people of Armenia and Artsakh. 

ArmenPress News Agency , Armenia
February 8, 2018 Thursday
'He is a strong leader': Lord Ara Darzi welcomes Armen Sarkissian's
candidacy for post of President of Armenia

Famous British-Armenian doctor and politician Ara Darzi thinks Armen Sarkissian is a person that will actually fit very well in the Presidential role, reports Armenpress.

“I was delighted to hear that Armen Sarkissian has been nominated for
a potential role as the President of Armenia. I’ve known Armen for
many years. I know of many of his attributes, he is a strong leader,
he is a person who has been involved in politics before. He is genuine
individual who have always been trusted and respected. So I think it’s
a fantastic opportunity if he takes up the role”, Lord Ara Darzi said.

He stated that the attributes of any presidents are obviously very
unique, and according to him, Armen Sarkissian matches with many of

“He is someone who demonstrated leadership before. He is a man of
great integrity and more values. And I think with the Constitutional
changes we will be seen in Armenia, and the role of the President vs
the role of the Executive, I think he is a person that would actually
fit very well in the Presidential role. He is there to support the
Executive, hold them to account, but at the same time, really spring
Armenia worldwide and globally, and really embrace the Diaspora as we
all know there are more Armenians outside than within Armenia. So I
think it’s an important role and I think he has all the attributes to
fill that role and execute his powers within that role”, Ara Darzi

Ara Darzi is an Armenian-Britishdoctor and Labour politician. Lord Darzi
is one of the world's leadingsurgeonsand holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair
of Surgery atImperial College London, specializing in the field of
minimally invasive androbot-assisted surgery, having pioneered many
new techniques and technologies. He has become strongly identified
with trying to change theNational Health Service(NHS)in England and is recognized internationally as an advocate for applying innovative reforms to health systems globally.

He visited Armenia at different occasions, organized trainings for
Armenian doctors and provided medical equipment to some of Armenia’s hospitals. 

ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
February 8, 2018 Thursday
The process of hazardous waste management will be regulated in Armenia.
Yerevan February 08

Alexander Avanesov. The process of hazardous waste management will be
regulated in Armenia. Amendments to the Laws "On Licensing" and "On
State Duty" were made at the meeting of the National Assembly of the
Republic of Armenia on February 8 in the second and final reading.

According to one of the co-authors of the presented package, the
deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia from the
opposition faction of Yelq Edmond Marukyan, currently there is a
single license for processing, transportation, storage of hazardous
waste. For example, an entity carrying out only the transportation of
hazardous waste must also submit documents on their processing and
storage, for which it must pay a single state duty of 200 thousand
drams. Following the negotiations with the government, an agreement
was reached that the license will remain unified, but with separate

As for the amount of state duty, it will be 60 thousand drams, and in
each individual case the rate will decrease by 10 thousand drams.
This, according to the developers of the document, on the one hand,
will reduce the amount of workflow, and on the other will save
considerable financial resources of business entities. 

ArmenPress News Agency , Armenia
February 8, 2018 Thursday
Armenia to make history at 2018 Winter Olympics Parade of Nations
with unique flag-bearer choice

Armenia’s skier Michael Michaelyan will be the country’s flag bearer at the 2018 Winter Olympics Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.

Armenia is the only country in the world to have three athletes from
the same family to become flag bearers. Michaelyan’s mother and
brother were flag bearers of Armenia in the past.

Gagik Bolshikyan, head of Armenia’s delegation to the Winter Olympics
in South Korea, told ARMENPRESS that skiers Katya Galstyan, Ashot
Karapetyan, coaches Arthur Michaelyan and Seyran Harutyunyan, and
Armenian Federation of Skiing boss Gagik Sargsyan will participate in
the parade also.

The opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics will take place
February 9, 15:00 Yerevan time.

It is an unprecedented event that three members of the same family are
flag-bearers at the Olympic Games.

Michaelyan’s mother was a flag bearer for Armenia at the 1998 18th
Winter Olympics, while his brother carried the flag at the 2014 Sochi

Armenia is participating in the Winter Olympics with 3 athletes:

Katya Galstyan, 10 Km Crossd-Country (Picturesd below) 
Ashot Karapetyan, Slalom
Mikayel Mikayelyan, Cross-country  15Km and 30Km
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