Saturday 28 December 2019

Here is some background information about Max!

Maxwell John Cox

Aged:             34

Born:              September 13, 1985

Screen printer:  Director

Attended special calibrations:    Holy Trinity Armenian Church - Manchester

Christened:              St Michael’s & All Angels, Tettenhall –WV6 9AJ

Funeral as above:  WV6 9AJ

Crematorium: Bushbury East -WV10 7JG following church service: 2.30pm

At around 6 months max gained his Savlon baby badge... Bilston swimming baths!

Max lived with me and was my main career, for many years. He nursed me through bouts of illness, and was a huge support. He was also in ‘The Young Careers' Tettenhall.

Working Life: Max took on many jobs with or without a company car, named his little business As Graff Spotting HQ – building it up over a number of years. He printed T-shirts and stickers, etc...

He developed an interest in street art and graffiti after cycling along the canals during his time in Birmingham and becoming part of the artistic community in Digbeth. He began producing merchandise for artists, bands, shop fronts, menus and van signs. 

As a young boy, Max attended the cubs then scouts in Tettenhall Village and gained many badges, Which he then sewed on his jersey himself! Max and I travelled far and wide for many years!

Following a youthful interest in model aircraft and time spent in the Air Training Corps, he flew a bi-plane which sparked a life long interest in model aircraft and he loved to fly his drone in recent years, especially at White Ladies Priory. He incorporated climbing montains, in North Wales.

Max grew into a hugely charismatic and well-loved man whose enthusiasm was infectious and he would light up any room. He was truly one of a kind and lived life on his terms. He will leave a huge hole in the lives of those who loved him dearly.

Armenian News... A Topalian


Dec 12 2019
Congress Recognizes Armenian Genocide Amid Tensions with Turkey

The Senate adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, following House approval of a similar measure, despite opposition from President Donald Trump’s State Department on concerns that it would further complicate ties with Turkey.

The Republican-led chamber cleared the measure Thursday without objection -- the fourth attempt by Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, to seek unanimous consent for the resolution. At the request of the White House, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, David Perdue and Kevin Cramer blocked previous attempts, saying they didn’t want to anger a NATO ally during a time of high tensions.

U.S. lawmakers were outraged by Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria after Trump abruptly withdrew troops from the Kurdish-held region in October. They have also been highly critical of Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system, which should trigger sanctions under existing law.

Republican senators personally expressed their concerns to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when Trump hosted him in the White House last month. Their complaints weren’t heeded, and Turkey began testing the S-400 shortly thereafter.

Menendez said during a Foreign Relations Committee meeting Wednesday that he was worried the U.S. was being held “hostage to Turkey.” Senator Ted Cruz, the co-sponsor of the legislation, said the administration has given “no good reason” to block the resolution. The Republican-led panel in Wednesday’s session also voted to advance additional sanctions against Turkey.

The House voted in October 405-11 to condemn the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of 1.5 million Armenians early in the last century, ignoring Turkey’s longstanding opposition to the measure. The House and Senate votes on these resolutions amount to the official U.S. government recognition of the massacre and do not require Trump’s signature.

— With assistance by Nick Wadhams, and Firat Kozok

The Hill, DC
Dec 12 2019
Senate passes Armenian genocide resolution
By Jordain Carney 

The Senate passed a resolution on Thursday formally recognizing the Ottoman Empire's genocide against the Armenian people, a move strongly opposed by the Turkish government.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) passed the resolution, which provides "official recognition and remembrance" of the Armenian genocide, by consent.

"We have just passed the Armenian genocide resolution ... and it is fitting and appropriate that the Senate stands on the right side of history in doing so. It commemorates the truth of the Armenian genocide," Menendez said from the Senate floor.

Under the Senate's rules any senator can ask to pass a resolution. As long as another senator doesn't object, the measure will clear the chamber. The Armenian genocide resolution passed the House in a 405-11 vote.

The move comes after three GOP senators previously blocked passage of the resolution amid pressure from the White House, which argued that it would undercut negotiations between Washington and Ankara, which vehemently opposes recognizing the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in the early 20th century as genocide.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted that it was the fourth time that supporters have tried to pass the resolution.

"This is the third week in a row we have come to the Senate floor seeking to pass this resolution, and I'm grateful that today we have succeeded," Cruz said. "This is a moment of truth that was far too long coming."

Congress's passage of the resolution comes as relations between the U.S. and Turkey have been tested in recent months over Turkey's purchase of a Russian weapons system and its incursion into Syria.

It comes a day after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Turkey sanctions legislation, underscoring the rocky relationship between Capitol Hill and Ankara.

In addition to giving "recognition and remembrance" to the Armenian genocide, the resolution also rejects attempts to "enlist, engage, or otherwise associate" the U.S. government with denial of genocide and "encourage education and public understanding" of it., Armenia
Dec 12 2019
Full text of US Senate’s resolution recognizing Armenian Genocide                    

The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted resolution calling to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance and to reject efforts to associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide.
The full text of the resolution is as follows:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that it is the policy of the United States to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance.

Whereas the United States has a proud history of recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, the killing of an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians;

Whereas the Honorable Henry Morgenthau, Sr., United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries against what he described as “a campaign of race extermination,” and, on July 16, 1915, was instructed by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the “Department approves your procedure … to stop Armenian persecution”;

Whereas President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the formation of Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which raised approximately $116,000,000 (more than $2,500,000,000 in 2019 dollars) between 1915 and 1930, and the Senate adopted resolutions condemning the massacres;
Whereas Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide” in 1944 and who was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century;
Whereas, as displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”, setting the stage for the Holocaust;

Whereas the United States has officially recognized the Armenian Genocide—
(1) through the May 28, 1951, written statement of the United States Government to the International Court of Justice regarding the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and Proclamation No. 4838 issued by President Ronald Reagan on April 22, 1981; and
(2) by House Joint Resolution 148, 94th Congress, agreed to April 8, 1975, and House Joint Resolution 247, 98th Congress, agreed to September 10, 1984; and

Whereas the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–441) establishes that the prevention of atrocities is a national interest of the United States and affirms that it is the policy of the United States to pursue a United States Government-wide strategy to identify, prevent, and respond to the risk of atrocities by “strengthening diplomatic response and the effective use of foreign assistance to support appropriate transitional justice measures, including criminal accountability, for past atrocities”: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that it is the policy of the United States—

(1) to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance;
(2) to reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and
(3) to encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the role of the United States in humanitarian relief efforts, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
Dec 12 2019
US Senate passes Armenia resolution 
Chamber votes unanimously in favor of resolution to recognize alleged killings of Armenians in 1915 
Servet Günerigök   

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed Thursday a resolution that recognizes the so-called Armenian genocide. 

"Our resolution to recognize and commemorate the #ArmenianGenocide just passed the United States Senate," Senator Bob Menendez announced on Twitter. 

The resolution asserts that "it is the policy" of the U.S. to commemorate the alleged genocide "through official recognition and remembrance." 
Last week, the White House asked Republican Senator Kevin Cramer to block voting on the resolution, according to the Axios news site. That marked the third time a Republican senator blocked the measure at the White House's request.

Last month, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham objected to passing the resolution after Menendez sought consent to pass it. Republican Senator David Perdue was also asked to block the resolution.

Cramer said he does not think it is "the right time" to pass the resolution, according to Axios.

The senator reportedly cited U.S. President Donald Trump's meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at this month's NATO summit in London, saying the resolution could harm the Trump administration's diplomatic efforts. 

In mid-November during his visit in Washington, Erdogan reiterated his call for historians to investigate the issue.

"If the U.S. side really wants to act fairly, it should refrain from taking a political stand on a matter that historians should decide," said Erdogan. 
The president warned that listening to one side would lead to irreparable harms in Turkey-U.S. relations.

On Oct. 29, the anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the House voted 405-11 in favor of the resolution to recognize alleged killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to examine the issue.

The National Herald, Greece
Dec 12 2019
Turkey’s Armenian Orthodox Christian Church Elects New Patriarch
By Associated Press  

ANKARA – Turkey’s Armenian community on Wednesday voted in Bishop Sahak Masalyan as its new patriarch, in an election that critics say was overshadowed by Turkish government intervention.

Delegates elected Masalyan, 57, as the 85th patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Christians in Turkey, the church announced at the end of a election process that began on Dec. 7. He succeeds Patriach Mesrob II, who died in March at 62.

Masalyan’s rival, Archbishop Aram Atesyan, had been serving as acting patriarch since 2008, when Mesrob became incapacitated and withdrew from his duties.

Atesyan and Masalyan were among only three candidates who were able to stand for the position after Turkey ruled that Armenian clergy currently serving abroad would not be eligible. The third candidate dropped out of the race in protest, while some community members boycotted the election process, according to Turkish media reports.

The patriarch is considered the head of the Armenians in Turkey, which numbers an estimated 70,000, and serves as a go-between the government and the community. Turkish officials often rely on the patriarch’s cooperation for their efforts to counter moves around the world to recognize the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed around World War I, and many scholars see it as the 20th century’s first genocide. Turkey disputes the description, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of a civil war. Turkey has repeatedly called for a joint committee of historians to investigate the slayings.

Garo Paylan, a legislator in Turkey’s parliament, was among community members who boycotted the election process.

 “I will not consider the chosen one as my Patriarch,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that those who interfered in the election process would go down in the “dark pages” of history.

Last year, the Turkish government intervened to halt elections at the patriarchate on the grounds “that the necessary conditions for the electoral process had not been met” and that Mesrob was still alive.
11 December, 2019
“Pray for me”, Patriarch-elect Sahak Mashalian vows great changes for Armenian community

Shortly after being elected 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Bishop Sahak Mashalian addressed the Armenian community of Istanbul at the Armenian church near the patriarchate headquarters, noting that they will shape a new community with the patriarchate’s new composition, new programs and initiatives.

“We need something new, both in our spirits and minds. Our establishments need to be renovated, and my election must be the first step. We have an example of leadership before us – Jesus Christ, who washed the feet of his disciples, showed how to be a good shepherd. Today, you did not elect a patriarch, you elected the first servant of God and nation,” Mashalian said.

The Bishop said he will make his first pontifical address as 85th Patriarch after the inauguration and enthronement. “But now I have to ask you to pray for me”.

“The fact that we elected a patriarch in peace happened thanks to the prayers of thousands of people”, he said. The Bishop thanked the clergy, the delegates, and his opponent in the election, Aram Ateshian.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Panorama, Armenia
Dec 11 2019
Archbishop Aram Ateshian congratulates new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople

Archbishop Aram Ateshian has offered congratulations to Bishop Sahak Mashalian, who is set to become the 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.

Bishop Sahak Mashalian previously served as the Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul.

In a post on Facebook on Wednesday, Aram Ateshian wished him every success.
“As the eldest member of the clergy, I wish that unity and brotherhood be re-established inside the national religious life of the Turkish Armenian community,” Ateshian wrote.

“It is our prayer that a new flourishing period may open before this age-old Patriarchate and that its mission may be enriched with new achievements for the benefit of our Holy Church and our dear people. God bless the 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople!”

The elections of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople are held in three stages. On 7 December the General Religious Assembly elected the 17 religious delegates.

On 8 December Istanbul Armenians cast their votes for the 103 secular delegates representing the two candidates for the post. 89 out of the 103 secular delegates supported Sahak Mashalian, while the remaining 12 – Aram Ateshian. Today the delegates voted to elected the new Patriarch. 

Arminian News... A Topalian...

PanArmenian, Armenia
Dec 9 2019
Turkey: Next Armenian patriarch will be elected on Dec. 11 

The Armenian community of Turkey has voted in Armenian churches across the country to elect delegates to choose the 85th head of the church in elections to be held on Wednesday, December 11, Daily Sabah reports.

The community voted in churches in Istanbul, central Kayseri province and southeastern Diyarbakır, Mardin and Hatay provinces after a long period of uncertainty and mourning following the death of Mesrob II, the revered head of the patriarchate of Turkey's Armenians who passed away on March 8 after an 11-year fight against dementia.

Some 102 delegates chosen in the election will choose the next head of the church in upcoming elections.

Two candidates are running in the election, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, who served as acting patriarch during the absence of Mesrob II, and Archbishop Sahak Maşalyan.

Sebuh Çulciyan, who is the childhood friend of assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and now lives and serves in Armenia, was also a candidate for the election. However, according to the new regulations by the Interior Ministry, reverends living abroad can no longer run in elections.

Previously, the illness of Mesrob II stirred up controversy in the community, and many called for an election while the former patriarch was still alive. The Turkish state would not authorize a replacement for the patriarchate while he was still alive, despite calls by Ateşyan and his dissidents for elections., Armenia
Dec 9 2019
Garo Paylan: I'm not going to acknowledge the elected Armenian patriarch 

Turkish-Armenian Member of Parliament Garo Paylan has tweeted about the election of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.
Garo Paylan wrote the following: “I’m not going to participate in the patriarchal elections. I’m also not going to recognize the elected patriarch as my patriarch. The names of officials who turned our honor into a plaything and the names of clergymen and presidents of funds and foundations who collaborated with those officials, will go down in the dark pages of history.”

In the rules and regulations for the election of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, the Turkish Ministry of International Affairs had prohibited bishops other than the bishops of the congregation of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople from running in the elections, and this had sparked great reactions among the members of the Armenian community.
6 December, 2019
Armenia to surpass Azerbaijan with GDP per capita in 2020, says PM
Armenia will surpass Azerbaijan in 2020 with GDP per capita volumes, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at parliamentary debates of the 2020 budget draft.

“In 2019 the Republic of Armenia was able to surpass Georgia with GDP per capita. But more importantly, with 2020 results we will surpass Azerbaijan, in this ranking the Republic of Armenia was the last in at least the past decades, but in 2020 it will be first, and this is the flag of the economic revolution. And this flag is carried by the free, dignified, proud and diligent Armenian citizen,” the PM said.

The two opposition parties of parliament, the Bright Armenia (LHK) and Prosperous Armenia (BHK) parties, have earlier announced that they will vote down the 2020 budget draft.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Dec 9 2019
52% of adult men in Armenia are smokers: official

28% of the residents of Armenia are smokers, Deputy Health Minister Lena Nanushyan said Monday, December 9, with 52% of adult men and 2-3% of adult women puffing on cigarettes regularly.

The National Assembly is discussing ways to reduce harm to health caused by tobacco products.

Nanushyan reminded lawmakers that smoking causes cancer in the lung, oral cavity, esophagus and a number of other organs, as well as heart attacks, and contributes to other diseases.

According to the Deputy Minister, many non-smokers are affected by second-hand smoke both at home and at work.
Nanushyan said 70% of pregnant women are also exposed to second-hand smoke.

Legislative reforms proposed by the Health Ministry plan will enable the police to control regulation that bans smoking in indoor public places.
The draft law prohibiting tobacco smoking in public spaces imposes major fines for smoking in public catering facilities, hotels, cars, medical, cultural, entertainment centers and other spaces prohibited by law.

According to the World Health Organizations (WHO), tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Around 80% of the world's 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

Amn Al-Masdar
Dec 8 2019
280-year-old Armenian Cathedral reopens in Aleppo after suffering damage due to war

The Armenian Catholic Cathedral of Our Mother of Reliefs was reopened on Saturday in the Al-Talal neighborhood in the Old City of Aleppo.
The opening ceremony was attended by Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the Papal Ambassador to Syria Mario Zenari, Aleppo Mufti Mahmoud Akkam in addition to a crowd of Muslim and Christian clergymen.

Head of the Armenian Catholic Community in Aleppo Archbishop Boutrus Mrayati stressed the importance of celebrating the reopening of the cathedral, which was built in 1840, as a spiritual occasion that aims to preserve Syria’s history, pointing out that renovation works were carried out by national expertise.

The Grand Mufti Badreddin Hassoun said that reopening of the cathedral is a message to the world that “we are rebuilding what terrorism had destroyed of churches, mosques and factories.”

He stressed that terrorism tools have destroyed the churches and mosques but they won’t be able to destroy Syria.
Other speeches hailed the reopening of the cathedral, emphasizing that it indicates the Christian insistence to stay in Syria and contribute to rebuilding what has been destroyed.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Parliament Passes 2020 Government Budget
December 06, 2019
Tatevik Lazarian
Naira Nalbandian

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian put an optimistic spin on the economic situation in Armenia on Friday as the National Assembly approved his government’s budget for next year calling for further sizable increases in public spending and tax revenue.

“We are doing well,” Pashinian said amid strong opposition criticism of the  spending bill passed by 69 votes to 37.

The budget commits the government to spending 1.88 trillion drams (almost $4 billion), up by 14 percent from its expenditures projected for this year.

In particular, spending on social program is to rise by 10 percent, to 489 billion drams. The budget calls for sharper increases in government funds allocated to education and healthcare. They are projected to total 163 billion drams and 111 billion drams respectively.

By contrast, Armenia’s defense budget will be virtually flat in 2020 at just over 301 billion drams ($634 million), a fact deplored by some opposition politicians and other critics of the government. The latter has pledged to strengthen the Armenian military through more efficient governance and its ongoing fight against corruption.

“Since May 2018 Armenia has acquired unprecedented, for the recent past, quantities of weapons and ammunition,” Pashinian said in this regard. He did not shed light on those acquisitions.

Armenia’s state revenues are projected to growth just as strongly and reach almost 1.7 trillion drams. According to Finance Minister Atom Janjughazian, this should translate into a budget deficit equivalent to 2.6 percent of Gross Domestic Project. The government had forecast a slightly lower deficit-to-GDP ratio for 2019.

These budgetary targets are based on the assumption that the Armenian economy will expand by at least 4.9 percent next year. Government officials say economic growth may well be faster, arguing that it accelerated to 7.5 percent in the first nine months of this year.

Pashinian declared that Armenia is now the fastest-growing economy in the former Soviet Union. Citing a raft of macroeconomic data, he said: “All this shows that we will be doing even better.”

The two opposition parties represented in the Armenian parliament reaffirmed, however, their negative assessment of the government’s economic policies and proposed budget in particular. They insisted that Pashinian has failed to launch an “economic revolution” in the country which he promised after coming to power in May 2018.

Senior parliamentarians representing the Bright Armenia (LHK) and Prosperous Armenia (BHK) parties said they will vote against the budget because the government has rejected virtually all amendments proposed by them earlier last month. Janjughazian argued that the amendments envisaged as much as 359 billion drams ($753 million) in additional government spending.

“The problems pinpointed by us during the previous debate have not only remained unsolved but have also been deepened [by the government,]” the LHK’s Mane Tandilian said on Thursday. “Therefore, we have no choice but to vote against the budget.”

For his part, the BHK’s Mikael Melkumian claimed that the budgetary targets cannot “improve the plight of the people.”
9 December, 2019
Parliament OKs aviation tax break for flying to new destinations from Armenian airports

Armenian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to adopt the bill authored by the Civil Aviation Committee on exempting airlines from the so called “Air Duty” in the event of launching flights to new destinations from Armenian airports. 

90 MPs voted in favor, 2 voted against and 1 voted present.

The Air Duty is a fixed $21 tax charged from every air ticket sold in the country.
The move is expected to contribute to the development of the aviation market and boost tourism.

According to the aviation committee several airlines have already expressed readiness to launch new flights from Yerevan to destinations such as Kaluga, Berlin, Rome and other European cities.

The exemption is granted for a 36 months period from the launch date with the possibility of extension for another 24 months.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

 OCTOBER 14, 2019
70 kilometers through the mountains, with crossings through rivers and gorges, and stopovers in ancient villages  

A group of Armenian guides undertook to develop ecotourism in the very south of the country – now they are expecting an inflow of tourists starting next year.
A new 70-kilometer tourist route will be created in the Syunik region and will pass through reserves and forests and connect the paths of Kapan and Meghri.

Guides say that this mountain route will give tourists the opportunity to see completely wild nature, wade through gorges, cross rivers, see ancient temples and settlements.

The route includes the Platan Grove reserve, thickets of eastern beech, Mount Khustup, where there are tent camps. Part of the route runs directly along the famous Silk Road.

The idea belongs to the public organization Guides from the South. And their goal is not only the development of ecotourism – but the creation of jobs for the local population

“By the end of 2019, our route will be ready – thoroughly developed, consistent with state standards and displayed on maps. By this time, many local guides will also undergo retraining. We will organize a big PR campaign in cooperation with local and foreign agencies, and hope to attract many tourists,” says Robert Matevosyan, chairman of the Guides from the South organization.
Eight villages will be involved in the route – and, accordingly, in the new tourism business – which are located next to the Shikahogh Nature Reserve and the Arevik National Park.

“Local residents will sell products, open restaurants, and local traditional crafts will be in demand. The goal is for communities to develop themselves, without external assistance, and tourism will become an incentive for them,” says David Hakobyan, guide, ecologist and program coordinator at Guides from the South.

The entire programme is called “Ecotourism as an incentive for the socio-economic development of communities around protected areas.”
Since 2018, 27 guides have already been trained – and together with them they have gathered legends, stories about history and traditions, and prepared a program for tourists.

“In preparing the route, volunteers from Peru, Colombia, Russia and Poland worked with us.  If we receive the necessary financing, by the end of the year we will also conduct courses on how to organize a hotel business,” says David.

A separate website will be created for this 70-kilometer route, where, among other things, they will publish a list of goods and services that will be provided by at least 40 families included in the project. The site even has the recipes of traditional dishes of these places.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, the population of Shikahogh has been reduced four times, there are very few people left.
Aramis Tadevosyan, a 58-year-old military training teacher at the local school, together with his wife Gohar decided to join the tourism business – and have already taken their first steps.  They renovated their two-story house and even managed to receive the first tourists this year.

The son of Aramais is 28 years old.  More recently, Bagrat and his wife and child returned from Russia.

“I left to work, but could not get used to life in Russia.  If tourists find out about our places, they will come to us.  And we will have the opportunity to get down to business, stop thinking about leaving our village, even those who left will return,” says Bagrat.

[Turkey swims against the overwhelming tide, exposing all its prejudices in one place by repeating false arguments]
Daily Sabah, Turkey
Dec 8 2019
Turkey to boost efforts to fight defamation campaign

Turkey has been preparing to boost efforts to fight a defamation campaign waged against the country. One of the latest initiatives of the Directorate of Communications has been to create a website about the baseless claims on the 1915 events.

The new website, aims to inform the public about the events from the year 1915 with a comprehensive and objective historical narrative. Turkey objects to the presentation of the 1915 incidents as a "genocide," rather referring to it as a tragedy in which both Turks and Armenians suffered casualties amidst the throws of World War I. Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia under the supervision of international experts charged with examining the issue.

"This website will respond to Armenian genocide slander used against our country at every possible opportunity in the international area, by putting historical information and data to the fore," said Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Saturday during a training program in the coastal province of Antalya.

He also stated that such an issue ought not to be used as a political tool, adding that the new initiative would contribute to efforts to depoliticize the historical narrative and to reach accurate historical findings.

In addition to presenting the events of 1915 in a comprehensive and objective manner, the website also includes official statements about the issue, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's letter to Armenia's former President Robert Kocharyan to establish a joint commission of historians to analyze the 1915 events and the president's messages to the Armenian Patriarchate on the commemoration ceremonies on April 24.

Another topic the site offers information on is the ASALA terror group, whose attacks targetted Turkish diplomats in a spat of violent incidents throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Founded in 1975 in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War, ASALA was responsible for hundreds of bloody terror acts.

Though the group was formed in 1975, the first killing of a diplomat and his deputy came on Jan. 27, 1973, when group member Gourgen Yanikian killed Turkey's consul general in Los Angeles, Mehmet Baydar, and his aide Bahadır Demir. A total of three diplomats were killed between 1973 and 1978, after which Turkish public servants abroad became targets for Armenian terrorist organizations such as ASALA and the self-declared Justice Commandoes for Armenian Genocide group.

Armenian terrorist attacks intensified from 1980 to 1983. In these years, 80% of recorded attacks (580 of the 699) occurred. The terrorist attacks ceased in 1986, according to a study on Armenian terrorism.

In 1915, the Ottoman Empire relocated Armenians in eastern Anatolia following revolts in which some sided with invading Russian forces. There were many Armenian casualties during this relocation process.

Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation, while Turkey has officially refuted Armenian allegations over the incidents saying that, although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia. The Turkish government has repeatedly called on historians to study Ottoman archives pertaining to the era in order to uncover what actually happened between the Ottoman government and its Armenian citizens.

Rebuffing the "genocide" allegations, Turkey has officially acknowledged past experiences as a great tragedy in which both parties suffered heavy casualties, including hundreds of Muslim Turks.

Stronger fight against dark propaganda

In addition to his statements about the 1915 events, Altun also said that Turkey will step up its efforts against dark propaganda targeting the country. "We should wage a stronger fight against dark propaganda," Altun said.

He stressed that Turkey's negotiating power in the international arena had been growing as a result of its growing regional strength. "Our aim is to conduct high-quality, valuable work to equal to the rise of our country, which has a voice in the region and in the world," Altun added.

He underlined Turkey's successes in the fight against terrorism and efforts to show the dark, bloody face of terrorist groups to the world.

"We put up fierce struggles in the field simultaneously against terrorist groups," he said, citing Turkey's effort against the PKK, Daesh and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). FETÖ was behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

"In this sense, Turkey's Operation Peace Spring has just shown that despite all attempts to besiege us, we can establish our own game and overthrow geopolitical engineering projects of foreign actors similar to ones from a century ago," he added.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorist PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG) from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG terrorists from a planned Syrian safe zone. Ankara wants the YPG terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured. FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.