Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Book Launch: Avedis Haddjian - SECRET NATION The Hidden Armenians of Turkey

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The Armenian Institute is a London-based charity (charity registration number: 1088410) dedicated to making Armenian culture and history a living experience through innovative programmes, educational resources, workshops, exhibits and performances. Its work is supported by voluntary donations from Friends, Patrons and Benefactors. For more information about the Armenian Institute or to find out about supporting the important work of the Institute, please visit our website at, contact us at, or call 020 7938 3336. 
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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

CAIA was honoured to exhibit the "Dolls of Armenia"

From: Vahe Paklayan <>
Sent: 18 March 2019 18:25
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: Dolls of Armenia Exhibition at Hayashen
See link below - enjoy

The CAIA was honoured to exhibit the "Dolls of Armenia"  at Hayashen on Sunday 17th March 2019. This was the first time that these dolls have been displayed anywhere and is the remarkable creative work of Mrs Alice Mardirossian.
Alice has created miniature traditional costumes works worn by dolls from various regions of  Historic Armenia with an accompanying large map highlighting the location where each costumes was worn in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

The exhibition will be on display again at Hayashen on Sunday 24th March 1.00-4.30pm during the final session of the 6-part "Introduction to  Armenian History, Culture and Heritage" course.


Stephanie's Art Gallery


Arthur Pinajian would have been 105 years old this year...

MARCH 29 - APRIL 20, 2019
Woodstock, NY, Archived No. 389, year 1961, oil on canvas
25x28 inches.
invites you to join us for an exhibition of
the most compelling discovery
in the history of 20th century American art

The Major Paintings from 1960 - 1999
Overlook Mountain, Woodstock, NY, year 1963
12x16 inches, oil on canvas 

Friday, March 29, 2019
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
466 Foothill Blvd. La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 679-8846 ;

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Armenian News... A Topalian... 8 editorials

PanArmenian, Armenia
Jan 19 2019
Turkish Parliament rejects call for probing Armenian editor's murder 

Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) urged the Turkish parliament to take up the case of the Armenian editor Hrant Dink, who on January 19, 2007 was gunned down in front of the offices of the Agos newspaper, which he founded, Asbarez reports.

“After being murdered, Hrant Dink became a symbol of equality, pluralism, democracy and justice in Turkey. Twelve years have passed since his murder, but this case is still not resolved,” Paylan said in remarks in Parliament.

Presenting the details of Dink’s murder, the lawmaker said the state has also its share of guilt.

“Hrank Dink has been targeted by nationalists after publishing an article in 2004 about Ataturk’s daughter and first female fighter pilot Sabiha Gokcen, which revealed that Gokcen had an Armenian origin. At that time the Turkish General Staff issued a statement on this article, Dink also received warning from the Istanbul Governor’s Office,” Paylan explained.

He also emphasized that Turkish officials and media also contributed to the intensification of nationalist moods against Dink.

The Turkish parliament, however, rejected Paylan’s demand and proposal to investigate and contribute to disclosing the case.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Government Reports Major Rise In Tax Revenue
January 17, 2019
Nane Sahakian

Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) has reported a more than 14 percent increase in the amount of taxes and customs duties collected by it in 2018.

The SRC chief, Davit Ananian, said on Wednesday the total tax revenues worth 1.3 trillion drams ($2.7 billion) also exceeded the Armenian government’s 2018 target by 3.5 percent. He attributed the major increase to SRC efforts to improve tax collection and administration.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government pledged to crack down on widespread tax evasion when it took office in May. Ananian promised at the time that its tax revenues “will be substantially higher than planned” this year.

According to Pashinian, over the next two months alone the SRC recovered more than 20 billion drams ($42 million) of unpaid taxes from 73 companies.

The 2019 state budget commits the government to increasing its budgetary revenues by another 15 percent this year. This would enable the government to further cut the budget deficit while boosting public spending by around 12 percent.

Armenian tax revenue rose by more than 7 percent in 2017. The improvement was particularly visible in the national customs service long regarded as one of the country’s most corrupt government agencies.

Ananian, who served as a deputy finance minister before taking over the SRC, acknowledged in May that his predecessor, Vartan Harutiunian, tackled the informal sector of the Armenian economy “quite effectively.” But he said the fight against tax fraud will be tougher and “even more effective” during his tenure.
17 January, 2019
Acting minister Khachatryan comments on possibility of merging economic development and agriculture ministries

Acting minister of economic development and investments Tigran Khachatryan commented on the possible unification of the ministry led by him and the ministry of agriculture.

“It doesn’t mean to include the functions of our ministry in the next ministry. It means that the structural reforms form such structural formats which must answer to all questions. In other words, the new structure should equally react to all issues and development relating to agriculture sector, as well as the remaining branches of the economy”, he said.

According to the bill on making changes and amendments in the Law on Composition and Activity of the Government of Armenia, the new government should consist of prime minister, two deputy PMs and ministers. The position of the first deputy PM will be removed.

According to the draft, there will be 12 ministries:
Ministry of labor and social affairs
Ministry of healthcare
Ministry of justice
Ministry of emergency situations
Ministry of foreign affairs
Ministry of nature protection
Ministry of education, science, cultural and sport
Ministry of defense
Ministry of territorial administration and infrastructures
Ministry of high technologies and military industry
Military of economic development and agriculture
Ministry of finance

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

RFE/RL Report
Human Rights Watch Praises New Armenian Leadership
January 17, 2019
Heghine Buniatian

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday commended Armenia’s new authorities for holding general elections widely recognized as democratic and “reviving” a criminal investigation into the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.

“International observers found that the December parliamentary vote was conducted with ‘broad public trust,’ and was free from abuses that marred past elections, including vote buying and pressure on voters,” the New York-based watchdog said in a statement attached to its annual report on human rights practices in more than 100 countries.

“Ensuring a free and fair vote is an important first step for Armenia’s new 
leadership,” the statement quoted Giorgi Gogia, HRW’s associate Europe and Central Asia director, as saying.

“But it’s only a beginning. The authorities need to use this mandate to push through reforms to address the human rights problems that brought people to the streets,” Gogia added in reference to last spring’s “velvet revolution” that brought Nikol Pashinian to power.

HRW’s World Report 2019 says that Pashinian “inherited a country plagued with corruption and myriad human rights problems,” including police brutality, domestic violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

“In a commendable move, the new authorities made progress in existing 
investigations into abuses that had been stalled for years,” it says, 
referring, among other things, to the renewed investigation into the deadly breakup of 2008 post-election protests in Yerevan.

The HRW report cites criminal charges brought in July against former President Robert Kocharian and two retired generals accused of illegally using Armenian army units against opposition supporters protesting against alleged fraud in the February 2008 presidential election. “The previous investigation was one-sided, with 52 protesters sent to prison,” it says.

Kocharian, who was again arrested in December, strongly denies the accusations, saying that they are part of a political “vendetta” launched by Prime Minister Pashinian. The latter was one of the main speakers at the 2008 protests and spent about two years in prison because of that.

“As the authorities deal with past grievances, they should fully respect due process rights for all detainees and ensure independence of the judiciary,” said HRW.

The watchdog also urged the authorities in Yerevan to tackle domestic violence and discrimination against LGBT people and ensure “quality education” for children with disabilities.

“The [former] authorities approved an action plan in February to carry out the 2017 domestic violence law, but the [current] government needs to increase the number of shelter spaces for domestic violence survivors, establish state-run shelters, and conduct public awareness campaigns about the issue,” said the HRW statement.

“The authorities also need to address widespread harassment, discrimination, and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” it added. 

“Political parties and some politicians tried to exploit widespread homophobia and made hateful and derogatory comments during the pre-election period.”

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 18 2019
Thomas de Waal: Time to start debate on ‘difficult issues’ in society over Karabakh conflict

The joint statement released by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs following the meeting between Acting Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov held on 16 January in France under the auspices of the OSCE mediators, included new provisions compared to the previous ones.

The expert community, as well as the and international community specially focused on the fact that the Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs acknowledged the need for “concrete measures to prepare the populations for peace” while holding fresh talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Paris.

“The Ministers discussed a wide range of issues related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and agreed upon the necessity of taking concrete measures to prepare the populations for peace,” reads the statement.

British reporter Thomas de Waal, an expert on the unresolved conflicts of the South Caucasus, took to Twitter to highlight to need for preparing the populations for peace.

“Suddenly the mood has changed on #Nkpeace. Very positive statement. Now time to get down to work, involve more stakeholders, start debate on difficult issues in society,” he said.

Former U.S. Minsk Group Co-Chair Carey Cavanaugh, who is closely following the Karabakh settlement process, said on Twitter: “The preparation of populations to embrace any compromise solution has long been the missing ingredient in the Nagorno-#Karabakh #Peace process.”

Commenting on the Minsk Group mediators’ statement, Chatham House Associate Fellow for Russia and Eurasia Programme, Caucasus Survey Editor-in-Chief Laurence Broers stated the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders ‘must desist from authoritarian conflict strategies’ to prepare their peoples for peace.

“Spaces and processes need to be opened up to long-excluded narratives and actors #NKpeace,” he tweeted. 

[this report included heart-breaking images of many troubled libraries]

A trip through Armenia’s forgotten libraries
Jan 18 2019
Across Armenia, libraries often operate without light, heat, functioning toilets or even modern books.

Photos by Yulia Grigoryants, Text by Laurie Alvandian 

Dilijan librarian Hasmik Hakobyan, 61, sorts through piles of donated books. Some will be added to the stacks, others recycled.

It’s dark and cold in the Dilijan City Library, in Armenia’s north. And wet. Snow and rain leak in through the roof, forcing Hasmik Hakobyan to hide books under plastic tarps.

The leaky roof in Dilijan is not unique.

Across Armenia, libraries often operate without light, heat, functioning toilets or even modern books. They have been forgotten and neglected since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. War, economic hardship and a devastating earthquake have pushed Armenia’s cultural and learning institutions down the list of priorities for public funding.

Soviet Armenia boasted over 1300 public libraries. A generation later, librarians in the independent country believe there remain as few as 200 to serve about 3 million citizens.

But since the non-violent uprising that overthrew Armenia’s kleptocratic government in April 2018, there is renewed hope inside Armenia that the country – and its libraries – will chart a new course.

Renovations began on the Khanjyan Community Library seven years ago. But because of a conflict with the village mayor, it was left without heat or lighting.

This electric stove is the sole source of heat at Mayisyan Community Library. The only librarian, Sonia Davityan, 63, refuses to take her vacations during the summer because she wants to ensure the library remains open for children when they’re out of school.

Hripsime Grigoryan, 64, has worked at the Lukashin Community Library for 35 years – for the last 13 as its only employee. Two or three times a year she receives new books from the provincial library.

The Dilijan City Library serves over 5,000 residents of Dilijan and neighboring villages. Much of the building is crumbling. Librarian Mary Ananyan, 38, works beneath a photograph of Serik Davtyan, a 20th century scholar and historian born in Dilijan.

Dilijan City Library moved to its current location in the 1980s. Plastic tarps help protect books from the rain and snowmelt leaking through the roof.

The Dilijan library survives on donations – not of cash, but of used books. The most tattered are shipped off for recycling and the money is used to buy newer books.

With shelving space limited, librarians at Armavir Regional Library have started piling some of their 114,427 volumes against the walls, where they are inaccessible to patrons.

The National Library of Armenia began in 1832 as a section of the Yerevan Men’s Gymnasium. Today it holds over 6.5 million volumes.

University students regularly use the reading rooms of the National Library of Armenia, in Yerevan.

The works of Vladimir Lenin are still available at most libraries in Armenia, including at the Gai Community Library. Librarian Javahir Yepremyan has worked here for 40 years; it’s been 20 since the library received a new book.

Yulia Grigoryants is a freelance photographer from Armenia based in France. Laurie Alvandian is an Armenian-American librarian living and working in Yerevan. 
18 January, 2019
“Allergy” from Armenian names: Agos daily’s Bagrat Estukian comments on renaming of street with Armenian name in Istanbul

The elections of an Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and the boards of the community institutions remain major issues for the Armenian community of Turkey.

Bagrat Estukian – editor of the Armenian section of Istanbul-based Agos daily, gave an interview to ARMENPRESS, talking about these and other issues.

-Mr. Estukian, what are the agenda issues for the Turkish-Armenian community in 2019?
-In the last 10 years there is a very concrete agenda issue, that is the election of a Patriarch. You know that Armenian Patriarch, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan is ill for a long time, has lost consciousness and is unable to fulfill his duties. Therefore, the patriarchal seat is vacant. Vicar has been appointed, but he is not elected. Therefore, we cannot expect patriarchal duties from him. This is a key issue for us.
In addition, there is also a problem with the elections of boards of community institutions. These elections are not being held for quite a long time. We have over 35 institutions the boards of which are elected by the votes of the people. The state becomes barrier for us, bringsthe formation of a new rules of procedure as a reason, which is not done yet, therefore, we have to wait for that new rules of procedure. I would like to state that not only we suffer this problem: it also touches Greeks and Jews. They as well are deprived of that right.
These elections are very important for us because it led to absence of unity in the community. There is polarization in the community which makes all works difficult, and all these is a result of absence of a leader.

-Are there any preconditions that there will be a progress regarding these two issues?
-There are no concrete preconditions, expectations because there is no clear demand by the authorities. By saying authority I mean the church of the Patriarchate and the representatives of several important structures. In their statements they say that they also want patriarchal elections, but are not taking any action.
-What are the actions this year for preserving the Armenian educational facilities in Turkey? What support do the Armenian schools need?
-Traditionally, these issues find their solution. There is certain regress in terms of speaking in Armenian and attending the Armenian college. The number of school-children of different ages has decreased. But in any case the Armenian educational facilities organize the study process and continue working normally. As for the new literature, teachers training issues, there is always a lot of work to do in this regard. Schools present different initiatives for trainings of their teachers.

-Hrant Dink’s murder anniversary is approaching. What events are scheduled on that occasion?
-Traditionally, during these years on that day we have not initiated any event. Various organizations not linked with us organize events, and we participate in them. We have never been an organizer. This year a massive commemoration event will be held outside the former editorial house of Agos. It will be attended by thousands of people. Commemoration events will also be held in different cities of Turkey.
I would like to state that years after the murder we have the following: the state is not being held accountable for its crimes and hides them. And Dink’s murder case is not an exception.

-Mr. Estukian, in recent days we witness how ethnic Armenian lawmaker of the Turkish Parliament Garo Paylan is being persecuted. What do you think what this can lead to?
-The leader of a party, which Paylan is a member of, is jailed, other figures are also jailed. Therefore, I do not rule out that there will be a threat also for Paylan in this context. Now an attempt is made to strip him off immunity. His speeches concern the authorities, accepting his remarks is like to accept the threat of danger directed to the state. Like Hrant, Garo as well raises the issue of the Armenian Genocide.

-And the last question relates to the renaming of a street with an Armenian name in Istanbul. There is information that there is a decision to rename the Tatyan street of Istanbul’s Bakirkoy district with a Turkish name. In your opinion what is the goal of this?
-It’s a tiny street located between the Armenian Church and school. The Armenian name of the street was very appropriate and adequate because Tatyan was the founder of the school. The local authorities made a decision to change the street’s name. I can state that the main political mind of Turkey is based on Armenophobia. Some circles perhaps get rid of this perception, but the overall ruling ideology is based on that. Therefore, changing the name of the street is not a coincidence, we have presented the situation in this way – an “allergy” from an Armenian name.
Interview by Anna Gziryan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan
17 January, 2019
Armenia expects investments to reach 23-24% over GDP in next five years

Everything will be done so that investments reach 23-24% over GDP within the frames of the Armenian government’s action plan in the next five years, Acting minister of economic development and investments Tigran Khachatryan told reporters after today’s Cabinet session.

According to him, the existing economic subjects constantly upgrade their production, and this is the driving force that must ensure the long-term sustainable development and competitiveness in the market of that company. “Any economic unit, regardless of its field, constantly makes such investments. When we talk about the investments, we specifically attach importance to the implementation of new investment programs: they are numerous and relate to different sectors, both industry and energy. But we also need to know that any discussion, starting from discussion stage up to implementation, passes a path which is not something new. Any new initiative requires time in order to reach the implementation”, he said.

Asked whether there is any positive progress in regards to implementation of investments after the recent snap parliamentary elections, the acting minister said there is a great interest by investors. “Everything will be done so that investments reach 23-24% of the GDP in the next five years. Moreover, the largest part should be the private investments”, he said.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan