Monday, 29 July 2019

Armenian Institute... A Topalian Book Launch ONLY THE DEAD

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Armenian News... A Topalian 8 editorials

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Offers Closer Ties To New UK Leader
July 23, 2019

President Armen Sarkissian expressed Armenia’s readiness to forge closer ties with the United Kingdom in a message to its incoming new Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent on Tuesday.

Sarkissian was quick to congratulate Johnson on winning the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party.

“Armenia is interested in establishing a new kind of cooperation with the United Kingdom in areas of mutual interest and is prepared to take necessary steps in that direction,” he wrote. He said hopes the two nations will achieve closer “multi-sectoral partnership” through a “constructive dialogue.”

Sarkissian lived and worked in London, including as Armenian ambassador to Britain, for nearly three decades prior to becoming Armenia’s largely ceremonial head of state in April 2018. He received British citizenship in 2002 but renounced it about a decade later.

Sarkissian also established a friendly rapport with Britain’s Prince Charles. The two men jointly raised funds for charity projects in Scotland and Armenia.

Johnson will formally replace Theresa May as prime minister on Wednesday. The former British foreign secretary made headlines in May 2018 after being tricked by a Russian prankster posing as Armenia’s newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. Their 18-minute phone conversation was posted on the Internet and widely circulated by international media.

In that audio, Johnson described as “remarkable success” Pashinian-led mass protests that toppled Armenia’s previous government. “You can definitely count on the UK,” he told “Pashinian.” “I admire your vision and what you are trying to achieve.”
23 July 2019
Boris Johnson’s great grandfather was accused of protecting Armenians in Ottoman Empire

 Ali Kemal, the great grandfather of Boris Johnson who just assumed the post of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, was a Turkish journalist who was accused of protecting Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 

An expert in Turkish studies,  Ruben Melkonyan presented details from the life of Johnson’s great grandfather in an interview with ARMENPRESS.

According to him, the grandfather of Boris Johnson’s mother, Ali Kemal was a famous journalist and political figure during the Ottoman Empire who at the end of Young Turks' governance criticized the policy of the Young Turks. Ruben Melkonyan also told that  Ali Kemal became more active and touched upon the Armenian issue after 1918, when the Young Turks were already out of power.

After Young Turks left power Kemal was included in the new government which at that time was fully subordinated to the UK.
“At that time Ali Kemal was the Minister of Interior for a short period. 

Later, when Kemalist movement started backed by the Young Turks, the Republic of Turkey was established and the Kemalists set the Independence Tribunal, which were to sue people with a position against the Young Turks. Ali Kemal was arrested and on the way to Ankara where he had to stand trial one of the governors was giving a speech presenting Kemal as a famous fan of Armenians. The governor handed Ali Kemal to the crowd gathered in front  of the governorate, who killed him and hung his body”, Melkonyan said.

Edited and translated by Tigran Sirekanyan

UPI - United Press Int'l
July 24 2019
 Historian unearths evidence that Istanbul directed Armenian genocide
 New documents suggest the Armenian genocide was both sanctioned and assisted by leaders of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul.
By Brooks Hays

Between 1914 and 1923, during and after World War I, hundreds of thousands of Armenians living in Turkey were systematically rounded up and murdered. Thousands more were forced to flee their homes. Some estimates put the death  toll at more than 1.5 million.
Now, researchers say newly discovered documents suggest the Armenian genocide was both sanctioned and assisted by leaders of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul.

The fact that the Armenian genocide happened is well-accepted within academic circles. However, the Turkish government has continued to deny the culpability of their predecessors.

"The Armenian diaspora is trying to instill hatred against Turkey through a worldwide campaign on genocide claims ahead of the centennial anniversary of 1915," Turkey's president, Recep
 Erdogan, said in 2015. "If we examine what our nation had to go through over the past 100 to 150 years, we would find far more suffering than what the Armenians went through."

Erdogan's sentiments aren't without the support of the vast majority of the Turkish population. As the New  York Times reported in 2015, a poll conducted by the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an Istanbul research organization, fewer than one in ten Turks believe the government should label the atrocities genocide and apologize.

"Turkish government officials continue to use the same argument, the argument that the Ottoman government never had the intent," Taner Akçam, an Armenian genocide expert and history professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, told UPI. "They accept that
 there were casualties and some massacres, but they claim the Ottoman government was not able to control the remote areas and that some Kurdish tribes or bandits or some other group, they committed these kinds of crimes."

What was missing, Akçam said, was a "smoking gun" linking the atrocities to the Ottoman government. That's exactly what Akçam found.

"This new evidence is a major blow against Turkish denialist arguments," Akçam said.

His discovery suggests the genocide was indeed carried out on periphery, not by rogue agents and bandits, but by provincial governors. These governors were in communication with and assisted by leaders in Istanbul.

"This shows the radicalization process started in the provinces," Akçam told UPI.

The evidence, a series of telegrams transcribed, decoded and signed by Turkish officials, was discovered among a slate of new documents released into the Ottoman archive, a collection of historical documents in Istanbul, organized by the government and made
 available to researchers.

The newly discovered letters feature the first unambiguous use of the terms "extermination" and "annihilation" by Ottoman officials, both among the provinces and in Istanbul. Analysis of the signatures confirmed several of the transcribed telegrams were
 authored by Bahaettin Şakir, head of the para-military Special Organization and one of the architects of the Armenian Genocide. 

Though the plan to exterminate all of the Armenians living in Turkey began as a provincial idea, the new evidence suggests Istanbul was eventually convinced to back the genocidal approach.

In addition to the documents retrieved from the Ottoman archive in Istanbul, Akçam also discovered similar letters -- transcribed telegrams -- that were used as evidence in tribunals organized by the postwar Ottoman government.

"There were 63 different trials and more than 200 defendants," Akçam said. "The materials from these court procedures went missing. Government officials never made these court proceedings available to researchers."

Researchers only knew about these tribunals from reports written by daily newspapers in Istanbul. A few of the verdicts were also published by the Ottoman government. But some of the documents from these tribunals ended up in the private archive of a Catholic
 priest in Armenia.

Among the tribunal documents, Akçam found transcribed telegrams using the same coding system -- a series of Arabic letters and numerals to represent words and suffixes -- found among the letters unearthed from the Ottoman archive.

"I went to the Ottoman archive, I discovered that this four digit coding system was the same for both sets of telegrams," he said. "The authenticity cannot be disputed, this was the major discovery."

The transcribed telegrams provided further evidence of communication between those carrying out the genocide in the provinces and military and political officials in Istanbul, including messages that Akçam characterized as "killing orders."

As to why these revealing documents were publicly released by a government intent on denying its predecessors culpability, Akçam guesses officials simply didn't read them thoroughly. The documents in the archives were summarized by officials before being released, and the summaries of the newly discovered telegraphs mention nothing of the details relating the Armenian genocide.

Akçam said his discoveries, summarized in  the Journal of Genocide Research, will further solidify the truth of the Armenian genocide. It's a truth he hopes will soon be accepted by the Turkish government.
According to Akçam, the genocide has implications for the political situation in modern Turkey.

"Turks and the Turkish government has the same problems today with Kurds as the Ottomans had with Armenians in the past," he said. "Armenians were making demands for legal and social equality. The Kurds are making similar demands today."

As a result, Akçam said, the Kurds have been labeled as a security threat and the Turkish government has attempted to suppress these democratic demands.

"Without acknowledging historical wrongdoings, Turkey cannot establish a democratic future," Akçam said.

According to the historian, reconciling with the record of the Armenian genocide is essential for improved relations between Turkey and its neighbors.

"Speaking regionally, if you continue this policy of denialism, this means you have the potential to repeat the same policy against your neighbors," Akçam said. "This is why many of Turkey's neighbors consider the Turkish government a security threat. Without
 reconciling history, peace will not be achievable in the region." 

ARKA, Armenia
July 24 2019
New 150-kilometer road to connect Armenia and Artsakh in 2020

A new 150-kilometer road will connect Kapan and Hadrut in 2020, Armenian National Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan said Tuesday in an interview with Azatutyun TV. 

He said that he had met in Artsakh with newly appointed with his Artsakh counterpart Arshavir Garamyan and discussed investments in strategic infrastructures to enhance the security level and create economic opportunities for developing Artsakh.

“Economic development and security of Artsakh are interrelated, and it is necessary to everything to make investments in strategic infrastructures effective either in terms of economic development or in terms of security,” Armen Grigoryan said in his interview. 

He expressed hope that discussions will be over by the end of this year and the roadmap of the construction will be ready. 

“I can say that Armenia is not is want of resources, but it is n want of capacity for implementation of projects,” he said. “For example, water-supply facilities will be deployed in all strongholds before October 2020.” 

Arminfo, Armenia
July 23 2019
Valeriy Osipyan: Every day, up to 300 cars are imported into Armenia,  our roads are not provided for such a large number of vehicles 
Ani Mshetsyan

I believe that there are several reasons for the growth of accidents, in particular: poor lighting, poor roads, lack of appropriate markings, weather  conditions and non-compliance with the technical standards of the  vehicle. Police  Chief Valeriy Osipyan Osipyan stated on July 24 at a press  conference.

He noted that we are talking about the fact that any vehicle must be  subjected to a technical bridge every year to ensure the safety of  passengers. Moreover, in Armenia there are quite old and technical  worn-out cars, however, their owners refuse to change them for more  modern cars.

Osipyan also noted that the increase in accidents is also due to the  fact that an unprecedented number of new cars were imported to  Armenia this year. "Every day, up to 300 cars are imported into  Armenia, our roads are not provided for such a large number
 of  vehicles," the police chief said. "I am sure that immediately after  the introduction of the point system, this problem will decline from  the very first months.  In our country, we drive cars of the 1970s  and 1980s, which, however, do not pass technical  inspection. Of  course, the police also we have to work on ourselves, we have certain  gaps, and we need to improve, but in this matter, not all the  responsibility lies with us, "Osipyan said.  The Chief of Police also  noted that the issue of technical inspection  is under the  jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport, but it is necessary to  make changes in this matter. To note, today at the press conference  it was noted that the number of accidents in Armenia has increased.  If in 2018 the number of accidents was  1711 cases, this year their  number increased to 2088.

July 24 2019 
Virtual tour in millennia-old Akdamar Church

Witnessing thousands of years of a church’s history that lies in Anatolia is now a click away. As part of its attempt to promote the unique Anatolian heritage to the world, the Turkish Presidency’s Directorate of Communications has prepared a website dedicated
 to the 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church, a medieval Armenian church in  Turkey’s eastern Van province.

Located on Akdamar Island  in Lake Van, the church was built between 915 A.D. and 921 A.D. by architect Bishop Manuel, under the supervision of Gagik I Artsruni, an Armenian king.

The website which provides comprehensive information and visual materials in three different languages, Turkish, English and Armenian, is now open to visitors, some who cannot physically go to the island, or those perhaps interested in seeing a masterpiece that has stood strong in their ancestral lands for centuries.

Efforts to bring together the cultural and historical monuments and museums with visitors in a digital environment gain importance in the world as well as in Turkey.

The website,  which was created as a result of meticulous work with the help of technology, many natural and historical beauties are shown to people who don’t have the chance to see them physically.
VR videos and 360-degree photos prepared using advanced imaging technologies give visitors the feeling of closely seeing the unique harmony of history and nature.

The reliefs and frescoes of the church,  the white flowers of the almond trees surrounding it, and the unique blue of Lake Van are some of the visual beauties that bring the divine atmosphere of this historical place to visitors. In addition, the unique nature of Akdamar is  presented to visitors through the lens of famous photography artist İzzet Keribar.

Speaking about the project, the Presidency’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said that they carried out various research and promotional activities in order to increase awareness
 about the rich cultural heritage that Turkey possesses.
In this context, Altun stated that they realized the first project for Akdamar Church,  which is an important faith center of the Christian and Armenian people.

He said that thanks to the interest of the state and investments, both the island and the historic church became  one of the most popular spots in Turkish tourism.

“Anatolia is a mosaic of different cultures and beliefs. The Armenian community is a part of this mosaic. We will continue to strengthen the bridge of friendship that we have established  by living together for centuries and set an example for the world,” Altun said.
Keribar’s photos on view

As part of the project, the opening of an exhibition featuring
 the photos of Akdamar Church  taken by Keribar was made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 23 at the Hagia Irene Church in Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Keribar said that he had been taking photos for 65 years and won many awards, and that the exhibition was  one of the milestones of his professional life.

He said that he took some 1,000 photos in four days. “One day I got a call from Istanbul. ‘You are in Akdamar,  we wonder if you can take pictures before sunrise?’ they said. We needed to be there at 4:30 a.m. We got there in the dark and I took the photos. Here you see 40-50 photos out of some 1,000.”

The exhibition will  be open to visitors for the next 20 days. The website also  displays Keribar’s Akdamar photos  taken from 14 different spots., Armenia
July 25 2019
New US navy warship to be named after Armenian military 

The command of the US Naval Forces will name its new warship (Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer) in honor of the famous American military figure of Armenian origin Paul Robert Ignatius (Ignatosian), the official website of the US Defense Department reported.

According to the source, the ship’s official name will take place on July 27 at the port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

According to the secretary of the US Navy, Richard Spencer, the new warship will expand the capabilities of the air, underwater, surface, strike and anti-ballistic missile defense

"The future USS Paul Ignatius stands as proof of what the teamwork of all our people - civilian, contractor and military - can accomplish together," said Spencer. "From the start of the acquisition process, to the keel laying and christening, to today’s  commissioning and the many missions she will fulfill going forward, this destroyer enhances our capabilities for air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense.”

Paul Robert Ignatius was born in the city of Glendale, California, in the family of Armenian émigrés Hovsep and Eliza Ignatosian. Paul Robert Ignatius, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration  as assistant secretary of defense for installations and logistics from 1964 - 1967, and secretary of the Navy from 1967 - 1969.

The Independent
Genocides begin in the wilderness, far from prying eyes – in Ottoman Turkey as well as Nazi Germany
New evidence tells a story of Armenian killings carried out in the provinces long before the ‘Medz Yeghern’ was thought to have begun
Robert Fisk 

Many believe the Jewish Holocaust was planned  by the Nazis at a Berlin lakeside villa at Wannsee on 20 January 1942. Most historians still think the Armenian Holocaust was hatched up by the Ottoman Turks in Istanbul in 1915. Of course, we’ve long known that the mass slaughter of Europe’s Jews began the moment the Germans crossed the Polish border on 1 September 1939 – and carried on across the Soviet Union in 1941, seven months before Wannsee. 

But now, almost incredibly, we discover that the liquidation of Christian Armenian men, women and children was first instigated on 1 December 1914 in the far away  city of Erzurum – not on 24 April 1915, when Armenians commemorate the first killings of the genocide perpetrated against them. And that back in that fatal December month, the Turkish “Special Organisation” – the Ottoman equivalent of the later German SS and Einsatzgruppen –
 organised the immediate liquidation of Armenians “liable to carry out attacks against Muslims”.

We already know the terrifying statistics of the two genocides. The Armenian Medz Yeghern (Great  Crime) destroyed a million and a half souls. The Jewish Shoah (Holocaust), which began less than a quarter of a century later, destroyed  at least six million souls. 

The Turks – and, alas, the Kurds – committed these crimes against humanity of the First World War. The Germans – and, alas, many Slavic peoples of the Nazi-occupied states – committed these crimes against humanity of the Second World War. 

The Turks have never, to this day, accepted their responsibility. The Germans have. We still respectfully record how the Turks “hotly dispute” their genocide of the Armenians. We always – rightly – condemn the right-wing Europeans who deny the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

But it is that fine Turkish historian Taner Akcam, in his self-imposed American exile, to whom we this month owe the historically seminal revelation that the Armenians  were targeted for death exactly 31 days after the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on 31 October 1914. The first Armenian victims were only men – the bloodlust to kill their families would come later – in the provinces of Van and Bitlis. But they prove how deeply this war crime was embedded in the countryside of eastern Turkey, in the cities of the periphery rather than the capital.

And thanks to Akcam’s research in hitherto unexplored prime ministerial Ottoman archives, we find, for the first time, a secret order from the local Erzurum government headquarters to the governors of Van and Bitlis to arrest Armenians who might be rebel leaders or might attack Muslims, and ordering them “to be deported to Bitlis immediately in order that they be exterminated”. No euphemisms here – like the Nazis’ infamous “final solution”. The Ottoman officials use the Turkish word for extermination: imhaI in some villages near the town of Baskale, the entire male population above the age of 10 was  killed. Two months later, in February 1915, an Armenian deputy in the Ottoman parliament sent a report from Van to Talaat Pasha, the Ottoman interior minister in Istanbul, who would be held responsible for the entire genocide of a million and a half Armenians,  telling him that “massacres are being carried out in some villages and townships in the environs of Baskale and Saray”. Clearly, local Ottoman officials were instigating the genocide – and then asking their masters in Istanbul to approve their decisions.

Akcam has unearthed evidence that local governors would sometimes travel to Erzurum – almost 800 miles from the Ottoman capital – to hold joint meetings on the killings and then communicate their decisions to Talaat Pasha. One of them – only days before the date on which Armenians today recognise the start of their genocide – records an instruction from Erzurum to the governor of Bitlis to send Kurdish militias after the  Armenians. On some occasions, it is apparent that regional governors would gather around a single telegraph machine in Erzurum and conspire together with Istanbul in an early 20th-century version of a social media conference call: meetings by telegram.

That the governors fully understood the wicked nature of their acts – and clear evidence that Talaat was well aware of their criminal nature – is reflected in the constant instruction that their telegrams were “top secret” and “to be decoded by the recipient only”. One telegram stated that “the copy of the cable was burned here on the spot. Please ensure that Istanbul burns their copy”. 

On 17 November 1914 – scarcely two weeks after Turkey had joined its German and Austro-Hungarian allies in their war against Britain and France, and long before the previously regarded date of the genocide’s commencement – Erzurum governor Tahsin wrote to Talaat that the time had come “to take permanent decisions and orders in regard to the Armenians”. Talaat archly replied that Tahsin should “carry out what the situation demands … until definitive orders are given in regard to the Armenians”.

As historian Akcam writes in his essay in this month’s issue of the Journal of Genocide Research, Istanbul was essentially “giving the green light to Erzurum for the violent actions that it would subsequently carry out”. At the end of November 1914, we find Talaat slyly instructing Governor Cevdet of Van that “until decisive orders are given, it is necessary to carry out the measures demanded by the situation, but judiciously [sic] implemented”.

At  the Gestapo museum, US visitors are drawing their own parallels
Cevdet, under whose authority 55,000 Armenians would be killed, had warned Istanbul that gangs of Armenians were fighting on the side of the Russians in Iran and the Caucasus and that this had been viewed as a “general uprising by the Armenians”. Armenians did indeed ally themselves with Russian troops – for the Tsar was an ally of the Anglo-French entente against the Ottomans – advancing into eastern Turkey. Armenian historians acknowledge this historical fact but point out, correctly, that when Armenians usually took up arms, it was to defend themselves against the Turkish genociders. Around Van, however, there was also evidence, later in the war, that Armenians had revenged their own persecution by massacring the inhabitants of local Turkish Muslim villages.

Hitherto, Turkish historians – other than Akcam and a few brave colleagues – have refused to recognise the Armenian genocide as a genocide.  They have suggested that the deportation of the Armenians may have been prompted by the Allied landings at Gallipoli in the fourth week of April 1915, a few hours before the first Armenian leaders were arrested in Istanbul, or by the Turkish defeat at the battle of Sarikamish in January 1915. But to suggest that the mass killings of a million and a half people could have been devised in so short a time is ridiculous.

 For example, Governor Resit of Diyarbakir told Istanbul of his plans weeks before Gallipoli, expressing the view that “it would be profitable … to implement practices as harsh and effective as necessary against the Armenians”.

Still apparently concerned that the killings in his own district of Sivas had not been given an official imprimatur, Governor Muammer wrote to Istanbul in a telegram  on 29 March 1915 that “if a decision has been taken by the central [government]…that would ensure the orderly mass removal and elimination [sic], I ask that you permit its communication without delay”. Other governors referred to the Armenians’ “annihilation”  and the “implementation of exterminatory measures”.

The start of the Armenian genocide in December 1914 could have been no surprise to the authorities in Istanbul, certainly not to Talaat.

The Erzurum decision was  originally taken by Bahaettin Shakir, the head of the “Special Organisation” and the man largely regarded as the architect of the Armenian genocide. But he was himself a central committee member of the governing Union and Progress Party and had arrived in Erzurum from Istanbul. Perhaps Talaat found it expedient to begin the genocide – or to give the project a trial run – far from the capital and its foreign ambassadors, especially the Americans who would publicly reveal the later massacres to the world.

Akcam himself is still bemused as to why Ottoman archive personnel produced the incriminating papers for him. “The decision and following exterminations resemble  … the first killings of Einsatzgruppen in Poland,” he told me. “I discovered other telegrams from local governors again in the Ottoman archive where the term ‘extermination’ of Armenians is openly used. These are amazing discoveries. I don’t know why they made these documents available for researchers.”

They certainly disprove the idea – widely disseminated by Turkish genocide deniers – that the Armenian deportations and killings occurred when Turkey was experiencing serious military difficulties and the prospect of losing the war. Not only were the Erzurum decisions taken five months before Gallipoli and a month before the Russians destroyed Turkish forces in the forests of Sarikamish; the killing of Armenians was underway well before the Ottoman state was endangered.

The early massacres of Armenians in the far east of Turkey – long before the Armenian community in Istanbul felt threatened – oddly parallels the experience of Jews in Vienna after Hitler’s 1938 Anschluss, when the Nazis incorporated Austria into the Third Reich. 

Jews who fled the mass killing and anti-semitism of the Austrian capital for Germany found that Jews suffered less discrimination in Berlin. This, of course, was not to last. The Germans preferred to commit their grossest crimes of humanity against the Jews outside the Reich: in the ghettos of Poland and the Ukraine – in Babi Yar – in the killing fields of Belarus and Russia and then, after Wannsee, in the extermination  camps and gas chambers set up in Poland.
Hitler followed the history of the Armenian massacres closely and often referred to them in the years before the Second World War. 

Nazi Germanyenvied the Turks for having “purified” the Turkic race and German diplomats in Turkey during the First World War witnessed the Armenian deportations in cities far from Istanbul. Rural Muslim Turkish and Kurdish communities far from the sophistication
 of Istanbul or Smyrna might have more easily accepted the first brutalities; they were certainly to participate in them. In other words, local towns provided the impetus for killing the Ottoman empires’ minorities, just as Baltic and Ukrainian militias allied to the Nazis did not need to be instructed to murder their Jewish neighbours. Nor were the Croatians ordered by Berlin to slaughter their Serbian neighbours after Germany occupied Yugoslavia in 1941; they did so without orders from Berlin. The roots of their genocidal racism already  existed.

Does this apply to Rwanda, where up to a million Tutsi and moderate Hutus – including 70 per cent of the Tutsi population – were massacred in the 1994 genocide?

 This was centrally organised and planned, but the execution of these crimes against humanity was in the hands of Hutus across the entire country, where neighbours killed neighbours. And in their persecution and murder of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and
 Syria, Isis – which included Muslims from around the world – may not have been specifically aided by the local population; but while Arabs tried to protect their neighbours, others systematically looted their homes and property after Isis had slaughtered or  deported the owners.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem lecturer Umit Kurt studied the 1915 dispossession and killing of Armenians in the southern city of Aintab and found that local Turkish Muslims freely and willingly participated in the crimes. What he discovered was that a genocidal government must have the local support of every branch of respectable society: tax officials, judges, magistrates, junior police officers, clergymen, lawyers,  bankers and, most painfully, the neighbours of the victims. Not to mention the governors. 

In other words, leaders do not commit genocide, not on their own. Ordinary people do. And holocausts can start far from home, in the frozen east, and long before  the date we all believed the bloodbaths began.

Armenian News... A Topalian 8 editorials

Panorama, Armenia
July 13 2019
Artsakh reports over 90 Azerbaijani ceasefire violations over past week

The Azerbaijani armed forces violated the ceasefire along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact over 90 times in the past week, the country’s defense ministry reported on Saturday. In the period from July 7- 13,
 the adversary fired around 800 shots towards the Armenian defense positions from firearms of different calibers, the ministry added.

As the statement said, the Defense Army frontline units strongly adhere to the ceasefire regime and continued confidently implementing their combat duties.

Prensa Latina
July 16 2019
Syria Received 100 Tons of Humanitarian Aid from Armenia

Syria has received 100 tons of humanitarian aid offered by the Government of Armenia, officila sources reported Tuesday in Damascus.
An Ilyushin Il-76 plane loaded with Armenian humanitarian aid landed in the Russian air base of Hemeymim, in the province of Latakia, reported the newspaper Al-Watan.
It added that 100 tons of Armenian assistance arrived in Syria in three flights, and includes wheat, rice, cereals, oil and basic aid material that will be distributed to Syrian families in need.
Armenia had sent a brigade of doctors and deminers to Aleppo province, where there is an Armenian community of more than 100 people.

ARKA, Armenia
July 15 2019
Ryanair and Wizz Air planning to enter Armenian market 

. Ryanair and Wizz Air are planning to enter Armenia’s market, Tatevik Revazian, head of the General Department of Civil Aviation of Armenia, told journalists on Monday summarizing the results
 of one year of her activity in office. 

“The low coster companies have already expressed their willingness to enter the Armenian market in summer 2020 if all difficulties in acquisition of new aircrafts are settled,” she said.

In her words, to make the Armenian air market more attractive to lowcosters, the department has worked out legislative changes, which imply preferences, including air tax exemption, for launch of new routes. 

She said this approach will be applied only to new routes and only with taking their financial risk exposure for companies. 

“We intentionally don’t assign preferences to air companies, since this can lead to monopolies, unfair competition and price rise in the future,” Revazian said. “We offer preferences for new routes for five years. If, for example, Yerevan-Marseille flights
 are operated by Ryanair, it will enjoy preferences, and if Air France launches flight s in the same routes, it will have preferences as well.” 

She said the project is almost ready and is likely to be put on the National Assembly’s floor in late August.

Both companies, she said, expressed their interest in working with Armenia in writing.
16 July, 2019
Number of foreign visitors to Armenia rises by 14.4%

The number of foreigners who visited Armenia during the 1st 6 months of 2019 was by 14.4% higher than the number of the same period in 2018, ARMENPRESS reports PM Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page.
''By the way, touristic season just starts. I hope our entrepreneurs, starting from taxi drivers to small shop assistants, will meet nicely the tourists.

Each tourist returning back from our country with good impressions raises Armenia's international reputation and increases the economic and touristic attractiveness of our country'', he wrote.

Edited and translated by Tigran Sirekanyan
15 July, 2019
Armenia’s team wins five medals at International Physics Olympiad

Armenia’s team won five bronze medals at the International Physics Olympiad, Minister of education, science, culture and sports Arayik Harutyunyan said on Facebook.

“This means that all members of our team return with medals. Last year our team won one silver, one bronze medals and one certificate. Next year we should develop our success and work on raising the quality of the medal”, the minister said.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan, Armenia
July 15 2019
Armenia put on list of countries that produce most waste 

Armenia is included in the list of countries producing the most waste per capita, USA Today reported. 
According to a study conducted by Tempo, Canada ranked first, leaving behind Bulgaria and US.
Every citizen of Canada accounts for 36 tons of garbage per year. In Bulgaria, each citizen accounts for 26.7 tons of garbage per year, and in the United States - 26 tons, the source noted.

Armenia ranked sixth. For every citizen of Armenia accounted for 16.3 tons of garbage per year.

According to the source, in 2014, Armenia produced almost 493,000 tons of municipal waste.
“Armenia produces relatively little municipal waste, with nearly 493,000 tons in 2014. It also ranks among the countries producing the least amount of agricultural and construction waste. However, what contributes  to Armenia’s rank among the world's biggest producers of waste is the huge amount of industrial waste it produces. Of the nearly 48 million tons of total waste the country produces, 47.3 million is industrial,” the source noted.

The list also includes Estonia (23.5 tons), Finland (16.6 tons), Sweden (16.2 tons), Luxembourg (11.8 tons), Ukraine (10.6 tons), Serbia (8.9 tons).

Panorama, Armenia
July 15 2019
Armenian authorities agree general vetting of all judges is ‘neither necessary nor useful’ – Venice Commission

The authorities of the Republic of Armenia have reached an agreement with the Venice Commission that it is ‘neither necessary nor efficient to carry out general vetting of all sitting judges instead disciplinary  procedures should be strengthened and a link with the asset declaration system established.’ The agreement is reflected in the session report of the 119th plenary session of the Venice Commission which contains references to the situation around Armenia’s  judicial reform.

The document said that discussions around the judicial reforms of Armenia were held during the visit of the delegation of a high Council of Europe officials led by the Director General on Human Rights and the Rule  of Law, including the Secretary of the Commission.

It is noted that an agreement had been reached to amend the country’s Judicial Code by end of July for which Armenian authorities had requested an urgent opinion of the Venice Commission. At its meeting the Enlarged  Bureau has authorized the preparation of the urgent opinion which will be forwarded to the requested side prior to October Plenary Session, said the document. 

Emerging Europe
July 15 2019
Armenia sees big increase in tourist spending

Armenia’s prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that tourists arriving to the country spent approximately 120 million US dollars more in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period of
 the previous year.

Quoting a report from the Central Bank of Armenia, around 85,000 more tourists visited the country in the last six months compared to January-June 2018, adding that they spent 75 per cent more in restaurants,  36 per cent more in travel agencies, 32 per cent more in hotels and 30 per cent more in stores, while their use of ATMs increased by 20 per cent in the first half of the year.

The chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia, Artur Javadyan, noted that the average spending of tourists had increased by more than 17 per cent from 2013 to 2018, with 300 hotels opening over the last
 six years.

Eurasia Times
July 11 2019
Armenian lake faces destruction: ecologists 

Armenian environmentalists say the country’s largest lake is facing extinction from  algae and falling water

The authorities must take action or  “the lake will turn into a swamp” through water-logging, according to the Aysor website. 

Karine Danielyan, an ecologist who heads the government’s environmental committee, said it was the government’s publication of satellite pictures of the algae this month that provided the final proof.
“We warned them about this two months ago. All the measures may be in place, but we are still destroying Lake Sevan through our thoughtless actions,” Danielyan told Aysor.

The water level in Sevan should be lowered to carry out the cleaning work and then restored, Prosperous Armenia party MP Hrant Madatyan argued.
Bardukh Gabrielyan of the Zoology and Hydroecology Research Centre at the National Academy of Sciences said organic substances and phosphorus must be prevented from leaching into rivers that flow into the lake. It  was necessary to install sewage treatment on the main rivers, Gabrielyan added. “There are several such plants in the region, but they carry out only mechanical cleaning of sewage waters, which is not enough,” he said. 

Gabrielyan told the media it was necessary to restore fish stocks, including crucian carp and crayfish.
Armenian Environment Minister Erik Grigoryan tried to put the algal bloom in the context of climate change, pointing to similar outbreaks in Russia’s Lake Baikal and the Black Sea but ecologists said specific Armenian  factors were also to blame. 

Grigoryan said the algae would “be gone within a fortnight”. 

The minister said: “Previously the cleaning works affected 80 or 100 hectares per year but, with the participation of the prime minister’s staff, the cleaning works will take place both this year and the next two
 years and will affect 770 hectares.”

Sevan experienced an algal bloom last year and swimmers were advised against using the lake. Grigoryan said there was a similar scare in 1964. But recent satellite pictures show almost half of the lake is now green,  pointing to a problem on a larger scale than in the past. 

Water resources specialist Knarik Hovhannisyan said too much water was withdrawn for irrigation, which has led water levels to fall four times since 2012 when they should have risen.

She told the media that pollution from multiplying tourist resorts on the shore and sewage in the rivers that fill the lake “could mean losing the only freshwater basin in the region”.Drigoryan said a government contract bidding process aimed to clean up the shore and rivers so “by 2020-21 this whole area will be completely clean” and water levels should rise again.

Armenian water committee chairman Vardan Melkonyan said less water had been drawn from Sevan this year with 29 million cubic metres removed, compared with 43.5 million in the first half of last year.