Friday, July 30, 2010

Armenian-American lawyers file federal lawsuit against Turkish government

Armenian-American lawyers file federal lawsuit against Turkish government
July 30, 2010 - 13:21 AMT 08:21 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian-American lawyers filed a federal lawsuit on July 29 against the Turkish government and two banks seeking compensation for the heirs of Armenians whose property was seized nearly a century ago as they were driven from the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Lawyers were seeking class-action status for the suit, a process that attorney Brian Kabateck said could take as long as three years.
"We are rolling up our sleeves and are going forward," he said.
The suit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Garbis Davouyan of Los Angeles and Hrayr Turabian of Queens, N.Y. It claims breach of statutory trust, unjust enrichment, human rights violations and violations of international law.
It seeks compensation for land, buildings and businesses seized from Armenians along with bank deposits and property, including priceless religious and other artifacts, some of which are now housed in museums in the Republic of Turkey.
Attorney Mark Geragos said it was the first such lawsuit directly naming the government of the Republic of Turkey as a defendant.
"All of the lawyers involved have relatives who perished or fled the Armenian genocide, which gives it a special poignancy for us," he said.
The lawsuit claims more than a million Armenians were killed in forced marches, concentration camps and massacres "perpetrated, assisted and condoned" by Turkish officials and armed forces.
Also named in the lawsuit were the Central Bank of Turkey and T.C., Ziraat Bankasi, the largest and oldest Turkish bank with origins dating back to the 1860s.
The lawsuit claims the government of Turkey agreed to administer the property, collect rents and sale proceeds from the seized assets and deposit the receipts in trust accounts until the property could be restored to owners. Instead, the government has "withheld the property and any income derived from such property," the lawsuit said.
A message left with the Turkish Consul General's office in Los Angeles was not immediately returned. After-hours e-mails seeking comment from both banks were not immediately returned.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs believe records of the properties and profits still exist, and they are seeking an accounting that could reach billions of dollars.
Geragos said the biggest issue in Armenian communities is seeking recognition for the ethnic bloodshed that claimed the lives of as many as 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1919.
In 2000, the California Legislature recognized the deaths as genocide when it allowed heirs to seek payment on life insurance policies of dead relatives.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later invalidated the law. Geragos has appealed that ruling.
Still, the heirs were paid nearly $40 million by New York Life Insurance Co. and French insurer AXA, AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch reported.

Russian military base to ensure security of Armenia

Armenia and Russia are set to sign a protocol bringing in force changes into the agreement on deployment of a Russian military base in Armenia, Interfax reported. In addition to protection of interests of Russia, the Russian military base in Armenia will ensure security of Armenia acting jointly with Armenian Armed Forces.For the mentioned goals, Russia “is making efforts to provide Armenia with modern and compatible military equipment,” the protocol said.In addition, it was proposed to one of the articles as follows: “The Treaty will be in force for 49 years and will be automatically extended for five more years, if neither side notifies the other party about an intention on suspending the protocol, and this notification must come no later than six months before expiration of the period.”The protocol is liable to ratification.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hotel violence against Russian, Armenian tourists in Turkey

Hotel violHotel violence against Russian, Armenian tourists in Turkey July 27, 2010 12:08 An Armenian tourist who plans to spend his holiday in Turkey is offered Mediterranean beaches, five-star hotels, perfect pastime and vivid impressions. Believe us, vivid impressions are guaranteed, whereas the desired blue water and five-star hotels are only a dream. The Saranjyans, who recently returned from Turkey, met with a correspondent. Below is a story told by the housemother Lianna Mamayan.“The doctor advised a rest by the sea for my younger son’s health. We decided to go to Turkey. We applied to the Tez Tour travel agency. We preferred the Aventura-park five-star hotel in Alanya. We paid U.S. $4,000 for four and insured ourselves. On July 6 we went to Alanya and on our way there we knew from our companions that we were the only family to stay at Aventura-park. I was a little worried – I thought it would be better for us to have our nationals with us, because we were going to Turkey.“In short, our family went to the Aventura-park hotel. It was claimed to be a five-star hotel. The same information was on the Internet. However, an unbiased ranking would not even rank it among 3-star hotels. The seashore was dirty and we knew that the sewage was flowing into the water for swimming. To switch on the air conditioner we had to have a deposit, the linens were dirty. We ‘enjoyed our holiday’ this way until July 16, when we had an incident no tourist in any civilized country would meet with. First of all, the male personnel were going beyond all the bounds in dealing with women, especially Russian women – no matter they were with their friends or even married.“We had the impression that the hotel staff did their best to please the hotel owner and his son. The girls they struck up acquaintance with were seen in company with the hotel owner and his son the same evening. Two girls from Russia, one of them an Armenian girl, were staying at the hotel with us. The hotel staff members tried to strike up acquaintance with them, but were turned down. On July 16, the girls were sitting at the table in the lounge. They were working on their laptop. Waiters approached their table and pulled the cloth off the table so that the laptop nearly fell on the floor. The girls reproved the waiters, but they got into an argument and told the girls to ‘shut up.’ Four young men from Russia were sitting at the next table – two of them Armenians. They tried to find out what had happened. In answer, Turks used foul language, and there was a scuffle. The security guards did not do anything to part the sides. All the male staffers attacked the four boys and beat them up in everybody’s presence. At last, some of the holiday-makers interfered and parted the sides. The young men were taken to one of the lounge bars.“At that moment, my husband and I were coming back to the hotel and tried to get in touch with our elder son Hovhanes. At that very moment, Hovhanes returned to the lounge. The four young men, who had made friends with him before, asked him to bring their mobile phones. One of the hotel staff members hit Hovhanes with his shoulder and, turning back to him, insulted him. Hovhanes said he was careful, but the Turk began to push him. There was a fight, and 20 people beat up my son. A Tatar man from Russia tried to help Hovhanes rise, but the Turks attacked the man, beat him and broke his ribs. When I saw Hovhanes after the scuffle, I could not recognize my son. His face was swollen even after we washed the blood off. When my husband Artur tried to find out what had happened, about 20 hotel staffers took him and his friend Khachik out of the building and beat them up. One of the staffers took out a knife, another sprayed tear gas.“The nightmare lasted for three hours. I could not turn to anyone for explanations. There was an Armenian woman from the United States with us. She spoke Turkish. I asked her to talk to the hotel owner. I told her that the hotel personnel were outraging, and we would complain. ‘Who are you going to complain to? I have no problems in Alanya. Complain to whoever you want,’ the owner said. When he knew we were from Armenia, he was filled with disgust.“A Tez Tour agent arrived at the hotel. He could not do anything to calm down the hotel staffers who were in the ‘heat of passion.’ I told him Hovhanes needed medical aid. He had been stuck on the head. The agent told me he could not get in touch with Armenia to specify the insurance. He told me to get in touch with Yerevan myself. I showed him the documents proving the insurance, but that did not help.“Toward midnight Turkish policemen arrived and arrested the four Russian young men, my husband and Khachik. They came to our room to arrest Hovhanes. I thought it was a nightmare.“I told the Turkish policeman he could not arrest my son, who was under age. He was saying something in Turkish, moving forward to put handcuffs on Hovhanes. I lost my nerves. I began to shout at him, saying I would sue him and all police for illegally arresting innocent persons, whereas those guilty were walking about the hotel. I told him that arresting a boy under age was a crime.“At last I told him to arrest me and my 11-year-old son because I was not going to leave my children alone. The policeman looked at me and left the room.“My husband and Khachik did not stay at the police station long. The Tez Tour agent went to the police station and talked to them, asking them to release Artur and the other arrestees. They were released, but the policemen tried to trump up charges against the four Russian boys. They were charged with starting a drunken brawl. I do not know how, but Artur and his friends persuaded the policemen to release the boys.“I had never felt so helpless and lonely. I could not hold back my tears after we came back. The group members asked me about what had happened, and I told them.“At that moment a woman said: ‘They should have behaved themselves, nothing would have happened. I have spent my holiday in Turkey for five years, and nothing like that has ever happened to me. Let them set normal prices in their Armenia, and I will spend my money there.“I was stunned. There was no point in answering. But our family decided to never visit Turkey again.”P.S. reminds readers that Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations, and Armenian citizens are defenseless in case of any legal or other problems.ence against Russian, Armenian tourists in Turkey

An Armenian citizen has been lost in Turkey while on holiday.

Armenian tourist mysteriously disappears in Turkey
15:58 • 28.07.10
An Armenian citizen has been lost in Turkey while on holiday.According to Turkish daily Sabah Anna Davtyan had with her friend arrived in Antalya on July 15. But two days after the arrival she decided to return to Dubai where she lives already a year since her marriage. On July 17 after saying her friend goodbye at the hotel Ann mysteriously disappeared. Anna’s mother Karina Davtyan has left for Istanbul in search of her daughter.Mrs. Davtyan is afraid that Anna might have been kidnapped. “My daughter is six months’ pregnant. She used to call me all the time. I am afraid she may be kidnapped,” she was reported as saying.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NKR considers Hague court ruling on Kosovo independence important

NKR considers Hague court ruling on Kosovo independence important
July 23, 2010 - 22:06 AMT 17:06 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Stepanakert will continue efforts toward international recognition of Karabakh independence, NKR President Bako Sahakyan stated.
As he emphasized at the briefing in Stepanakert, NKR considers Hague court ruling on Kosovo important and favourable to international recognition of Karabakh independence.
Bako Sahakyan noted that Stepanakert is conducting a constructive policy aimed at Karabakh issue settlement, stressing that NKR will never again agree to accept Soviet-time status.
On 22 July, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion on Kosovo's declaration of independence. The ICJ ruled that a declaration of independence does not violate any UN resolution or international law.

Monday, July 19, 2010

OSCE MG Co-Chair countries issue joint statement

OSCE MG Co-Chair countries issue joint statement

July 17, 2010 14:19

The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Russian Foreign Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, released the following statement today. posts the text.

“The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg met on the margins of the OSCE Informal Ministerial with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The Heads of Delegation of the Co-Chair countries recalled the joint statement on Nagorno-Karabakh of December 1, 2009 at the OSCE Ministerial meeting in Athens and reminded the sides of their commitment to seek a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles contained in the Helsinki Final Act, particularly those related to refraining from the threat or use of force, the territorial integrity of states, and the equal rights and self determination of peoples. They reiterated that the elements articulated by Presidents Medvedev, Sarkozy, and Obama on July 10, 2009 at L’Aquila and repeated at Muskoka on June 26, 2010 must be the foundation of any fair and lasting settlement to the conflict. These proposed elements have been conceived as an integrated whole, and any attempt to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution. Foreign Minister Kouchner and Deputy Secretary Steinberg expressed appreciation for the efforts of President Medvedev and Foreign Minister Lavrov to bridge the differences between the parties, taking into consideration the positions discussed during the meetings in Sochi on January 25, 2010 and in St. Petersburg on June 17, 2010.

The Heads of Delegation of Russia, France, and the United States stressed that the efforts made so far by the parties to the conflict have not been sufficient to overcome their differences. They deplored recent developments which have increased tension in the region, including the serious armed incident of June 18-19, 2010 and inflammatory public statements. They warned that the use of force created the current situation, and its use again would only lead to suffering, devastation, and a legacy of conflict and hostility that would last for generations. They urged a greater spirit of compromise to reach agreement on a common basis for continuing the negotiations. Additional actions by the sides are needed to reinforce the ceasefire of 1994 and to create a more favorable atmosphere for further political dialogue and reaching agreements. The Heads of Delegation of the Co-Chair countries renewed their commitment to support the sides in reaching a peace agreement, but reiterated that the primary responsibility to put an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains with Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders.”

News from Armenia -

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bill foreseeing criminal liability for Armenian Genocide denial is submitted to French Senate

Bill foreseeing criminal liability for Armenian Genocide denial is submitted to French Senate
July 9, 2010 - 19:01 AMT 14:01 GMTPanARMENIAN.Net - Currently, the bill is at the stage of discussion, the Senate said on its website.

On October 12, 2006, the French National Assembly adopted the bill foreseeing criminal liability for denial of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. To put the bill into effect, it should be approved by the French Senate and signed by President. The bill envisages 1-year imprisonment or fine at the amount of 45,000 euros.

Armenians have repeatedly faced the problem of the Armenian Genocide denial at educational institutions of France.