Thursday, September 30, 2010

Detailed Report: The Mass in Akhtamar, and What’s Next

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Detailed Report: The Mass in Akhtamar, and What’s Next
By: Harout Ekmanian
VAN (A.W.)–”Victory is in the realization of mad men’s dream…” This, written in big Armenian letters along with a photo of Akhtamar Island’s Holy Cross Church, ran on the front page of the local daily newspaper Van Times on Sept. 19, produced in cooperation with the Istanbul-based Agos weekly on the occasion of the Holy Mass ceremony in that church, which took place on the same day.

The scene outside the church. (Photo by Talin Suciyan)
Cheering headlines were common on the front pages of other local newspapers, too. While newspapers like SehriVan, Bolge, Prestij, and Vansesi were presenting the event as “a contribution to the world peace and a bright example of tolerance,” other newspapers like DoguAnadolu were sinking deep into details by criticizing their colleagues for missleading the public by presenting the Mass as a first after 95 years, and not 92 years―matching it with the date of the Armenian uprising of Van in 1918, in an attempt to fuel more historic hatred against “traitor Armenians.”
In 1951, Yasar Kemal, a reporter of Kurdish origin, witnessed the beginning of the demolition plan on the island of Akhtamar while visiting the region. He used his contacts to stop the destruction of the site and raised awareness of it through his writings. This is how a masterpiece of world and Armenian medieval architecture was saved for today’s Mass ceremony. The church, however, was left in a dilapidated and abandoned state until 2005, when the Turkish government decided to begin restoration efforts.
In an interview to the Armenian Weekly, the governor of Van, Munir Karaloglu, who followed the event from a helicopter flying over the island, said that restoration was carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, and that it cost nearly $1.5 million. In 2007, it was finished and opened as a museum. Today a restoration and renovation project is being considered for the rooms of a seminary outside the walls of the church, which is also part of the monastery complex on Akhtamar Island.
“Maybe we cannot rebuild those rooms in their entirety, but we can conserve what is left of its walls and restore them,” said Karaloglu. “It would be difficult to build a new dome and cover the top, but we will work to restore and show the general architectural design of those few rooms of the monastery complex. The cost of this restoration process will be fully covered by the government of Turkey.”
Answering a question about an incident that happened a month ago—when students from Armenia attempted to pray inside the church, but were stopped—Karaloglu said that although it is clear that the architectural design and purpose of the building is to serve as a church, its legal status is a museum, and the temporary permission to perform a Mass there on Sept. 19 does not affect its legal status.

And inside the Church. (Photo by Talin Suciyan)
Regarding this once-yearly permission, Karaloglu explained how “during the opening ceremony of the church in 2007, the Patriarch of the Armenians of Turkey Mesrop Moutafyan expressed his wish to do a Mass ceremony in the Holy Cross Church of Akhtamar at least once a year [on the second week of September, which matches the Holy Cross Day in the calendar of the Armenian Church]. Till today this request wasn’t fulfilled. This year, after renewing their request, I, as the governor of Van, stated that we can bring this to reality, and we had the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to perform the Mass once a year in this church.”
By noon on Sept. 19, only several dozen Armenians from Armenia had arrived to the island, with the same number coming from the diaspora. According to the representative of the Spiritual Council of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, Father Tatul Anus, the number of Istanbul Armenians who came for the Mass was nearly 700.
Despite the lack of official numbers from that day, Turkish newspapers estimated the presence of 4,000-5,000 people. During the liturgy, however, local Turks and Kurds outnumbered Armenians several times; some of them had come out of curiosity, others for a weekend getaway on the shores of Van.
Official guests included the general director of cultural monuments and museums, Osman Murat Suslu; the mayor of Van, Bekir Kaya; the governor of Gevas province of Van, Yusuf Guni; the mayor of Gevas, Nazmi Sezer; the mayor of Sur, Abdullah Demirbas; the ambassador of Germany in Ankara, Eckart Cuntz; and several diplomatic mission representatives in Turkey from the United States, France, Netherlands, Sweden, and other countries.
The Holy Mass started at 11 a.m. with the sound of ringing bells played by a tape, and ended after two-and-a-half hours. As Patriarch Mesrop Moutafyan is permanently ill, the Holy Mass was headed by the president of the Religious Council of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, Archbishop Aram Atesyan. Fifty-five official guests attend the Holy Mass inside the church—a small space at 45 m²—while others watched the ceremony from the big screens placed outside of the church. While 148 Turkish and 63 foreign journalists covered the event, only Turkish State Official Television TRT was allowed to enter the church during the ceremony.
After a very long absence, a liturgy was finally performed in the church. But, in spite of promises by Turkish officials, the church’s dome still missed its cross. A few days prior to a referendum in Turkey on constitutional changes, the deputy minister of culture and tourism, Ismet Yilmaz, had said that a cross would not be placed on top of the cone-shaped dome of the church, citing technical difficulties.
“The reconstruction, which was carried out by Italian specialists, makes it impossible for the dome to support the 2-meter, 200-kilogram cross,” he said. “If we put up the cross without making any changes, even a breeze will harm the dome. We plan to invite other specialists to solve this problem.”
While the government was very careful not to do anything that could be used by the nationalist opposition during the referendum, many accused the Turkish authorities of reneging on their promise to place a cross on the church’s dome ahead of the much-awaited Sept. 19 Mass, prompting hundreds of pilgrims to cancel their visit. Critics say the Mass was merely a facelift to improve Turkey’s image and promote its bid to join the European Union, which has been pressuring the country to grant more freedom to its minorities.
According to Omar Khashram, a major Arabic news channel correspondent and analyst on Turkish issues, the government has goodwill towards minorities, especially Armenians, but is facing huge pressures from the nationalist opposition.
“You may believe the official explanations of not putting the cross, or may not, it’s up to you,” Khashram said. “But an Armenian priest here told me that this is a great step, we appreciate it and we demand more later on, but we do not work to abort this kind of positive moves.”
“I think that Armenians should take advantage of this event and work harder to get more rights, because the political atmosphere in Turkey is not easy at all,” he continued. “When they decided to open this church, huge pressure was put on the government, even from Azerbaijan. I think we should work gradually to achieve better results.”
After the Holy Mass, Archbishop Atesyan gave the Sunday speech. “What matters for us is that this building, which is being preserved as a museum, will be passed on for the future generations. This church is a masterpiece of art and culture, and that’s why it belongs to the whole of humanity. We thank the government of Turkey for renovating and protecting this church,” he said.
Although Archbishop Atesyan considers the Mass to be an important gesture from the Turkish government, secular and religious leaders from Armenia and the diaspora called for a boycott after it became clear that a cross would not be installed in time for the ceremony. The majority of Armenians who arrived from Armenia were journalists, many of whom came with financial support from various international organizations. The diaspora media, on the other hand, did not dispatch many journalists to Akhtamar, even though the Turkish prime minister’s office sent invitations offering to cover all expenses.
In a recent interview with reporters, the senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Giro Manoyan, said that because of the enormous violations of international agreements and human rights in Turkey, some are feeling content enough that they have such an opportunity to pray inside the church―at least once a year. “This is what Armenians of Turkey are saying,” he told reporters. “They’re telling us, what else do you want? Here we are going to pray in the church.”
“Of course, we also want to pray in that church,” said Manoyan, “but we want to pray 365 days a year, not the day that Turkey chooses.”
According to Manoyan, Turkey continuously tries to connect the problems of its minorities with the original countries of those minorities. “In fact, all those monasteries and cultural monuments belong solely to Armenians, not necessarily the Republic of Armenia; there are other legal owners of those monuments. All these issues must be discussed on legal grounds and not be used as a political bargaining chip in Turkey’s relations with Armenia,” he said.
The editor in chief of Agos weekly, Rober Koptas, pointed out that while the restoration of the Holy Cross Church and the Mass are important steps, they were accompanied by some major problems, too.
“The Turkish government is using this event as a cheap propaganda tool for its political goals,” he said. “Maybe in the beginning the government had some noble motivations, but during the last three-and-a-half years, their moves were painted with absolute political calculations. This event would have been more meaningful if it was going to help the Turkish government and the people to face their history, but we understand now that this is just another diplomatic gesture. Whenever the Turkish government faces difficulties on the political ground they take such small steps to win more time. The last issue in this chain was about the placement of the cross on the dome of the church. In April, they stated that the cross would be placed on the church, but a few days ago they stepped back pointing to ‘technical difficulties.’ Armenians all around the world can see and analyze these facts and that’s why they are boycotting this event. If the Turkish government really had good intentions they would have done their best to prevent the boycott.”
According to Koptas, the Turkish government wants to paint a tolerant image for the world. “They want to tell the world that they don’t put any differences between Turks and Armenians and they don’t have any complexes regarding the Armenians, but this itself is a problem, because they do not regard Armenians as equal as Turks,” he said.
“If they want to use this event to create a decent dialogue with Armenians, they should also listen properly to the other side,” he added.
According to local newspapers in Van, Governor Karaloglu has promised that the cross will be placed on the church within six weeks, and ordered that it be temporarily placed on a stand near the entry of the church during the day of the Mass. The many excuses given by Turkish officials, however, for the postponement have not been viewed as sincere by many critics; after all, if it is possible to do it a few weeks later, why not do it before the liturgy, to make sure that more people come, including those from Armenia and the diaspora?
Renowned journalist and Zaman newspaper columnist Yavuz Baydar told the Armenian Weekly that the placement of the cross should have been included in the restoration process of the church. “This issue must be solved quickly because there can’t be a church without a cross, like there can’t be a mosque without a crescent,” he said. “However, I am not concentrating on the issue of the cross because there are more positive things to look upon. Today, the Mass in this church is of a huge importance.”
“No one must forget that civil society movements in Armenia and Turkey, all those who voted for political change in Turkey, are supporting this process to have more cordial relations with Armenia, and to be able to face their history,” said Baydar. “Eventually, this is not only a policy of Ankara, but the representation of the will of a wide range of people and organizations in Turkey,” he added.
Speaking about the cross problem, Turkish writer and journalist Baskin Oran told the Armenian Weekly that “sometimes the AK Party has the courage to begin a process, but it doesn’t have enough courage to complete it, because the AK Party is a coalition of different groups in itself.”
“If Erdogan was stronger, like Turgut Ozal was in some periods, we would have witnessed the placement of the cross on the church today,” he said. “However, I don’t think that this is an important issue. The important thing is that when Turkey does such moves and sees that the country is not falling apart, it will have more courage to go further in the normalization process.”
According to Oran, until now, Turkey has been trying to assimilate the non-Turkish Muslims in Turkey, while dealing with the non-Muslims through ethnic and religious cleansing, because it is not possible to assimilate the non-Muslims. “What we are seeing today is that those who suffered our ethnic and religious cleansing are coming against us like zombies, while those whom we wanted to assimilate are carrying their guns and going to the mountains,” he said. “Both were the wrongdoings of our nation-state, and the opening of this church today serves to acknowledge those mistakes.”
Today, only about 40 Armenian churches remain from the 2,500 that once dotted Turkey; the rest were destroyed, ransacked, and turned into mosques or schools. Why has only this site been restored and presented to the world, while other Armenian churches and monasteries in the region are left to their bitter fate? The alternative, said Oran, was to have nothing at all.
“I think that there are at least as many churches in the Republic of Armenia which need restorations,” he said. “But I know about other restoration projects that have started, too. This is a long way, and while you’re at the first step of a 100 steps road, you cannot ask why you didn’t make those 99 steps too… We should not forget that we are breaking a 87-year-old nation-state mentality, which is a very dangerous mentality. We are bringing back the Ottoman Empire’s good values, which is about recognizing the heterogeneous and multicultural nature of this country,” he added.
Regarding the fate of what remains of the Armenian cultural and religious heritage in the region, Governor Karaloglu explained how “a hundred years ago, there was a huge Christian Armenian population living in this region, and all their churches and monasteries are left abandoned here. Maybe the church of Akhtamar was the most famous among all of them, that’s why it was done first and it is the most talked about. But we also started to put plans of renovation for other churches too, such as the Monastery on Carpanak Island [Gdouts, in Armenian]. The plans will be submitted to the Higher Council of Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection, and only after their approval the project will be put into implementation.”
“We also have another restoration plan for the Seven Churches monastery, which is called Varaka Vank by the Armenian community,” he said. “Also another restoration plan is being studied for the church of Surb Thomas, five kilometers west of the Altinsac (old name, Kantzak) on the shores of Lake Van. Whenever we finish these study plans, we will start searching for funding to initiate these projects. Most likely, we will look for international foundations interested in preserving the cultural and architectural heritage in the world.”
Istanbul-Armenian architect Zakaria Mildanoglu was included in every step of the restoration project of the Holy Cross Church in order to avoid any possible disagreement over the process. Mildanoglu told the Armenian Weekly that the region of Van, which is historically the Vaspurakan region of ancient Armenia, had nearly 220 monasteries—apart from the churches, which numbered more than 400.
“There are some people in the Turkish government who have the willingness to work on the restoration of more Armenian churches and cultural monuments,” he said. “There are projects encouraged by Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay, being carried out on Varaka Monastery, and the churches on Lim and Gdouts islands of Lake Van. The initial plans are already set. There will be also cooperation with architects and professionals from Armenia, as it had been in the case of Surb Khatch of Akhtamar.”
Mildanoglu said that another restoration project is in process, too. It’s the renovation of Surb Giragos Church of Tigranakerd (Diyarbekir), which is the biggest Armenian church in the Middle East and still belongs to the Armenian Patriarchate. The project is mainly funded by the Armenian community of Turkey, in addition to many other Armenian organizations and associations from abroad.
“I think that this a step towards the right direction, but there are still too many steps to be taken,” said Kapriel Chemberdjian, a Syrian-Armenian philantrophist and president of the Pyunik PanArmenian Benevolent Fund, who is also one of the donors for the renovation project of Surb Giragos.
“I have some hope. For example, today, there are only two Armenians living in Diyarbekir, and the restoration of the Armenian church there needs more than $3 million. But that’s not a problem, the church of Diyarbekir is worth restoration regardless of anything, because it is ours. We may be able to do a Holy Mass ceremony there once or twice a year, but not more, because there are no Armenians left there. But our cultural heritage will be preserved,” he said. “We should also think about how to protect and claim ownership of these monuments, while there is no Armenian population. I think that this an important problem too.”
While plans are still being researched, these churches need immediate attention to protect them from both people and nature.
A day after the ceremony, a group of Istanbul Armenians, along with priests from the Patriarchate, visited the Varaka Monastery, seven kilometers west of the city of Van. The dome of the Surb Nshan Church of the monastery complex no longer exists, and the bending columns inside the church have been fixed with tied metal sticks by the local Kurdish guard, Mehmet.
Mehmet, who is being paid the lowest wage (asgari ucret, in Turkish), said that “although I am not a mason, I am doing everything in my hand to help this church not to pull down.”
“I wrote more than 100 requests to renovate this place, but I didn’t get a reply. I only had some woods and thin metal plates once, and I covered the open dome with that, so the rain water doesn’t fill inside the stones and harm them more,” he said.
The situation in Varaka Vank, however, appears to be better than that of Saint Thomas in Altınsac, which doesn’t have a guard at all, like most of the other remnants of Armenian churches and monasteries in Van and throughout Turkey.
“Many people believe that Armenians buried their treasures inside their churches before they were gone,” said the guard of Varaka Monastery. “That’s why some people always try to dig inside these places or vandalize the walls in search of those treasures, ruining and destroying the site in the meantime.”
One of the visitors, an Istanbul-Armenian, who was listening to the guard, had an emotional moment inside the church after learning that locals were using the monastery as a stable for their animals.
“Myths about buried treasures might be true or exaggerations,” he said. “Nevertheless, besides restoring and renovating these monasteries and churches, probably local people should also be educated about the real treasures, which are not under the ground, but on the surface, right in front of them, and they are in a desperate need for human care and protection.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turkish nationalist party, ignorant of history, to utter an Islamic prayer in Cathedral of Ani

Turkish nationalist party, ignorant of history, to utter an Islamic prayer in Cathedral of AniSeptember 27, 2010 13:06
The Chairman of the “Nationalist Movement Party” Devlet Bahceli has decided to start parliamentary election campaign by uttering a prayer in Cathedral of Ani on October 1.
The MP made such a decision to counterbalance the liturgy in Surb Khach (Holy Cross), the Star newspaper reports.
It seems to the parliamentarian, who is ignorant of history, that the Armenian church, built in 1001, was built during the invasion of Halep Aslan in 1064. Interestingly, the sign on the church reads in Turkish language the church was built in 1001. It seems to the Turkish MP, he will say a prayer in the so-called Fetie mosque.
The Cathedral of Ani is an original pearl of Caucasian architecture. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey.
The Cathedral was founded by the order of King Smbat II and was completed under the patronage of the wife of King Gagik I, Queen Katranide. The cathedral was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The talented architect Trdat completed the building of the Catholicosal palace and the Mother Cathedral of Ani.
News from Armenia -

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Akdamar rite spurs search for Armenian legacy in Turkey's East

The historic religious ceremony held Sept. 19 at an Armenian church in eastern Turkey will have long-lasting effects, according to Armenians who anticipate more churches being restored and more people reclaiming their ethnic identities.
“Families from all corners of Turkey are coming to us in search of the roots of their families. Members of my own family have changed their identity cards to be listed as Christian,” Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, deputy patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. “Many people who had ‘Muslim’ written in their identity cards are confessing that they are hidden Armenians.”
Following the killings of Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, many of those remaining in the area changed their names and assumed identities as Kurdish Muslims. According to Ateşyan, the current process of democratization in Turkey is slowly eliminating the fears that led people to take such measures.
That process had perhaps its most dramatic manifestation to date in the rite at the Surp Haç Church on Akdamar Island near the eastern province of Van, the first such service to be held there in 95 years. Though that church has been the subject of intense media focus, it is only one of several Armenian monasteries and churches in the province, where a number of villages are still known by their Armenian names. Local residents say many of the buildings have been demolished, especially since the mid-1990s.

'There is big change,' says local journalistAs hotels in Van struggled to accommodate the thousands who attended the rite at Surp Haç Church observed on Sept. 19, some visitors stayed in the houses of the local residents. The idea of accommodating visitors in local houses belonged to Aziz Aykaç, owner of the two daily local newspapers, one of which is Van Times, published in Turkish, English, Kurdish and Persian. He said more than a thousand families applied to host visitors in their homes. “Well, obviously we expelled them (Armenians), that is why they were welcomed warmly.” “I am a Kurd. But all of my father’s neighbors used to be Armenian,” he told academic Baskın Oran, who wrote his impressions of their interview in daily Radikal. “Here there are many families that have Armenian members. They know, everyone knows, but no-one talks about it. They will only talk about it when the circumstances are right,” he said. Aykaç believes people in the region have a kind of bruise on their subconscious. “We massacred, we expelled. Everyone should know the name of their village by its Armenian name,” he said. Aykaç said there has been a huge change. “There is a transformation (happening at the moment). I don’t know how to describe it,” he said. Aykaç said he has visited the governor of Van with two additional proposals to expand local consciousness of the Armenian cultural heritage of the area: to hold marriage and baptism ceremonies in the church. “He approached it with a positive view,” Aykaç said.
In the village of Nareg, 40 kilometers north of Van, only a few stones remain of the Naregevank Monastery complex, which a man who identified himself only as Mahmet said the village people were ordered to demolish in the 1990s. Homes have been built on the former site in Nareg, a village named for the 10th-century philosopher Krikor Naregatzi, considered the greatest poet of the Armenian nation. Mahmet, 95, who said he is of Kurdish origin, also claimed the governor’s building in the center of Van was built from the stones taken from the Naregevank Monastery.
Varakavank Monastery to be restored
The Varakavank Monastery in the village of Yukarı Bakraçlı, also known as “seven churches,” is little better off than its counterpart in Nareg. Only one floor is left of the once-impressive monastery, built in 1003 by the Armenian King Senekerim. All of the invaluable manuscripts once held in its library have been lost.
The Van Governor’s Office told the Daily News in August that the monastery will soon be restored, as will the Ktuts Monastery on Lake Van’s Çarpanak Island, part of efforts to turn Van into the culture and tourism center of Turkey’s East.
The owner and guardian of the now-defunct Varakavank Monastery is an Armenian who hides his ethnic identity. Kerim avoided revealing his family name and introduced himself as a Kurdish Muslim. Kerim said when his father died he left the monastery’s land to him and said he should protect the church at any cost, in the name of Christ.
“His wish surprised me. We were Muslim and I did not understand why he wanted me to protect the church in the name of Christ,” Kerim said, adding that he only learned upon insistent questioning of older relatives that the family was in fact Armenian.
Kerim said he worked as the village imam for all his life and lived as a pious Muslim. He keeps the monastery locked and maintains strict control over the visitors who are allowed to enter. He cleaned the interior on his own and laid all the stones in a corner, in numerical order, in hopes that it will one day be restored. Because he is influential in the village, no one interferes with his efforts, but Kerim said he has experienced a lot of difficulties in his life.
“It was not that easy to protect this place,” he said.
Fears and hopes of finds
The small steps toward reclaiming Van’s Armenian past have aroused some controversy and speculation. Mehmet Tuncel Ağa, the guide who accompanied the Daily News to the villages in the area, said the lands Armenians left in 1915 are now under the control of his Büriki clan, one of the biggest in eastern and southeastern Anatolia. The son of Fariz Ağa, the head of the clan, Tuncel Ağa said members of the Turkmen tribes who settled in the homes abandoned by the Armenians feared their houses would be reclaimed by Armenians who came to attend the Akdamar rite.
According to Tuncel Ağa, there was considerable uneasiness among them before the ceremony, and many people came to share their fears with the leaders of the tribe. “We said the fears are groundless and that the Armenians were just coming for the ceremony,” he said, adding that he made every effort to host the Armenians from Istanbul who came to Van for the event.
Tuncel Ağa also said Victor Bedoyan, an Armenian-American entrepreneur who tried to set up a business in Van in 2002, was treated unjustly. “He opened a hotel here with the name Vartan, but some did not want to see an Armenian managing a hotel. It was closed by the Culture Ministry. We did not object to it. We made a mistake. We did not foresee the current situation,” Tuncel Ağa said.
If the opportunity to open the hotel had not been taken from Bedoyan, then the region would see more tourists today, he added.
There is also a pervasive belief in some villages that the Armenians must have hidden their valuables before fleeing the region, sparking interest in recent excavations near cemeteries. Arşo Ağa, a villager who is a member of the Büriki clan, said he is working on the excavation in hopes of finding treasure.


Obama "reminded" Aliyev about the necessity to maintain ceasefire

Obama "reminded" Aliyev about the necessity to maintain ceasefire
September 25, 2010 - 10:46 AMT 05:46 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - At New York meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, U.S. President Barack Obamareaffirmed his support for the OSCE Minsk Group process to resolve the Karabakh conflict, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the ceasefire along the line of contact. Obama stressed the need to find a peaceful solution based on the Helsinki principles of non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples. The leaders also discussed regional security issues and ongoing energy cooperation.
Issues of shared interest and ways to further strengthen relations between the two nations were discussed.
President Obama he expressed hope that Azerbaijan as a young democracy would implement democratic reforms and increase protections for human rights, calling on Azeri authorities to release two jailed bloggers. “Strong institutes of civil society contribute to fostering economic growth and stability in Azerbaijan,” the U.S. President stressed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

World Chess Olympics: Armenia smashed Turkey

World Chess Olympics: Armenia smashed TurkeySeptember 23, 2010 18:03
The Armenian men’s national team defeated the Turkish team in the third round of the 39th World Chess Olympics.
Levon Aronian defeated Baris, Vladimir Hakobyan-Emre and Arman Pashikyan-Merta.
Only Gabriel Sargsyan ended the game in a draw.
News from Armenia -

500,000 “hidden” Armenians in Turkey?

500,000 “hidden” Armenians in Turkey?September 24, 2010 11:55
Yusuf Halaçoğlu, the ex-chairman of the Turkish Historical Society, is fiercely indignant over the awakening of national identity among “hidden” Armenians.
One of the Turkish nationalistic websites has put on his statement saying: “Several years ago I warned many Armenians were concealing their national identity, claiming they were Kurds. I stated all that on the basis of data from U.S. archives which gave them an alias ‘Armenian Kurds’. According to the information at my disposal, about 500,000 Armenians concealing their national identity and claiming to be Kurds are residing in Turkey now,” Halaçoğlu said. According to him, Armenians’ national identification in Turkey creates favorable conditions for growing demands for restitution on the Turkish Government. He stressed that this process will also cause similar processes among the other Turkey-based minorities, namely, Turkmens and Alevis.
News from Armenia -

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Abdullah Gul and Barack Obama congratulate Armenia's president on Independence Day

On the occasion of Armenia's Independence Day Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has received numerous congratulatory messages from leaders of several countries, as well as from influential international organizations and private citizens. The congratulatory message by US President Barack Obama reads as follows:"Dear Mr. President, the United States joins you and all Armenians in celebrating Armenia's Day of Independence.
"On this occasion we express our appreciation and respect for the spirit of the Armenian people and their achievements all over the world.
"The US is proud of the historic ties and friendship between our countries and values the contributions of so many Americans of Armenian ancestry. We congratulate the people of Armenia on their national day."Among other officials congratulating Mr Sargsyan on this occasion are also Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, Sweden's King Carl Gustav, Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, President of the Serbian Republic Boris Tadic, Switzerland's President Doris Lyotard, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nicolai Bordiuja and others.

Abdullah Gul and Barack Obama congratulate Armenia's president on Independence Day

On the occasion of Armenia's Independence Day Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has received numerous congratulatory messages from leaders of several countries, as well as from influential international organizations and private citizens. The congratulatory message by US President Barack Obama reads as follows:"Dear Mr. President, the United States joins you and all Armenians in celebrating Armenia's Day of Independence.
"On this occasion we express our appreciation and respect for the spirit of the Armenian people and their achievements all over the world.
"The US is proud of the historic ties and friendship between our countries and values the contributions of so many Americans of Armenian ancestry. We congratulate the people of Armenia on their national day."Among other officials congratulating Mr Sargsyan on this occasion are also Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, Sweden's King Carl Gustav, Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, President of the Serbian Republic Boris Tadic, Switzerland's President Doris Lyotard, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nicolai Bordiuja and others.

Sassounian: Who Won Akhtamar Propaganda War: Armenians or Turks?

2 CommentsTue, Sep 21 2010 Published in Harut Sassounian, Top Story Email Print
Sassounian: Who Won Akhtamar Propaganda War: Armenians or Turks?
By: Harut Sassounian
The Turkish government failed to attract the expected crowd of thousands of worshippers from around the world to the first Mass in almost a century, held at the Holy Cross Church in Akhtamar Island, on Sept. 19. Only a few hundred Armenians showed up, mostly from Istanbul.

Drawing by Tatul Sonentz, The Armenian Weekly.
Turkey failed miserably in trying to deceive world opinion into believing that it is tolerant towards Armenians. Eventually, it became obvious that Turkish leaders were more interested in putting on a political show than allowing a religious ceremony in a thousand-year old Armenian house of worship.
I wrote a column three years ago criticizing the Turkish government for converting the Holy Cross Church into a state museum. At the time, I urged Turkish officials to 1) place a cross on the church’s dome; 2) designate it as a church rather than a museum, and allow regular celebration of Divine Liturgy; and 3) revert ownership of the church to the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul instead of placing it under the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Earlier this year, the Turkish government promised to place a cross on the dome of the church and allow services to be performed there on Sept. 19. I urged Armenians not to participate, knowing that Turkish officials’ true intent was to stage a political show under the guise of religious ceremonies.
An intense debate ensued among Armenians on whether to boycott or attend the church services. Articles exposing the Turkey’s sinister plans did little to settle the controversy. Making matters worse, the Holy See of Etchmiadzin and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem announced plans to send representatives to the Akhtamar church, although the Catholicosate of Cilicia declined to participate.
Finally, a lucky break! The Turkish government came to the rescue. A few weeks before the scheduled ceremony, a Turkish official announced that it would not be possible to place the promised cross atop the church, making the ridiculous excuse of “technical difficulties.”
Prime Minister Erdogan was caught in a dilemma. Had he allowed the cross to be placed on the dome, he would have scored points with world public opinion, but would have lost crucial votes in the hotly-contested Sept. 12 referendum on constitutional reforms.
The cross finally saved the day! The Holy See of Etchmiadzin canceled its plans to send representatives to Akhtamar. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem did likewise. Tour operators called off their arrangements to take large numbers of Armenian worshippers to Lake Van. As a result, Turkey lost the propaganda campaign and considerable income.
In a last ditch effort to increase attendance, a few days before Sept. 19, Prime Minister Erdogan’s office sent invitations to the Armenia media, offering all expense paid visits to Akhtamar, including free round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations and meals. Another fifty Armenian commentators and analysts received similar invitations, all of whom refused to go because of Turkey’s refusal to install the cross.
Inadvertently, the Turks forced most Armenians to do the right thing and cancel their visits to the Holy Cross Church. Interestingly, the Turkish government behaved similarly when it declined to ratify the Armenia-Turkey Protocols, thereby safeguarding Armenia’s interests.
While the Armenian public, civic groups, and some political parties opposed the Turkish plans at Akhtamar, the Armenian government remained remarkably silent. For unknown reasons, Turkey did not invite Armenian officials to the Holy Cross ceremonies. In view of the embarrassing games Ankara played with the Armenia-Turkey Protocols and the subsequent collapse of soccer diplomacy, it appears that Armenia’s leaders were not too eager to join Turks in yet another ploy.
Regrettably, Armenians wasted far too much time and energy arguing with each other about going to Akhtamar. This distraction prevented them from organizing protests in major capitals to inform the world about the long history of Turkish atrocities, destruction of thousands of churches, and occupation of historic Armenian lands.
However, the boycott of the ceremonies because of the missing cross caught the attention of the international media. Ironically, Turkish officials helped further undermine their own cause, by placing the cross on the ground next to the Holy Cross Church, in full view of the public and TV cameras.
The Turkish government has now promised to place the cross atop the church in six weeks. Regardless of what Turkey decides to do with the cross, Armenians should pursue their own course of action, rather than simply react to the petty games of Turkish officials.
At this point, the only announcement Armenians are interested in hearing from Ankara is the return of the Holy Cross Church to the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Armenian couple engaged in Sourb Khach

An Armenian couple got engaged in Sourb Khach Church (Saint Cross) in Van, eastern Turkey.The engagement ceremony took place after the Sunday’s one-off mass served almost a century after Ottoman Turks forced Armenians to leave their homelands in Western Armenia. According to Turkish news agency Anadolu, the engagement service was conducted by the leader of the spiritual council of the Constantinople Patriarchate of the Armenian Church.Speaking to local Turkish daily Hurriyet after the engagement ceremony Tamar Aljali (the bride) and Avinis Bicakci, descendents of two Istanbul-based well-known Armenian-Turkish families, said they were very happy to have their engagement in Sourb Khach.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Armenia, Iran Set To Start Power Plant Construction

Armenia, Iran Set To Start Power Plant Construction

Armenia -- The river Arax marking the Armenian--Iranian border.
Hovannes Shoghikian
After years of negotiations, Armenia and Iran will start building two major hydro-electric stations on their border in the coming weeks and possibly days, Energy Minister Armen Movsisian announced on Thursday.
Movsisian said he and his Iranian counterpart Majid Namju will inaugurate the start of construction work on the Arax river separating the two countries immediately after signing a relevant agreement in Yerevan. The dates of Namju’s upcoming visit to Armenia are still being “clarified,” he said. Other officials told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the Iranian energy minister will likely arrive before the end of this month. The Armenian government formally approved the agreement and authorized Movsisian to sign it at a meeting earlier in the day. Prime Minister Tigran hailed the impending launch of the “important” commercial project that will give a major boost to Armenian-Iranian commercial ties. The agreement envisages that the two power plants will be built on either side of the Armenian-Iranian border and have a capacity of 130 megawatts each. They both are to be built by an Iranian company, Farad-Sepasad, in the next five years.
Armenia -- Energy Minister Armen Movsisian talks to journalists on October 16, 2009.According to Movsisian, Armenia will finance its share of the project, which he estimated at $323 million, with future electricity supplies to Iran. “The Iranians will build, exploit the facility [located on the Armenian side of the border] and recoup their investments with electricity to be generated there,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “We need will 15 years to pay back the [Iranian] investments with electricity supplies,” he said, adding that the plant will then become property of Armenia. “This is going to be a cascade [of two hydro-electric stations] whose first facility will be located in Armenia,” explained Movsisian. “That is, water will first flow to and be used on the Armenian side and only then reach to the Iranian plant.”Energy has been the focal point of Armenian-Iranian economic cooperation. It gained momentum in late 2008 with the inauguration of a natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries. Armenia began receiving modest amounts of Iranian gas through that pipeline in May last year. The volume of those deliveries is expected to soar in the next few years.Movsisian said in July that the planned construction of a third high-voltage transmission line connecting the Armenian and Iranian power grids and another Armenian-Iranian fuel pipeline will also get underway by the end of this year. The minister did not comment on these projects on Thursday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Turkey Found Guilty by European Court

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday found Turkey guilty of failing “in their duty to protect the life and freedom of expression” Hrant Dink. The court also ruled that Turkey should pay damages of 100,000 euros ($135,000) to Dink’s wife, Rakel and his children. An additional 5000-euros were awarded to Dink’s brother and the court ordered Turkey to pay 28,595 euros to the applicants for costs and expenses.The Court unanimously found that Turkey had committed two violations of Article 2 (right to life—lack of an effective investigation), a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in conjunction with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that it would not appeal the case at the European court. In its statement, the ministry said precautions would be taken to prevent similar breaches of rights in the future.More...

Tankian, ANCA, AYF Launch ‘Yes, It’s Genocide’ Campaign

Urge President Obama to Recognize Armenian Genocide and Stop Killings in Darfur-Online Kick-Off Set in Weeks Leading to September 21st Debut of Tankian’s “Imperfect Harmonies” Album Featuring Song Dedicated to Victims of All GenocidesGrammy-winning multi-platinum singer/song writer Serj Tankian has teamed with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) in calling on President Obama to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide and take decisive action to end the genocide in Darfur, with the September 9th launch of the “Yes, It’s Genocide” campaign.The effort, named in honor of the song of the same name to be released on September 21st on Tankian’s “Imperfect Harmonies” album, encourages Tankian fans and anti-genocide activists to visit and send a free ANCA Webmail to President Obama to take immediate action.“We are honored to team up with Serj and the AYF once again to expand Armenian Genocide education and anti-genocide activism through this innovative ‘Yes, It’s Genocide’ campaign,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “No doubt, President Obama’s actions to date on the Armenian and Darfur Genocides have fallen far short of his own commitments and, more importantly, of the core American values that should guide our nation’s policies. Together, through continued vigilance, increased outreach and broad grassroots activism, we must, as citizens, create the political will necessary to compel our government to deal truthfully and justly with all genocides.” More...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cross on dome of Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar island to be set until September 19

Cross on dome of Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar island to be set until September 19
September 11, 2010 - 18:16 AMT 13:16 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A cross on the dome of Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar island will be set until September 19, Chairman of Van Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zahir Kandasoglu told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
According to him, the placing of cross was postponed due to the September 12 referendum. However, a cross will definitely be set prior to the liturgy.
The first liturgy in 95 years will be offered in Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island on September 19.
The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and Jerusalem Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church have rejected their participation in the liturgy.

‘A Testimony to the Past, and Future’: The Armenian Heritage Park’s Groundbreaking Ceremony

‘A Testimony to the Past, and Future’: The Armenian Heritage Park’s Groundbreaking Ceremony
Posted By Nanore Barsoumian On September 11, 2010 (8:19 am) In News
BOSTON, Mass. (A.W.)–On Sept. 9, the Armenian Heritage Park’s groundbreaking ceremony took place on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway’s Parcel 13, near Boston’s Faneuil Hall, and drew a crowd of about 1,000 people.

His Holiness Karekin II and governor Deval Patrick. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo, The Armenian Weekly)
State Representative Peter Koutoujian, honorary chair of the Armenian Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors, made the opening remarks, offering his warm welcome to all those present, including State Representatives Aaron Michlewitz, Salvatore Dimasi, and Jonathan Hecht, Senators Anthony Petruccelli and Steven Tolman, former Governor Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty, Registrar Rachel Kaprielian (also an honorary chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors), His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Governor Deval Patrick, as well as the students of St. Stephen’s Armenian school and the Armenian Sisters’ Academy. Koutoujian also thanked the North End and Wharf District communities for welcoming the park project.
Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino spoke first. “It is great today to be celebrating the groundbreaking of the Armenian Heritage Park, and more progress on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. This park will celebrate Boston as a capitol of not only tolerance, but togetherness,” said the Mayor. He also thanked the Armenians Heritage Foundation for building and caring for the park.
Congressman Michael Capuano, who represents the eighth Congressional district of Massachusetts spoke next. “As Peter said, every Armenian person I’ve ever met has been proud to be an American… Based on what I saw of what the people in Armenia did when they were threatened in the not too recent past–thank God they have a good military heart–but having seen the way they fought against odds, surrounded on all sides by enemies, not only just political enemies that don’t like you, I mean people who want to kill you and wipe you off the map. Once I knew the people of Armenian heritage wanted this park, I knew you were going to win,” he said.

State Representative Peter Koutoujian addresses the audience. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo, The Armenian Weekly)
Capuano then talked about the Armenian Genocide issue that Congress faces; adding that there have been efforts to rewrite history, “But there are some things in history you cannot change. The Armenian Genocide is one of them. It is a fact.”
He added, “My troubles are not with the Turkish government, I want to be very clear about that. I regard them as allies of America and most of the things we want. That doesn’t give anyone the right to deny historical facts. We will get it right eventually,” said the Congressman.
Governor Patrick took the podium next. “I am so proud to stand with you today to pay tribute to human perseverance, because that is what this park represents. It is yes, an acknowledgement of that historic fact that one of my favorite Congressman so aptly put – that the Armenian Genocide is real. It happened. It must be acknowledged. It cannot be denied,” the governor said.
“But it has value and importance well beyond even that tragedy in human history. Because as long as there has been human history, there has also been human tragedy; and it is absolutely essential that we take occasion to pay tribute to the perseverance of the human spirit wherever it shows itself,” he added.
“We are what we are because of our willingness to face horrors like the Armenian Genocide, and to use them as reminders that the best of who we are, and the best of what we want to be is founded in tolerance and understanding. Let this park be a permanent tribute to that,” concluded Patrick.
The clouds hanging overhead did not yield any rain, for which both speakers and audience members seemed grateful. Governor Patrick even thanked His Holiness Karekin II for the fortunate weather. “I want to also thank the Catholicos for making sure it doesn’t rain today,” joked the Governor. “I had nothing to do with it, though I might take credit as election day gets closer.”

Architect Donald J. Tellalian talks to students during the groundbreaking. (Photo by Nanore Barsoumian, The Armenian Weekly)
Representative Peter Koutoujian then thanked the vice presidents of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, Charles Guleserian and Haig Deranian– whom he described as two “God-sent guardians”–and the “medz (big) guardian,” James Kalustian. He noted how under Kalustian’s leadership a board was established, comprised of representatives from 13 churches, and 25 organizations from the Armenian American community.
Kalustian then described the characteristics of the park, its design and construction plans, its abstract sculpture, labyrinth, water features, endowment, maintenance, and the lecture series on human rights that will take place there–starting with its inauguration in Boston’s Faneuil Hall, on Sept. 23.
The project, whose value exceeds six million dollars, is a gift from the Armenian community to the citizens of the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston, said Kalustian.
He then spoke of the Armenian experience, the immigrant experience, of escaping persecution only to find hope and freedom in America. “And this park will stand in tribute to these Armenian immigrants, and to many other immigrant communities who escaped tragedy and misfortune and found safety in these shores of Massachusetts and in the harbor of Boston,” he said.
The Armenian Heritage Park, he added, will also stand witness to the fact that the Armenian American community is not defined by the Genocide; and remembered the likes of “the world renowned artist” Arshile Gorky, the composer Alan Hovhanness, the photographer Yusuf Karsh, Dr. Varaztad Kazanjian the pioneer of reconstructive and plastic surgery, and Movses Kuledjian, the “little known man whose foundry not only cast the bronze irons that adorn the Old State House behind us, but he also started the fundraising campaign that saved the treasure that is Boston’s old ironsides.”
Kalustian ended his remarks with words that will soon appear at the base of the park’s sculpture: “For centuries, Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have offered hope and refuge for immigrants who have sought to begin new lives. This park is a gift to the people of the Commonwealth and the city of Boston from the Armenian American community of Massachusetts. The sculpture is offered in honor of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. May it stand in remembrance of all genocides that have followed, and celebrate the diversity of the communities that have re-formed in the safety of these shores.”

L-R: Primate Barsamian and Prelate Choloyan. (Photo by Nanore Barsoumian, The Armenian Weekly)
The Armenian Weekly had the opportunity to speak with the project’s architect, Donald J. Tellalian of Tellalian Associates Architects and Planners, LLC, a subscriber to both the Armenian Weekly and the Hairenik Weekly. “After reading the front page [of the Weekly], I go straight to page six to read Uncle Garabed’s Notebook,” he confessed. Apparently the architect is fascinated with words and is a dedicated fan of Uncle Garabed’s weekly dose of “What’s in a Name.”
Primate of the Eastern Diocese Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, and the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan conducted the Armenian service of blessing, and offered a few words in celebration of the event, and in welcoming His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.
His Holiness Karekin II then made his remarks. “More than 230 years ago, Boston was among the handful of new American cities that cradled the yearning for liberty and the drive toward independence. Just over a century ago, the first Armenians arrived at its shores fleeing the persecution, oppression, intolerance, and injustice of the Ottoman Empire, in search of a better life, with barely the clothes on their backs. And they were received by Bostonians, with care and kindness,” said His Holiness.
His Holiness added, “We are gathered together to reconfirm the vision and spirit of our predecessors. We dedicate this ground to the memory of 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide, but not only that, we consecrate it in memory of all victims of genocide, before and after 1915, for the victims of the Holocaust, of Cambodia, of Rwanda, and Africa. Dear friends, this park is a testimony of not only the past, but to the future as well. It is a promise to coming generations, of survival, rebirth, renewal, and service, for the sacred promise of a better tomorrow.”
Article taken from Armenian Weekly - to article:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


TURKS CHEATED US THROUGH ARAM ARCHBISHOP ATESHYAN, SAYS TURKOLOGISTTert.am06.09.10The decision to open the Sourb Khach Church (Saint Cross) in Van fora one-off mass later this September was a challenge for Armeniansinitiated by the Turkish propaganda, Turkologist Ruben Melkonyan saidat a press conference today.In his words Turkish propaganda is multi-layered and pursues variousaims, and the Armenian side, unfortunately, held very surfacediscussions."We discussed [only] whether or not to go [and attend the mass]. Wedid not get deep into the issue," explained he, adding that Turkey'sargumentation that the cross will not be placed on the dome of thechurch due to technical reasons, is simply a mockery."Can't the large Turkish state place the 200-kg cross? Thisargumentation is the most simplistic and unsuccessful step by theTurkish authorities," said he, explaining that there are some otherserious reasons why Turkey doesn't want to do so.One of the reasons, according to him, is that Turkey is holding aconstitutional referendum on September 12, but the opposition isagainst those constitutional reforms."In so far as there is anti-Christian atmosphere in Turkey, the ratingof the Turkish authorities would drop in the eyes of its people bythe placement of the cross," explained he.The fact that the Mother See of Holly Etchmiadzin decided to sendtwo clergymen to the mass, according to Mr Melkonyan, is a right andrestrained one. But at the same time he mentioned that the Armenianside hurried a little as it did not take into account that one ofthe characteristic features of the Turks is to promise and then denythe promises.Further he said that by that mass the Turks cheated us by usingArchbishop Aram Ateshyan, the Deputy Patriarch of the ArmenianPatriarchate of Constantinople."Turks are presently presenting themselves to the world under a maskof a democrat but in fact they continue to act with the psychologyof the Young Turks," said he, adding that he also concerned aboutthe fact that Sourb Khach has not so far been given a status."The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople had better know thatit will go and serve a mass in a monument-museum that hasn't beenanointed."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Turkish expert recognized Armenian Genocide and talked about Turkish phobias

Turkish expert recognized Armenian Genocide and talked about Turkish phobias
“I think Turkey should recognize Armenian Genocide,” Turkish political expert Zafer Yoruk declared during a meeting with the reporters in Yerevan. Yoruk is a doctor of political sciences. Before talking about Genocide issue, Yoruk said he doesn’t present Turkey here but himself.
“The majority of Turkish society thinks if the Genocide is recognized Armenians will come and own their lands. Psychologically and economically Turkey has great fear,” Yoruk said. ”To the question if he wouldn’t have problems with his authorities since he recognized Armenian Genocide, Yoruk said he didn’t have any till today.
Turkish expert spoke about Turkish phobias saying there are two groups of them – representatives of elite group are Islamists and the middle layer is the holder of Islamic ideology.
“For the elite group Islamism is a dream, but for the middle layer it’s fear.”Country’s society which id divided into two groups doesn’t riot because both are afraid of losing Turkish identity and becoming Christian.Turkish expert said the treaty of Sevr is another nightmare for Turks.

Holy See of Echmiadzin refuses to take part in Surb Khach church service

Holy See of Echmiadzin refuses to take part in Surb Khach church serviceSeptember 04, 2010 18:34
The Holy See of Echmiadzin has refused to take part in a religious service in the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) church on Akhtamar Island, Van, Turkey. The service is scheduled for September 19. The press service of the Holy See of Echmiadzin informed that the Holy See knew with regret that the installation of the cross on the dome of the church had been put off.
“The Holy See had been assured that a sanctified cross would be installed on the dome a week before the September 19 service,” the press service said.
Considering the refusal to install the cross, the Holy See refuses to send two of its representatives to take part in the service scheduled for September 19.
At the request of the Constantinople Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Bishop Markos Hovhannisyan and Archimandrite Komitas Hovhanyan were to take part in the September 19 service on behalf of the Holy See. In its turn, the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia stated in advance that it would not take part in the official opening ceremony of the Surb Khach church thereby stressing its protest against Turkey’s consistent denial policy and attempts to pose as a human rights defender before the international community.
Turkish authorities have made a disgraceful step by stating that that, for technical reasons, they cannot install the cross on the dome of the Surb Khach church on Akhtamar Island before September 19. They state the cross would be installed after the religious service.
News from Armenia -

Friday, September 3, 2010


Turkish expert is sure Aliyev bluffing
Ilham Aliyev’s armed statements and war threats are but bluffing, Turkish expert, professor of Bosfor University Behul Ozqan declared in a televised show by “Kentron” TV Company. He said he’s sure Aliyev doesn’t want to settle Karabakh conflict, especially by war.

“I think Aliyev doesn’t want to settle Karabakh conflict since status quo is beneficial for him. He has a chair of millions of oil dollars and he has got those deals because he promised there won’t be a war. Everybody knows that oil pipeline is 30-40 km far from Armenia, and if a war starts Armenia can bomb it,” Turkish expert said adding “Aliyev just talks to his people.”
Turkish expert said he’s sure that is a bluffing; he blamed Azerbaijan for not being a democrat country. “In a non democratic state the best way to talk to people is promise over the return of lost lands.” Talking about Armenian-Turkish ties, Ozqan said; “there’s a powerful lobby in Turkey and they have certain impacts on the government. Turkey can’t open the border seeing Azerbaijan’s panic.”



Turkish expert is sure Aliyev bluffing
Ilham Aliyev’s armed statements and war threats are but bluffing, Turkish expert, professor of Bosfor University Behul Ozqan declared in a televised show by “Kentron” TV Company. He said he’s sure Aliyev doesn’t want to settle Karabakh conflict, especially by war.

“I think Aliyev doesn’t want to settle Karabakh conflict since status quo is beneficial for him. He has a chair of millions of oil dollars and he has got those deals because he promised there won’t be a war. Everybody knows that oil pipeline is 30-40 km far from Armenia, and if a war starts Armenia can bomb it,” Turkish expert said adding “Aliyev just talks to his people.”
Turkish expert said he’s sure that is a bluffing; he blamed Azerbaijan for not being a democrat country. “In a non democratic state the best way to talk to people is promise over the return of lost lands.” Talking about Armenian-Turkish ties, Ozqan said; “there’s a powerful lobby in Turkey and they have certain impacts on the government. Turkey can’t open the border seeing Azerbaijan’s panic.”


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Armenian Genocide novel released by award-winning American author Steven E. Wilson

Armenian Genocide novel released by award-winning American author Steven E. Wilson
September 2, 2010 - 20:12 AMT 15:12 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The new novel focused on the Armenian Genocide, "The Ghosts of Anatolia: An Epic Journey to Forgiveness," by Steven E. Wilson was released this week. Dr. Wilson was a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award in 2004 in the category Best New Voice in Fiction for his novel "Winter in Kandahar" and a finalist in 2008 for the Indie Book Award in the category action-adventure for his novel "Ascent from Darkness." "The Ghosts of Anatolia" was written in English.
The Ghosts of Anatolia is an epic tale of three families, one Armenian and two Turkish, inescapably entwined in a saga of tragedy, hope and reconciliation. Beginning in 1914, at the start of The Great War, confident Ottoman forces suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the Russians. Pursuing Russian forces drove deep into eastern Anatolia, and the ensuing conflagration, fanned by fear, mistrust and sedition, engulfed the Ottoman Empire. This compelling adventure novel brings these events poignantly to life, H-G Books said in its press release.
This new novel was published by H-G Books in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Russia stabbed Turkey in the back

Russia stabbed Turkey in the backSeptember 02, 2010 14:35
Russia is Turkey’s main economic and cultural partner, Turkish politician, Istanbul university professor Behlul Ozkan told a press conference in Yerevan.
He also noted that the number of mixed marriages reaches 400,000. However, the Turkish politician stressed that Russia stabbed Turkey in the back. “If Turkey knew that Russia would act this way in the Armenian-Turkish process, it would not participate in it at all,” he added.
According to him, initially Turkey expected Russia’s support in normalization of its relations with Armenia, but Moscow has not recently shown initiative in this direction, Ozkan stated. “First Russia was interested in normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, but as soon as Ankara conditioned the process by liberation of Armenian-controlled territories, Moscow lost interest, as does not want to see the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations settled. In case the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations are normalized, Russia’s role in the South Caucasus will be minimized,” the expert stressed. He also emphasized that Russia is interested in deterioration of the Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, as Ankara will replace Moscow in Azerbaijan.
News from Armenia -

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

7 Azeri soldiers killed in Azerbaijani act of sabotage

7 Azeri soldiers killed in Azerbaijani act of sabotageSeptember 01, 2010 12:11
The Azerbaijani side lost seven soldiers, as a result of the Azerbaijani act of sabotage on August 31, NKR Defense Army Press Secretary Senor Hasratyan told
The names of two Azerbaijani soldiers are clear-Vugar Amirov and Parvin Abdullayev (both born in 1991). Hasratyan said the incident details are being clarified and will be available to the public.
According to him, the publications in the Azerbaijani mass media, the Armenian side lost three soldiers, are untrue. Fortunately, the Armenian side incurred no losses, only private Rudik Manaseryan was injured in the skirmish.
As reported previously, on August 31, at about 6:30 a.m. Yerevan time, the Azeri side tried to commit another act of sabotage on the contact line between the Azeri and Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces. The Armenian soldiers spotted Azeri soldiers near Verin Chailu and threw them back, causing losses to the enemy.
News from Armenia -