Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Armenia Finally Counters Pakistan’s Anti-Armenian Policies

Harut Sassounian
Harut Sassounian
I am pleased to learn that the Republic of Armenia has finally decided to counter Pakistan’s persistently pro-Azeri, pro-Turkish, and anti-Armenian policies.
Last week, Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported that Armenia vetoed Pakistan’s request for observer status in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in response to Pakistan’s anti-Artsakh (Karabakh) position.
Armenia argued that “Pakistan has refused to not only establish diplomatic relations with Armenia but also formally recognize the latter as an independent state,” according to RFE. Indeed, Pakistan is one of a handful of countries in the world that is yet to recognize Armenia after a quarter century of independence!
This relatively minor episode is a welcome development which shows that Armenia’s leaders are willing to flex their muscle from time to time. Such a move would also serve notice to other countries that Armenia is ready and willing to defend its interests and undermine those of its antagonists when necessary.
Pakistan’s anti-Armenian stance predates Armenia’s independence. I recall vividly the speeches of Pakistan’s Ambassadors to the United Nations in 1970’s and 1980’s, in support Turkey’s denials of the Armenian Genocide, during the sessions of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.
After Armenia became independent in 1991, Pakistan continued its hostile policies against Armenia and Artsakh, staunchly supporting both Azerbaijan and Turkey. Mercenary Mujahideen terrorists from Pakistan and Afghanistan were hired by Azerbaijan to fight Armenians during the Artsakh War. Since then, the leaders of Pakistan and Azerbaijan have visited each other on numerous occasions to bolster their economic and military ties. For example, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Syed Athar Ali, during a visit to Baku in 2010, discussed with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev the “strengthening of cooperation in the military sphere and defense industry,” according to APA (Azeri Press Agency). In response, President Aliyev thanked Pakistan for voting in the UN General Assembly in favor of “the resolution on the situation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories and for not recognizing Armenia in connection with the aggression against Azerbaijan.”
In March 2015, during his visit to Baku, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain declared: “We have always backed Azerbaijan’s fair position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pakistan does not recognize Armenia as a state.” He also announced that Pakistan’s Senate had recognized as genocide the killings of Azeris by Armenians in Khojalu during the Artsakh war.
On April 5, 2016, during the barbaric attack by Azerbaijan’s military on Artsakh villagers, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry falsely blamed Armenia for “violating the ceasefire” by “continuous artillery firing.” Later that month, during his visit to Islamabad, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Yavar Jamalov told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Azerbaijan is keen on purchasing military hardware from Pakistan. A similar discussion was held on September 27, 2016, during a meeting in Baku between Pakistan’s Defense Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain and Aliyev.
On October 14, 2016, during his reciprocal visit to Azerbaijan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Aliyev about his country’s interest in holding joint military training. Nawaz also “called for complete return of occupied Azeri lands, withdrawal of Armenian forces, and return of displaced persons and refugees.” In return, Aliyev expressed his country’s support for Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir, in opposition to India. A month later, when Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub Eyyubov visited Pakistan, Hussain reminded him that Pakistan was the third country after Turkey and Romania to have recognized Azerbaijan. Hussain also thanked Azerbaijan for supporting Pakistan in its dispute with India over Jammu and Kashmir, and pledged to continue backing Azerbaijan’s claims on “Nagorno-Karabakh” (Artsakh).
Not to be outdone by Azerbaijan, Turkish President Erdogan visited Pakistan on November 17, 2016, where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his “second home.” In return, Erdogan proclaimed: “The whole world should emulate Pakistan!”
The Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora should continue countering Pakistan and other anti-Armenian states to discourage them from causing further damage to Armenia’s interests. Below are several suggested actions:
— Armenia should vote against pro-Pakistani issues in the UN General Assembly;
— Armenia should block Pakistan’s efforts to associate itself with the Eurasian Economic Union;
— Armenia should side with India in its dispute with Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir;
— Armenian-Americans should urge the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on Pakistan’s grave human rights violations.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dear Armenian-American Millennials

March For Justice 2016
Dear Armenian-American Millennials,
I’m sick and tired of Armenian-Americans, especially our generation of millennials, thinking our biggest concern is genocide recognition when it comes to supporting political candidates.
Over the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of “s/he isn’t going to recognize the genocide”-type comments on social media, as well as people criticizing others for voting with Armenian-American issues in mind because “neither candidate will recognize the genocide anyway.” The U.S. stance on Armenian-American issues extends far beyond genocide recognition. This is not me making a case for any specific candidate. All I’m asking is that you recognize that we have other concerns and issues and to think about how those concerns are affecting our community.
The situation in Artsakh today is very real. Our homeland continues to be under attack by Azerbaijan. Just a few months ago in April, we saw how quickly matters escalated. The U.S., as one of the leading powers on the globe, has a lot of influence, even halfway across the world. Its foreign policies concerning Azerbaijan — and its biggest ally, Turkey — should be of great importance to us. So far, the U.S. stance has been in support of Azerbaijan’s claims to Artsakh. The U.S. has interests in Azerbaijan’s oil supply, which is why it ignores the gross violations of human rights and democracy taking place in Azerbaijan. It also has a military base in Turkey, the strategic location of which is important to the U.S. given the situation in the Middle East. The U.S. and Turkey are also NATO allies, having an obligation to support each other in case of war.
It’s not difficult to see why a U.S. foreign policy favoring Turkey and Azerbaijan has the potential to have severe consequences for us as Armenian-Americans. Think for a second about the worst-case scenario: Azerbaijan declaring full-fledged war against Artsakh. Now think about what the U.S. would do. Think about the effects of U.S. foreign policy then, not only on our Armenian-American community, but on our brothers and sisters in Artsakh and Armenia. These are the things we should concern ourselves with and worry about. These are the concerns we should make known to our representatives in government.
Our community no longer cares about a U.S. president’s use of the word genocide. Aside from pissing off Turkey for a few days, that’s not going to do much. Reagan used the word genocide in 1981, yet we’re still in the same predicament today. When it comes to the Armenian Genocide, our demands from Turkey and the international community are so much bigger than that. We want reparations. We want our historic homeland back. Until the United States, as in the U.S. Congress, recognizes the genocide and works with the international community to demand recognition and reparations from Turkey, a U.S. president’s words don’t mean much.
So I beg you, in the future, read up on the issues we face. Understand our community’s stance on these issues. Think about a candidate’s policy and its potential effect. Don’t use genocide recognition as the only criteria in evaluating Armenian-American issues.
Alik Ourfalian, An Armenian-American Millennial

Taner Akçam to Speak at Ararat Eskijian on Long-Disputed Genocide Documents

Taner Akcam (Photo:
Taner Akcam (Photo:
MISSION HILLS, Calif.—Professor Taner Akçam of Clark University will give a lecture entitled “The Memoir of Naim Bey and Talat Pasha Telegrams: Are They ‘Armenian Forgeries’?” on Sunday, November 20, 2016, at 4pm, at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Sheen Chapel, 15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills, California. The program is sponsored by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, the Armenian Bar Association, the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).
In 1920-21, author and editor Aram Andonian published a book known in English as The Memoirs of Naim Bey and in Armenian as Medz Vojirě (The Great Crime). It contained the writings of an Ottoman official and telegrams from Talat Pasha containing orders for the killing of Armenians.
In 1983, Turkish authors Sinasi Orel and Sureyya Yuca published a book to establish that the memoir was fake and the telegrams were forgeries. The argument had three main pillars: 1) there was no such person as Naim Bey; 2) there is no actual memoir, since a non-existing person cannot write a memoir; and 3) the so-called Talat Pasha telegrams, like the alleged memoir, were invented by Andonian.
Although noted researcher Father Krikor Guerguerian (Kriger) in 1965 published a detailed examination of Andonian’s published and unpublished materials and Vahakn N. Dadrian in 1986 published a lengthy response to Orel and Yuca, in general the scholarly world ceased using the memoir and telegrams as trustworthy sources. Until now, the claims against Andonian have remained unanswered and became the cornerstone of denialism.
Akçam risked venturing into this highly disputed territory and pursued the matter to its necessary conclusion, seeking out the archival sources and documents needed for a proper scholarly assessment.  The first results of his research will be presented in this lecture and in a book to be published in Turkish later this fall.  The question must be asked: Is it time to remove one of the last bricks in the denialist wall and watch the façade crumble?
Akçam is the author of From Empire To Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide, A Shameful Act: the Armenian Genocide and Turkish Responsibility, and The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, as well as other works in the English and Turkish Languages. Since 2008, he has been the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, MA.
For more information about this program, contact Ararat-Eskijian Museum at (747) 500-7585 or, or NAASR at (617) 489-1610 or

System of a Down Working on New Album

System Of A Down (Photo: Frank Maddocks)
System Of A Down (Photo: Frank Maddocks)
Drummer John Dolmayan Confirms New Album in the Works
LONDON, United Kingdom (Armenian Weekly)—System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan confirmed that the band is working on a new album in an interview with the United Kingdom’s Kerrang! magazine. “We’ve been working on a new album for the last six months and there [are] about 15 songs that I think are album-worthy,” Dolmayan said in the interview, which appeared in the magazine’s November 9 issue.
Though Dolmayan confirmed that the band is working on the album, he said that they are still unsure about when the album will be released. “System of a Down is definitely making an album, we just don’t know what terms it will be made on,” Dolmayan said, adding, “there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on us, though, because it’s been 11 years—at least 12 by the time it [the album] comes out. Our playing ability is better than it has ever been and we’re trying new things.”
System of a Down is an Armenian-American heavy metal band formed in 1994. The band currently consists of Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards), Daron Malakian (vocals, guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass, backing vocals) and Dolmayan (drums).
The band achieved commercial success with the release of 5 studio albums, 3 of which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The band has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and their song “B.Y.O.B.” won the Best Hard Rock Performance of 2006. The group briefly disbanded in August 2006 and reunited in November 2010, embarking on a tour for the following 3 years.
On Novembber 23, 2014, System of a Down announced the “Wake Up The Souls Tour” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The tour included a free concert in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia on April 23, 2015, their first show in the country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Knights of Vartan--An Armenian fraternal organization founded 1918---Delegation Opens Yerevan Office


Ive been a member of this Organization since 1998..Yeretz Rafi Topalian..Davros Lodge....Troy ,

Knights of Vartan Delegation Opens Yerevan Office...

Begins Second Century of Service in the Homeland

The Knights of Vartan Inc., currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, has extended its base of operations in the United States to Yerevan, Armenia by opening its Communications Office in Yerevan on Sept. 19 in a newly renovated office in the Tigran Metz Publishing building in central Yerevan.
Knights and Daughters of Vartan leadership with the Minister to the Diaspora The Hon Hranush Hakobyan (4th from L). (L to R) Past Grand Commanders Bob Barsam and Nigohos Atinizian; Asbed Father Dajad Davidian; Miniter Hakobyan; Grand Commander Steve Kradjian, Grand Matron Sona Manuelian, Past Grand Commander Haig Deranian, Grnad Vice Commander Hunan Arshakian, Past Commander Hirant Gulian, Past Matron Eva Medzorian and Past Commander Dr. Jack Medzorian; Past Commander Dikran Sahakian.
Established in Philadelphia in 1916 during the Armenian Genocide, the Knights of Vartan in July of this year declared “Veradardz Hayrenik” (“Back to the Homeland”) as the focus of its 2nd century of service.
Knights of Vartan Grand Commander Steven Kradjian, accompanied by Daughters of Vartan Grand Matron Sona Manuelian, led a delegation of 31 members of the Knights to Armenia, representing a majority of the lodges in North America, and 12 members of the Daughters of Vartan, to launch the Knights of Vartan Communications Office and conduct site visits to partners in service to the people of Armenia.

The Knights of Vartan Communications Office, Yerevan
The Communications Office in Tigran Metz will be staffed by a full-time Knights of Vartan Liaison, who will manage in-country communications on multiple media platforms, reporting to Grand Commander Kradjian. The Liaison in the Communications Office will facilitate and monitor collaborations of the Knights with its partners, manage Knights of Vartan publications, and will facilitate program planning and supervise implementation.  Formal policies and written procedures enable the Communications Office to maintain continuity throughout the initial 5-year term, with up to three extension options as authorized by the Knights of Vartan supreme body in July 2016.
The new Knights of Vartan Communications Office in Yerevan
When Grand Commander Kradjian visited His Holiness Karekin II in Oct. 2015 at Holy Etchmiadzin to present a commissioned painting commemorating the Centennial of the Sainted Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, the Knights of Vartan was contacted by the office of Hon. Hranush Hakobyan, Minister to the Diaspora, who invited the Knights national leadership to make an official visit to the Ministry. At that official visit on Oct. 2, 2015, Minister Hakobyan encouraged that in its Centennial year, the Knights of Vartan should convene a meeting in Yerevan and increase its presence in Armenia. Grand Commander Kradjian pledged to His Holiness and to Minister Hakobyan that the Knights of Vartan would return to Armenia in 2016 to convene a special meeting during its 100th anniversary year.
On July 9, the Knights of Vartan supreme body delivered and funded a mandate to establish the Knights of Vartan Communications Office and a permanent presence in Yerevan.
The Knights and Daughters of Vartan delegation visited Holy Etchmiadzin on Sept. 18, where His Holiness Karekin II received several members of the delegation in his office where he welcomed the Knights of Vartan to Armenia and gave them his blessing.
After opening the Communications Office on Sept. 19, the Knights convened an official delegates’ meeting on Sept. 20 at the Marriott Armenia Hotel, where Grand Commander Kradjian marked the start of Knights of Vartan operations in Armenia.
Knights of Vartan national leadership present and past at the Armenian Genocide Monument.
“For most of the past one hundred years, the Knights of Vartan has provided community leadership and support quietly, drawing no attention to its work,” Kradjian noted. “The 25thanniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia and the centennial of the Knights of Vartan mark the time to expand our operations in Armenia, establish networks, partnerships and resource channels in Armenia for the greater benefit of our people,” he added.
Grand Matron Sona Manuelian also led a delegation of Daughters of Vartan in support of the Knights of Vartan’s historic expansion. Grand Commander Kradjian announced that the Daughters of Vartan are invited and welcome to utilize the Communications Office ad libitum.

Hundredth Anniversary Celebration
A formal 100th Anniversary Celebration for the Knights of Vartan was organized on Sept.19 by the Minister of the Diaspora, Hranush Hakobyan, at the Komitas Kamerayin Institute. Hundreds of guests attended, representing the Government, Clergy, and virtually all NGOs in Armenia. Minister Hakobyan presented the President’s “Movses Khorenatsi” Medal to Past Commander Hirant Gulian for his service to the Republic; and Commemorative Medals of the Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly to Past Grand Commanders Robert Barsam, Bob DerMatoian, Haig Deranian, Nigoghos Atinizian, and Past Commander Jack Medzorian and Past Matron Eva Medzorian; and the Boghos Noubar Medal of the Ministry of the Diaspora to Commander Leo Manuelian, Commander Tigran Sahakyan and Past Commander Ari Minnetyan. Father Dajad Davidian was awarded with the joined Hakob Meghapart Medal of the Ministry of the Diaspora and the Mekhitarist Congregation in Venice.
Grand Matron Sona Manuelian (left of floral) and members of the Daughters of Vartan delegation
Grand Commander Steven Kradjian and Lieutenant Grand Commander Hunan Arshakian were awarded the Special Medal of Patriotism for their leadership in establishing the Knights of Vartan in Armenia.  Grand Commander Kradjian presented to Minister Hakobyan the Knights of Vartan Award in gratitude for successful collaboration in service to the Armenian people.

A Century of Service
Throughout the past century, the Knights of Vartan through several of its members and chapters across the United States have provided humanitarian aid to Armenian communities in vulnerable regions.
For the last two decades, for example, the Knights of Vartan has partnered with the World Bank Armenian Social Investment Fund and the Armenian Territory Development Fund who, with funds leveraged up to 19-to-1 dollars raised, have provided repairs and renovations to 235 schools in Armenia; with the Armenian Church Eastern Diocese through the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP); with the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia; with NAASR through the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies, and other programs. As these programs are expanding annually, the need for a base of communications in Armenia became apparent.  For this reason, the delegation made a number of visits to Knights-supported programs.

Fuller Center for Housing, Armenia
During this visit, the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia announced the completion of a house for the 7-member Toroyan family in Geghashen, Kotyak Province, a home which was sponsored by the Knights of Vartan. Commander Leo Manuelian and Grand Matron Sona Manuelian for several years have been managing the Fuller Center’s partnership with the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
At the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia newly built home supported by the Knights and Daughters.
Grand Matron Manuelian and Grand Commander Kradjian attended the Toroyan house blessing on Sept. 22, celebrated by Fr. Dajad Davidian, a 55-year member Knight, in a moving ceremony. The Toroyan family received a supervised microloan to pay for materials needed to complete the building of their home over one year. Under this program, the family will repay the Fuller Center the microloan interest-free and inflation-free over 30 years, while local tradesmen volunteer their time and labor to help complete the home. The re-paid money will be recycled to support another housing project in a similar way, thus expanding the fund at a time when the housing need in villages remains extensive. The program grows over time, such that currently the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia, led by President Ashot Yeghiazaryan, with colleagues Alla Asatryan and Rouzanna Sakanyan, completes approximately 100 family homes per year in regions throughout Armenia. The housing need is great, and the Knights and Daughters of Vartan contribute to fulfilling that need.

Knights of Vartan Sports Complex, Tavush
In the Tavush region, the Knights of Vartan Sport Complex was opened on Sept. 22 and consecrated under the auspices of Archbishop Bagrad Galsdanyan, the Minister of Sport, Hon. Gabriel Ghazaryan, Fr. Aram Mirzoyan of St. Hovhannes Church in Berd, and Father Armen. The complex including gymnasium, two soccer fields, pool, playground and state of the art utilities and fixtures, was personally financed by Commander Tigran Sahakyan, his family and Mamigonian Lodge of New York; construction is being supervised by staff of the Ministry of Sport. In addition, on recommendation of Commander Tigran, Grand Commander Kradjian awarded the Knights of Vartan Medal “For extraordinary service to the Armenian people in the name of the Knights of Vartan” to Minister Ghazaryan, Mr. Hayk Khookasyan, and Mr. Armen Zaimcyan, for all of their assistance on the project. On the sports complex property is also a 20-foot tall khatchkar, consecrated with the complex. It features the cross in the form of a sword of General Vartan, his strong and brave image and the cross boldly facing Azerbaijan across the border only a few hundred yards away
New Armenian Monument, Koghb
In the border village of Koghb, a crossroads which was the site of several car accidents, was redesigned and constructed by the Atinizian family to incorporate a new roundabout and monument of Armenian History for the town in the name of the Knights of Vartan. The new roundabout was the scene of an assembly by the entire village community, including students released from school for one hour to attend this opening ceremony, teachers, clergy and business leaders. Grand Commander Steve Kradjian addressed the assembly and conferred on Mr. Kevork Atinizian the Knights of Vartan Award for extraordinary service to the Armenian people in the name of the Knights of Vartan.  Archbishop Galsdanyan consecrated the roundabout and monument on Sept. 22.  Past Commander Arman Izmirlian and his wife Seta pledged to the assembled town leaders that he would improve the decaying bus stop adjacent to the roundabout, extending the service to the village in the name of the Knights of Vartan.

Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP)
The CASP program partnered with the Knights of Vartan serves orphans of the border region, and is led by Fr. Aram of the St. Steven’s Church in Berd. The Knights and Daughters of Vartan delegation visited the Church and met briefly with the children and the ministry staff.  Filmmaker and member Knight Paul Boghosian commented on the significance of the Knights of Vartan expansion of operations in Armenia, emotionally describing the great unmet needs of children and families especially in these border regions; he exhorted that “As members of the Knights of Vartan we all must do our best to safeguard and improve these young Armenian lives.”
The delegation

The Knights of Vartan School, Yerevan
The Knights of Vartan since 1993 has supported the school in Yerevan now officially known as the Knights of Vartan School, serving Kindergarten through ninth grade. It is one of the many schools the Knights of Vartan has supported via its partnership with the World Bank Armenian Social Investment Fund and the Armenian Territory Development Fund. Students at this school have achieved the highest standards of learning in all academic subjects, particularly excelling in mathematics and physical science.
Over the years the school has expanded and improved its space, now serving 980 students.  The Knights of Vartan delegation witnessed fully modernized classrooms and other classrooms and facilities in clear need of repair, requiring lighting, basic classroom furniture, and repair of stairs, and floors.  An auditorium used by students more often than weekly has only natural light through high windows at the right time of day, and stadium style seating with splintered broken wooden chairs.  Member Knight Dr. Garry Zamanigian committed to fund the installation of lighting in the auditorium at the Knights of Vartan School.

Looking Ahead
The Knights of Vartan humanitarian activities during the short period of September 18-24 illustrate a small example of the dedication and communication required of the Knights of Vartan Communications Office to fulfill the delivery of needed aid throughout Armenia, as they enter their second Century of the Knights of Vartan. Menk Veradardzank Hayrenik.

The Knights of Vartan is an Armenian fraternal service organization established by twelve visionary men to encourage its members to assume leadership roles in cultural, educational, religious, and charitable organizations and activities on the local, national and international level for the betterment of the Armenian nation worldwide. For more information, visit

unior Eurovision 2016: Meet Anahit and Mary from Armenia Search … Search A Dictator Obsessed With Power & Wealth: Erdogan’s 12 Scandals!

Harut Sassounian
Harut Sassounian
With each passing day, Turkish President Erdogan is becoming increasingly dictatorial. The arrest of 11 members of the opposition pro-Kurdish party, HDP, is the latest in a long string of Erdogan’s dictatorial policies.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a devastating exposé on Erdogan last week, listing some of his scandalous actions!
I have summarized Rubin’s lengthy article which was posted on Newsweek magazine’s European edition website, under the title, “Twelve Questions Turkish Journalists Dare not Ask”:
  1. How did Erdogan become a billionaire?
Erdogan was raised in a poor family until he became Mayor of Istanbul when he faced 13 corruption probes. In 2004, when he was Prime Minister, the U.S. embassy in Ankara reported in a cable to Washington that “he had at least eight Swiss bank accounts.” In addition, secret phone recordings revealed his instructions “to liquidate perhaps a billion dollars in cash. Erdogan used his power over the courts to quash the case and arrest prosecutors and judges who sought to pursue it.”
  1. Where is Erdogan’s university diploma?
Erdogan claims to have graduated from Istanbul’s Marmara University in 1981. His degree may have been forged. “A four-year degree is a prerequisite for the presidency. If Erdogan lied about having a degree, can he remain as president?”
  1. Is there another story behind the coup attempt?
Erdogan fired and jailed thousands of his political opponents, accusing them of being the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of the July 15 coup attempt, which the Turkish President called “a gift from God.”
  1. If there is a FETO, is there also an ETO?
Erdogan called Gulen’s movement “the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO)…. If it is permissible to talk about FETO as a terror group, would it be equally acceptable to refer to the Erdoganist Terror Organization (ETO)?”
  1. If Gulen is a terrorist, why did Erdogan work with him till 2013?
Gulen and Erdogan had practically identical religious philosophies until their split in 2013. Why is Gulen a ‘terrorist’ now?
  1. Why is it OK to report on PKK attacks but not on ISIS?
“When the PKK or fringe Kurdish groups attack, it often dominates the headlines in Turkey for days as the investigation continues, authorities name suspects, etc…. But when ISIS has attacked, the Turkish government has put an embargo on reports about the investigation.”
  1. Why did Turkish intelligence help the Nusra Front? And ISIS?
“Evidence is overwhelming that both the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and ISIS itself, have received arms, support and equipment from authorities in Turkey. When journalists broke the story — and provided photographic evidence — Erdogan’s response was to arrest the editor of the newspaper that published the scoop. Likewise, when Turkish soldiers stopped an arms shipment into Syria, Erdogan ordered the soldiers’ arrest rather than the smugglers….”
  1. Was a Turkish death squad behind the Paris assassinations?
“In 2013, assassins executed three Kurdish activists in their office in Paris. All three were PKK members…. The French captured Omer Guney, a 32-year-old Turk who had arrived in France at age 9.Telephone intercepts after the murders show him calling back to handlers in Turkey’s intelligence agency….”
  1. Why did Erdogan appoint his son-in-law oil minister?
“Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s 37-year-old son-in-law, became Turkey’s energy minister on November 24, 2015. Was he the best qualified? Or were other factors at play?”
  1. Can we talk about Erdogan’s associations?
Erdogan is a close friend of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman, who, according to the U.S. Treasury Department “had alleged ties to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden until 2014.” Erdogan persistently declared: “I know Mr. Qadi. I believe in him as I believe in myself. For Mr. Qadi to associate with a terrorist organization, or support one, is impossible.” Erdogan is also close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of Afghanistan who has “allied himself with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.” Another friend, Khalid Meshaal (the militant leader of Hamas), visited Turkey as Erdogan’s personal guest!
  1. What deal have you struck with Putin?
After Erdogan and Putin buried the hatchet earlier this year, they agreed on a pipeline deal and held talks on the Turkish purchase of a Russian missile system. Were there any secret agreements?
  1. What explains the court’s 2008 refusal to close the AKP?
In 2008, Turkey’s constitutional court came close to dissolving Erdogan’s ruling party. But, at the last-minute, one justice switched his vote. It is alleged that “a businessman, long hounded by Erdogan, wired money into that justice’s account just before the vote.”
During a November 6 ceremony in Istanbul to receive an honorary doctorate, Erdogan proudly proclaimed: “I don’t care if they call me a dictator or whatever else. It goes in one ear, out the other!”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Peter Balakian Receives Pulitzer Prize for Poetry at Centennial Ceremony

Peter Balakian Receives Pulitzer Prize for Poetry at Centennial Ceremony

NEW YORK— Peter Balakian received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry at the 100th  anniversary Ceremony of the Pulitzer Prizes held at Columbia University on Oct. 13. Balakian was one of the seven recipients in the fields of Letters, Drama, and Music.
Balakian at the Pulitzer Prize ceremony Columbia University
Among the other recipients were Viet Thanh Nguyen in fiction for his novel The Sympathizer, Lin-Manuel Miranda in drama for the musical Hamilton, and jazz composer Henry Threadgill for “In For a Penny In for a Pound.” Among the fourteen prizes in journalism were Kathryn Schultz for Feature Writing at the New Yorker, Alyssa J. Rubin for International Reporting at The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times Staff for Breaking News Reporting.
Professor Daniele Allen, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center For Ethics at Harvard University, was the keynote speaker. The awards were presented by Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University.
Balakian (center) with Henry Threadgill, winner for musical composition and Viet
Thanh Nguyen winner for fiction.
The Pulitzer committee cited Ozone Journal for “poems that bear witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty.” Writing about Ozone Journal in Consequence Magazine, Keith Jones wrote: “Balakian is a master of—the drifting, split-second mirage, the cinematic dissolve and cross-cut as well as the sculptural, statuesque moment chiseled out of consonant blends and an imagistic, jazzman’s ear for vowels… beautiful, haunting, plaintive, urgent, in our dying world’s age, these poems legislate a vital comportment to the demands of our shared present, timely and untimely both.” And David Wojahn in Tikkun wrote: “Few American poets of the boomer generation have explored the interstices of public and personal history as deeply and urgently as has Balakian.”
Balakian is the first Armenian American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize since William Saroyan in 1940.

Bohjalian Discusses Recent Trip to Artsakh in New York

Bohjalian Discusses Recent Trip to Artsakh in New York

N.Y. Times Bestselling Author Chris Bohjalian Presents ‘Artsakh: Our Line in the Sand;’ Fundraising Held for Arajamugh Village Expansion Project

NEW YORK (A.W.)—Fifty friends and supporters of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh/NKR) gathered in New York on Oct. 29, to hear New York Times bestselling author Chris Bohjalian discuss his recent trip to Artsakh.
Fifty friends and supporters of the ACAA gathered in New York on Oct. 29, to hear New York Times bestselling author Chris Bohjalian discuss his recent trip to Artsakh
Held at the Tufenkian Artisan Carpets Showroom in midtown Manhattan, Bohjalian’s presentation called “Artsakh: Our Line in the Sand,” vividly described Artsakh’s current conditions, especially in light of the recent Four Day War in April. Bohjalian spent much time with people living near the front lines, and in the liberated territories—especially those areas in and around the Lachin Corridor.
During his five-day visit, Bohjalian also met with NKR government officials, everyday heroes—both military and civilian—as well as students, teachers, and literary figures, who were eager to meet him and learn more about his work.
Antranig Kasbarian describing the Arajamugh Village Expansion Program, undertaken by ACAA Artsakh Fund
Since his return, Bohjalian has been busy putting pen to paper, recounting his impressions in articles in various publications, including USA Today, the Burlington Free Press, and other U.S. media outlets. His most recent story depicted the life of a Syrian-Armenian refugee who escaped from the clutches of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) with his family, and resettled in the liberated territories of Artsakh, where he has received a warm welcome.
Bohjalian describing the plight of Dr. Haig Khatchadourian, a Syrian-Armenian who fled ISIS and came to Artsakh with his family.
The event was co-organized by ACAA Artsakh Fund and the Tufenkian Foundation. Antranig Kasbarian opened the program by explaining the significance of recent events in Artsakh, particularly April’s Four Day War, and emphasized the crucial strategic importance of the liberated territories in maintaining Artsakh’s national security, as they promote an indivisible bond with Armenia.
Bohjalian with Edvin Minassian of the Armenian Bar Association.
Kasbarian noted that areas near the Lachin Corridor, routinely called “occupied territories,” are in fact the cradle of Armenian Christianity, with centuries-old villages, cemeteries, churches, and other cultural artifacts attesting to widespread, continuous Armenian presence there—before Azerbaijan’s wholesale ethnic cleansing of these territories in the 1920’s. Kasbarian then introduced Bohjalian, whose longstanding interest in Artsakh became a pressing concern following April’s Four Day War.
Following his presentation, Bohjalian patiently answered numerous questions from his enthusiastic audience.
In addition to promoting awareness, the Oct. 29 event also raised funds for the Arajamugh Village Expansion Project, which is being implemented by the ACAA Artsakh Fund, with the support of the Tufenkian Foundation. Arajamugh village is located in the liberated territories of NKR. Those who wish to donate to this worthy project may do so by sending checks to ACAA Artsakh Fund, 80 Bigelow Ave., Watertown, Mass. 02472.
A scene from the stylish Tufenkian Carpets showroom in NY