Sep 20, 2017

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Yerevan Will Declare Turkey-Armenia Protocols Null and Void, Sarkisian Tells UN

President Serzh Sarkisian addresses the 72nd UN General Assembly on Tuesday

President Serzh Sarkisian addresses the 72nd UN General Assembly on Tuesday

Says Azerbaijan Has No Moral or Historic Claim to Artsakh
UNITED NATIONS—In a speech at 72nd UN General Assembly on Tuesday, President Serzh Sarkisian announced that Yerevan will declare the Armenia-Turkey Protocols null and void, saying Turkey has not shown any positive progress toward their implementation. In discussing the Karabakh conflict, Sarkisian told the international body that Azerbaijan has no historic claim or right to Artsakh, adding that its independence must be recognized.

Sarkisian said Armenia has “never made the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a precondition for the normalization of the bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey. Moreover, it was upon the initiative of Armenia that a normalization process was launched, resulting in the conclusion of the Zürich protocols in October 2009.”

“Up to this day, those documents have not been ratified. Instead, they have festerd in some dark drawers of the official Ankara. The Government of Turkey came up with preposterous preconditions for their ratification that run counter to the letter and spirit of the Protocols. I expressed the clear-cut views of the Armenian people on this issue three years ago, when I spoke from this eminent podium,” added Sarkisian.

“Now the time has come for additional explanations. The leaders of Turkey are mistaken if they think that those documents can be held hostage forever and ratified only at the most opportune occasion from their very point of view. The Protocols were negotiated in the existing circumstances in order to find solutions to the actually existing issues,” added Sarkisian before announcing the Yerevan will declare the Protocols null and void.

“We will enter the spring of 2018 without those, as our experience has demonstrated, futile Protocols,” he declared.

Outlining that the struggle for self-determination by the people of Artsakh began almost 30 years ago, Sarkisian went on to explain that any expression of free will by Artsakh has been met with violence, massacres, ethnic cleansing, deportation and war. These tenets by Baku continue today, he explained, enumerating the grave crimes against humanity committed by the Baku regime, including war crimes during the 2016 April War and state policy of armenophobia and xenophobia, which Sarkisian said is poisoning generations of Azerbaijanis.

“Azerbaijan has no legal or moral ground whatsoever to present any claims toward Artsakh. Artsakh has never been part to independent Azerbaijan, and therefore the attempts of its annexation to that particular state cannot be justified,” said Sarkisian.

“All of these lead us to believe that the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of Artsakh is of existential significance. In this regard, I convey the consolidated view of Armenia and Artsakh as well as the one shared by Armenians from all over the globe. I bring this message from Yerevan, where right now Armenia-Diaspora conference is taking place,” announced Sarkisian.

“Meanwhile, everyone should be aware that the Nagorno Karabakh issue is a human rights issue. It can be resolved exclusively through one of the fundamental and inalienable human rights – the people’s right to self-determination,” said Sarkisian.

“At the end of the day, whatever option for the conflict resolution we arrive at, the Republic of Artsakh should not enjoy a status and liberty that might be inferior to the one it enjoys today. Azerbaijan shall recognize and respect the right of the people of Artsakh to decide its own future through a free expression of will. All available international and domestic mechanisms should guarantee the security of the Armenian population of Artsakh,” added Sarkisian who lamented that the lack of international recognition of Artsakh is complicating the already tense situation in the region.

Watch Sarkisian’s entire UN General Assmebly speech. 


‘There Can be No Return to Past Borders,’ Says Stepanakert

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian addressing the Armenia-Diaspora conference on Monday

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian addressing the Armenia-Diaspora conference on Monday

Artsakh President’s spokesperson responds to comments by Foreign Minister Nalbandian about territorial concessions.
YEREVAN—Artsakh presidential spokesperson David Babayan did not equivocate on Tuesday when he told Azatutyun .am that there absolutely cannot be a scenario where Artsakh returns to its past borders—as delineated in the Soviet times—adding that all territories of Artsakh were important in ensuring the country’s and its residents’ security.

This announcement was in response to questions that were raised following a statement made by Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during his presentation at the Armenia-Diaspora conference currently underway in Yerevan.

Following his remarks at the conference, which were a reiteration of Armenia’s position vis-à-vis the Karabakh conflict resolution process and included harsh criticism of Azerbaijan’s military attacks on Artsakh, in response to a question from a participant regarding the concept of “return of territories,” Nalbandian’s explanation has caused confusion among conference participants and others.

“We are talking about those territories whose return will not endanger the resolution of the conflict and the security [of Artsakk] and will not threaten the outcome of the process,” Nalbandian said in response to a conference participant’s question.

“All the territories around Artsakh are important in terms of ensuring its security, there can be no return to the past in terms of borders and status,” said Babayan when asked to comment about Nalbandian’s remarks, adding that any compromise must be weighed proportionally.

“If we are talking about territories, we must remember that Azerbaijan is occupying many Armenian regions. Getashen, Martunashen, Artsvashen, Shahumyant must all be returned,” said Babayan. “There will be no unilateral concessions. Any one-sided concession will lead to disaster.”

Speaking to Azatutyun.am, Armen Rustamyan the head of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation faction of the Armenian Parliament pointed out that there can be no unilateral concessions. He said compromises may be considered only when Artsakh’s independence is fully recognized.


Members of Congress Meet with Bako Sahakian

From left to right: Congressman Frank Pallone, Maria Mehranian, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Artsakh President Bako Sahakian, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Congressman David Valadao (Photo: Embassy of Armenia to the US)

From left to right: Congressman Frank Pallone, Maria Mehranian, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Artsakh President Bako Sahakian, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Congressman David Valadao (Photo: Embassy of Armenia to the US)

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. Says “We will visit Artsakh”

YEREVAN–A bi-partisan delegation of Congressional Armenian Issues Caucus members, who are on a visit to Armenia, met with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian on Tuesday at the NKR Permanent Representation in Armenia’s capital to discuss issues related to Artsakh and the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

During the meeting, Sahakian emphasized the importance of US-Artsakh relations and briefed the visiting members of Congress on the latest developments with the Karabakh conflict resolution talks.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Sahakian presented representatives Frank Pallone, Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier with the Artsakh Presidential “Gratitude” medals for their contributions to the process to recognize Artsakh’s independence.

Congressman David Valadao shaking hands with Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan (Photo: Press Office of the Government of Armenia)

Congressman David Valadao shaking hands with Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan (Photo: Press Office of the Government of Armenia)

Joining Pallone, Eshoo and Speier in the CODEL are representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), David G. Valadao (R-Calif.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.).

Following the meeting, Pallone told reporters that Artsakh deserves international recognition

“We will do our best to push forward the process of Artsakh’s international recognition. One of our colleagues has already been to Artsakh and we will also visit,” said Pallone. “The meeting was very productive and we are grateful for receiving state awards.”

Pallone was referring to Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman David Valadao, who visited Artsakh and alongside government officials and ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian reviewed the life-saving de-mining activities of the HALO Trust.

Earlier, the CODEL met with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan who expressed his gratitude for the efforts undertaken by the US lawmakers to strengthen US-Armenia relations in various fields.

Karapetyan discussed issues related to bilateral economic cooperation between Armenia and the US, such as economic investments, cooperation with in information technologies, implementation of a number of bilateral business projects, as well as the signing of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and a treaty on eliminating double-taxation.

On Monday, the first day of the official visit, the delegation, also held meetings with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia Ara Babloyan and the heads of standing committees, as well as the head of the US-Armenia Friendship Group Arpine Hovhannisyan.

congressmanatparliament

Members of Armenia’s National Assembly meet with the US delegation (Photo: Embassy of Armenia to the US)

“Many of us will not stop working toward this [recognition of the Armenian Genocide] and we will continue our efforts so that the US will join the countries representing the international community that have already recognized the Armenian Genocide,” said Eshoo when a member of the Armenian Parliament raised the issue.

“I think that our visit is correspondent to our future and the Armenian-American partnership, which includes the strengthening of economic ties,” said Eshoo. “This is not only in the interests of Armenia and Armenians, but also the US.”

Eshoo also discussed the concerning developments over the so-called “Azerbaijani Laundromat,” an almost $3 billion slush fund set up by Azerbaijan to buy favors and influence from European lawmakers.

“Since this is all this is quite intricate, it’s important that we examine it,” said Eshoo. “We consider this as an important issue from the perspective of US national interests.”

The Head of the Armenian National Assembly’s Republican Party Faction Vahram Baghdasaryan, the Head of the Yelk Faction Nikol Pashinyan, ARF Parliamentary Faction Secretary Aghvan Vardanyan, the Secretary of the Tsarukyan Faction Vahe Enfiajyan and the member of the Faction Vardevan Grigoryan, as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills and Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Grigor Hovhannisyan participated in the meeting as well.


‘Architects of Denial’ Screening to Kick Off 2017 ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference

grassroots2017Graphic

GLENDALE—An exclusive screening of the much-anticipated documentary “Architects of Denial” will kick off this year’s ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference, the signature gathering of experts in law, politics, media and advocacy that takes place biennially and is organized by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.

The screening will take place on Friday, October 6 at 8 pm at the Pasadena Convention Center and will be followed by a welcoming reception to kick off the two-day conference that will continue on Saturday, October 7 at the same location. Admission to the conference is free, but registration is required. Register now at ancagrassroots.eventbrite.com.

“Architects of Denial” is a documentary feature about the Armenian Genocide and the effects of its denial by Turkey and the international community of future such horrors around the world, among them the Azerbaijani aggression against Artsakh. The film is executive produced by celebrities Montel Williams and Dean Cain, both of whom will be participating in the “Film and Arts Panel” of the conference.

The fourth of its kind, this year’s ANCA Grassroots Conference will include a “Profile in Courage” panel, which will feature an intimate discussion with Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). A staunch advocate for justice for the Armenian Genocide and justice for minorities, Paylan will receive the prestigious ANCA-WR “Freedom” Award on Sunday, October 8 during the organization’s annual Gala Banquet.

The ANCA Grassroots Conference will feature panels on “Transnational Justice: Road to Reparations,” which will bring together legal experts from “The Promise” Institute at UCLA and the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights who will discuss the pursuit of justice through reparations.

The “Politics in Action” panel will feature leading Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), who will share their views on the advancement of the Armenian issues in Washington with Charlie Mahtesian, a leading figure in political and digital media and Senior Editor of Politics at Politico.

ANCA leaders from around the country will discuss the “Power of Grassroots” by addressing the current priorities to advance the Armenian Cause and the role of the community’s engagement in advocating for the just aspirations of the Armenian people.

“We are extremely proud of the lineup we have planned for this year’s ANCA Grassroots Conference and are honored that these leading experts and advocates for justice will gather under one roof to advance the Armenian Cause and to bring new perspectives to advocacy for justice and national ideals,” said Joseph Kaskanian, a member of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors and the chairman of the ANCA Grassroots Committee, “We encourage community members and activists to immediately register for this one-of-a-kind event.”

As has been the case in the past, the ANCA Grassroots Conference will lead a Hai-Tahd weekend that will culminate in the much-anticipated ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet that will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 8th. For additional information or to purchase tickets for the Gala visit www.ancawr.org/Gala

The Armenian National Committee of America Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.


Ararat Foundation and Stephanie’s Gallery Present ‘A Spectrum Art Show’

Oil on canvas by artist Arthur Pinajian

Oil on canvas by artist Arthur Pinajian

SAN DIEGO – Stephanie’s Art Gallery and Ararat Foundation are pleased to announce and invite the art collectors, the art lovers, and the general public to a very special art exhibition in Del Mar, California – the world famous Art San Diego Show: A Spectrum Art Show. Works of modern and contemporary American Armenian artists such as Arthur Pinajian (1914-1999), Rostom Voskanian (1932-2013), Jenik Cook and KOKO will be on display.

The four-day extravaganza is celebrating its ninth year in a new venue, the Wyland Center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, a 340-acre cultural and recreational oasis. The public is invited to this beautiful gallery-style venue for a dynamic show that’s become an integral part of Southern California’s art scene. Visitors are encouraged to visit booth # 423 to get acquainted with the works of this acclaimed above artists and get more information on details.

The opening night preview party is on Thursday, September 28 from 7-9 pm and the venue is open to the public from Friday, September 29, 12-8 pm, Saturday, September 30, 12-8 pm, and Sunday, October 1, 12-5 pm.

Del Mar Wyland Center is located at 2260 Jimmy Duarte Blvd., in Del Mar, CA 92014.

To receive free and exclusive complimentary tickets to Art San Diego 2017, please, email stephaniesart@yahoo.com or call (818) 790-4905.

For more information, visit www.art-sandiego.com


SARF Launches Back-to-School Fundraising Campaign

Children of Latakia

Children of Latakia

LOS ANGELES – The Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) has launched its Back-to-School Aleppo 2017 fundraising campaign with yet another widespread effort underway to raise funds for schools in Aleppo, Syria. Contributions, in any amount, are being collected to benefit the schooling of Armenian children in Syria, including the purchase of school stationary, textbooks, monthly food stipends, electricity for schools, annual tuition, classroom repairs, and more.

“Thousands of households have already received the Back-to-School Aleppo mailer and we are hopeful that the campaign’s extensive reach will involve as much of the community as possible in order to help Armenian students in Syria as they have started to return to school this academic year,” said Raffi Kendirjian,  Chairman of the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund.

In the same spirit, Armenian schools in California were mobilized in May 2017 with a fundraising campaign called “From My School to Yours,” which raised close to $15,000 as a result of the enthusiastic participation of students and parents, similar to years past. This effort allowed the opportunity to engage students to learn about the plight of young Armenians in Syria and helped create a bridge between students and schools in California with those in Syria.

“From My School to Yours” saw the participation of various schools, including St. Gregory A. & M. Hovsepian School, which collected nearly $4,600; Vahan and Anoush Chamlian Armenian School (over $4,100); Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School ($2,000); Krouzian Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School ($1,000); Richard Tufenkian Armenian Preschool ($1,000); Levon & Hasmig Tavlian Armenian Preschool ($1,000); Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School ($750).

The Syrian Armenian Relief Fund, Executive Committee extends its utmost appreciation to school administrators, teachers, staff, students and parents for their ongoing encouragement of SARF’s fundraising campaigns.

Tax-deductible donations to the Back-to-School Aleppo 2017 campaign can be made payable to SARF and mailed to the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund at P.O. Box 1948, Glendale, CA 91209-1948.

The Syrian Armenian Relief Fund’s mission is to provide immediate assistance to the Syrian-Armenians, through the generous donations of the community in the Western United States, and the network of churches, political parties and charity organizations, which operate in the region.


From Pasadena to Medovka and Back Again

Khachig Choukhajian (Photo: Mediamax) Students of the local school in Medovka (Photo: Mediamax) Khachig Choukhajian with his students (Photo:Mediamax)

There’s a Pasadena-bred UCLA-educated philosopher, who also happens to be a bit of a romantic and idealist, and who’s found his way to Lori Province, Armenia. He’s been there for a year now, teaching History, English, and now Logic and Critical Thinking to 6th-12th graders in a tiny, little village nestled among the hills of Northern Armenia, about a half hour drive from Georgia. He’s closer to Tbilisi than to Yerevan, but he makes the three hour drive down south every week, to dig up new and interesting materials for his classes, and of course to see his friends visiting from different parts of the world. “Living out here I see friends from LA and elsewhere more often than when I was back in the States, and there’s someone new visiting just about every week. The road to Yerevan is long and winding, but the drive gives me time to reflect and the weekly exchanges provide me with fresh ideas with which to develop my education theory and practices,” said the educator. He is a fellow with Teach for Armenia and his name is Khachig Choukhajian.

Khachig is always running around, between Medovka, where he has his classes, after-school English and Film clubs with his students, an outdoor park and indoor gym building project, his home in Stepanavan with three other Teach for Armenia fellows from Yerevan and their Chinchilla, his university in Gyumri where he’s completing a Master’s program in History Education, and Yerevan, where among other things he takes horse-riding lessons and volunteers at a butcher shop. The goal behind the last is to make his own pork with the pig he’s keeping. “I’ve gotten the chance to do the whole farm-to-table thing out here with a very hands-on approach. I’m in a partnership with the school cook. We’re raising pigs together. I’m trying to make the most of my short time here and I’ve realized Armenia has as much to offer as your vitality can keep up with,” said Khachig. The short span of time he refers to is the Teach for Armenia fellowship, a two year engagement, which places inspiring teachers in remote villages to bring quality and equity to Armenia’s classrooms.

“Inspire the future is Teach for Armenia’s motto, and each teacher is trained to bring that motto to the students we work with in our own unique way.  For me, it’s about guiding them to find a sense of self, as well as a sense of national and global historic understanding with my history classes, the ability to think through questions and problems with logic and critical thinking lessons, and an expanding of cultural horizons to bring them beyond the mostly Russian influenced media they consume with the films and songs I introduce them to. Ultimately, they’re the leaders and citizens of tomorrow. Either we’ll see more of the same from them, or we’ll have a wiser, more virtuous and visionary, inspired and inspiring generation of take the helm of this nation of ours,” continued Khachig.

Khachig says that this is the opportunity Teach for Armenia has given him – to commit to Armenia’s development in a more serious and impactful way. “I had been looking for my in and I found it with TFA. A lot of people from around the world are in Armenia doing great things. We all felt some responsibility towards this country, but there was something else there too,” stated the Teach for Armenia Fellow. “We fell in love with this place and want to make it work for ourselves here. And, somewhere along the way, there’s this transition that takes place, from the burden of responsibility to a sense of opportunity. You come to see yourself as an inextricable part of this place and Armenia as an inextricable part of you.”

This particular Teach for Armenia fellow had plans to go into the Education field for some time prior to applying, so that when Teach for Armenia founder Larisa Hovannisian presented the initiative at a UCLA Armenian Students Association meeting a few years ago, it was “the perfect opportunity for me, as if it just fell into my lap out of the sky.” On the other hand, the fellowship offered by TFA is a means to develop leadership skills in oneself and one’s students, so that the experience gained can be used in any field one chooses to go into in the future. “I see a lot of people with leadership qualities in Teach for Armenia’s fellowship who wouldn’t be teachers were it not for this opportunity, and that’s a good thing. I think everyone should teach in some capacity, if only for two years. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know if everyone can, because it demands a lot of love, in the Pauline sense of great kindness, patience, and generosity, but if you have that to offer, then you should. You want to test if you know your field of study? Try teaching it, in a language other than the one you studied it in, in somewhat difficult conditions, to kids who grew up in a context very different from your own. If you succeed, then you’ve got a real grasp of your masnakidootyoon – your subject of specialization,” concluded Khachig.

Khachig Choukhajian will be returning to California from September 21st -29th with Teach for Armenia representatives Narek Ghazaryan and David Hambaryan, to present fellowship opportunities and take questions from anyone further interested in Teach for Armenia, Education in Armenia, and his experience of teaching in an Armenian public school. Events include Innovate Armenia on September 23rd at USC, with other events following in Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Francisco.


U.S. Funded Areni Cave Preservation Project Completed

Areni Cave

Areni Cave

ARENI, Armenia (Panorama.am) – On September 19, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr. and Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan attended the ceremony celebrating the completion of the Areni Cave preservation project funded by the U.S. State Department’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

The ceremony marked the completion of a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation that funded installation of a protective fence, lighting, and pathways to protect the important finds while supporting tourism.

“We as humans share a common story.  Armenians, Americans, no matter where you are from, it is ancient cultural sites, like the Areni Cave, that help us understand our interwoven history.  That is why the U.S. government’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation supports efforts like the preservation work here in Areni,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr.

As the U.S. Embassy had previously reported, the recent discoveries at Areni had led to more tourists visiting the site. This flock of tourists eventually came to endanger any unfound objects and potentially interfered with ongoing archeology. Therefore, the U.S. government stepped in, funding a preservation effort with a grant from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).  The $52,870 grant, awarded in 2013, helped fund the installation of a protective fence around the site, installation of lighting and pathways to allow for visitors without disturbing the site, and conservation of the site to protect it from deterioration.

Ambassador Mills and the Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan were joined at Areni Cave by the Embassy’s Armenian partners who worked on the preservation, including Boris Gasparyan and experts from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, led by Director Pavel Avetisyan.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Mills pointed out that the preservation not only helps protect the Areni cave and its historical finds, but can help support tourism in Armenia by encouraging sustainable, non-impact visits by tourists to the cave.

“We are not only protecting the finds that will be made here tomorrow,” he said.  “We are also building Armenia’s future, allowing sustainable and protective tourist visits to the site, and helping to stimulate Armenia’s economy by strengthening options available for tourists.  With the paths and lighting installed now, thanks to the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, visitors can see the home of these unique artifacts without trampling on tomorrow’s discoveries.”

The Embassy stated that since 2005, ten sites in Armenia have been funded through the AFCP, totaling $934,000.  These include grants to create a climate controlled storage space for the Armenian National Film and Photo Archive, preservation of khachkars at the Noratus Medieval Cemetery, the reinforcement of a medieval bridge in the Garni Gorge, and the moving and renovation of two murals in Gyumri, one by Rafayel Atoyan and another by Hakob Hakobyan.  A major restoration of the St. Hovhannes Church in Meghri, with its amazing medieval frescos, is also on-going thanks to the AFCP.

“The fact that so many projects in Armenia are funded by the highly competitive U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation speaks to two facts.  Frist, it shows Armenia has a valued place in our shared human history. And second, it speaks well to the close partnership and support we find here with our Armenian partners,” Ambassador Mills said.

While in Areni, Ambassador Mills announced the latest project to be funded by the AFCP, a $143,000 grant to continue restoration and preservation work at the Dashtadem fortress.  Building on a grant awarded in 2013, the latest funding will allow us to support archaeological excavations and restoration of the inner surrounding wall of the fortress.


Turkey Summons German Envoy Over Armenian Genocide Motion

germturkey

ANKARA, Istanbul (Deutsche Welle News) – Ankara has summoned Germany’s ambassador for the second time in as many days with tensions between the two countries showing no sign of ending. It is the 17th time Berlin’s envoy has been summoned in two years.

Germany’s ambassador to Ankara was called in to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Monday just 48 hours after responding to a previous summons over the weekend, German officials said.

German Foreign Office spokesman Martin Schäfer confirmed the summons, but did not elaborate on what the reason was.

The spokesman noted, however, that it was the 17th time Ambassador Martin Erdmann had received such an order since he began his tenure as Berlin’s envoy to Ankara in 2015.

Schäfer noted that the number of summonses that Erdmann had received was “very unusual” between “partners within NATO.”

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Erdmann was summoned over a German parliamentary motion last year that declared the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide. Turkey has long fiercely rejected the term.

Erdmann was previously summoned on Saturday over a Kurdish festival that was held in the western German city of Cologne.

The slogan of the festival referred to Abdullah Oclan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been designated as a terrorist group in the European Union and Turkey.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the country’s condemnation of the Cologne event was relayed to the German ambassador.

Summoning an ambassador is one of the harshest diplomatic protest measures a country can order. Germany’s Foreign Office has also summoned Turkey’s ambassador multiple times – most recently over Turkey’s imprisonment of human rights activist Peter Steudtner.

Relations between the two countries plummeted after a series of diplomatic crises that followed last year’s failed attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Berlin has strongly criticized Ankara’s post-coup crackdown that has seen over 50,000 people arrested.


Paylan Vows to Continue Fighting for Genocide Recognition

Garo Paylan Garo Paylan being awarded by the Yerevan State University. (Photo: Garo Paylan at the Pan Armenian Armenia-Diaspora conference. (Photo: Photolure)

YEREVAN (Panorama.am) – On September 19, Armenian member of Turkish Parliament representing the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Garo Paylan explained the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide for Turkey during his remarks at the sixth Pan-Armenian Armenian-Diaspora conference in Yerevan.

“We believe there is possibility to live in peace and solidarity,” said Paylan. “The HDP recognizes the Armenian Genocide and knows Turkey will fail to solve the Kurdish issue and become a democratic state without confronting the historical past.”

Paylan discussed how when Kurds demanded equal rights, Armenians also began a dialogue about genocide recognition in Turkey.

“In 2012, for the first time since 1920, we gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Everyone knew that the Mets Yeghern (Great Catastrophe) had taken place,” added Paylan. “Regretfully, today the Turkish parliament bans to employ the ‘G -word,’ and lawmakers speaking mentioning it could face expulsion or sanctions based off the new parliamentary regulations.”

Paylan stressed that under President Erdogan’s rule Turkey is living a period of “dark winter” like it did 100 years ago while the West continues keeping a close eye on human rights violations in Turkey as it did during the Armenian Genocide.

The parliamentarian assured that the battle for democracy is a long and hard struggle amid the nationalism gaining ground in Turkey.

“Only a democratic Turkey can recognize the Armenian Genocide and open the border with Armenia,” Paylan stated, adding that the matter should not be passed to coming generations since the past four generations have struggled to achieve justice.

“Turkey lives a dark period and our fears of a new crime like one that took place 100 years ago grow,” continued Paylan. “Allowing crimes to go unrecognized and unpunished will provoke future crimes.”

“Turkey should recognize the Armenian Genocide, and I vow to struggle for that,” Paylan concluded, receiving a standing ovation from the forum’s participants.

It should be noted that Paylan refused to give any interviews to media outlets since his arrival when the Pan-Armenian conference opened. He instead asked reporters to address all questions at a press conference slated on Friday.

Paylan was also awarded a Gold Medal of the Yerevan State University.

On September 19, the Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament met with YSU students, made a short speech, and answered any questions they had.


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