Tigran Harutyunyan wins Aeroflot Open 2020 B Group tournament




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s chess player Tigran Harutyunyan has won at the Aeroflot Open 2020 B Group tournament in Moscow.

Meanwhile, Manuel Petrosyan and Hayk Martirosyan both finished in draws at the A Group’s final round. Gabriel Sargsyan defeated Shant Sargsyan.

Manuel Petrosyan gained 9 points out of 6 and was ranked 8th, while Gabriel Sargsyan finished 20th.

Harutyunyan garnered 7 points but was announced winner with additional scores.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Civilization cannot develop guided by fascism, xenophobia – Armenian President addresses message




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian addressed message in the memory of the victims of the carnage organized in Soviet Azerbaijan and Day of Protection of the Rights of the Expelled Armenian Population, the Presidential Office told Armenpress.

The message says:

“Dear Compatriots:

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the tragic events in Sumgait town of Azerbaijan. In those days in February, 1988, supported by the criminal acquiescence of the authorities of Soviet Azerbaijan, local armed gangs in Sumgait executed mass violence against the Armenian population, which mounted to massacres, accompanied by torture, rape, looting, and torching of the Armenian property. As a result of the crime instigated and carried out at the state level multiple citizens of the Armenian origin were killed, many were injured, subjected to violence, and deported.

Violence and savageries against Armenians in Sumgait, and later in Baku, Kirovabad, and Maragha in their nature were reminiscent of the horrendous days of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. They also resulted in xenophobia and especially Armenophobia enthused in Azerbaijan for decades which today has become even more pronounced and have acquired state-sponsored and state-coordinated features.

Recalling the tragic events, which happened more than 32 years ago, paying tribute to our compatriots, who became victims, and proclaiming February 28 in Armenia and Artsakh the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Carnage Organized in Soviet Azerbaijan and Day of Protection of the Rights of the Expelled Armenian Population, we also send a message to the humankind that civilization cannot develop guided by fascism, national discrimination, and xenophobia.

Each case which goes unpunished, each distorted fact, each life taken based on hatred means a new opening and possibility for tragedy, it means complicity with those who perpetrate xenophobia, instigators and those who use it as a weapon. It also means incessant waves of hatred in the region, unhindered path to ethnic cleansing, and ultimately to the gravest crime against humanity – genocide.

The tragedy in Sumgait and Armenians affected by it were the immediate victims of homophobia and Armenophobia. Keeping the road open for the “Brown plague” today too, manifests disrespect to the memory of all those who fell victims of fascism and xenophobia.

I bow to the memory of all those who became victims of the Azerbaijani violence in Sumgait and Baku.

May they rest in peace”.

Pashinyan pays tribute to memory of Sumgait pogrom victims in Yerevan memorial




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan today visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial to pay tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the tragedy that took place in Sumgait on February 27-29, 1988.

The PM was accompanied by deputy prime minister Mher Grigoryan, Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II, Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Artak Davtyan, acting Police Chief Arman Sargsyan and other top officials.

February 28 marks the 32nd anniversary of the massacres and deportation of the Armenian population conducted by Soviet Azerbaijan at the state level.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

At least 33 Turkish troops killed in Syria air raid




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria's Idlib province on Thursday in an aerial attack by Syrian “regime forces”, according to Governor Rahmi Dogan of Turkey's Hatay province, BBC reported.

Another 35 troops have been wounded.

A security meeting is being held at the presidential palace after the "nefarious attack against heroic soldiers in Idlib who were there to ensure our national security," according to a statement from Turkish director of communications Fahrettin Altun, CNN reported.

Turkey said it has carried out retaliatory attacks.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke by phone to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey, a key member of the military alliance.

Stoltenberg "condemned the continued indiscriminate air strikes by the Syrian regime and its backer Russia in Idlib province", his spokesperson was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

A spokesman for the US state department said in a statement: "We stand by our Nato ally Turkey and continue to call for an immediate end to this despicable offensive by the Assad regime, Russia and Iranian-backed forces.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General António Guterres expressed "grave concern" over the latest escalation, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

On February 27, Russia accused Turkey of violating the 2018 ceasefire by backing rebels with artillery fire.

Azerbaijan to pay compensation to Khadija Ismayilova as ECHR delivers judgement




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has delivered a judgement in the case of journalist Khadija Ismayilova against Azerbaijan.

The Court concluded that “ the arrest and detention of the applicant, a journalist who had published articles critical of members of the Government and their families for alleged corruption and illegal business activities, had been driven by the improper reasons of silencing her and punishing her for her journalistic activity”, ECHR documents show.

The ECHR ruled that Azerbaijan must pay Ismayilova 20,000 Euros in compensation.

Meanwhile, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Samed Seyidov, told BBC that the Azerbaijani government will comply with the judgement and fulfill the demand.

This is already the third judgement in favor of the journalist.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

COVID-2019: Armenia won’t shut down border with Georgia yet




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan says so far there is no need to close Armenia’s border with Georgia over the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak.

“In the event of necessity, it will be discussed, at this moment there is no such need,” Grigoryan told ARMENPRESS when asked if the government is considering shutting down the border with Georgia as it did with Iran.

“We haven’t reached that point yet. In terms of security, we will discuss, if it will be necessary, we will close it, if not, we won’t”, he said, when asked about possible national security issues if Armenia will close its border with Georgia at the same time having shut down the border with Iran.

On February 25, Armenia imposed a partial closure of its border with Iran as the Islamic Republic was reporting COVID-2019 cases.

Georgia on Wednesday reported the first case of coronavirus in the country.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Turkish soldiers were with ‘terrorist groups’ when they were hit by Syrian military, says Russia




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. The Turkish troops who were killed in a raid were acting inside “combat units” with jihadist militants in Idlib province when they were targeted by a Syrian government airstrike on Thursday, the Russian military said, according to RT.

The airstrike was carried out when the Syrian Army was repelling a large-scale offensive by terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an offshoot of Al-Qaeda in Syria, inside the Idlib ‘de-escalation zone,’ the Russian military said on Friday, according to RT.

“Turkish servicemen inside the combat units of terrorist groups came under fire from the Syrian military on February 27 near the town of Behun,” RT quoted the Russian military’s statement.

The Defense Ministry said that the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria was in constant contact with Ankara, “regularly” requesting and receiving information on the whereabouts of Turkish troops. And, according to the data submitted by Turkey, there were no Turkish soldiers near Behun when the Syrian Army was fighting terrorists there.

PM Pashinyan calls on public to follow preventive methods to keep Armenia coronavirus-free




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has shared on social media a Ministry of Healthcare poster on how to prevent the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019).

“So far there haven’t been any cases of the novel coronavirus in Armenia. And if you follow all the rules in this poster, no cases will happen. Please, share it as much as possible,” Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page.

The poster includes methods of protection from the virus, such as : taking notice of a given county’s epidemiological situation when planning a trip,  regularly and thoroughly cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water, avoiding contact with anyone having flu-like symptoms or wearing masks while doing so, practicing respiratory hygiene – covering with a tissue the nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing and disposing the tissue afterwards, contacting a doctor in the event of experiencing flu-like symptoms.

So far, no cases of the COVID-2019 were recorded in Armenia. 

Earlier on February 25, Armenia announced a partial closure of its border with Iran as the Islamic Republic was reporting cases of the virus. 

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Asbarez: Coalition of Community Organizations Hosts ‘The 30 Year Genocide’ Co-Author at L.A. City Hall

LOS ANGELES—The Philos Project, Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, Assyrian American Association of Southern California, American Hellenic Council, and Councilmember Paul Krekorian hosted renowned Israeli professor Benny Morris to present his groundbreaking book “The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities.”

Professor Morris’ research is the first of its kind to frame the genocide of the Ottoman Empire’s indigenous Christian minorities as a continual process from 1894 to 1924. Where scholarship on the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek genocide has tended to examine the act of genocide in isolation, Morris’ research has synthesized the narratives of Christian persecution in the Ottoman Empire – from the Hamidian Massacres to Ataturk’s establishment of the Republic of Turkey – to demonstrate how genocide had been institutionalized over the span of three decades.

A former professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor in Georgetown’s Department of Government, Professor Morris has led a distinguished career in academia, where he has been recognized for his work on the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

The discussion with Professor Morris, which was hosted in the Tom Bradley room of Los Angeles City Hall, was moderated by Robert Nicholson, Founder and Executive Director of the Philos Project. Nicholson founded Philos in 2014 to promote positive engagement in the Middle East amongst Christian leaders to advance freedom and justice on the ground.

Professor Benny Morris

The event brought together members of Southern California’s Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, and Jewish communities on the heels of the historic recognition of the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian genocides by the U.S. House and Senate last year.

“With the momentous victory of genocide recognition by Congress as a matter of official U.S. policy, this timely event sought to unite our communities together in both the solemn remembrance of this dark chapter in history and a commitment to ensuring this great crime will never be repeated,” said Armen Sahakyan, Executive Director of the ANCA Western Region. “In examining the systemic factors that informed the Ottoman-era genocides, and examining genocide not as an isolated incident, but a continuous and institutionalized process, we are able to better equip ourselves in identifying and combatting contemporary cases of genocide.”

“Author Benny Morris’s presentation was a powerful, meticulous, and enlightening discussion of the hidden genocide of Turkey’s Christian minorities between 1894 and 1924. Never before has an author presented this as a “Christian Genocide” of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrian communities. Historically accurate and factually presented, the book and Benny Morris’s presentation chronicles the organized destruction of all three communities from Ottoman Sultans to modern Turkey,” said AHC President, Dr. James F. Dimitrou. “Furthermore, this historic event highlights our new coalition with the determination to work together to counter continued Turkish propaganda that denies the destruction of all three Christian Communities. Together we finally will proclaim the truth! Together we will challenge the dangerous Turkish positions. Together we will work through a new coalition of truth and justice,” he concluded.

“Events like last Monday’s insightful talk by Benny Morris serve as the most recent example of cross-community efforts with our Armenian and Greek brothers and sisters,” said Peter Warda, President of the Assyrian American Association of Southern California. “We cannot stress how invaluable it is to have a collective voice in solidarity with communities affected by genocide and persecution, thereby speaking truth to power through education, awareness, and advocacy initiatives.”

A scene from the book presentation

“A few people ask me why we hosted an event about something that happened a hundred years ago,” said Philos Founder and President Robert Nicholson. “I give two reasons. First, any future American engagement in the Near East must begin by understanding what happened in the past. Second, the spirit that gave rise to the Turkish genocide still haunts the region and must be confronted by a coalition of peoples and faiths who believe that Jews, Christians, and Muslims belong there,” he added.

“It is entirely fitting that two Israeli Jews, Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi, produced such groundbreaking scholarship on a Christian catastrophe. Through their research – and their mere existence as fellow Near Eastern minorities – they prove that goodwill between different religious communities is not only possible but already present,” concluded Nicholson.

In attendance included Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Amb. Nina Hachigian, representatives from the offices of California State Senator Anthony Portantino and Assemblymember Laura Friedman, the inaugural Chair of Modern Armenian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles Professor Richard Hovannissian, and others.

The event – emceed by Juliana Taimoorazy – was formally opened by the representatives of each of the partner organizations, including the President of the American Hellenic Council Dr. James F Dimitriou, the newly-minted President of the Assyrian American Association of Southern California Peter Warda, and the ANCA Western Region Executive Director Armen Sahakyan.

The Philos Project is a dynamic leadership community dedicated to promoting positive Christian engagement in the Middle East. This community is centered on a growing network of city-based chapters located in North America and around the world. Philos equips a new generation of Western Christians to support friends in the region who share our vision for pluralism. They offer educational resources, immersive travel programs, and networking and advocacy opportunities that help Christian leaders understand and engage with important Middle East issues and support innovative projects that help advance liberty and justice on the ground.

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan 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 in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.

The American Hellenic Council is a non-partisan political advocacy organization. Our goal is to promote democracy, human rights, peace, and stability in Southern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on Greece and Cyprus, by informing the American public and the government about on-going issues and conflicts in the area.

Founded in 1964, The Assyrian American Association of Southern California is a nonpartisan organization whose broad mission is to serve and advance the Assyrian-American community by concentrating on a wide spectrum of areas such as cultural and linguistic identity, public/governmental outreach and advocacy, education, arts/literature, youth services, and many others.

Asbarez: Houri Berberian to Lecture on ‘Roving Revolutionaries’ at Fresno State

Dr. Houri Berberian

FRESNO—“Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds” will be the topic of discussion during Dr. Houri Berberian’s presentation at California State University, Fresno. The talk will be held on Wednesday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, on the Fresno State campus, located at 5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA 93740. Dr. Berberian is Professor of History, Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies, and Director of the Program in Armenian Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

The presentation is part of the Spring 2020 Lecture Series of the Armenian Studies Program and is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

Three of the formative revolutions that shook the early 20th century world occurred almost simultaneously in regions bordering each other. Though the Russian, Iranian, and Young Turk Revolutions all exploded between 1904 and 1911, they have never been studied through their linkages until now. “Roving Revolutionaries” probes the interconnected aspects of these three revolutions through the involvement of the Armenian revolutionaries – minorities in all of these empires – whose movements and participation within and across frontiers tell us a great deal about the global transformations that were taking shape. Exploring the geographical and ideological boundary crossings that occurred, this archivally grounded analysis of the circulation of revolutionaries, ideas, and print tells the story of peoples and ideologies in upheaval and collaborating with each other, and in so doing it illuminates our understanding of revolutions and movements.

Houri Berberian’s “Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds”

Dr. Houri Berberian is the author of a number of articles and two books, “Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911: The Love for Freedom Has No Fatherland” and, most recently, “Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds” (UC Press, 2019).

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in Fresno State Lots P6 and P5, near the University Business Center, Fresno State. Parking permits are required, and a free parking code can be obtained from the Armenian Studies Program. Copies of “Roving Revolutionaries” will be available for purchase at the presentation.

For more information about the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 559.278.2669, visit Fresno State’s Armenian Studies Program website or visit their Facebook page at @ArmenianStudiesFresnoState.