Turkey says Russian warplane violated its airspace

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov over an alleged violation of Turkish airspace by a Russian warplane, the ministry said in a statement Monday, RIA Novosti reports.

According to the statement, a Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay near Syria on October 3. The aircraft left Turkish airspace after being intercepted by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets.

“The Russian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry, where a strong protest was voiced to him. The protest was also voiced by Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu in a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Sinirlioglu has discussed the incident with his counterparts from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy and is seeking a discussion on the issue with NATO Secretary General [Jens Stoltenberg] and German Foreign Minister [Frank-Walter Steinmeier],” the statement reads.

The Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reports quoting Turkish military sources that Russia has informed Turkey that the violation of Turkish airspace near the Syrian border on Oct. 3 was due to a “navigation error.”

The Russian authorities informed the Turkish military attaché in Moscow about the error, Russian Embassy officials in Ankara told Hürriyet Daily News.

Getty Museum and Armenian Church reach agreement over 13th-century manuscript

The Getty Museum will keep eight brilliantly illustrated table of contents pages from a 750-year-old Armenian Bible after settling a long-running lawsuit brought by an American branch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the reports.

The church contended they had been illegally separated from the rest of the book amid the Armenian genocide during World War I.

The Getty and the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America jointly announced the settlement Monday. Both sides said they were happy with the outcome, but for very different reasons.

The Getty gets to keep the art, and the church gets recognition that all along it has been the rightful owner of the pages, which were separated about 100 years ago from a complete Bible called the Zeyt’un gospels.

The rest of the book is at the Matenadaran, a museum and library for manuscripts in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The Getty bought its pages in 1994 from an Armenian American family for $1.5 million in today’s dollars.

Under the settlement, attorneys said, the church will donate the eight pages, known as a “canon table” that prefaces the rest of the Bible, to the Getty on Jan. 1, 2016. The Getty will pay all legal expenses from the suit the church had brought in 2010 – a sum attorneys for the two sides declined to disclose.

“It’s a resolution both sides are equally happy with, a win-win,” said Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum. “It’s an acknowledgment of their ownership, but maintains the work as an integral part of the collection here.”
Potts said that the Getty will keep custody of the manuscript pages until it officially takes ownership.

They were created during the mid-1200s by a renowned Armenian artist, T’oros Roslin, but were separated from the rest of the Zeyt’un Bible sometime during the upheaval caused by the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918. It claimed the lives of about 1.2 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, which became the modern republic of Turkey. The Turkish government disputes that a genocide took place.

Lee Boyd, the attorney for the Armenian church, said its main objective was not to wrest the pages from the Getty, which it feels has been a good custodian and offers continuing access to a Southern California public that includes a large number of Armenian Americans.

The foremost goal, she said, was to set the historic record straight and draw attention to the fact that there is much unfinished legal business for heirs of Armenian families or institutions that lost property during the genocide.

“This is the first restitution of an artwork from the Armenian genocide,” Boyd said. “I hope it’s not the last. The case was brought to acknowledge the ownership of the church and [establish] recognition that they were taken during the Armenian genocide. It had devastating effects felt for generations, including much loss of cultural patrimony, particularly of the Armenian church.”

Before the settlement, according to court files, the church had sought the pages’ return, along with damages of at least $35 million. But both sides would have been on unpredictable legal terrain had the case proceeded, complicated by what Potts described as “lots of gray areas and facts we don’t know” relating to the manuscript pages’ whereabouts during and immediately after World War I.

According to court documents, the Zeyt’un Gospels were housed at a church in a traditionally Armenian area of what’s now Turkey. As chaos broke out, members of the Armenian community removed the prized Bible from the church for safe keeping. At some point the front pages with the most beautiful art were separated from the rest.

They wound up in possession of an Armenian man who immigrated to the United States in 1923, settling in Massachusetts. That family handed them down through generations until the Getty bought them more than 70 years later.

The pages became a highlight of the Getty’s collection of illuminated manuscripts. The materials – paint on vellum, a parchment made from calf’s skin — are too fragile and light-sensitive to be on permanent or frequent display, Potts said. But as delicate medieval manuscripts go, the Zeyt’un canon tables have been in heavy rotation, with one or more pages displayed in 11 exhibitions since 1997 – 10 at the Getty and one at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

They will have been out of view for 19 months when all eight pages go back on display Jan. 26 in the Getty’s exhibition “Traversing the Globe Through Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts.”

The church’s legal position got a boost in December 2013 from a ruling in another art-restitution case brought against a Spanish museum, involving California heirs of a family that lost a painting by Camille Pissarro during the Holocaust.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to declare unconstitutional a special 2011 California law that extends the statute of limitations for claims to recover allegedly stolen works held by museums and art dealers. That took away some of the Getty’s legal ammunition.

But Boyd, the Armenian church’s attorney, said that pushing forward rather than settling the suit would have meant fighting additional procedural battles over whether the church had waited too long to sue.

In court documents the Getty had pointed to articles published in 1943 and 1952 that showed church officials were fully aware that the family in Massachusetts possessed the canon tables, and did not take action to get them back.

Also important to the settlement, Boyd said, was the knowledge that the Getty can give the artworks the best scholarly attention and technical care. “The Matenadaran has expanded its preservation abilities, but [Armenia] is still an emerging economy and the resources are not there as they are at the Getty,” she said. Boyd said “there are hopes this resolution will forge a relation between the Getty and the Armenian church” in which the Getty, which has an international program for art conservation, would take on projects in Armenia.

Potts said that “it could happen…but that hasn’t been a part of the [settlement] agreement.”

The museum director said another future possibility is a joint exhibition in which the Getty would loan its pages to the Matenadaran for an exhibition of the entire Zeyt’un gospels in Armenia, and in turn the full book would be shown at the Getty.

More likely in the near term, Potts said, is a ceremony to mark the church’s donation of the art to the museum.

“It’s an important moment for both parties, and we would love for there to be some such event,” he said.

Message of His Holiness Karekin II on Armenia’s Independence Day

From the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin we extend our Pontifical blessings to our people in Armenia and the Diaspora on the occasion of Armenian Independence Day. Today is a historical and sacred day.

In 1991, our nation fulfilled its centuries-old dream of an independent and free life, and while overcoming the difficulties of war and a blockade, strengthened the foundations of our statehood by high consciousness and struggle.

Independence Day is an opportunity to appreciate our past, infuse our country with new energy and enthusiasm, and heeding the words of the bible: “All of us are called to serve one another in love and freedom” (Galatians 5:13), keep our pledge to the Motherland.

We offer our Prayers to God, asking that he bless our Homeland, and under the auspices of His Holy Right Hand, bless and protect our faithful, for the welfare of all efforts directed at the strengthening of the country.

May our Lord Jesus Christ’s grace and peace be with us all. Amen.

Armenia leads UN effort to designate Dec. 9 International Genocide Commemoration Day

On September 11, 2015, the UN General Assembly, at the 103rd plenary meeting of its 69th session, adopted by consensus a resolution, initiated by Armenia and entitled “International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of This Crime”. This resolution follows up on another important resolution, initiated by Armenia and adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 27, 2015. In its operative paragraph 22, the UN Human Rights Council recommended to the UN General Assembly to proclaim such International Day. This resolution adds to the continued efforts of Armenia to promote consolidated international action against the crime of genocide.

Introducing the draft resolution on behalf of 84 co-sponsors from all regional groups, Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan noted that “millions of human lives have been lost as a result of the most horrendous crime – the crime of genocide that humankind has to its shame demonstrated ability to commit”. “We believe the International Day will serve an important platform for prevention by way of commemoration”, continued the Armenian Permanent Representative.

9 December is the date when the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted in 1948.

Reaffirming the significance of the 1948 Convention as an effective international instrument for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, the UNGA resolution acknowledges that victims of this crime call for a form of memorialization, which plays an important role in the prevention of genocide. It also reiterates the responsibility of each State to protect its populations from genocide, including incitement to it, through appropriate and necessary means. It further states that fighting impunity for genocide is an important factor in its prevention.

In its operative paragraph, the resolution encourages states, international organizations, civil society and individuals to observe the International Day in order to raise awareness of the 1948 Convention and its role in combating and preventing the genocide, and to commemorate and honor its victims.

Armenia’s Ambassador remarked that the International Day would render dignity to the victims of past inaction, and that justice denied haunts generations of survivors, it undermines the fight against impunity, as much as genuine reconciliation. He also underlined the collective responsibility of Member States in putting together the building blocks of a rigid system to prevent and deny capacity to potential future perpetrators of the crime of genocide. “It would be the most appropriate way of paying tribute to the memories of its victims” – concluded Mr. Mnatsakanyan.

Google updates main company logo

Google has unveiled a new logo for its core search services, the BBC reports.

The change smoothes out some of the features in the letters that make up the well-known colourful logo spelling out its name.

It said the change was needed because people were now reaching Google on lots of mobile devices rather than just desktop computers.

The change comes after Google put its many divisions under an umbrella company called Alphabet.

It said that the logo, and its many variations, would work better on the many different-sized screens through which people used or encountered Google and its services. As well as the full logo of the company’s name, it also plans to use four dots in its signature blue, red, yellow and green colours and a single, multi-coloured capital “G” to represent it.

Google announced the change on its official blog and illustrated what was different via a series of animated gifs. It said the revamped logo was “simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly” and represented the best of Google.

Development of relations with Europe one of Artsakh’s foreign policy priorities

On 1 September Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan received President of the European Free Alliance François Alfonsi, member of the European Parliament Jordi Sebastia and accompanying them individuals.

Various issues related to the Europe-Artsakh relations, Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict settlement, regional trends were discussed during the meeting

President Sahakyan noted that development of relations with European countries and organizations was one of the pivotal directions of the Artsakh foreign policy, adding that all prerequisites exist for their further reinforcement.

During the meeting President Sahakyan handed in the “Gratitude” medal to the director of the “European friends of Armenia” organization Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa for consistently representing the interests and rights of the Artsakh Republic in European structures.

NKR National Assembly chairman Ashot Ghoulyan and other officials partook in the meeting.


Kiev protest blast wounds 100 Police

Some 100 were wounded in the clashes near the Ukrainian parliament building, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry told RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile, Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko told reporters that he had information about several casualties among the law enforcers. Ukraine’s National Guard does not confirm the information.

“”We do not confirm this information. There are those wounded and severely wounded, but there are no dead,” the National Guard press service said.

According to the Ukrainian Internal Ministry’s press service, 10 law enforcement officers are in grave condition. The number of injured protesters is not yet known.

At least 15 dead, six missing as boat crashes in Nile

At least 15 people have been killed on in a crash between a cargo vessel and a passenger boat on Egypt’s River Nile.

Family and friends of a young couple had hired the boat for an engagement party and were sailing north of Cairo when the crash happened, according to AFP news agency.

An Interior Ministry statement said 15 bodies had been found and six people were still missing.

The captain of the cargo boat has been arrested.

Five people were rescued from the water, but at least two children were killed.

It is not clear if the couple thought to be celebrating their engagement were among the dead, said AFP.

Baku’s non-constructive behavior jeopardises Karabakh talks: Armenian FM

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian received today OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov, James Warlick and Pierre Andrieu and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.

The interlocutors continued the discussions on the process of peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

The Co-Chairs briefed Minister Nalbandian on the results of their meetings in Washington and Moscow and referred to their plans for the rest of the year.

Stressing that Baku has again resorted to military rhetoric and provocations after the European games, Edward Nalbandian called the attention of the Co-Chairs to the recent ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani side all  along the line of contact with the Nagorno Karabakh.

According to Minister Nalbandian, Baku’s non-constructive behavior jeopardises the efforts of Armenia and the co-chairing countries to further the negotiation process.