Russia accuses Erdogan of trading oil with IS, provides evidence

Photo: AP


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family members are directly involved in illegal oil deliveries from Islamic State (IS) oil fields in Syria, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family members are directly involved in illegal oil deliveries from oil fields belonging to IS in Syria, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

“Revenues from the sale of oil are one of the most important sources of activity by terrorists in Syria. They earn around $2 billion annually, spending these funds on hiring militants from around the world and equipping them with weapons, equipment, and arms,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said during a briefing in Moscow.

The ministry provided photographs of columns of oil fuel tankers on the Turkish-Syrian border. Fuel tankers with oil freely cross the border between Turkey and Iraq, according to Russia’s General Staff.

The main consumer of this oil stolen from the legal owners in Syria and Iraq is Turkey. According to available information, this illegal business includes the upper political leadership of the country, President Erdogan and his family,” Antonov added.

These oil revenues are used not only to enrich the Turkish leadership but to arm terrorists as well, the General Staff stated.

Oil from IS-controlled areas in Syria is shipped to refineries in third countries after being transported to Turkey, the head of the Russian General Staff’s operative command said Wednesday.

“Space reconnaissance has reliably showed that after crossing the border, tank trucks carrying oil head to the ports of Dortyol and Iskenderun,” Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy told reporters.

Russian deputy defense minister said that Russia will continue to provide facts that Turkey steals from its neighbors, adding that it’s a surprise no one in the West ever noticed that Erdogan’s son is the owner of one of the largest energy companies, while the president’s son-in-law was appointed energy minister.

Russian Defense Ministry’s information on IS oil trade will be published online.

Moscow calls on Ankara to provide access to places where, according to Russian data, IS oil trade centers are located, Antonov said.

“I am certain that there will be claims that everything you’ve seen here now is false. Well, if there are no such things, they [Turkey] should grant access to the places we showed journalists today,” Antonov said after presenting satellite data and photos said to prove Turkey’s involvement in illegal IS oil trade.

Amal Clooney to replace ÂŁ450k engagement ring because it’s too bling for human rights work

Amal Clooney has reportedly taken off her dazzling ÂŁ450,000 engagement ring…in favour of something more low key, the  reports.

The human rights lawyer, 37, who married George Clooney in September last year, is said to be seeking a simple platinum band instead, after fearing that the hugely expensive sparkler was too ostentatious for her work as a human rights lawyer.

The Lebanese-British lawyer regularly jets around the world for high-profile cases and, according to reports, felt that the ring might detract from the seriousness of her work.

In recent years, she has represented controversial Ukraine leader Yulia Tymoshenko, worked with the Greek government to try and secure the re-patriation of the Elgin marbles and earlier this year was part of the legal team that defended Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.

Amal Clooney recently represented Armenia at teh European Court of Human Rights in an Armenian Genocide denial case.

A source told the Mirror: ‘Amal has told friends she wants a more understated engagement ring specifically for when she’s working on serious cases.

‘People constantly stop her and admire it for a closer look. It is a massive rock and there is no hiding it.

‘She absolutely loves the ring and won’t be getting rid of it but she just wants something simpler for her big cases.’

Amal has sported the huge rock since soon after actor husband George, 54, first proposed in April 2014.

After the couple were wed in a star-studded ceremony in Venice, both wore wedding bands with Mrs Clooney favouring a diamond-encrusted band.

Conan O’Brien on bringing ‘Conan’ to Armenia, meeting Syrian refugees

– Inspired by his exotic trip to Cuba earlier this year, Conan O’Brien decided to hit the road once again, but this time with his beloved longtime assistant, Sona Movsesian, sharing the center stage. Traveling to Armenia with his Conan crew in tow, the excursion was naturally spurred by Movsesian’s Armenian heritage and, simply, O’Brien’s yearning to learn more about it. What ensued were adventures at Armenian flea markets, a popular soap opera, a rowdy Yerevan Day celebration, and, on a more somber note, a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial.Earlier this week, the late-night host and Movsesian talked with  John Horn, host of the  about their trip of a lifetime, their unique boss-assistant dynamic, and meeting Syrian refugees.

John Horn: The last time we talked, you were about to air your episode on your trip to Cuba. Did that have some influence on your wanting to go to Armenia?

Conan O’Brien: It had a direct influence in that we realized America loves it when I leave the country. America’s favorite thing is when Co is gone. We obviously got a terrific response from that show. It reminded me how much I love traveling, and how much I love doing comedy on the road, and how much I love doing remotes. Years ago I did a remote in Finland, I did one in Ireland, and it was fantastic. The comedy is really organic, and the interactions are pure. I thought, Okay, once we did Cuba, let’s keep this going. Sona has been talking about Armenia and her culture for the six years we’ve been together, and the idea just popped in one day: What if I took Sona, my assistant, back to Armenia? And we had this crazy adventure, and we’re really proud of the way it turned out.

So, Sona, was this trip something you’ve been planting in his mind all these years?

Sona Movsesian: You know, if I was, I guess I wasn’t doing it on purpose. But whatever I did, I’m glad I did it. Because I ended up getting a trip to Armenia out of it. If it was subconscious, good for me.

CO: It’s not that subconscious when every third Post-it I get from her says: “Go to Armenia.”

“And bring me with you.”

CO: Yeah, it’s two pink Post-its long. No, she’s talked about it so much, and Sona and I are always joking around about my culture, her culture, how different our cultures are. Then it just became a natural, “Let’s go to Armenia.”  The episode begins with me going to her parents. There’s a massive community here in Los Angeles.

In Glendale.

CO: Yeah, there are pockets everywhere. We decided we’ll start the episode by going to her parents’ house, and me expressing concern that Sona is losing touch with her Armenian roots. I talk to her grandparents and parents, and they have a wish list of things they would like to have happen in Armenia. We accomplished most of what we set out to do.

In the preview material, a lot of the gags had what I’d call a Western bias — kind of poking fun at Armenian culture. The pig or cow feet in a market, for example, or when you’re commenting on the safety precautions, or lack thereof, at an Armenian car rally. But I’d suspect there was a little more to your visit than poking fun in that way.

CO: Oh, no. A lot of the laughs are at my expense, sort of in the flavor of the Cuban episode. When I travel somewhere, obviously, there’s an “idiot abroad” quality. So, yes, I’m a Westerner, and I’m going to this other culture, and I have my biases, but that melts away pretty quickly. There are moments that are extremely powerful, that were unlike anything in the Cuba episode. My favorite moments are the ones where you see me really interacting with the people — where they’re laughing at my attempts to be Armenian. One of my favorite moments is when I appear in an Armenian soap opera, playing a mobster, a tough guy, and I actually have a line in Armenian. That is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. It’s absolutely absurd. There was a Russian director who spoke no English who talked to me at length about my emotional journey, even though I have one line. He spoke to me, seriously, for ten minutes. “You see in your victim yourself; you also see a reflection of what you could have been had your life been different. Your soul feels old even though your mind is still young.” I just want to know: Where’s my mark, and what do I say?

Sona, what did you take away from this trip? Because it’s a little more personal for you to go back to your homeland.

SM: I grew up in Los Angeles, in a really rich Armenian community. I’ve learned a lot about my community throughout my life — the language, the culture, the history. Then to see these things in person was really cathartic. It was emotional, beautiful. Going under these circumstances, too, was great. To go with someone like Conan who’s willing to learn a lot about the culture. The writers did a lot of research before we went. It was, for me, a very profound trip.

This is hardly a staple of comedy, but there was a horrible genocide in Armenia around World War I. As many as a million and a half people were killed. Is that part of what you’ll be reporting back on when you air this segment?

CO: Yes. It is part of the show. I had some people asking me before we went, what about the genocide? “How do you get around that?” I said, “You don’t get around that.” This idea that everything is supposed to be funny is mistaken. When we go to these cultures, I go and I try to find common ground, and a lot of that is through comedy. But I do have a section I’m immensely proud of where that is the focus of the show. What’s interesting to me is when you show it to people, they don’t see a disconnect. They don’t see, “Wait, this part is amusing and warm and fun, and that part’s silly, and then there you are with kids and that’s sweet — but then that part is very somber.” They don’t see a disconnect. People are willing to take it all in as a whole. I am enormously proud of the episode where that is the exclusive focus of the program for the whole act.

But that raises a kind of bigger question: Late-night hosts historically comment on or make jokes about what’s happening in the rest of the world, rather than actually visiting that part of the world and engaging in it. Do you think there’s a larger role that you and people like you can play in getting out in the world and bringing it back to a larger audience?

CO: Two things have happened: The world has gotten a lot smaller than it was even 20 years ago. The globe is shrinking; we’re all in each other’s pockets. I was just in Qatar. I went with the First Lady to do a show at the air base there. And I flew there, did the show, and came back. I was in a completely other part of the world, and I was back doing shows on Monday. That’s how close we are to everything. That’s how much the globe has shrunk. At the same time, while that’s happened, I grew up in a world where there used to be one talk show — Johnny Carson — and there are now 650 talk shows.

And so, yes. I don’t think it’s a responsibility, but I look at it like an opportunity. For me, it just fits well. I love going to different places. I actually think I’m funnier when I have less control — when I jump into situations and cultures where I’m completely unfamiliar. You get really human moments. People like to see me thrown curveballs left and right and not really know what I’m doing. My favorite moments are with these people who speak a different language, and who don’t know who I am, and if I can get them to laugh — and, yes, they’re laughing at me, but that’s extraordinarily satisfying. At the end of
the day — between Cuba and this show — you do feel like it’s this weird form of diplomacy now, where if you do it right, you can actually make connections with people.

We did a segment on our show last night — we do a segment called “Fan Corrections.” A fan sent in a commentary where he thought he caught us making a mistake. He’s from Iran, and he watches us on YouTube. I absolutely love that there’s a kid in Tehran who’s laughing at my nonsense, and then we responded to him on the show. It feels like a gear I didn’t even know was possible. I’ve been doing this for 22 years. To be having the most fun that I’ve had in late night here on my 23rd season on the air is pretty extraordinary. And it’s mostly because of these travel shows.

There’s a part of this episode that was really touching to me. I’m in Armenia, in Yerevan. I’m told there are a bunch of fans waiting for me outside, and I’m thinking, Armenian fans? That’s interesting. I go outside — they’re all Syrian refugees. There were about seven or eight teenagers. They fled to Armenia and took shelter there a couple of years ago when things really got rough. It’s heartbreaking. They could not be smarter, funnier, nicer, sharper. They know the show from YouTube. They were citing certain bits. They were so happy to see me that we wound up going out to the Village Square and just dancing around because there was some sort of disco celebration going on in Republic Square in Yerevan. I remembered, I called my wife — it was an 11-hour time difference, but I said, that was one of the great experiences of my life. Connecting with these Syrian refugees who liked the show on YouTube. They never get to see someone they know from YouTube, especially from the West — and then they’re with him. In those moments, I’m so grateful for the internet. It’s so incredible that I can have a connection with people from Syria who are living in Armenia and they just like some bits I do on the show, and we actually meet, and they get to be on the show. That’s magical to me.

Two Armenian soldiers killed in Azeri firing

Two Armenian soldiers are reported killed as Azerbaijan continues to violate the ceasefire.

“The rival keeps violating the ceasefire regime, using different weapons,” the NKR Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It said privates of the NKR Defense Army Vahe Vanoyan (born in 1995) and Mikael Torosyan (born in 1996) were fatally wounded as a result of firing from the Azerbaijani side at about 9 p.m.,  November 12.

Investigation into the details of the case is under way. The NKR Ministry of Defense shares the sorrow of the heavy loss and expresses its support to the families and friends of the killed soldiers.

Old Armenian cemetery restored in Indian city of Hyderabad

Two of Hyderabad’s most famous Armenians, Albert Abid and Alexander Jacob, are not buried at the Armenian cemetery in Uppuguda. But the cemetery is preparing to enlighten people on the role of the two Armenians in the 16 and 17 century After lying in a state of neglect for decades, the Armenian cemetery, will be opened to public shortly, reports.

The Department of Archaeology and Museums, which is the custodian of the cemetery, renovated the premises some months ago.

“ A caretaker will be posted at the cemetery to look after its maintenance,” said Sunita M. Bhagwath, Director, Archaeology and Museums Department.

Armenians came to India between 16th and 17th centuries as traders travelling through Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet. “A large number of Armenians settled in Hyderabad during the 17th century. Though there are no written records of their activities, traditions and social conditions , the Armenian epitaphs acknowledge their presence,” M.A. Qayyum, former Deputy Director Archaeology and Museums said.

There are about 20 graves in the cemetery, 19 are of Armenians and one is of a Dutch trader.

The graves of two priests Rev Johannes, who died in 1680, and Rev. Margar, who died in 1724, are also here. A single dome on the premises representing the Qutb Shahi style of architecture and two mandapa-like structures, one square and the other octagonal, are distinct features of the cemetery.

The existence of the cemetery of Armenians was brought to light by Mohammed Ziauddin Ahmed Shakeb, a historian from the city in 1970.

“Dr. Shakeb chanced upon a letter written by British Resident W. Haig in Hyderabad to a government official in 1907 about the Armenian cemetery. Soon, officials were informed about it and the place was identified,” Qayyum explained.

The department spent around Rs. 25 lakh for renovating the place. Wild shrubs were cleared and the height of the compound wall has been increased. The authorities took care to see that the wall was renovated using granite, lime and mortar to keep in tune with the character of the precinct.

The tough task ahead for them is to see that the basalt stones with Armenian engravings on the graves are restored. “We will be seeking the help of experts for the job,” Ms. Bhagwath said. Historians suggest that the government seek the Armenian authorities’ help in establishing the identity of all those who are buried here.

Teacher killed in attack on Swedish school; attacker shot

A masked man attacked a school in southern Sweden on Thursday before being shot by police. Health authorities said one teacher was killed and two students seriously wounded in the attack, the Associated Press reports.

Students fled Thursday morning from the Kronan school in Trollhattan, near Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city. In a statement, police in Trollhattan said the attack took place in the school’s cafe area.

Health authorities in Trollhattan said in a statement that one teacher died after being wounded in the attack and two students, aged 11 and 15, were seriously wounded with cuts. They said the attacker was also in serious condition.

Police earlier said four students had been wounded. It was not possible to immediately rectify the differing accounts.

The school has 400 students, ranging from pre-school to high school.

Swedish media say the school held a meeting Thursday morning to discuss teachers’ worries that the school was too open, with a cafe for adults that meant the school could not control who comes in.

The Dagens Nyheter newspaper said students must go through the cafe to reach the school’s own cafeteria and other parts of the building.

Michael Aram unveils sculpture in New York to honor Armenian Genocide

Michael Aram has created a sculptural piece to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, reports.

In an event held on October 6, 2015, the designer unveiled Migrations. The dedication was led by Archbishop Khajg Barsamian at the plaza of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City. Many attended the unveiling, including clergy and dignitaries.

This piece holds special meaning for Aram who is of Armenian descent. “Migrations is inspired by the multiple migrations of the Armenian population. It was a migration of spirit, of soul and of place. For me, the piece is as much a tribute to the events of 1915 as it is a reflection of family histories and the immigrant experience,” he said.

The sculpture features a flock of birds in a vertical shape that references the Khatchkars, stone cross markers characteristic of medieval Christian Armenian art. In this piece, the khatchkar has a void in the shape of the former Armenian provinces. The map is turned on its side which signifies the upheaval of the country; the missing piece suggests the emptying of the Armenian people from their land.

Istanbul City Hall to pay $37 million to Surp Agop Armenian Hospital Foundation

The Istanbul City Hall will pay 111 850 000 Turkish lira (about $37 280 000) to the Surp Agop  Armenian Hospital Foundation for the 4,474 sq km area belonging to the Armenian cemetery in Istanbul, reports.

The Foundation had filed a suit two years ago. The First Instance Court of Istanbul obliged the City Hall to pay 111 850 000 Turkish lira, equal to the sum the area cost two years ago. The Court also ruled that some percentages of the sum should be paid to the Armenian foundation for the last two years.

According to Turkish cadastral records, an area of 41,430 sq km had been used as an Armenian cemetery since 1936. The land was seized by the state in 1971. The municipal authorities used 4.47 sq km of the land to build roads, underground passages and pavements.

Later on, under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to return the real estate belonging to national minorities to their rightful owners, the land was returned to the Surp Agop Armenian Hospital foundation without the 4.474 sq km piece used for roads and passages.

Armenia, Microsoft mull implementation of new joint projects

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan received the delegation headed by Don Grantham, the Microsoft Corporation’s Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe.

The Prime Minister hailed the continuous cooperation with the Microsoft Corporation and noted that the Armenian Government is willing to further develop and deepen the bilateral cooperation.

Hovik Abrahamyan emphasized the effective activity of the IT companies in Armenian and noted that they make the country competitive on the most developed markets in the world. The Prime Minister highly appreciated Microsoft’s assistance through its Innovation Center and other initiatives and attached importance to the  implementation of new joint initiatives.

Don Grantham, in turn, hailed the progress reached in the effective cooperation with the Armenian Government and praised the steps Armenia takes towards the development of the IT sphere.

The interlocutors discussed the implementation of new joint projects, the protection of intellectual property, and the fight against cybercrime.

In this context, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of the active cooperation between the Microsoft and the Armenian Defense Ministry with a view of improving the country’s defense system.

Icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide brought to St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral of Yerevan

On September 8, the feast of the birth of the Holy Virgin Mary, with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; the icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide was placed in the St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral of Yerevan for veneration and prayers of our faithful.

The icon of the Holy Martyrs was consecrated on April 23, during the of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.

The icon will reside in the Mother Cathedral for a month.