Health ministry reveals list of clinics chosen to provide free surgical treatment for malignant diseases

ARKA, Armenia
Feb 21 2019

YEREVAN, February 21. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Ministry of Health has unveiled today the list of medical institutions chosen by the government to carry out the government-financed program of surgical treatment for malignant diseases. 

The ministry said relevant agreements with these clinics have already been signed. It added that citizens may apply to following medical institutions for free surgical treatment for malignant diseases: Vladimir Avakyan Medical Center, Nairi Medical Center, Shengavit Medical Center, Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center, Surb Astvatsamayr Medical Center, ArtMed Rehabilitation Center, Astghik Medical Center, Fanarjian National Oncology Center, Gyumri Oncology Center, and Vanadzor Medical Center.

Earlier, Health Minister Arsen Torosyan said that surgical treatment for malignant diseases will be free for the entire population as it was removed from the list of co-financed medical services.

According to the ministry, some 5,600 people die in Armenia from malignant neoplasms annually. They account for 20.4% of all deaths coming second after deaths caused by circulatory system diseases. — 0–

Arthur Vanetsyan: During his presidency, Robert Kocharyan made a lot of positive

Arminfo, Armenia
Feb 21 2019
Naira Badalian

ArmInfo.Director of the National Security Service Arthur Vanetsyan assures that he has no personal problems with the family of the second President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharyan. Vanetsyan stated this on February 21 to journalists.

 "I ask you not to concentrate on the Kocharyan family, since I have  no personal problems with it. I personally did not do anything to  cause any problems with this family. Robert Kocharyan was the second  president of Armenia, during his activities, of course, there were  also many positive results, I was the President of Artsakh, and I, as  an officer, as an officer of the National Security Service, who  served during his presidency, cannot have any personal and other  problems with this family, " Vanetsyan said. According to him, the  initiated criminal cases are the result of voluminous operational and  investigative work, the circumstances have been revealed, the  synthesis of which led to the fact that there is a corpus delicti and  a criminal case has been initiated. "Please do not personify the  issue, since there is no personal vendetta.  Only one case connected  with Kocharyan is being investigated in the National Security  Service," he stressed.  

Kocharyan also had good deeds during his tenure, security chief says

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 21 2019

Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan also had good deeds during his tenure, National Security Service Director Artur Vanetsyan told reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

He dismissed personal problems with Kocharyan or his family. “The Kocharyan family has done nothing wrong to me personally. Robert Kocharyan was Armenia’s second president, of course, during his tenure he carried out a lot of positive activity too. He was the first president of Artsakh and as an officer who served in those years, I cannot have any personal or any other problems with that family,” Vanetsyan said, urging not to personalize the issue.

His comments came after the former president’s elder son Sedrak Kocharyan, recently charged with tax evasion and money laundering, filed a civil lawsuit against Vanetsyan over a statement he made at a news conference on the charges.

The security chief said suing anyone is the constitutional right of every citizen. “Sedrak Kocharyan is free to file a lawsuit and the court will decide whether we are guilty or not,” he said, adding the case has nothing to do with political persecution.

“I stated immediately after the news conference that I put my words together in a wrong way and therefore I gave clarifications That is, from the very beginning I dismissed something for which they appealed to the court,” he noted.

He stressed the presumption of innocence of the ex-president’s son was not violated. 

Prosecutor seeks ‘life in jail’ for Turkey financier Kavala

Agence France Presse  via Rudow (Iraq)
Wednesday 5:11 PM GMT
Prosecutor seeks 'life in jail' for Turkey financier Kavala
Istanbul, Feb 20 2019
A Turkish prosecutor on Wednesday sought life in prison for 16 suspects including philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala charged with attempting to overthrow the government, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Kavala, who has been held in custody for more than a year without being formally charged, is accused of backing 2013 anti-government protests in Istanbul and the failed 2016 coup.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Kavala of "financing the terrorists" during the anti-government protests that threw up one of the biggest challenges to his rule. Erdogan was prime minister at the time.
Kavala, a respected figure in intellectual circles in Turkey and abroad, has been kept in pre-trial custody since November 1, 2017 at the Silivri prison outside Istanbul.
The case has alarmed Turkey's Western allies and increased concern of a clampdown on freedom of _expression_ under Erdogan's reign.
Kavala has worked closely with foreign missions on civil society projects.
Under the Turkish legal system, the prosecutors set out the charges and the sentence they want before the trial begins.
The 657-page indictment — which still needs to be approved by a court, which will also set a trial date — centres on the suspects' alleged role in the 2013 protests triggered by the redevelopment of Istanbul's Gezi park.
Two of the suspects are in detention and six remain at large, reported Anadolu.
Among those still at large are Turkish actor and government critic Mehmet Ali Alabora and dissident journalist Can Dundar, it said.
Dundar fled to Germany after being convicted in 2016 over an article published in the opposition Cumhuriyet daily alleging that Ankara had supplied weapons to Islamist groups in Syria.
Alabora is accused of having played a role in the anti-government protests through a theatre play dubbed "Mi Minor" featuring a revolt against the ruler of a fictional country. He is currently abroad.
All the suspects are facing the charge of "attempting to overthrow the government". Some are also accused of "damaging public property" and "damaging worshipping houses and cemeteries," Anadolu said.
The Gezi protests were one of the largest wave of movements in modern Turkish history and the government's sometimes heavy-handed response drew criticism from human rights advocates and Turkey's Western allies.
– 'Totally crazy'-
Kati Piri, European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, took to Twitter to express her anger over the charges against Kavala.
"Shocked, outraged and sad at the same time! Osman is not only a great friend, but also a man of peace," she wrote, using his first name.
"Accusing him of 'attempting to destroy the Republic of Turkey' is totally crazy!"
Kavala is co-founder of the Iletisim publishing house and chairman of the Anadolu Kultur (Anatolian Culture) foundation. The foundation aims to overcome differences within Turkish society through culture and the arts and has sought to reach out to neighbouring Armenia.
Erdogan previously said Kavala was the representative in Turkey of the "famous Hungarian Jew Soros", whom he accused of trying to "divide and tear up nations", referring to US billionaire George Soros.
The pro-government media have labelled Kavala "Red Soros", characterising him as a mastermind of conspiracies.
In November last year, Soros's Open Society Foundation said it would cease activities in Turkey after Erdogan's accusations.
Turkish prosecutors are also accusing Kavala of being behind a 2013 corruption scandal in which Erdogan's inner circle was implicated — and to coup plotters which the government blames on US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. He denies the charges.
Kavala's arrest comes after the government has launched a mass crackdown in the wake of the failed 2016 coup, with the arrest of tens of thousands of suspects.
Critics say the measures have gone well beyond the coup suspects and targeted the dissent but the government says they are needed to clean Gulen's "virus" that infiltrated into state institutions.

Karabakh offers Armenian diaspora’s help for South Ossetia

Res news agency , South Ossetia
Feb 19 2019
Karabakh offers Armenian diaspora's help for South Ossetia

[Armenian News note: the below is translated from Russian]

Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh has pledged to facilitate Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia in securing recognition of the "genocide" of South Ossetians by Georgia, the South Ossetian government-run Res news website,, reported on 19 February.

The Tskhinvali authorities have accused Georgia of ethnic cleansing during the conflict of seccession in the early 1990s and perpetrating "genocide" in the area during the 2008 Georgia-Russia war.

"This problem has been raised at different platforms and is especially topical against the backdrop of statements made by Georgian politicians," South Ossetian foreign minister Dmitri Medoyev said at a news briefing with the visiting Karabakh foreign minister Masis Mailyan.

Medoyev noted that not a single Georgian official ever apologised for "crimes" committed against the South Ossetian people.

Mailyan said that with the help of Armenian diaspora, Karabakh was ready to help South Ossetia in securing the recognition of the "genocide" of South Ossetians.

The Karabakh official elaborated on the Armenian diaspora's efforts to secure the recognition of the "genocide" of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Mailyan said that efforts were also underway by Armenian living abroad to secure the recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The results that we have achieved in the USA are not so bad. Eight states, including California, have recognised our independence. We also have sister cities in Europe and the Middle East too," Mailyan was quoted as saying.

Res reported in another report on the same day that a cooperation agreement had been signed between the foreign ministries of Nagorno-Karbakh and South Ossetia as part of the Karabakh foreign minister's ongoing visiting South Ossetia.

"The signing of the official document speaks about fruitful foreign policy work carried out by our republics," Res quoted South Ossetian president Anatoly Bibilov as saying at a meeting with Maliyev.

Armenian foreign minister, OSCE Minsk group representatives discuss Karabakh conflict regulation

Interfax – ITAR-TASS
Wednesday 7:39 PM GMT
Armenian foreign minister, OSCE Minsk group representatives discuss Karabakh conflict regulation
YEREVAN February 20
HIGHLIGHT: Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov (Russia), Stephane Visconti (France), Andrew Schofer (USA), as well as personal representative of the organization’s chairman Anjey Kaspsik have discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict regulation during a meeting on Wednesday, the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s press service informed TASS. The sides have discussed the outcomes of the latest meeting between the Armenian PM and the Azerbaijani President.
YEREVAN, February 20. /TASS/. Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov (Russia), Stephane Visconti (France), Andrew Schofer (USA), as well as personal representative of the organization’s chairman Anjey Kaspsik have discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict regulation during a meeting on Wednesday, the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s press service informed TASS. The sides have discussed the outcomes of the latest meeting between the Armenian PM and the Azerbaijani President.
"During the discussion, they focused on the issues considered during the latest meetings on the Nagorno-Karabakh regulation. The co-chairmen were interested in the details of the talks between the Armenian Prime Minister and the Azerbaijani President in Davos in January of this year," the press service informed.
The Armenian top diplomat expressed the position of the Armenian side on finding a peaceful solution to the problem. He also stressed the "need to create an atmosphere facilitating the regulation of the conflict." "The parties have exchanged opinions on further steps aimed at developing the negotiation process," the foreign ministry informed.
On January 22, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict regulation in the Swiss town of Davos during an unofficial meeting. Pashinyan later stated that he and the Azerbaijani leader agreed "not to miss the opportunities of holding such informal meetings" in the future.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (or Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside Azerbaijan’s territory. It is a self-proclaimed independent republic, not recognized by any of the United Nations member states
In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the Baku government and Armenian residents. In 1994, a ceasefire was reached but relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have remained strained ever since.
Azerbaijan insists that its territorial integrity be restored and refugees return to Nagorno-Karabakh, which will create conditions for talks on the region’s status. Baku is ready to grant autonomy to the region but is unwilling to hold direct talks with Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, Armenia strongly opposes the region’s reunification with Azerbaijan and says that its right to self-determination should be considered.
Russia, France and the United States co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, which seeks to broker an end to the conflict. The Group also includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, as well as Belarus, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Turkey.

Chess: Armenia to host international chess conference in May

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 21 2019
Sport 12:46 21/02/2019 Armenia

An international chess conference will take place in Armenia on 7-8 May, the Chess Federation of Armenia told

Titled “Current state and development trends of chess education”, the event is organized jointly by FIDE Chess in Education Commission (EDU) and Chess Scientific Research Institute of the Armenian State Pedagogical University.

Chess: First round of Aeroflot Open A Tournament concluded with one representative from Armenia victorious

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 21 2019
Sport 19:42 21/02/2019 Armenia

The first round of the Aeroflot Open chess tournament was held in Moscow with only one representative of Armenia Hayk Sargsyan winning his game in A tournament. As the chess federation reports, Tigran Petrosyan drew, while Manuel Petrosyan, Aram Hakobyan and Shant Sargsyan lost their games.
Meanwhile, in B Tournament Tigran Harutyunyan, Artur Davtyan and Hovik Hayrapetyan won their games, while Rafael Vahanyan, Elina Danielyan and Vahe Baghdasaryan drew.

To remind, 15 Armenian players, including six grand masters are taking part in the tournament.
The festival comprises of three open tournaments (A, B and C) made up according to the rating of the participants and are 9-round Swiss – tournaments. Naturally, the greatest interest is aroused by A tournament, requiring from a participant a rating above 2550 and in which usually take part a number of extra class players. In addition to the Open Tournaments, a Blitz Tournament will be held within the festival. 

Turkish Press: Turkey to restore churches destroyed by PKK

Anadolu Agency (AA), Turkey
Turkey to restore churches destroyed by PKK
Government to restore St. Giragos and Mar Petyun Keldani churches in Diyarbakir province
By Ozgur Ayaydin
Historical churches in eastern Turkey that were destroyed by PKK terrorists four years ago will be restored by the government, officials said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning stepped in along with the Foundations Directorate-General (VGM), which manages and audits religious foundations, after the Christian community said that they were unable to pay for restoration of two ancient churches.
The St. Giragos and Mar Petyun Keldani churches in Sur district of Diyarbakir province date back to the 14th and 17th century, respectively.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, District Governor Abdullah Ciftci said Sur reflects Turkey's long history of interfaith harmony.
The Fatih Pasa and Seyh Muhtar mosques, historical Dort Ayakli Minare (minaret) and Armenian Protestant Church in the province have already been restored by the government.
PKK has no respect for religious values which it showed by destroying historical mosques and churches, said Ciftci, adding that restoration work for the two churches will start shortly.
"We see values of other religions as our own and we are doing our best to protect them. They are part of our civilization and deserve respect.
"All parts of these historical places of worship will be repaired and opened for worship," said Ciftci.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.
Metin Evsen, VGM's regional director, said that they are working hard to repair the churches that were destroyed by PKK.
The renovation of the Armenian Protestant Church was completed last year while the renovation of the Armenian Catholic Church is still in progress, said Evsen.
The two restorations have cost 10 million Turkish liras ($1.8 million), added Evsen.
The St. Giragos church was built in 1376 and is known to be the biggest Armenian church in the Middle East. It was used by the German army as headquarters during the World War I and was converted into a warehouse after the war.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, the Armenian community obtained its ownership but due to mass immigration to urban areas, the church remained deserted for several years.
It was renovated and reopened in October 2011, but a PKK attack destroyed it.

Azerbaijani Press: Washington punishes Armenia for Syria

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Feb 21 2019

By Abdul Kerimkhanov

Relations between the U.S. and Armenia have sharply become colder. Washington cancelled the planned visit of Zohrab Mnatsakanyan to the United States, towards which the Armenian side had been working for a long time.

Recently, National Security Advisor to President John Bolton and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation. During the conversation, Bolton asked if the decision to send a mission to Syria was final and inevitable, and received a positive response.

Although the Armenian Foreign Ministry is trying to alleviate the situation and in particular to receive an invitation from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Mnatsakanyan, but still without result.

It is not excluded that Armenia will seek the help of lobbyists for the organization of this visit. The Armenian ambassador in Washington is not in a very good position as well.

The United States has repeatedly warned Yerevan against the need to stay away from Russian force missions. Armenia's former President Serzh Sargsyan perceived these warnings quite realistically and therefore did not succumb to the pressure of Moscow, which demanded that Armenia join its mission in Syria.

Nikol Pashinyan, because of inexperience and arrogance, sent to Syria a group of 83 so-called 'specialists'. After this decision, the Russian media restored its negative attacks against Azerbaijan.

However, this is nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.

It was clear from the statement of the State Department that the United States was very unhappy with the dispatch by Yerevan of Armenian troops to Syrian Aleppo. Since the summer of 2018, the American side made it clear at different levels to the Armenian side that its appearance in Syria as part of the Russian mission is unacceptable.

Even the fact that Pashinyan’s meeting with Donald Trump, which had been prepared for several months, did not take place just in the light of these discussions, the Armenian PM tried to ignore, counting on his “revolutionary” charm.

A group of Armenian specialists in humanitarian demining, medical personnel and ensuring the safety of the specialists themselves, arrived in the Syrian city of Aleppo to provide humanitarian specialized assistance to the Syrian people on February 8.

Sending humanitarian contingent to Syria was announced in September 2018. PM Pashinyan called the humanitarian operation in Syria an Armenian-Russian humanitarian project unprecedented in scale.

The U.S. Embassy in Armenia issued a statement in which the U.S. State Department expressed its position on the Armenian humanitarian mission in Syria on February 13. Washington did not support any interaction with the Syrian Armed Forces, regardless of whether it is about providing assistance to civilians or is of a military nature.

The Foreign Ministry of Armenia responded to the statement of the State Department, stating that after a relative truce and establishment of security, Armenia intends to continue its contribution to the humanitarian mission.