Work underway to resume ICRC medical evacuations from Nagorno Karabakh, says healthcare minister




YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS. Work is underway both with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and all international platforms to resume transfers of patients from Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh to Armenia amid the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan, Healthcare Minister Anahit Avanesyan told reporters on May 11.

The ICRC halted patient transfers when Azerbaijan illegally installed a checkpoint.

Doctors from Armenia maintain contact with their colleagues in Nagorno Karabakh for providing required treatment to patients in need.

No ‘significant’ ceasefire violations in last hour, says Armenian Defense Ministry




YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS. No significant Azeri ceasefire violations were recorded from 13:00 to 14:00, the Armenian Ministry of Defense said in an update after the heavy Azeri bombardments near Sotk.

The situation on the frontline was relatively stable as of 14:00, the ministry added.

The four wounded Armenian troops are in non-life-threatening condition.

The Other Side of the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process

When the Armenian government stated its intention to start the normalization process with Turkey less than a year after the 2020 Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) war, where direct Turkish involvement contributed significantly to the Armenian defeat, many had doubts that it would bring any results. The memory of the 2008-2009 “football diplomacy” was still fresh, when Turkey promised to normalize relations without any preconditions but ended the process by demanding that Armenia accept Azerbaijani claims in the process of the Artsakh conflict settlement. Strategically, nothing has changed in Turkey since 2008-2009; the same person is still calling all the shots, while Azerbaijan’s influence over Turkey has grown significantly due to a huge investment portfolio. As Armenian society was still under the shock and trauma of a staggering defeat, many welcomed this initiative, hoping that it may pave the way for a more stable South Caucasus. At the end of the day, the primary reason behind the failure of “football diplomacy” did not exist anymore; as a result of the 2020 war, Azerbaijan took control not only over districts outside the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region, but also 30-percent of Artsakh itself. It appeared that Turkey would be satisfied by the results of the 2020 Artsakh war and would facilitate the normalization process with Armenia, viewing it as a tangible way of expanding its influence and pushing Russia out of the South Caucasus. Despite Russia-Turkey “cooptation” in different areas, the primary strategic goal in the South Caucasus was the same, as perhaps in the last two to three centuries – less and less Russian presence and influence. Russia knew these facts better than anyone but supported the start of the normalization process, hoping to stabilize the region and gain new transport routes to Turkey and Iran.

The first meeting between appointed representatives by Armenia and Turkey took place in January 2022 in Moscow. Several other meetings followed; after every meeting, the sides issued short statements, arguing that normalization of relations would take place without preconditions. The Armenian government and part of the expert community and political circles pretended to believe in this narrative, expressing satisfaction that the process moved forward without preconditions. However, it was clear to everyone that all talk of the absence of preconditions were senseless and meaningless statements. Turkey clearly put forward preconditions, and the first one was Turkey’s demand to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan on Azerbaijan’s terms. 

Turkey likely put forward other preconditions, too, such as stopping Armenia’s efforts toward the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Armenian government representatives continued to argue that there were no preconditions during negotiations. They praised the agreements to take some symbolic steps, such as opening the land border for the third countries’ citizens and resuming direct cargo flights. In July 2022, Prime Minister Pashinyan called Erdogan to congratulate on Kurban Bayram and received congratulations on the upcoming Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. As proof of progress, the two leaders held the first meeting on October 6, 2022 in Prague during the first summit of the European Political Community. 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet at the European Political Community (Photo: RA Prime Minister, October 6)

However, soon after that meeting, President Erdogan broke the cover and publicly stated that he clearly told Pashinyan that any real normalization is possible only after the signature of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty. Thus, Turkey itself ruined the myth of the “normalization process without preconditions,” publicizing its preconditions. After the October 6 meeting, there was a pause in Armenia-Turkey meetings, and Turkey did not implement agreements on symbolic gestures reached in July 2022. However, after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey in February 2023, the Armenian government decided to send humanitarian cargo and dispatch the Armenian foreign minister to Ankara. He met with his Turkish counterpart and stated that Turkey promised to implement the agreements reached in the summer of 2022. The Armenian government appeared interested in pretending that “there was a real process of normalization of relations.” The government probably hoped that Armenia would achieve positive assessment from the US and other western governments, which would strengthen Armenian positions in the region.

However, the events of early May 2023 have shattered any real or fake hopes for the existence of a “normalization process.” When a monument devoted to the “Avengers of Genocide,” persons who assassinated the primary organizers of the Armenian Genocide, was opened in Yerevan, Turkish authorities disclosed their real views about Armenia and the nature of Armenia-Turkey relations. Turkey closed its airspace for Armenian planes, and the Turkish foreign minister later demanded that Armenia dismantle the monument, otherwise threatening to take unspecified additional actions against Armenia. The demand to dismantle a monument in Yerevan is unprecedented and perhaps reveals the Turkish government’s genuine attitude toward Armenia – that Armenia is a defeated and ruined country which should accept whatever Turkey wants. Without going deep into history, it should be noted that Armenia never argued that Turkey should change its attitude toward the main organizers of the Armenian Genocide, who are revered as national heroes in Turkey. Armenia always thought that if the country declares heroes (those who committed the worst crimes against humanity), it’s not an issue of any external power to interfere, but a problem of national identity, which can be solved through the long and painful process of moral and spiritual transformation. 

It is evident that by putting forward this insulting demand, the Turkish government kills the Armenia-Turkey normalization. It is difficult to assess why. Perhaps Erdogan hopes to gain a few more votes from nationalistic circles, which he desperately needs ahead of the May 14 pivotal presidential elections, or maybe Turks are certain that no peace agreement will be signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and by killing the Armenia-Turkey process, they prepare additional ground for new escalations by Azerbaijan. They likely believe that after the defeat in the 2020 Artsakh war, the Armenian state and nation have been too weakened and are ready to accept any humiliation. Regardless of the reasons behind this behavior, Turkey’s recent actions proved that while talks and statements about regional peace may sound pleasant, it is necessary for Armenia not to lose the connection with the cruel reality.               

Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan is the founder and chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies and a senior research fellow at APRI – Armenia. He was the former vice president for research – head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense Research University in Armenia. In March 2009, he joined the Institute for National Strategic Studies as a research Fellow and was appointed as INSS Deputy Director for research in November 2010. Dr. Poghosyan has prepared and managed the elaboration of more than 100 policy papers which were presented to the political-military leadership of Armenia, including the president, the prime minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Poghosyan has participated in more than 50 international conferences and workshops on regional and international security dynamics. His research focuses on the geopolitics of the South Caucasus and the Middle East, US – Russian relations and their implications for the region, as well as the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. He is the author of more than 200 academic papers and articles in different leading Armenian and international journals. In 2013, Dr. Poghosyan was a Distinguished Research Fellow at the US National Defense University College of International Security Affairs. He is a graduate from the US State Department Study of the US Institutes for Scholars 2012 Program on US National Security Policy Making. He holds a PhD in history and is a graduate from the 2006 Tavitian Program on International Relations at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

AW: The Diaspora has a unique understanding of Artsakh

The Armenian government has been defending a new policy on Artsakh since the 2020 war, but the debate continues in the diaspora and Artsakh. A major strategy of Pashinyan’s “peace agenda” is to concede two major demands of Azerbaijan in the hope (wish is probably a more appropriate term) that their appetite for aggression is satisfied and peace comes to the region. The two concessions are the independence of Artsakh, a hallmark of Armenian policy from 1988 to 2020, and the commitment to have no territorial demands on Azerbaijan. Of course, this assumes that we can agree on a border such as the stated demarcations at the time of the dissolution of the Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs in 1991. This is a challenging dialogue when your adversarial party states that all of Armenia is Azerbaijan. Our focus here will be on the impact of the strategic change within the global Armenian nation. 

Prime Minister Pashinyan’s policy is based on a pragmatic compromise to enable peace. Proponents will admit it is a gamble when your negotiating partner lacks any integrity. We are still waiting for the first time that Azerbaijan will actually uphold an agreement it has signed. Other proponents take on a more “victim” attitude by stating that Armenia is a defeated nation and is in no position to resist. It is interesting to note that when Azerbaijan was the “defeated” nation in the mid-nineties and had been militarily vanquished, they never behaved like a defeated party. They violated the terms of the ceasefire immediately and continued aggressive activity while they rebuilt their military. You are a defeated nation only if you choose to behave that way. We behave like a defeated party and have resorted to pleading with others like victims. I am more concerned about the impact of this behavior on the psyche of the nation than any singular policy. Honestly, I do not understand how you negotiate when you display your “cards” without any reciprocation. Armenia has publicly offered the “security/rights” position and no territorial demands before any Azeri compromises. For those who believe we are not in a position to receive any compromises, then you are relegating Artsakh to its demise. Unless this veneer of a negotiation is unconditional surrender, then compromises must be part of it. 

The two concessions that Pashinyan has gone public with are very unpopular in the diaspora, Artsakh and probably a good portion of Armenia. What did he gain with this risky move? Apparently nothing, as the dictator and murderer Aliyev responded by insisting that Pashinyan must make humiliating statements of “Artsakh is Azerbaijan” (a play on an earlier comment from Pashinyan that Artsakh is Armenia). Aliyev further stated that he intends to capture all of Armenia; he audaciously calls it Western Azerbaijan. This is his response for respecting each other’s territorial integrity. Some of you may ignore these comments as rhetorical politics. I do not. Aliyev has telegraphed his move for years. The third party mediators in the current confusing parallel format with Russia, EU and the US State Department applaud Armenia’s commitment. Why not? They want peace and are not particularly concerned about the impact on Armenia. I really can’t blame them. Each nation has a responsibility to itself and its citizens to advocate for their interests. The art of negotiation brings these self interests together to convince each party that it is in their interests to compromise. If Armenia chooses to show its cards, then others will not object. Pragmatic politics is acceptable as long as each party operates in good faith. This is not a good faith process. If Armenia doesn’t surrender, then Aliyev threatens destruction. Azerbaijan acquired this playbook from its cousins in Turkey who claim to support “normalization” but insult Armenians with painful comments (remnants of the sword) or illegal aggression (closing air space). Azerbaijan ignores the ruling of the International Court of Justice on Berdzor (Lachin) and continues to illegally hold Armenian prisoners. The solutions are challenging, but as long as an adversary such as Turkey sees no adjustments from Armenia on the former’s offensive behavior, it will continue. Armenia has been relying on either Russia or western democracies to provide security guarantees. As long as Armenia behaves like a victim, the intervention parties will do so with minimal commitment. We have already seen that the CSTO, rather than fulfilling its defense pact responsibilities, has chosen to act more like an occupation group. The western powers have sponsored discussions that frankly are more about embarrassing and weakening Russia than securing an honorable peace.

These are the external dynamics. Let’s take a closer look at the impact within the global Armenian nation. For the diaspora and most of the global Armenian nation, the struggle for Artsakh has been an inspiring journey. From its inception in the late 1980s, Artsakh has become a contemporary representative of the aspirations of the Armenian people to be freed from the Turkish yoke. Comparisons to Sardarabad have been frequent and valid. In a relatively short period of time, the people of Artsakh have established a functioning representative democracy and market economy. It has become a model of the homeland and diaspora working to evolve the Republic of Artsakh. The results have been stunning. Most of Armenia’s political leadership has adhered to a “realistic” policy toward Artsakh. We lost the war, and as a result, the contiguous territory with Armenia and the expanded border with Iran (Hadrut). They believe that without major compromise, we will be left with another debilitating war. The trilateral agreement of November 2020 was supposed to bring interim peace guaranteed by the Russian peacekeepers. It has been a tragic farce. Border attacks, ethnic cleansing, blockades and prisoners retainedall are illegal and all are apparently tolerated by the Russian “authorities.” It is apparent that the only group abiding by the 2020 agreement has been Armenia. This behavior is perceived as overly tolerant and encouraging more aggression. The impact on the morale of the diaspora and common citizens has been significant. Cynicism has replaced optimism as we fall back into victim mode. We have no effective opposition. The legislative and parliamentary process is locked up with one party in control. 

Many of us rationalize today’s reality by stating that the people spoke in the 2021 election. That is correct, but I am not certain this was the outcome they envisioned. When people feel they have limited ability to change the outcome, the danger of an estrangement between the people and their government exists. Many Armenians feel hopeless, not about the ideals, but about their ability to impact them. The diaspora, in particular, is a unique example. It was created over a century ago out of a sense of loss. We lost the six provinces of Western Armenia and Cilicia through genocide. We lost Javakhli through political manipulation and ethnic cleansing in Nakhichevan. Our ancestors in the diaspora were products of dispossession. When the diaspora looks at Artsakh, it feels the exhilaration of revival and the nightmare of another loss. For 100 years, we have mourned the loss of Western Armenia. We cling to the dream that these stolen lands of the Armenian Highlands will be returned through an act of justice. Armenians in the diaspora still refer to their lineage as “Kharpertzi” or “Sepastiatzi” even though we are three generations removed. This is a significant part of the mentality of those outside the homeland. Whenever Armenians meet and they ask “where are you from,” they are not referring to Watertown or Glendale. They are asking about your family history and indirectly asking about your survivor generation. Many of us worry that our children will become further detached from this history and forget. We publish books on the highlands (Matthew Karanian) and architecture (Christina Maranci, PhD) to educate a generation deprived of its Western Armenian heritage. Now we face another loss, another piece of historic homeland ripped from the heart of its indigenous Armenian Christian population. This is why the diaspora feels such empathy for Artsakh. They are looking at their grandparents and great-grandparents when they look into the eyes of our brethren of Artsakh. There is discontent about our policies and mental trauma in watching the slow motion of oppression. Is there a difference between the forced expulsion/murder of the Armenians of Artsakh and the deportation of our ancestors from the western lands? How about the “silent” cleansing of the Armenians of Nakhichevan that constituted nearly 50-percent of the population when Stalin did his dirty deed?

The political consequences of the Artsakh struggle are not the only impact. The most important aspect is the denial of their God-given and UN chartered right to live their lives as they choose. All people have the right to practice their culture free of oppression and subjugation. This is a fundamental right and not a granting of benevolence by barbaric neighbors. When we talk about security and rights, there is only one metric to determine its worth. Will the Armenians of Artsakh be able to live free of cultural, political and economic oppression? Given the racist attitude of Aliyev and what he has drilled into the minds of his people for decades, the physical presence of a multinational force chartered with the security of the Armenian population is one of the few viable solutions. Anything less will leave our people exposed to ethnic cleansing and genocide. The diaspora understands this. It is built into the mindset of our thinking. Each family has its own unique history of horror. The murder and dispossession is part of who we are. We cannot afford the diaspora and the homeland to have further distance with each other. Prior to the Genocide, marauding Turks and Kurds attacked Armenians regularly in a display of subordination, discrimination and disrespect. Many of us draw the parallel of the constant attacks on the peaceful people of Artsakh by Azeris who maintain an overt policy of racism. The Turks made it illegal for Armenians to own weapons, and the Azeris are insisting on the dissolution of the Artsakh Defense Army. The comparisons are numerous. We can see where this is going. It is a horrible feeling to know that. We can prevent this! We must prevent this! Do we have the collective will?

Stepan was raised in the Armenian community of Indian Orchard, MA at the St. Gregory Parish. A former member of the AYF Central Executive and the Eastern Prelacy Executive Council, he also served many years as a delegate to the Eastern Diocesan Assembly. Currently , he serves as a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). He also serves on the board of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Stepan is a retired executive in the computer storage industry and resides in the Boston area with his wife Susan. He has spent many years as a volunteer teacher of Armenian history and contemporary issues to the young generation and adults at schools, camps and churches. His interests include the Armenian diaspora, Armenia, sports and reading.

The “Nemesis” Monument and Turkey’s Reaction

Nemesis Monument, Yerevan (Photo: David Galstyan/Twitter)

On April 25, 2023, a fountain memorial was opened in Yerevan to commemorate the heroes of “Operation Nemesis.” The secret operation took place between 1920-1922 and was decided at the 9th International Congress of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) that took place in 1919 in Yerevan, aiming to punish the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide as well as the organizers of the Baku massacre against the Armenians (1918). “Nemesis” was a clear and meticulously designed operation, which began with intelligence work in Turkey, the Caucasus, Europe and the US by ARF leaders and operators to avenge the horrors committed against the Armenians. The operation was masterminded by Shahan Natalie, Armen Garo and Aharon Sachaklian and was named after the Greek goddess of divine retribution. The fountain memorial was installed by the decision of the Yerevan City Council. The creator of the sculpture is architect Tigran Barseghyan. The idea came after many petitions were submitted by descendants of the avengers to the Yerevan City Council.

Turkey, which has named dozens of streets after criminals and Genocide perpetrators, has reacted harshly to the opening of the memorial. Turkey’s presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin argued that this move “could not be left without an answer,” most probably referring to Turkey shutting its airspace for Armenian flights heading to a third destination. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also commented saying: “We strongly condemn the opening of the ‘Nemesis Monument’ in Yerevan, which is dedicated to the perpetrators of the assassinations against Ottoman political and military leaders in the early 1920s, and Azerbaijani officials of the time, as well as even some Ottoman citizens of Armenian origin (referring to the Armenian traitors who were assassinated during the operation).”

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Armenia to demolish the monument, calling it an “affront” to Turks and Azerbaijanis. He also warned that if Yerevan doesn’t remove the monument, Ankara “will take retaliatory measures.”

Although Armenia’s PM distanced himself from the issue by calling the installation of the monument “wrong,” Armenia’s National Security Chief Armen Grigoryan told reporters that the erection of the monument was a domestic issue for Armenia and “no one has the right to interfere in these issues.” He also emphasized that normalization with Turkey should be without conditions. The City Council announced that it doesn’t intend to dismantle the memorial.

But was Turkey’s reaction and the closure of its airspace to Armenian airlines directly related to the opening of the monument? Of course not! Turkey’s reaction should be viewed from the lens of the presidential and parliamentary election processes as President Erdogan is eager to attract the votes of nationalists. That’s why a day before Turkey’s decision to close its airspace, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Turkey and announced his support for the incumbent. One of Azerbaijan’s major news agencies published an op-ed glorifying Erdogan and his era. Aliyev is well aware that Erdogan’s departure would isolate him and put him completely at Moscow’s mercy. Moreover, his public support for Erdogan has created tension with the joint opposition candidate, the Kemalist Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

On May 6, as part of his electoral campaign promises, Kılıçdaroğlu proposed a trade map connecting Turkey to China. Interestingly, this map bypasses the South Caucasus and instead goes through Iran. Many Azerbaijanis expressed anger as they believe this is the abandonment of Baku’s Ankara-backed “Zangezur Corridor” project. Kılıçdaroğlu’s map reflects a highway and railway project that connects Turkey to the Turkic States of Central Asia and China. His idea, however, is complex. He argued that the project will anger both the West and China. He said that this project’s realization depends on China’s treatment of Uyghurs (an attempt to attract the votes of nationalists). The Turkish opposition candidate said that the trade route will pass from “Turkestan” (the region in northwestern China where the Uyghurs are concentrated). He said this is not the “East nor the West way but the Turkish way,” insisting on Turkey’s central role in the trade routes in Eurasia.

This has provoked Aliyev, who while visiting the occupied parts of Artsakh, angrily responded: “Even today, there are those who want to remove Azerbaijan from the Middle Corridor, but their dreams will remain in their eyes.” Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements also triggered widespread negative reactions on Azerbaijani social media channels.

“For a state with a population of 80 million people, the Armenians are not a quantitative, but qualitative threat,” said political commentator Hrachya Arzumanian. “Until we answer the question of what qualities of Armenians are perceived as a threat in Turkey, we will not be able to build a real relationship.” Arzumanian added that Turkey is not interested in establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia. “In order for Turkey to be ready to listen to us, we need to become stronger,” he argued.

As the opposition leader is aiming to attract liberals, minorities and marginalized political and economic groups, Erdogan and his party are aiming to mobilize conservatives and nationalists. For now, all eyes are on Turkey as the country will witness tense parliamentary and presidential elections that will shape Turkey’s foreign policy in the coming years amid crucial regional developments.

Yeghia Tashjian is a regional analyst and researcher. He has graduated from the American University of Beirut in Public Policy and International Affairs. He pursued his BA at Haigazian University in political science in 2013. In 2010, he founded the New Eastern Politics forum/blog. He was a research assistant at the Armenian Diaspora Research Center at Haigazian University. Currently, he is the regional officer of Women in War, a gender-based think tank. He has participated in international conferences in Frankfurt, Vienna, Uppsala, New Delhi and Yerevan. He has presented various topics from minority rights to regional security issues. His thesis topic was on China’s geopolitical and energy security interests in Iran and the Persian Gulf. He is a contributor to various local and regional newspapers and a presenter of the “Turkey Today” program for Radio Voice of Van. Recently he has been appointed as associate fellow at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and Middle East-South Caucasus expert in the European Geopolitical Forum.

ANCA Congressional briefing features live reporting from Artsakh

ANCA’s Tereza Yerimyan, Artsakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan, and ANC Artsakh’s Gev Iskajyan warned Congressional staff, community leaders, and coalition partners about the impending genocide facing Artsakh and urged sanctions against Azerbaijan.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) hosted a Capitol Hill briefing for Congressional offices on Wednesday, featuring live reporting by two leading voices on the ground in Artsakh: human rights defender Gegham Stepanyan and ANC Artsakh director Gev Iskajyan.

Stepanyan and Iskajyan provided on-the-ground updates on the impact of Azerbaijan’s 150-day blockade and escalating campaign to complete the ethnic-cleansing of Artsakh. Both highlighted the urgency of the situation facing the citizens of Artsakh, most notably the young, elderly, and infirm, resulting from the lack of gas, food, and medicine. Speakers placed special focus on the recent placement of an illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint on the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia, which has prevented the International Red Cross from delivering supplies or transporting critically-ill patients over the past several weeks.

ANCA Government Affairs director Tereza Yerimyan provided a Washington, DC perspective on the crisis facing Artsakh, with a focus on specific legislative and other policy-driven solutions, urging passage of the Anti-Blockade resolution (H.Res. 108) and legislation supporting Artsakh recognition (H.Res.320). Yerimyan also urged action on the Armenian Genocide Education Act (H.R.2803 and S. 1329) as an important step toward preventing future genocides. The hour-long briefing ended with a question and answer session.

Participants included dozens of legislative offices, local ANCA chapter leaders and a broad array of ANCA coalition partners. The top-line policy issues covered during the presentation included:

– Ending US military assistance to Azerbaijan
– Identifying Azerbaijan as the belligerent party
– Sending humanitarian assistance to Artsakh
– Holding Azerbaijan accountable for war crimes

The ANCA regularly connects Artsakh stakeholders with Congressional and decision-makers in the Washington, DC foreign policy community.

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

The Princess of Peace and the Hawk People

(Original illustration by artist Masha Keryan)

“Dedicted to Nairi”

There once was a calm and beautiful forest in a land far away. Many peaceful people lived there, along with many animals. The land had many different trees, but also grassy meadows with flowers and bushes.

Most of the people lived in the village in the middle of the forest. The people were happy so they liked staying in their forest, which was plenty big enough for them and the animals who lived there. They stayed in their land, because at the north were high mountains no one had ever climbed to the top of before, to the east and south was a large lake that they could not see to the other side of, and to the west was a rushing rocky river through a wide canyon.

One of the people who lived in the village was a young woman they called Nairi. She was strong, graceful and pleasant and helped the animals when it was very rainy and they got cold. She was nice to every villager, and this helped other people be nice, too. Everyone liked her.

One day the children playing in the little field in the center of the village saw shadows run across the grass. They looked up and way high in the sky strange birds were flying. Dozens of pointy-beaked, sharp-clawed big hawks flew across their beautiful blue sky. The children looked, because they had never seen such birds before. They were used to robins, sparrows and chickadees.

Just then, one of the hawks swooped down. There was a screeching sound that could have been the air rushing past his wings or his high-pitched voice. As he almost touched the ground, he grabbed a sweet black and white bunny rabbit and drove with his powerful wings to push himself back up into the air. The frightened rabbit looked back at her friends and the children, hoping for someone to help.

Nairi was watching from the little street that went by the field. She picked up a rock and threw it quickly. It hit the leg of the hawk just above its claw. The hawk, shocked, dropped the rabbit. The rabbit floated down to the grassy green and scurried away to its hole.

The hawk turned to look at Nairi and squawked to its friends. By then, the people in the village had heard the commotion and had come out from their shops and houses to see what was going on. The hawks turned back and flew to the center of the village. They landed and looked at one another for a moment.

Then the strangest thing the nice people had ever seen happened. The hawks began to grow taller and wider, but their beaks and claws started shrinking back. Their bodies straightened, and seconds later dozens of sharp-eyed tall people looked back into the wide eyes of the surprised villagers.

The tallest hawk-person spoke. “We have come from a land far away. We are hungry and want to eat. Instead of welcoming us as you should have, you have thrown stones and kept us from our meals. We and our friends and their friends will be back tomorrow for a feast of the animals in your forest. Do not try to stop us again, or you will be sorry.” With that, they rustled their arms and in an instant were hawks again flying up and away.

(Original illustration by artist Masha Keryan)

The nice villagers looked at each other. Their faces were worried, because they loved their animal friends and didn’t want the hawk-people to eat them. What could they do?

Nairi knew that the other villagers were scared and sad. Her calm and pleasant voice spoke to them. “Do not worry, my friends. We will not let the hawks eat the animals. Even if we have to be sorry, we will not let our friends down.”

The night passed, and dawn came. Soon, hundreds of hawks filled the morning sky with their flapping wings and screeching talk. They looked over the land. No people could be seen. Good, the hawks thought, the villagers are scared of our powerful magic.

Then, in a field past the village, they saw fluffy white and black and brown bunnies. They saw guinea pigs and hamsters. They saw mice and frogs. It would be a feast!

The hawks swooped down toward the field and pointed their sharp claws at the poor little animals that would soon be breakfast. Still, no people could be seen.

Hawk after hawk grabbed a tasty treat with its feet and drove hard with its powerful wings against the air to rise up. Hawk after hawk stopped in mid-air, beating its wings but not flying up.

The leader of the hawks opened his claws to drop the fluffy brown bunny in his grasp. The rabbit was stuck to his feet, and he could not shake it free. Soon, all the hawks were shaking their feet, but the cute animals stayed stuck to them.

The hawks looked down. These were not animals at all! They were stuffed cloth made to look like animals, and they were covered with fast-drying glue. And worse, they were tied to hooks in the ground with thick ropes. The hawks squawked and thrust their wings, but they could not fly away.

Just then, villagers began stepping from behind trees and bushes and tall grass. They stood around the circle of squawking hawks. The hawks began changing into hawk-people as they had the day before. But their bare feet were still glued to the small animal shapes that had fooled them. And, without wings, they fell to the ground with loud plunks.

Nairi led the villagers forward. “Hawk-people,” she said in a strong and loud voice her friends had never heard before, “you should not have come back. You think that you have the right to eat innocent animals, but we will not let you. You should have stayed in your own land and left us to live peacefully in ours. Now we have trapped you. What do you have to say for yourselves?”

The leader of the hawk-people sat up on the ground. “You are right, gentle Princess. We should have stayed in our own land and left your innocent friends here with you. We are sorry that we came back and tried to hurt them. We were wrong to think that we have a right to eat other animals just because we are bigger and stronger. Please forgive us for what we have done.”

The kind villagers had come to believe that all people are good deep inside. Perhaps the hawk-people were, too. The nice people had taught them a lesson, and the hawk-people had learned it. Nairi spoke again, this time in her calm and peaceful voice. “Hawk-people, if you have learned your lesson and promise never to return here again, we will let you go from the trap we have caught you in.”

The hawk-people’s leader looked down at the ground with a sorrowful _expression_. “Oh, yes, gentle Princess, we have learned. We have learned. You have taught us so much today, and we thank you for it. Let us go, and we will never bother you or your animal friends again.”

And the kind villagers, with joy that the hawk-people had learned such a good lesson so well, walked to them and poured special water on their feet. At once, the glue melted away, and they were free.

They turned into hawks once again, and flew off into the sky.

The nice people walked back to their village. Inside their houses were all their animal friends, kept safe from the hawks. They had seen from the windows what had happened and cheered the people led by Nairi when they returned. “Friend animals, the hawk-people are gone and never will return. You can go back to your homes and live in peace.” And the animals bounced in joy to their forest homes.

The next morning, dozens of hawks appeared in the sky. The villagers ran out from their shops and houses in great uncertainty. The hawks had returned again to eat the animals! They had not learned their lesson!

The hawk leader and the other hawks landed in the village square. They turned quickly into people. “Kind villagers, we know you told us never to return. We are sorry to break our word, but we are so grateful to you that we have brought you a gift of these wonderful flowers to plant by your village streets. Every morning you can look at them from your windows and remember the kindness you showed us. Thank you.”

And the hawk-people handed the villagers dozens of flower pots with brightly colored flowers more beautiful than rainbows. The villagers smiled with joy and thanked the hawk-people, who turned into hawks and flew away with happy squawks.

The villagers planted the flowers around the village and admired the beautiful flowers in their many colors. All the people and all the animals went to sleep so happy that night.

Nairi was the first to wake the next day and went to her window to look out at the beautiful flowers. But there was still darkness when she looked through the window. She opened it, but the darkness remained. She pressed her hand out and realized that iron-strong dark green vines ran back and forth in front of the window. She went to other windows, and each one was shut by the same vines. Her door would not open, and through its tiny window she saw more green vines.

A voice squawked across the village. The leader of the hawk-people shouted, “You dared to defy us, dared to trap us, and now you will pay the price. You are now our prisoners. We are stronger than you are, and now you will do what we say. Tomorrow morning all of the hawk-people in our faraway land will come to yours to eat your animals and enslave you.”

And then silence. He must have flown off.

Nairi walked to the top of her house, where there was a little window, and opened it. The vines were there, too, but also a small red and blue and purple flower. The flower looked at her sadly and sighed. Nairi asked, “Beautiful flower whose colors make the sunset envious, why have you grown this way to entrap us and make us slaves?”

“Oh, dear Princess, I am just a simple flower. My friends and I were growing by a grassy meadow where cows and sheep came to graze during lazy summer afternoons. Then these mean hawk-people came and tore us out of our ground and put us in pots. They cast a magic spell over us and brought us here. The magic spell made our stems grow into long vines that wrapped around your houses while you slept. They turned our beauty into meanness. We are so sorry, but we cannot change the magic.”

Nairi thought for a moment. Then she walked down to the room in which she kept all of her family’s books. There were books with poems and stories, books about people who had lived long ago, books about cooking and building things, even arithmetic and geometry books for older children. There were also books about flowers, lots of books about flowers. She took one very old book, with a scratched and worn cover, down from the shelf. She looked through it and found what she wanted.

In her kitchen, the Princess worked for many hours. She measured liquids that looked like water colored green and pink and yellow and purple, and powders that looked like blue and brown and orange and red sand. She mixed different things together. Sometimes the mixtures bubbled. Then she mixed different mixtures together. At last she was done.

(Original illustration by artist Masha Keryan)

She walked to the little window with the little flower.  She carried a big glass jug with a rainbow-colored liquid inside. “Gentle flower, please let me put one little drop of this potion on your petals, and the magic of the hawk-people will leave you. You will go back to being a tiny little flower.”

“Oh, thank you, sweet and kind Princess.” And the Princess poured one little drop on a tiny petal. For a moment, nothing happened, and the Princess became worried. Did she make a mistake? Was the hawk-people’s magic too powerful?

And then her house became brighter, as the snaking vines shrank and retreated down to the ground. Soon, the tiny flower was back the way it was before the hawk-people’s magic.

Nairi quickly ran to each of the other houses in the village and put a drop of her potion on the vines that held it prisoner. Soon, all the flowers were back to normal and all the people were free.

They asked Nairi what they could do then. The hawk-people had powerful magic, and they would surely be angry that the villagers had stopped them a second time. Maybe this time they will come back and hurl giant rocks at us from the sky. Maybe they will chase all our animal friends away, or cover up the sun so the trees and grass and bushes and flowers all die.

Nairi knew that the kind villagers were scared and sad again. She talked to them as she had before. “Kind villagers, do not worry. I have a plan to take care of the hawk people once and for all. But we must work hard and quickly, because they will come tomorrow at dawn.”

The next morning, the bright sun shone across the forest until 1,000 screaming hawks blotted out the morning sun. A shadow fell across the land. Still, no animals or people stirred.

The hawks landed and became people again. They looked at the houses in the village, covered from top to bottom with dark green vines wrapping around and around. Small groups of hawk-people walked to each house and stood in front of it. They folded their arms and looked tall and mean.

The leader spoke, “Villagers, we have returned. Before we eat your animals, we will make a list of all of you. You must open your front door and say through the vines who lives in your house.  The hawk-people before you will write down your names. And then you will be our slaves.”

The leader waited. The hawk-people in front of each house in the village waited. No one spoke from the houses. The leader spoke again, angrily, “Villagers, if you do not cooperate, then we will be even meaner to you. I command you to speak now.”

Still there was silence. Then, they heard a single, strong word, “Now!” Before the leader realized that it was Nairi speaking from behind him, the vines around the houses snapped up into the air and fell onto all of the hawk-people. They were not vines, but strong ropes painted green and tied into nets! The villagers came out from behind bushes and trees and tall grass and pulled the nets shut. They had captured all of the hawk-people.

“Hawk-people,” Nairi said in her strong and loud voice, “we were nice to you and tried to forgive you. You tricked us by pretending to be sorry for what you did. Then you tried to hurt us and our animal friends again.”

“Oh, we are so sorry,” said the hawk leader. “This time we have truly learned our lesson. If you let us go, we will never bother you again.” The hawk people thought other people were weak and foolish. They had learned that nice people always forgave others when the others asked for forgiveness. And, nice people always gave others another chance.

The hawk leader and other hawk-people thought the villagers would be foolish once again and let them go. But, the villagers said nothing. They gathered up the nets and dragged them with the hawk-people inside across the village and to a wide dirt trail into the forest. Most of the larger villagers helped. They all had backpacks with sleeping bags and water for a journey.

The hawk-people squawked in anger. They squawked in fear. They said terrible things to the villagers, and then they said again and again that they were sorry. The villagers said nothing, as Nairi led them forward. They walked for the rest of the day across the forest, to the north, where the mighty mountains stretched as far to the east and west as the eye could see.

That night, the villagers put tents up and slept inside. They gave the hawk-people blankets and food, but it was vegetables and fruit and the hawk-people spit it out. The villagers said nothing.

The next morning, the villagers rose with the sun and began dragging the sleeping hawk-people up the mountain in front of them. They climbed for many days and rested many nights. They climbed in the snow, above where any trees or plants could grow. They climbed over steep rocks. The villagers could not fly, but they could climb higher than any hawk could fly. Slowly, the hawk-people realized that the villagers were stronger than they were, but with a different kind of strength. They didn’t hurt people, but could climb up mountains.

Finally, they reached the top of the mountain. On the other side, sheer cliffs fell thousands of feet down. On the rocky valley floor far below, there were rivers and fields. Every villager and every hawk-person was quiet.

Nairi spoke, “Hawk-people, you said again and again that you have learned your lesson. I am glad that you have learned your lesson. We have also learned our lesson. You say you are sorry just to trick us into thinking that you really are sorry and won’t try to hurt us again. You say you are sorry so you can get away with what you have done. But you are not really sorry. If you have really learned your lesson, then you should be happy we have caught you in these nets and taken you far from our land.”

The villagers looked around at the hawk-people, who lowered their eyes. Nairi continued, “Look at this valley. On all sides are tall, rocky mountain cliffs, too high for you to fly over, too steep for you to climb. It will be your new home. There is plenty of water in the rivers and ponds, plenty of leaves and fruits and vegetables and worms and bugs for you to eat. The weather is warm, and no animals will bother you here, except for the snakes. Always be on the lookout for the snakes. But there are no fluffy animals for you to hurt here, and here is where you must stay.”

Then the villagers tied long ropes to the nets with the hawk-people in them and wrapped ropes around giant rocks nearby. They were going to lower the hawk-people, nets and all, down the mountain cliffs. “Here are four small knives. When you reach the bottom, you will be able to cut through the nets in a few hours, so that you can go out and find food and build your homes.”

The hawk leader looked with anger in his eyes, “We will fly over these mountains, you will see.  You have not seen the last of us. One day you will be sorry for what you have done.”

Nairi looked with sadness on the hawk leader and all the hawk-people. She was sad for them, because they could not learn their lesson. And, she was sad for her own people, because the hawk leader might be right. “That may be, that may be. But if we did not capture you, you would surely have hurt us. Either way, perhaps you will hurt us. You might escape and try again. And if it is not you, perhaps there are other bad people out there in the world who will come to our land one day. There are always bad people in the world, but now we will always be ready. We might not win the next time, but we will never give up.”

And with that the villagers lowered the hawk-people down the cliffs. When they saw them reach the bottom, they cut the ropes and let them fall, thousands of feet down, never to be used to climb up again.

Many years later, when Nairi was an old woman, she thought back to the hawk-people. She wondered if they had ever learned their lesson.


Henry C. Theriault is currently Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Worcester State University in the United States, after teaching in its Philosophy Department from 1998 to 2017. From 1999 to 2007, he coordinated the University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights. Theriault’s research focuses on genocide denial, genocide prevention, post-genocide victim-perpetrator relations, reparations and mass violence against women and girls. He has lectured and given panel papers around the world. Since 2007, he has chaired the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group and is lead author of its March 2015 final report, Resolution with Justice. He has published numerous journal articles and chapters. With Samuel Totten, he co-authored The United Nations Genocide Convention: An Introduction (University of Toronto Press, 2019). In 2017, Theriault was elected President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), and was re-elected in 2019. He is founding co-editor of the peer-reviewed Genocide Studies International. From 2007 to 2012 he served as co-editor of the International Association of Genocide Scholars’ peer-reviewed Genocide Studies and Prevention, and has guest-edited for the International Criminal Law Review and the Armenian Review.

Marc Mamigonian’s presentation at NYU addresses genocide denial and the erosion of truth

Marc Mamigonian during his presentation at NYU titled “Facts Are Stubborn Things: How Denial Turns Facts into Opinions and Erodes Truth,” April 24, 2023

NEW YORK, NY—On April 24, the New York University Global Institute for Advanced Study (NYU GIAS) hosted a presentation titled “Facts Are Stubborn Things: How Denial Turns Facts into Opinions and Erodes Truth.” The event was co-sponsored by the institute’s Armenian Genocide Denial Project and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). Students, young professionals, scholars and community members gathered to hear speaker Marc Mamigonian and discussant Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, PhD explore recent examples identified as denialist or denialist-influenced and the factors that have contributed to genocide denialism and how it has transformed over time. 

Introductions were made by Dr. Paul Boghossian, a professor of philosophy at NYU, and Dr. Khatchig Mouradian a lecturer at Columbia University, who serve as co-principal investigators of the Armenian Genocide Denial Project at NYU.

“Facts Are Stubborn Things: How Denial Turns Facts into Opinions and Erodes Truth,” April 24, 2023

Mamigonian began his presentation with a series of quotes from John Adams, Hannah Arendt and American civil rights leader Medgar Evers. While Adams believed in the power of truth and fact to prevail, Arendt asserted in her 1967 essay “Truth and Politics” that if a fact is not tolerated in a particular country, efforts may be made to reduce it to opinion. Evers is credited with saying, “You can kill a man but you can’t kill an idea,” but Mamigonian noted that the Ottoman Empire and Turkey have done both: they killed Armenians, and now they are killing the idea (or fact) that they killed the Armenians. Despite the successes of genocide education and recognition in recent decades, Mamigonian argued that these efforts have not succeeded in reducing genocide denialism. He then provided examples of how denialism is occurring in the present day, aided and abetted by so-called scholars, journalists and policy analysts.

He began with an example of the strategy many are familiar with: framing the Armenian Genocide as a controversy rather than a fact. The first publication he turned to was, “Redefining the US-Turkey Relationship,” authored by Sinan Ülgen. Discussing this piece, Mamigonian noted the shift from “hard” denial to “soft” denial. “Hard” denial is blatant denial that the Genocide ever occurred. “Soft” denial occurs when there is an acknowledgement of lives lost during wartime suffering but continues to reject the intent of extermination, resulting in continued neglect of the use of the word “genocide” and ignoring the documentation and scholarship on the subject. This is where phrases such as “The Armenian Question” become a mechanism implemented to undermine facts and scholarship that clearly prove the events as genocide, leading to “he said-she said” debates. Mamigonian made the point that we would never ask Germany to present their “side” of the Holocaust as if there is a question of what occurred at that point in history, so why does society allow and even invite Turkey to present their “side” of the Armenian Genocide? Other topics that fall into this strategy of denial include seeking recognition and empathy for Turkish lives lost during World War I, using the word “feel” when presenting information that should be stated as fact, and weighing Turkish propaganda equally with scholarship.

The second example Mamigonian provided was the article “Turkey Will Never Recognize the Armenian Genocide,” by Hans Gutbrod and David Wood. Two forms of denialism are present in this article: omission of important contextual information that provides a complete political picture and calling upon Armenians to take an allegedly moral high-ground to work towards reconciliation rather than demanding reparations. Mamigonian made a comparison to Native American and African American oppression in the United States. Calling upon Armenians to reconcile could be compared to White Americans asking Native Americans or African Americans to “meet in the middle” and do the social and political labor to repair relations rather than to seek justice, for fear of causing further tensions. Essentially, this calls upon marginalized and oppressed groups to abandon the truth of their histories, further undermining facts. The article also fails to acknowledge the power differential between Turkey and Armenia, with Turkey having more military power to continue efforts of oppression against Armenia, such as blockades and support of Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia.

Mamigonian then transitioned to the ways in which denialist narratives contribute to the problems in the present narratives about Artsakh, citing two publications: “Each Rock Has Two Names” by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and the book The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Historical and Political Perspectives edited by M. Hakan Yavuz and Michael M. Gunter. The first uses an example of Armenian churches and monasteries in Artsakh as proof of their uninterrupted presence in the area. Abdul-Ahad does acknowledge the absurdity of Azerbaijan’s assertion that Armenians erased Azeri inscriptions and took the monuments as their own. However, he contributes to denialist narratives by asserting that the two groups could look at the same monument and see what they would like to see, undermining the truth of what these buildings truly are and no longer making a clear delineation between fact and fiction. Mamigonian summarizes the problematic view perfectly: “Each rock may have two names: but if one side calls the rock a rock and the other insists that the rock is actually a tree, can we not at least agree where the problem lies?” The referenced book, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Historical and Political Perspectives, which is framed as scholarly material, is riddled with denialist language and historical distortions.

The conclusion of Mamigonian’s presentation highlighted the “kettle logic” of Turkey’s denialist narrative. In kettle logic, multiple arguments are made to defend a single point, but each argument contradicts the others. In Turkey’s case, they make many arguments to deny the Genocide – that it never happened, that it was not a crime, that it was tragic but cannot be called a genocide, etc. The arguments are contradictory, and yet Turkey’s denialist power monopoly seems too big to fail.

After the presentation, a discussion was led by Lerna Ekmekçioğlu. Ekmekçioğlu offered her commentary on Mamigonian’s research. She began by acknowledging the difficulty of studying the topic of denial, specifically focusing on the emotional toll that can result from consistently hearing and reading narratives that deny what occurred in our family histories and noting that Mamigonian’s efforts require great courage and mental/emotional fortitude. Ekmekçioğlu also stated that she felt the discourse about reconciliation was the strongest in the presentation. She distinctly emphasized that those who assert Armenia and Turkey should restore their “pre-conflict relationship” must recognize that the relationship is between colonizers and the colonized.

“Facts Are Stubborn Things: How Denial Turns Facts into Opinions and Erodes Truth,” April 24, 2023

After her commentary, Ekmekçioğlu posed a series of questions. She asked Mamigonian why softer denial can be more effective than hard denial, to which he replied that it appears less threatening, like the “not as bad” cop in a good cop/bad cop situation. It can give the appearance of attempting to be reasonable in the context of a more extreme assertion, and it is important to remember that hard denial still very much exists. She wondered what motivates some of the aforementioned scholars to participate in or utilize denialist narratives when a political motivation is not apparent. Mamigonian responded that it is not necessarily clear to him why some of these scholars utilize these narratives and also acknowledged that he no longer tries to “peer into the souls” of people who write within denialist frameworks.

Ekmekçioğlu then posed a thorny question: Is it possible that Turkey will recognize the Genocide in a symbolic way that would then undermine reparation efforts? What could this look like? Mamigonian was unsure if Turkey would even be able to make a symbolic recognition since the denialist narrative is entrenched in the state and all it supports. Finally, she asked how to handle the academic centers in high-profile universities being sponsored by Turkey and whether we should ignore them or work harder to build more centers for Armenian studies. Mamigonian stressed that it is vital to pay close attention to these efforts, but emphasized that there is no possibility of outspending Turkey. While we need to create scholarship, it is clear that it will not prevail on its own. Scholarship is absolutely necessary but not by itself sufficient to combat denialist narratives.

During the question-and-answer session with attendees, topics included concerns about Artificial Intelligence (AI, such as ChatGPT) being trained with data sets that promote denialist narratives and how we are at just the beginning of understanding genocide denialism. Armenians are at the forefront of studying the denialist tactics implemented, and further research will continue to illuminate how these tactics are utilized for political manipulation, lack of accountability for crimes and power gains.

Mamigonian is the director of Academic Affairs at the NAASR, where he has worked for the last 25 years. He is the co-author of the volume Annotations to James Joyce’s Ulysses (Oxford University Press, 2022; with John N. Turner and Sam Slote) and is the co-author of annotated editions of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Alma Classics, 2014; with John N. Turner) and Ulysses (Alma Classics, 2015, with John N. Turner and Sam Slote). He has served as the editor of the Journal of Armenian Studies and the volume The Armenians of New England (Armenian Heritage Press, 2004), and has published articles in Genocide Studies InternationalJames Joyce QuarterlyArmenian ReviewJournal of the Society for Armenian Studies, and elsewhere. His chapter “Weaponizing the First Amendment: Denial of the Armenian Genocide and the U.S. Courts” is forthcoming in Denial of Genocides in the Twenty-First Century, Bedross Der Matossian, ed. (Univ. of Nebraska Press). 

Ekmekçioğlu is an associate professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She is a historian of the early Turkish Republic with a particular focus on minorities. Her first monograph Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. In 2006, she co-edited a volume in Turkish on the first five Armenian Ottoman/Turkish feminists. Currently, she is collaborating with Dr. Melissa Bilal (UCLA) for a book and digital humanities project titled Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology and Documentary Archive (Stanford U. Press, 2024).

Dalita Getzoyan's involvement in the Armenian community began at a young age, beginning with attending Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Providence, RI, and singing in its choir. She also was a member of the Providence AYF "Varantian" junior and senior chapters. She has served both on local committees and the Central Executive for the AYF Eastern Region. Dalita now lives in NYC where she works as a Music Therapist for Hospice of New York. She holds a bachelor's degree in Flute Performance from the University of Rhode Island and a master's degree in Mental Health Counseling and Music Therapy from Lesley University. She also is currently pursuing a career as an actor in the city.

Azerbaijan conducts drone attack on Armenian positions, wounding two servicemen: Yerevan

My 12 2023

The Azerbaijani armed forces used an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near the village of Sotk on Friday morning, wounding two Armenian servicemen,  Armenia's Defense Ministry reported.

Renewed border clashes have erupted between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, according to Yerevan, a day after deadly fighting threatened to derail European Union-led weekend peace talks between the Caucasus arch-foes.

Border clashes on Thursday left an Azerbaijani serviceman dead and four Armenian troops injured.

“On May 12, at around 10am, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the ceasefire in the direction of Sotk using UAVs. Two servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces were wounded. The health condition of one serviceman is assessed as satisfactory and [that of] the other one is critical,” the statement said.

The ministry also reported that as of 10:30am, the situation at the front line is relatively stable.

Baku and Yerevan are locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh, over which they have fought two wars.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Brussels for talks led by European Council President Charles Michel.

The rival leaders had also agreed to jointly meet the leaders of France and Germany on the sidelines of a European summit in Moldova on June 1, according to the EU.

Pashinyan on Thursday accused Azerbaijan of looking to “undermine the talks” in Brussels.

He warned there was “very little” chance of signing a peace deal with Azerbaijan at the meeting.

A draft agreement “is still at a very preliminary stage and it is too early to speak of an eventual signature”, Pashinyan continued.

Turkish Press: New border clashes erupt between Armenian, Azerbaijani troops

Turkey –

New border clashes took place between Azerbaijani and Armenian soldiers on the border on Friday, amid faltering EU-led attempts for peace talks between the two neighbors.

The Caucasus neighbors are locked in a decadeslong territorial dispute of Azerbaijan's Karabakh, over which they have fought two wars.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said, "Armenian armed forces opened fire from trench mortars on Azerbaijani positions" at the border.

On Friday morning, "Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the cease-fire in the direction of Sotk (eastern part of the state border) using UAVs (drones)," claimed a defense ministry statement from Yerevan, which appears to be in retaliation to Armenia opening fire and killing an Azerbaijani soldier the day before.

Two of its soldiers had been wounded and one was in critical condition, Armenia added.

Reports indicate clashes continued later on Friday.

The previous day, an Azerbaijani soldier was killed and four Armenian troops were wounded when Armenia opened fire.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian are scheduled to meet Sunday in Brussels for talks led by European Council President Charles Michel.

According to the European Union, the rival leaders have also agreed to jointly meet the leaders of France and Germany on the sidelines of a European summit in Moldova on June 1.

On Thursday, Pashinian accused Azerbaijan of seeking to undermine the talks in Brussels. He warned there was "very little" chance of signing a peace deal with Azerbaijan at the meeting.

A draft agreement "is still at a very preliminary stage and it is too early to speak of an eventual signature," Pashinian said.

The EU-led diplomacy comes after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers to Washington for talks in early May.

The West has stepped up mediation as the influence of Russia, historically the major powerbroker between the former Soviet republics has waned since its invasion of Ukraine.

Armenia, which has traditionally relied on Russia as its security guarantor, has grown increasingly frustrated with Moscow.

It has accused Russia of having failed to fulfill its peacekeeping role when Azerbaijani environmental activists blocked Karabakh's only land link to Armenia last December over illegal mining.

The two countries went to war in 2020 and in the 1990s over Karabakh. In 2020, Azerbaijan liberated Karabakh and several adjacent regions from three decades of illegal Armenian occupation in a war triggred by incessant Armenian cease-fire violations.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the two wars over the region.