ASBAREZ Online [03-30-2004]


1) Five Armenians Elected to Georgian Parliament
2) Parliament Inquiry Slams Misuse of Loans
3) Coalition Parties Caution Opposition to Practice Vigilance
4) Montana 32nd State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide
5) Never Mind the Bullocks. . . Here is the Skeptik!

1) Five Armenians Elected to Georgian Parliament

TBILISI (Armenpress)–Five Armenians were elected to Georgia’s parliament in
the March 28 nationwide elections. Two Armenians Melik Raisian and Van
Bayburdian, were reelected from a proportional list of the governing
while Henzel Mkoyan, Hamlet Movsisian, and Hayk Miltonian were elected by a
single mandate. Six Armenians previously served in Georgia’s parliament.
There was high voter turnout in Georgia’s predominantly Armenian-populated
region of Javakhk, with 90% of eligible voters casting ballots. In the
Akhalkalak region, approximately 30,000 of 33,000 registered voters turned
in Ninotsminda, 17,200 of 18,300; in Tsalka, 9,000 out of 13,000; and in
Akhaltsikha, 11,000 out of 15,000. The majority in all regions voted in favor
of the ruling bloc.

2) Parliament Inquiry Slams Misuse of Loans

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Presenting the findings of a parliamentary commission
studying the use of financial and humanitarian assistance to Armenia, National
Assembly Vice-speaker and commission chairman Vahan Hovhannisian, challenged
government claims that the situation with water supplies in the capital has
markedly improved since the launch of the scheme in 1999.
The interim report was issued by the ad hoc commission of the Armenian
parliament that was set up last September to investigate the use of nearly $3
billion in external loans, grants, and other assistance received by Armenia
since independence.
A $30 million project to improve supplies of drinking water in Yerevan has
failed to achieve its main objectives to due a serious misuse of the funds
provided by the World Bank, according to the commission’s findings released on
According to the State Committee on Water Resources, the average Yerevan
household currently has running water for more than nine hours a day and will
enjoy the round-the-clock supplies by the end of the year. But Hovannisian,
is also one of the two deputy speakers of the assembly, said the official
figure is grossly exaggerated.
He cited the example of the city’s Davitashen district where $5.8 million of
the World Bank loans has been spent. The authorities were supposed to ensure
24-hour supplies there by the beginning of this year. The commission report
says most local residents have running water for between 10 and 12 hours a
despite having installed water meters.
The introduction of meters has been a key element in the government’s
reform and restructuring the country’s obsolete water and sewerage network.
Most Armenians have already bought and installed them at their expense. A
typical urban household needed two such devices in their apartments and
paid an
equivalent of $15 a piece. Hovannisian said a water meter was in fact worth
between $5 and $6, accusing the government’s water agency and Yerevan’s
operator of making $6.5 million in “unjustified” profits from their sale.
The commission report also criticizes the fact that 27 percent of the World
Bank funds have been spent on project management, overhead, and logistics.
includes $5 million paid to the Italian firm A-Utility that has run Yerevan’s
water and sewerage network since the launch of the project.
Hovannisian said the commission will recommend that the government not extend
its management contract with A-Utility after the project’s completion this
summer. He said the network has failed to reduce continuing huge leaks of
drinking water.
Government officials admit that as much as 60 percent of the water is being
lost before reaching households. They say substantial capital investments are
needed to reconstruct the aging Soviet-era network of pipes.
The publication of the parliamentary report follows last week’s dismissal of
Gagik Martirosian, the longtime head of the State Committee on Water
It is not clear if there is any connection between the two developments.
There was no immediate reaction to the report from the government. Officials
at the World Bank’s Yerevan office declined a comment, saying that they have
not yet received the document. They had earlier praised the implementation of
the infrastructure project.

3) Coalition Parties Caution Opposition to Practice Vigilance

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–Responding to opposition calls to topple
President, ARF National Assembly faction member Hrair Karapetian, pointing to
the legitimacy of the government, said that attempts to disrupt law and order
would be countered.
“We admonish those announcements whose authors not only insult, but
succeed in
also assaulting and degrading the majority of the population which voted for
the authorities–that assail the president of the republic, as well as those
forces assisting the government. Such announcements seek to only dissolve the
country’s governmental structure, and splinter society to bring about
irrevocable consequences,” Karapetian warned during a special session of
parliament during which factions and individual deputies are able to read out
statements on any issue.
Karapetian offered, instead, the carrying out of political clashes in a
healthy political arena.
“I call on all political forces to sit at the round table and refrain from
making calls disseminating hatred and hostility,” said Samvel Balasanian, the
parliamentary leader of the Orinats Yerkir Party, the Republican Party’s (HHK)
junior coalition partner.
“There is still time and political forces must display the will to address
country’s problems through dialogue and political mechanisms,” said Samvel
Nikoyan, a senior lawmaker from the Republican Party (HHK). “We are
prepared to
shoulder responsibility for organizing such a dialogue.”
Opposition leaders, however, said they remain determined to try to oust
President Robert Kocharian with sustained street protests planned for the
beginning of next month.
The opposition lawmakers, who have been boycotting regular National Assembly
sessions for more than a month, showed up to take the opportunity to spread
their tough anti-Kocharian message. They were quick to dismiss the coalition
offer. “We are ready for dialogue with any political force provided that
Kocharian resigns,” said Victor Dallakian of the Artarutyun (Justice)

Dallakian added that Artarutyun and the opposition National Unity Party will
jointly start “the process of toppling Kocharian’s regime” before April 13.
“Together we are united and determined to fulfill the people’s will, restore
constitutional order and form a legitimate government in Armenia,” he said.
President Kocharian, through a spokesman, warned that opposition threats to
force him into resignation with street protests are unconstitutional and will
be dealt with accordingly. “The opposition has adopted a baseless and
aggressive position,” the presidential press secretary Ashot Kocharian said.
“The opposition actions carry elements running counter to criminal
legislation. In particular, there are calls for a violent regime change.”
“Unsanctioned rallies are fraught with criminally punishable actions directed
against public order,” the spokesman warned.
The opposition has promised a campaign of demonstrations outside the
presidential palace and parliament building in Yerevan similar to the November
“revolution of roses” in neighboring Georgia. “Kocharian may not resign,
but he
will be unable to control the situation and govern the country de facto,” said
another Artarutyun leader Albert Bazeyan.
Armenia’s leading businessmen have expressed concern at the mounting
tensions. In a joint statement issued late Monday, they effectively sided with
the authorities, saying that a destabilization of the political situation
have negative effects on the struggling Armenian economy. The statement was
read out by the chairman of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs
“I myself see no danger in [peaceful] rallies,” Ghazarian said. “That is the
constitutional right of our citizens. I only hope that that it will be done in
accordance with the law and the constitution.”

4) Montana 32nd State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC (ANCA)–Montana became the 32nd US state to recognize the
Armenian Genocide, joining with the Armenian American community and all people
of good conscience in honoring the victims of this crime against humanity,
reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Governor Judy Martz, in a letter of recognition sent to the ANCA, stated: “I
am pleased to recognize your achievements to bring awareness and
recognition to
the one and one-half million Christian Armenian men, women and children who
were victims of the brutal genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish
Government from 1915 to 1923.” She went on to explain that recognition of the
89th anniversary of the genocide is “crucial to guarding against repetition of
future genocides.”
On Monday, Montana joined 31 states that have already recognized the Armenian
Genocide through Governor proclamations or adoption of State resolutions,
including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut,
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina,
Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
“I am proud of Gov. Martz’s principled stand recognizing the Armenian
and joining with our community in this solemn remembrance. I can only hope
our legislators in Washington will take similar action through passage of the
Genocide Resolution in the House and Senate,” said Montana resident and
lifelong ANC activist Yedvart Tchakerian.
Armenian American activist Bob Semonian, a long-time friend of the Montana
Governor, played a key role in introducing the matter to Governor Martz.


April 2004

On behalf of citizens of the State of Montana, I am pleased to recognize your
achievements to bring awareness and recognition to the one and one-half
Christian Armenian men, women and children who were victims of the brutal
genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915 to 1923.
The Armenian genocide and massacres of Armenian people have been
recognized as
an attempt to eliminate all traces of a thriving and noble civilization over
3,000 years old. Recognition of the eighty-ninth anniversary of this genocide
is crucial to guarding against the repetition of future genocide and educating
people about the atrocities connected to these horrific events.
I urge recognition of their plight on April 24th, 2004, which is nationally
recognized as a Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.

5) Never Mind the Bullocks. . . Here is the Skeptik!


For those of you who have been living in a cultural vacuum, I wanted to point
out that the above headline was stripped from the title of one of the few
decent things to come out of Britain–the groundbreaking punk band, the Sex
Pistols. The other notable contribution from the British Isles is the comedy
troupe Monty Python. Save for punk music and the creators of the “Life of
Brian,” all else that has come from England has been an albatross around the
world’s neck.
For starters, take all of the problems in the Middle East or Africa. It was
Britain’s policies of imperialistic expansion starting in the early 18th
century that have resulted in nation states in these regions with borders that
look more like an 8th grader’s geometry homework than actual countries. We’re
still feeling the repercussions of the political meddling of Britain in these
regions to this day. For those of you who are “literacy challenged”, just
“Lawrence of Arabia” to get a layman’s perspective of the mess Britain left
behind in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and environs. And that hot bed of activity
called Israel? Guess who the geniuses were who drew up that map. I’ll give you
a hint. It was the same group of folks that thought Gandhi and his countrymen
in India were too primitive to govern themselves. One more hint? Fine. But
your last one. They went to war with Argentina over disputed claims to the
Falkland Islands, a group of islands off the coast of ARGENTINA whose main
export is sheep and wool. God knows those Brits need their wool! But I
guess if
you’re going to play the role of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, then you need all
the wool you can get. Oops, I gave away the answer. For those of you still
scratching your heads…the answer was Britain.
What inspired this particular rant against the British wasn’t their past
policies. After all, no nation is a saint and in the world of politics it’s a
“shoon” eat “shoon” world out there. After all, it was Lord Palmerston, 19th
century British Foreign Secretary, who said “There are no permanent alliances,
only permanent interests.” It was a more recent quote by another British
dignitary with a far more callous tone which drove me to embark on this
diatribe. It was with outrage that I read article after article and email
email about the denialist comments the British Ambassador to Armenia Thorda
Abbott-Watt made in reference to the Armenian Genocide. She ascertained that
the events of 1915 did not constitute a Genocide. Her statements are a blatant
disregard of the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide, not to mention an
affront to survivors and Armenians throughout the world.
I wrote a letter of complaint to the British foreign ministry but I don’t
expect any results. As an Armenian American who has studied the history of
Armenia, Britain and its relationship with the Ottoman Empire, I’m not
surprised that Britain would hang the Armenians out to dry on this issue. Why
should they act differently than in previous times? The only times when
spoke out against the ill-treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were
when it was in their own self-interest to do so – to either leverage
against Russia or to ensure control over the crumbling Ottoman state. What
it take to convince Britain to adopt an honorable position on the Armenian
Genocide? Maybe increasing Armenia’s wool production. More sheep may be the
answer but I have a feeling that even this will not change the British foreign
ministry’s sheepish attitude. After all, as long as they control that o’ so
strategically significant piece of real estate known as the Falkland Islands,
they have all the wool they will ever need.
I have no respect for Ambassador Abbot-Watt after her uneducated and
politically motivated statements. But I also understand that she is the
mouthpiece of her government. As such, she is the monkey who dances to the
organ music when told to do so. And to end this column with a quote from Sir
Winston Churchill, you should “Never hold discussions with the monkey when the
organ grinder is in the room.” Having made the obligatory monkey reference, I
say give the Ambassador a ticket to ride all the way back to Britain, because
it’s obvious that she don’t care. Cheerio!
Skeptik Sinikian is a resident of that rebellious former-British colony
recognized by the National Geographic Society as the United States of America.
Despite his disdain for British Ambassadors to Armenia, he still enjoys
muffins and English Breakfast tea, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Benny Hill
Specials, “Faulty Towers” and Shakespeare. He can be reached at
[email protected]

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ANCA Issues Report Card on the Bush Administration

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]

March 30, 2004
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


— Review Reveals Largely Negative Policies on Broad
Range of Issues of Concern to Armenian Americans

WASHINGTON, DC – The 2004 Armenian American Presidential Report
Card, issued today by the Armenian National Committee Of America
(ANCA), gave the George W. Bush Administration low marks for its
record of broken promises, neglect, and opposition to more than a
dozen issues of concern to Armenian American voters.

The ANCA Report Card covers fifteen broad policy areas, beginning
with the President’s broken campaign pledge to recognize the
Armenian Genocide, and extending through more than three years of
policy toward Armenia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region.
While highlighting certain areas in which the Bush Administration
has taken positive steps, the Report Card, on balance, reveals an
Administration that has fallen far short of the Armenian American
community’s expectations.

“Armenian Americans were profoundly disappointed by President
Bush’s decision – only three months after taking office – to
abandon his campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian
Genocide,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “Since then, sadly,
the record shows that the President has broken other commitments to
our community – most notably to maintain parity in U.S. military
aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan – and has actively opposed key issues
of concern to Armenian Americans.”

The Armenian American Presidential Report Card is provided below:

1) Broken campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide

Almost immediately after taking office, President Bush abandoned
his campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This
promise, which he made in February of 2000 as Texas Governor, was
widely distributed among Armenian Americans prior to the hotly
contested Michigan primary. It read, in part, as follows:

“The twentieth century was marred by wars of
unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide.
History records that the Armenians were the first
people of the last century to have endured these
cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a
genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and
commands all decent people to remember and
acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful
crime in a century of bloody crimes against
humanity. If elected President, I would ensure
that our nation properly recognizes the tragic
suffering of the Armenian people.”

Rather than honor this promise, the President has, in his annual
April 24th statements, used evasive and euphemistic terminology to
avoid describing Ottoman Turkey’s systematic and deliberate
destruction of the Armenian people by its proper name – the
Armenian Genocide.

2) Opposition to the Congressional Genocide Resolution

The Bush Administration is actively blocking the adoption of the
Genocide Resolution in both the House and Senate. This legislation
(S.Res.164 and H.Res.193) specifically cites the Armenian Genocide
and formally commemorates the 15th anniversary of United States
implementation of the U.N. Genocide Convention. The Genocide
Resolution is supported by a broad based coalition of over one
hundred organizations, including American Values, the NAACP,
National Council of Churches, Sons of Italy, International Campaign
for Tibet, National Council of La Raza, and the Union of Orthodox

3) Failure to condemn Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide

The Bush Administration has failed to condemn Turkey’s recent
escalation of its campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. Notably,
the Administration has remained silent in the face of the decree
issued in April of 2003 by Turkey’s Education Minister, Huseyin
Celik, requiring that all students in Turkey’s schools be
instructed in the denial of the Armenian Genocide.

The State Department’s 2003 human rights report on Turkey uses the
historically inaccurate and highly offensive phrase “alleged
genocide” to mischaracterize the Armenian Genocide. In addition,
despite repeated protests, the Bush Administration’s State
Department continues to host a website on Armenian history that
fails to make even a single mention of the Genocide.

4) The Waiver of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act

The Bush Administration, in 2001, aggressively pressured Congress
into granting the President the authority to waive Section 907, a
provision of law that bars aid to the government of Azerbaijan
until it lifts its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.
President Bush has subsequently used this authority to provide
direct aid, including military assistance, to the government of
Azerbaijan, despite their continued violation of the provisions of
this law.

5) Reduction in aid to Armenia

In the face of the devastating, multi-billion dollar impact of the
Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades on the Armenian economy,
President Bush has, in each of the past three years, proposed to
Congress that humanitarian and developmental aid to Armenia be

6) Abandonment of the Military Aid Parity Agreement

The Bush Administration abandoned its November 2001 agreement with
Congress and the Armenian American community to maintain even
levels of military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan. Instead, the
Administration, in its fiscal year 2005 foreign aid bill, proposes
sending four times more Foreign Military Financing to Azerbaijan
($8 million) than to Armenia ($2 million). This action tilts the
military balance in favor of Azerbaijan, rewards Azerbaijan’s
increasingly violent threats of renewed aggression, and undermines
the role of the U.S. as an impartial mediator of the Nagorno
Karabagh talks.

7) Mistaken Listing of Armenia as a Terrorist Country

The Bush Administration, through Attorney General John Ashcroft,
sought, unsuccessfully, in December of 2002 to place Armenia on an
Immigration and Naturalization Service watch list for terrorist
countries. This obvious error was reversed only after a nation-
wide protest campaign. Neither the White House nor the Department
of Justice has apologized for the offense caused by this mistake.

8) Neglect of U.S.-Armenia relations

While the Bush Administration has maintained a formal dialogue with
Armenia on economic issues through the bi-annual meetings of the
U.S.-Armenia Task Force, it has, as a matter of substance, failed
to take any meaningful action to materially promote U.S.-Armenia
economic ties. Specifically, the Administration has not provided
leadership on legislation, spearheaded by Congressional Republicans
and currently before Congress, to grant Armenia permanent normal
trade relations (PNTR) status. Nor has the Administration
initiated any steps toward the negotiation of a Tax Treaty, Social
Security Agreement, Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or
other bilateral agreements to foster increased U.S.-Armenia
commercial relations.

The President neither visited Armenia nor did he invite the
President of Armenia to visit the United States.

9) Failure to maintain a balanced policy on Nagorno Karabagh

The Bush Administration, to its credit, took an early initiative to
help resolve the Nagorno Karabagh issue in the form of the Key West
summit meeting in 2001 between Secretary of State Powell and the
presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. After Azerbaijan’s failure
to honor its Key West commitments, however, the Administration
failed to hold Azerbaijan accountable for unilaterally stalling the
Nagorno Karabagh peace process.

10) Increased grants, loans and military transfers to Turkey

The Bush Administration has effectively abandoned America’s
responsibility to link aid, loans, and arms transfers to Turkey’s
adherence to basic standards for human rights and international
conduct. The most notable example was the $8 billion loan package
provided to Turkey in 2003 despite Turkey’s refusal to allow U.S.
forces to open a northern front during the war in Iraq.

11) Taxpayer financing of the Baku-Ceyhan bypass of Armenia

The Bush Administration is supporting American taxpayer subsidies
for the politically motivated Baku-Ceyhan pipeline route that, at
the insistence of Turkey and Azerbaijan, bypasses Armenia.

12 Refusal to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan to end their

The Bush Administration has not forcefully condemned the Turkish
and Azerbaijani blockades as clear violations of international law,
nor, outside of occasional public statements, has it taken any
meaningful steps to pressure the Turkish or Azerbaijani governments
to end their illegal border closures.

13) Lobbying for Turkish membership in the European Union

The Bush Administration has aggressively pressured European
governments to accept Turkey into the European Union, despite
Turkey’s consistent failure to meet European conditions for
membership, on issues ranging from the blockade of Armenia and the
Armenian Genocide to the occupation of Cyprus and human rights.

14) Down-grading relations with the Armenian American community

Breaking with the tradition of the last several Administrations,
the Bush White House failed to reach out in any meaningful way to
our nation’s one and a half million citizens of Armenian heritage.
While the State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council
maintained their long-standing policy-level dialogue with the
Armenian American community leadership, the White House itself
essentially neglected Armenian Americans as a political
constituency. Perhaps the most telling example of this is that,
during the course of the past three years, despite repeated
requests, the President did not hold any community-wide meetings
with the leadership of the Armenian American community, nor did his
Secretary of State or National Security Advisor.

15) Armenian American appointments

The President appointed Joe Bogosian to an important Deputy
Assistant Secretary position at the Commerce Department, John
Jamian to a key maritime position in the Department of
Transportation, and Samuel Der-Yeghiayan as a Federal Judge in the
Northern District of Illinois.


Schools in Martakert restored

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
March 30, 2004


During the war of Artsakh, in Martakert which became the target of
enemy bombs the school buildings were also damaged greatly. As a
result of the temporary retreat of the Defence Army some of the school
buildings were either ruined or turned into barracks. After the
liberation of Martakert and signing of the cease-fire serious and
consistent efforts were required to restore the damaged and ruined
schools. In this reference in 1994-1995 the operation of the schools
number 1 and 2 needing capital reconstruction and furniture was a
heroic step. And despite the great number of problems the both schools
in the academic year 1994-1995 opened their doors for the pupils. The
school number 1 of the regional center of Martakert bearing the name
of azatamartik Vladimir Balayan on September 1, 1994 could admit 300
pupils; before the war 1600 pupils attended this school and 160
teachers worked there. According to Lydia Petrossian, the director of
the school since 1994, repair works of the school started in 2000. In
about 2 years the French charity “Mission Childhood” repaired the
building of the school. In September of 1994 the number of the pupils
was 204; at the end of the year the number of pupils increased to
300. As a result of move of the families of military officers and
outflow of the population in 1994-2004 the number of the pupils
dropped from 420 to 378. Today 47 teachers work in this school. The
school has 2 male teachers, there is need for more men
teachers. Before the war the school had a Russian department. Since
1995 the Russian department has had 7 classes, and in the academic
year 2003-2004 it will give its last graduates. The school N1 of the
regional center is sponsored by Armenian benefactor, the chairman of
the Toronto body of the All-Armenian Foundation “Hayastan” Mkrtich
Mkrtichian. He provided 6 computers to the school and promised to
furnish the computer study room. According to the director of the
school, one of the primary problems of the school is the Internet
connection. “As a personal donation M. Mkrtichian provided a car to
the school, and I am sure in case of applying to him with any urgent
problem we will not be refused help,” mentioned L. Petrossian,
emphasizing that the teachers of the school are interested in solving
the numerous problems of the school, be it problems with the socially
insecure pupils or organizational matters. The school regularly holds
cultural and sport events. In February of this year the school
celebrated the anniversary of azatamartik Vladimir Balayan. Here at
school there is a museum devoted to the memory of the azatamartiks
killed during the war in Artsakh. The school has a gallery, where
recently the pupils of the school have exhibited their works; part of
these works were bought by foreign benefactors. Lydia Petrossian said
this year 28 pupils of Martakert, of them sixteen from this school,
took part in the republic competitions in school subjects and achieved
considerable success. The school number 2 after Vardan Minassian in
the regional center Martakert, according to director Rafael
Petrossian, has 190 pupils and 20 teachers. The school was repaired by
the international organization “Catholic Aid Service”. Due to several
French charities computer study rooms were opened here with 8
computers. And the All-Armenian Foundation “Hayastan” provided the
school with furniture. According to Rafael Petrossian, on December 3
he met with the NKR minister of education, culture and sport Armen
Sarghissian and discussed the question of providing the school with
Internet. “I know that the government has an agreement with “Karabakh
Telecom” to provide the schools of the republic with free Internet
connection. We applied to the minister and he promised to help,
however, the solution of the problem is postponed for unknown
reasons,” mentioned the minister. Among the unsolved problems are
those of opening specialized laboratories and providing them with
necessary equipment (the school N1 has the same problem). The school
lacks teachers of English, singing and music. The only teacher of
English works in the other school too, and work overloading, according
to the director, may negatively affect the quality of her
work. According to Rafael Petrossian, the anticipations from the
reforms in the system of education are not many, whereas new and fresh
way of thinking lacks. According to him, retraining of teachers,
which was one of the best traditions of the Soviet years, is of urgent
need today. Nevertheless, despite many problems yet unsolved, the
school does not deviate from its mission. The teachers and pupils
organize different cultural and sport events, the pupils take part in
different competitions in school subjects. In other words, the school
lives with a lively routine.


Germany and Turkey’s membership to EU

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
March 30, 2004


EUROPEAN ORIENTATION: The idea of “integration with the West” of this
Near East country on the shore of Bosphorus Strait is not new; it is
about 80 years old and belongs to the founder of the republic of
Turkey Kemal Ataturk. In the following years the loyal supporters of
this idea achieved turning integration into a problem of membership to
the European Union. The history of the latter problem counts four
decades and is the main foreign political line of Ankara. Membership
to EU is important first of all from the point of view of acquiring
stable economic interests. Besides, entering Europe has become a
matter of national dignity, the rating of the nation. And of course,
Turks have great hopes concerning significant modernization of the
country, as well as a firm position in the European family. Today
almost all the political forces presented in the parliament of Ankara,
as well as 75 percent of the population are for membership to

THREE DIFFERENT TENDENCIES: At the same time in Turkey there are
forces which not only argue on the problem of orientation but also
have serious internal disagreements. Today the country is divided by
three influential public-political streams: conservatives, democrats
and reactionaries. The first of these are for returning to the Eastern
and first of all Islamic roots in the public and political spheres.
The democratic forces are scared of the idea that the country is
slowly going to Islamization, and they see the public and political
future of the country only within the “European family” as a
full-right member. The reactionary forces are of the opinion that
through military ways (as it was in the past) it is possible to have
influence on both the inward and foreign orientation.

TURKEY’S ACHIEVEMENT: More than 40 years ago Ankara signed with the
European Union an agreement about associative membership which was
then called European Economic Cooperation. It is true, the agreement
assures that Turkey will later become a full-right member of the
European Economic Cooperation but no dates are mentioned. And since
1963 in both geographic and political aspects Turkey has been standing
on the threshold of Europe and so far no progress has been made. In
the next decade the European Economic Cooperation was reconstituted
into European Union, and in 1999 at last Turkey became a candidate for
member. In the election in 2002 the government was headed by the
Islamist-reformists of the political party “Justice and Development”,
with prime minister Redjep Teyup Erdoghan. After this the discussions
about the membership of Turkey livened up within the European Union
because the member-countries of the EU were hopeful with the new
government in the question of reforms.

THE ARGUMENTS OF THE OPPOSITION: The problem of Turkey’s membership to
the European Union has special reaction in Germany where 2.5 million
Turks live currently. The question has become a topic of debates
between the country’s different political parties, even their separate
members who do not express a common approach to the problem. Some of
them think that in the elections to the European Parliament on June
13, 2004 the question of Turkey’s membership to the EU not may but
must become an issue for election campaign, as it is very important
for the Europeans. Whereas the leader of the most influential German
oppositionist party “Christian Democratic Union” Angela Merkel’s visit
to Turkey in February showed that the opposition in Germany is against
the membership of Turkey to the EU. In Ankara, in front of the
mausoleum of Ataturk Merkel announced, “Taking into account the
economic differences, as well as other state and political differences,
there is still a long way to pass.” At the same time the CDU admits
that there is progress in the country and would not like to close the
doors of the EU before this country. However, for the moment Merkel
presented a series of quite realistic arguments. According to her,
Turkey with its 70 million population and 23 percent of economic
productivity will sap the integration forces and the financial
abilities of the European Union. Moreover, the European Union is
presently facing difficulties caused by the upcoming spring
enlargement. As distinct from the federative government of Germany,
A. Merkel proposes an intermediate solution of the problem, which
presupposes wide integration with Turkey, a privileged partnership.
The leader of the CDU mentioned that they must have a respectful
attitude towards one another, for which there is a third way. Once
again stating that she has no intention to make the question a subject
of discussions in the upcoming election, at the same time emphasized
that taking into account the 2.5 million inhabitants of Germany of
Turkish origin they will approach the matter with delicacy and
responsibility. The leader of another significant political force, the
Christian Socialist Union Edmund Stober, distinct from the leader of
the Christian Democratic Union, announced that during the election
campaign they will offer the question of membership of Turkey for
debates. It can not be tabooed for it has core importance for the
EU. It is notable that one of the leaders of the CSU Michael Gloss
made a strict statement, “Turkey has never been part of Europe.” He
also warned that the membership of this country would require
overloaded efforts for integration from the EU member-countries and
would become a financial load for the budget of the EU. There is also
anxiety that the European membership of Turkey with free move of
people will cause a flow of labour force from Anatolia to the West and
first of all to Germany. In answer to the behaviour of the opposition
the ambassador of Turkey in Germany Mehmed Ali Irtemjelik demands from
the German politicians to keep from uttering accusations in address to
Ankara during the election campaign. “It would be proper to think how
offensive it would be for my country and the people of Turkish origin
living in Germany,” said the ambassador. “Especially that the question
of membership to the EU is not included in the agenda. We are
acquainted with the rules of the negotiation process and we know that
years are required for membership. It also takes time for the EU
member-countries to get accustomed to the idea of membership of
Turkey,” said the Turkish diplomat.

OFFICIAL OPINION: Let us see what is the approach of official Germany
to t he problem. Literally a few days after the visit of the CDU
leader the federal chancellor Gerhard Shroder, who has a positive
attitude towards the postponed membership of Turkey to the EU, left
for Turkey. When during her visit Merkel tried to attract Turks with
privileged partnership instead of membership to the EU, she received
an adequate counterattack. “This problem has not yet been discussed
here. We do not at all think in this direction, the question is
closed,” stressed the prime minister of Turkey Redjep Teyup
Erdoghan. However, in any case there could be left time for thinking
about the choice for granting the right, the prime minister was
advised from aside. Here there is an opinion that taking into account
the difficulties caused by the spring enlargement of the EU (May 1,
2004), the Turks would remain outside, however their efforts for
reforms would be compensated for by special narrow cooperation with
the EU. Whereas, the official circles in Turkey think this kind of
payment would be like a small consolation prize. The chancellor of
Germany Gerhard Shroder knows about this, and the government headed by
him is for giving serious chances to Ankara, which he pointed out
during his visit. The promises given to Turkey must be fulfilled, said
Shroder and added, “Turkey must behave well and well means keeping its
word.” As distinct from the conservative European politicians, the
federative government of Germany has never mentioned the Islamic
essence of the Turkish nation as an obstruction to the membership to
the EU. Moreover, it considers the membership of Turkey as a chance to
start a dialogue between the two cultures and a successful precedent
of democratization of a country belonging to the Islamic
world. “Although the settlement of the problem of Turkish membership
to the EU may take years, if Ankara manages to correspond to political
standards, then the European Union should keep its word and start
negotiations for membership,” said Shroder. “For more than 40 years,
that is since signing the agreement for associative membership in 1963
all the federative governments kept telling Turkey that the process of
integration contains the prospect for membership to the EU. The
anticipations cannot and should not be frustrated,” said the
chancellor implying that Turkey can rely on him. During his Turkish
visit in his interview to the newspaper “Hyuriet” Shroder
characterized the approach of the German opposition towards to
question of Turkey’s membership to the EU as “populism” that may
offend about 2.5 people of Turkish origin and Turks living in Germany
and stir up the political atmosphere in the country. Again
traditionally Turkey views Germany in the role of opener of the doors
of the EU for membership. On the one hand, because of the involvement
of foreign labour force since 1960 today there are 2.5 million Turks
in Germany. On the other hand, despite interruptions Germany remains
the most important trade partner of Turkey. To this can be also added
the relationships confirmed historically between the two countries.
During the World War I they were military allies, as well as during
the Nazi dictatorship Ankara sheltered a great number of repressed
German scientists. The latter helped to establish a temporary
university system in Turkey. However, during the visit of the
chancellor the prime minister of the country did not need to remind
about the common past. Instead he had better arguments for convincing
Shroder to stand for starting negotiations with Ankara for Turkey’s
membership to the EU at the end of 2004. Because it was
Islamist-reformer Erdoghan who carried out such reforms as the
elimination of the capital punishment which up today was considered
the reason of failure of all the pro-West prime ministers of Ankara.
Even the international organization for protection of human rights
“Amnesty International” mentions about the progress in the sphere of
human rights in Turkey whereas the course of implementation of reforms
is not satisfactory. However, Erdoghan could go farther; he has put
all his political weight on the scales to make the settlement of the
problem of Cyprus easier. And he let Shroder know that he wants to be
paid for his efforts made for the settlement of the problem of the
Mediterranean island divided into Greek and Turkish parts since
1945. The Turkish visit of Shroder aroused a new wave of debates among
the Germany opposition.

CONCLUSION: The 40-year study of the problem of membership of Turkey
to the European Union shows that the EU member-countries are facing a
difficult choice. Particularly for Germany the problem has acquired
actual importance and deals with its own interests. On the one hand,
for the attracting labour market of such a powerful country
recruitment of Turks considered as cheap labour force is
profitable. On the other hand, it is the result of this line that
presently 2.5 million of the population of Germany are Turks. If we
take into account the fast rates of the natural growth of the latter,
which is a characteristic feature of the Turks, the demographic danger
for the Germans having 1 or 2 children in the family outlines
clearly. It is also a fact that in the course of time Turks invite to
the new place of living their relatives and friends and their families
in their motherland. However, as distinct from the government, the
German society has a hostile attitude towards the immigrant Turks and
raises protest time to time in different manifestations (up to
self-burning, massacres). Indeed, both the chancellor of Germany
Gerhard Shroder and the leaders of the EU countries are well-aware of
the consequences of the admittance of the Turkish element to Europe,
and this is the reason of postponing the settlement of the membership
of Turkey, and the end is not seen. The wish of the chancellor and the
others to have a country in the Asian Islamic world loyal to the
European values and standards can be compared to the undertaking of
Lenin to export the October 1917 revolution to Turkey, which ended in
utter frustration. We think the EU declines Turkey’s membership
taking into account the nature of the Turkish nation which would
disturb the calmness in the European family. For already 40 years
Turkey is at the threshold of Europe, and the hosts dare neither turn
him out, nor invite in. No one assumed responsibility for possible
consequences, and no one takes the risk of saying how long the Turks
are going to knock at the door of the European Union. Feeding with
promises is safer. By the way, in November 2003 the question was again
discussed in Brussels and refused. The commissar of the Commission on
Enlargement of Europe Gunter Ferheugen, in his interview to the German
periodical “Spiegel” (November 4, 2003), speaking about the numerous
reasons for refusing membership, mentioned also the lack of culture of
Turks to conduct public debates (the problem of Kurds, the Armenian
genocide). When a Turk mentions about this, he tells him he has a lot
to learn, said the European politician. At the same time he mentioned
that a country with political prisoners cannot be member of the
European Union.


Chechen Website Says Armenian Army “Absorbed Into” Russian Army Base


Chechenpress web site, Tbilisi
30 Mar 04

Chechenpress correspondent Muslim Mamedov: The Armenian armed forces
have now been fully absorbed into a strong military group “codenamed”
the 102nd military base of Russia in Armenia. I have discovered
another confirmation of this in a Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye
(No 10, 2004) report entitled “Two sides of the 102nd military base”.

But, in fact, there are no two sides, but there is a close merger. I
quote the aforesaid report: “There are several hundred metres between
the two military units on Yerevan’s outskirts. The Russian regiment is
nearer to the town, the communications regiment of the Armenian armed
forces is away from it. The two units are part of Russia’s 102nd
military base on Armenian territory, i.e. somewhat this is one
Armenian structure”. Second, when asked by a Nezavisimoye Voyennoye
Obozreniye correspondent: “What about the division of duties from the
viewpoint of solving military tasks?”, the commander of the
communications regiment of the Armenian armed forces, Lt-Col
Stepanyan, said: “There is no precise division. Both our and Russian
signallers fulfil any tasks set by the command”.

The command is naturally Russian.

Is it possible to speak about Armenia’s independence, if its army is
completely subordinate to Russian generals?

It is known that the 426th aircraft group, which is part of Russia’s
102nd military base, is involved in attacks in Chechnya. One can
naturally assume that Armenia is involved in these attacks as well.

The second important point: the 772nd separate reconnaissance
battalion of the Russian base in Armenia has been actively involved in
acts of sabotage throughout the South Caucasus. It means the
involvement of the Armenian armed forces’ reconnaissance in these
sabotage activities as it is part of the 772nd separate battalion of
the Russian base.

(Passage omitted: Armenians face problems in Russia’s Krasnodar
Territory and other regions)

I would like to ask Russia’s 2m Armenians: do they approve of
Armenia’s decision to allow the Russian colonisers to establish full
control over the Armenian army?

Soros Conference Goes Ahead in Crimea after President Intervenes


UNIAN news agency, Kiev
30 Mar 04

An international conference attended by financier George Soros has
opened in Crimea as planned a day after it was reported that the
proposed venue had withdrawn permission for the event. President
Leonid Kuchma reportedly issued an order for the conference to go
ahead in the Livadiya palace. On his arrival in Crimea on 29 March,
Soros said that Kuchma’s administration was behind the problems with
the venue. His comments came after allegations that the Ukrainian
government is waging a smear campaign in the media against Soros, a
prominent critic of the Ukrainian government. The following is the
text of a report by Ukrainian news agency UNIAN:

Simferopol, 30 March: An international conference on human rights has
opened in the Livadiya palace (in Yalta) with the well-known US
financier and philanthropist George Soros in attendance, the director
of the programme “Integration of deported Crimean Tatars, Armenians,
Greeks and Germans into Ukrainian society” (which is funded by Soros’s
Renaissance Foundation), Oleh Smyrnov, has told journalists. He said
that in the early hours of 30 March President Leonid Kuchma issued an
order on making the palace available to hold the conference.

More than 100 people are taking part including representatives of the
authorities, the deputy heads of the Crimean Council of Ministers,
Edip Hafarov and Volomymyr Kazarin, as well as representatives of

The schedule for Soros’s visit to Crimea today includes working
meetings with representatives of NGOs and of Crimea’s ethnic groups,
including Crimean Tatars at the Hasprynskyy library in Simferopol.

Soros will talk to journalists before flying to Kiev today.

(Smyrnov said on 29 March that the administration of the Livadiya
palace had withdrawn permission to hold the conference on a
“ridiculous pretext” even though the venue had already been paid
for. He said that a civil-defence exercise was held at the palace on
29 March, after which civil-defence services closed the palace to the
public until 1 April.)

Armenian MPs Condemn 28 March Opposition Rally


Public Television of Armenia, Yerevan
29 Mar 04

(Presenter) Armenia’s political forces have expressed their attitude
towards the recent events in Gyumri (opposition rally on 28
March). Members of the ruling political coalition demand that the
leadership ensure law and order and prevent actions which pose a
threat to political stability and the constitution.

(Correspondent over video of parliament session) Meetings, rallies and
marches – all the political forces represented in the Armenian
National Assembly believe that these forms of political events are
acceptable in the world policy. The parliamentarians are concerned
over the Armenian version of these events. The opposition’s struggle
is understandable when constitutional law and order are preserved in
the country. But the opposition’s recent actions brought about
undesirable results. (Vaan Ovanesyan, deputy speaker of the Armenian
parliament, captioned) We learned that disorder had taken place in
Gyumri. The people who ensured the security of the organizers of the
rally attacked people. They broke posters and expressed their
dissatisfaction with those who did not share their political
views. This is an impermissible action and I think that police should
ensure that similar actions are not repeated in the future.

We also held various rallies and meetings. Not all the people agreed
with us, with our views. But nobody issued orders to attack those who
did not agree with us. This is impermissible. Negotiations, relations
and discussions – we are always ready to resolve problems by these

(Correspondent) Armenia’s pressing problems must be discussed and
resolved in the hall of the National Assembly, during sessions, and
they must not become a subject of rallies. Given the conditions when
Azerbaijan has started anti-Armenian hysteria, the events in Gyumri,
the opposition’s calls are threatening the country’s stability and

(Mger Shakhgeldyan, chairman of the standing parliamentary commission
on defence and security, representative of the Orinats Yerkir
parliamentary faction, captioned) The Azerbaijani leadership’s
bellicose statements, its rejection of the Key West and Paris
agreements (on Nagornyy Karabakh), dissatisfaction with the work of
the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen and also growing financial assistance
to the army make it clear that Azerbaijan is attempting to preserve
today’s peace by any means, using force (as heard). These
(Azerbaijan’s) statements confirm this. Armenia’s domestic stability
and security are extremely important in this connection.

(Correspondent) MPs confirm that domestic political problems have to
be resolved with a concerted effort, taking into consideration
national interests.

Nune Aleksanyan, Aylur.

Armenian President’s Resignation Inevitable – Opposition Leader


Mediamax news agency
30 Mar 04


“The overthrow of the regime of Armenia’s illegitimate president
Robert Kocharyan is inevitable,” Albert Bazeyan, the chairman of the
Republic Party and leader of the radical opposition, said in Yerevan

Addressing a briefing at the Armenian National Assembly today, Bazeyan
stated the opposition’s resolve to obtain the holding of early “free
and fair” presidential election.

“Although the power will formally go to the speaker of parliament or
the head of the government after the president leaves, diarchy will be
established in the country until the new election is held and the main
levers will be in the opposition’s hands,” he said.

Armenia, UN Body Sign Memo on Fight Against Trafficking


Mediamax news agency
30 Mar 04


Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan and the permanent
representative of the UNDP, Lise Grande, signed a programme of
cooperation to combat trafficking in Yerevan today.

The programme envisages measures aimed at developing the institutional
capacity of national bodies, stepping up control on the borders,
bringing back victims of trafficking and reintegrating them into
society and so on, the Armenian Foreign Ministry press service told
Mediamax news agency.

NK again confirms

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
March 30, 2004


The NK authorities confirm their willingness to receive the
international monitoring group and prove the falsehood of the
accusations on the part of Azerbaijan whose representatives keep
insisting that the territory of the region serves for illegal transit
of narcotics. NKR vice foreign minister of Masis Mayilian told the
Stepanakert reporter of the news agency “Regnum” that the government
of the republic is willing to provide necessary conditions for the
international monitoring group to work in all the parts of the
republic. “The members of the group must be truly independent
international experts who will be ready for conducting an unbiased
survey,” mentioned M. Mayilian. The vice minister denied the claims of
official Baku that Nagorni Karabakh and the nearby areas under the
control of the Karabakh party have been turned into a transit area of
which the drug dealers of the southern route make successful use.
Masis Mayilian reminded that in spite of the wishes of Baku, in the
strategic account of the US State Department on drugs control Nagorni
Karabakh is not mentioned at all, whereas it is stated once again that
the territory of Azerbaijan is one of the main international transit
routes of narcotics. “The NKR authorities are greatly responsible for
the situation in the republic and the nearby territories under its
control. For preventing the groundless and openly hostile accusations
of Baku the NKR authorities have for a great number of times in the
recent years applied to the UN, PACE, OSCE and other influential
international organizations, as well as the corresponding body of the
US State Department with the request to send an independent monitoring
group to Nagorni Karabakh to get acquainted with the situation on the
spot,” mentioned Mayilian. By the way, during the meeting of the UN
Office on Drugs and Crime Control held in Vienna one of the
suggestions discussed was the necessity of inviting a group of experts
of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as experts of the
Interpol and other international organizations to study the situation
in a number of countries, including Nagorni Karabakh in relation with
narcotics. According to the UNODC, the claims of Azerbaijan that the
territory of Nagorni Karabakh is allegedly used for transit of drugs
were not confirmed by the UN. In answer to the question whether Baku
has proofs to this, the UN department on drugs and crimes gave a
negative answer.