New Reprisals Against Rally Participants

A1 Plus | 18:19:59 | 23-04-2004 | Politics |


The police keep on persecuting political activists and opposition-minded
people. Justice alliance members say after Wednesday’s peaceful rally 22
were taken in police custody, 13 of them are to stand trial, 25 were fined,
100 were abducted and their present whereabouts are unknown.

Eyewitnesses say people are being captured in the street by men dressed as
civilians, then put in cars without license plates and taken in police

PM and Justice alliance member Viktor Dallakyan says Robert Kocharyan and
his administration have declared war against the people.

The alliance members have strongly condemned brutal attack on Socialist
Forces leader Ashot Manucharyan.

Harutyun Shiklanyan Unhappy About British Ambassador’s Words

A1 Plus | 19:48:07 | 23-04-2004 | Politics |


Harutyun Shiklanyan, 81, has decided to return the medals received from
British Ambassador in 2003 for the bravery shown in World War II.

“I can’t come to terms with the fact of humiliation of my nation he said
referring to British Ambassador’s recent statement that the 1915 events
shouldn’t be called genocide. I think after such a statement several
thousands people had to gather outside the Embassy in a protest”, he says.

Economic Court’s Decision Remains Unchanged

A1 Plus | 21:53:20 | 23-04-2004 | Social |


The Court of Appeal left unchanged Economic Court decision on A1+ TV Company
suit against Radio and Television National Commission.

The company demands the commission to present justification for its refusal
to give A1+ broadcasting license at tender held in June and July of 2003.

The courts made their decisions in a clear breach of the law. It is
specified in the law that the commission ought to present written
justification for its denial to give license to any company within ten days
after the decision.

CR: Hon. Barbara Lee on the Armenian Genocide

+0&WAISaction=ret rieve




of california

in the house of representatives

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues in recognition of one of
the great tragedies of the 20th Century, the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Genocide occurred between 1915 and 1916. On April 24,
1915, it began when Armenian leaders were rounded up, deported and
murdered. One and a half million Armenians were murdered and hundreds
of thousands of others displaced and deported.
Today, we must reflect on those whose lives were taken as a result of
the Genocide. Many political leaders, scholars, and professional
organizations are becoming proactive in making sure everyone
acknowledges and remembers this devastating event to the Armenian
This genocide is another significant example of the injustice,
torture, pain, and death that grows out of intolerance, cruelty, and
There are still a great number of survivors of the genocide in
America and many of their children and grandchildren reside throughout
the country.
On this day we join them in remembering and acknowledging the heinous
act that victimized their families. If we let such atrocities be
forgotten, then we are in danger of letting them be repeated.

USC: Vigil Remembers Genocide

“Vigil remembers genocide”
Hymns and poems are used to commemorate the Armenian genocide that occurred
89 years ago.
By Aaron Burgin

Published: Friday, April 23, 2004 — USC Daily Trojan

Adrineh Khatchikian’s voice lifted the spirits of a somber crowd of
200 Armenian students, faculty and other onlookers commemorating the
genocide that nearly wiped out a population of Armenians almost 90
years ago.

Singing “Kroonk,” a hymn written by famed Armenian monk and songwriter
Komitas, Khatchikian was part of the annual vigil held at Hahn Plaza
created to inform people about the Armenian genocide, said Dina
Yadegarian, president of the Armenian Student Association

April 24 is the official memorial date for the estimated 1.5-million
Armenians killed between 1915 and 1922 at the hands of the Talaat
Pasha and the defunct Ottoman Empire.

Commemorations were held at USC on Thursday, however, to ensure that
most of the campus’ Armenian student population, mostly commuters,
could participate, Yadegarian said.

Some who participated in the vigil, such as Markar Markavian,
performed musical pieces for the event.

Markavian performed “Dele Yaman and “Kroonk” on the tar, a traditional
Armenian musical instrument, bringing some of the onlookers to tears.

Several speakers, including ASA chaplain Father Vazken Movsesian and
poet Lory Bedikian, addressed the crowd with a message of hope for the
future and a possible recognition of the genocide by the Turkish
government, which does not recognize the genocide.

Movsesian, known as “Father Vazken” to students, said that there was
an air of excitement surrounding the solemn occasion.

“It is a very momentous occasion, because, despite the atrocities, the
Turkish government’s plans were foiled just by the presence of
Armenians,” Movsesian said. “It just shows our strength as a people,
and our resolve to keep the memory of our people alive.”

Bedikian, a University of Oregon alumna, read two poems in honor of
her grandmother, Sion Abajian, who, at 100 years of age, is one of the
few living survivors of the genocide.

She urged passersby to stop to recognize the event and to read the
posters, brochures and pamphlets that told the story of the Armenians.

The “ghosts” she spoke about in her poem that haunt her grandmother
came from the lack of official recognition of the genocide.

“It makes you feel like being the victim of a crime,” Bedikian
said. “You feel alone and isolated.”

In his speech, Movsesian said that the lack of acknowledgement of the
genocide led to other genocides throughout the 20th century.

“It adds insult to injury because of what we’ve gone through, the lack
of recognition made the way for the Holocaust, Rwanda, Ethiopia and
all sorts of atrocities,” he said.

“Hitler himself said, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?'” Movsesian said.

In terms of recognition by the U.S. government, the House of
Representatives recognized the Armenian genocide on April 24, 1975 by
designating April 24 as a “National Day of Remembrance of Man’s
Inhumanity to Man.”

Student Senate also recognized the Armenian genocide on April 24,

Only with recognition, Movsesian said, can the healing process
actually begin, adding that only then could the Armenian deaths not be
in vain.

All of the speakers said the event was not meant to incite hatred
toward anyone, but to recognize the events that occurred and the
people who suffered and continue to recognize their legacy.

Armenians who attended the commemoration looked on with grave faces as
the speakers each addressed the audience with their words of
encouragement and remembrance of their ancestors lost during the

Arpine Shakhbandaryan, a student who attended the vigil, said she
could only remember as far back as her great-grandparents’ generation,
something that her friends who were with her could relate to.

She said the main reason she was there was because too many of the
original survivors died without seeing any changes.

“I’m angry and frustrated because most of those who survived are
either of old age or dying without seeing justice,” she said. “We’re
going to continue to battle so that these memories aren’t forgotten.”

Vazken said he believes that the Armenians’ strong Christian faith and
belief in the resurrection will carry the day.

Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its national

“We are the only nation who have adopted Christianity, never to enjoy
a day of peace in their existence,” Movsesian said. “We’ve always been
the object of persecution and opposition.”

“However, Armenians strongly believe in the Christian notion of the
resurrection, and we will always be strong and rise above all the
adversity that has befallen our people.”

Glendale: Going After Recognition

“Going after recognition”

Schiff asks Bush to call deaths of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman
Turksa genocide.

By Gary Moskowitz, Glendale News-Press
April 24, 2004


GLENDALE – To Sarkis Asatryan, remembering the Armenian Genocide today
is not enough.

Asatryan, a Hoover High School senior of Armenian descent, believes
people need to work hard to make sure that the 1.5 million Armenians
killed between 1915 and 1923 did not die in vain.

Since the Armenian Genocide began on the night of April 24, 1915,
today marks its 89th anniversary.

“My grandfather’s brother was killed because he wanted to buy bread
and the government would not let him, and he was beheaded,” said
Asatryan, 18. “I think the first step is to educate people not just
about the Armenian Genocide, but the genocide of Native Americans,
Cambodians, Serbs and Jews, and what an inhumane thing genocide is.

“I think we are truly making an effort to make the Armenian Genocide
known to the world. To me, we have to remember where we’ve been to
know where we are now. I think Armenians consider themselves a race
born to survive no matter what,” Asatryan said.

Armenians say the Ottoman Turks deliberately slaughtered some 1.5
million of their people between 1915 and 1923. Turkey denies the
charges of genocide, saying the Armenians were among the many victims
of a partisan war raging during World War I as the Ottoman Empire

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale) sent a letter to President George
W. Bush this week, calling on the president to recognize the
atrocities committed against the Armenian people by actually using the
term “genocide” in his annual statement commemorating the events of

Schiff was joined by Rep. George Radanovich (R-Mariposa), Rep. Frank
Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and more than 165
members of the bipartisan Armenian Caucus in asking the president for
formal recognition of the genocide.

“It’s enormously important for us to recognize the first genocide of
the 20th century,” Schiff said Friday. “I think it does further injury
to the survivors and doesn’t set the right tone for our commitment to
avoiding future genocides. We will keep working on it until we get the
job done, and I hopethe president lives up to recognizing it.

“I think Glendale feels this most keenly because a great many Armenian
families here have direct experience with the genocide. Imagine going
through a tragedy like that in your family and have your own country
fail to recognize that. Denial of genocide is a second injury,”
Schiff said.

The Canadian Parliament on Wednesday formally declared that Ottoman
Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915, according to news

The Parliament’s House of Commons voted 153-68 to support a motion
declaring the events of 89 years ago as genocide, despite a plea from
Foreign Minister Bill Graham not to aggravate NATO ally Turkey.

Razmik and Frida Aghourian, owners of Oven Fresh Bakery in Montrose,
normally would be open for business from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. today,
but decided to close in commemoration of the genocide.

The Aghourian family will attend an Armenian Apostolic Mass today
instead of working, Frida Aghourian said. The Aghourians are among
many local business owners who opt to close their doors every April 24
in commemoration of the genocide.

“It’s to respect all the people who suffered and died,” Frida
Aghourian said. “It’s to recognize and let everybody know something
horrible happened.”

CR: Honoring the 89th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide – Meehan

+0&WAISaction=ret rieve




of massachusetts

in the house of representatives

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the 89th anniversary
of the Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and
children were brutally massacred by the Ottoman Turk regime. The
Armenian Genocide was one of the darkest tragedies in human history,
one that must never be forgotten.
On April 24, 1915, nearly three hundred Armenian intellectuals and
political leaders were rounded up, deported and executed under the
orders of the Ottoman Turk Regime, marking the beginning of the first
genocide of the 20th century. Later that day, 5,000 more Armenians were
slaughtered in their homes and on the streets. For 5 years, the brutal
regime carried out the systematic destruction of the Armenian people
through forced labor, concentration camps, and death marches, until
millions were dead or exiled.

[[Page E630]]

As we look back on the bloodshed and atrocities committed against the
Armenian people, we must recognize the event for the genocide that it
was. As Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the former Ambassador to the Ottoman
Empire stated, “I am confident that the whole history of the human
race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and
persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the
sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.”
To deny this truth is to tarnish the memories of the millions of
Armenians who lost their lives to ethnic cleansing. As a member of the
Congressional Armenian Caucus, I have joined my colleagues in sending a
letter to President Bush urging him to acknowledge the Armenian
Genocide during his April 24th commemoration address. By drawing
attention to the legacy of this genocide, we can strengthen our resolve
to prevent future human tragedies of this kind.
I am proud to represent a large and vibrant Armenian community in the
Fifth Congressional District of Massachusetts. Every year, survivors
and their descendants make public and vivid the hidden details of the
Armenian Genocide as they participate in commemoration ceremonies
across the Merrimack Valley. In my hometown of Lowell, the Armenian-
American Veterans Honor Guard will lead a procession to City Hall for a
flag raising ceremony in recognition of the 89th anniversary of the
genocide. The commemoration offers participants an opportunity to
remind the world of the tragedy that befell Armenians of the Ottoman
I am honored to add my voice to those of my colleagues today in
commemorating the Armenian Genocide. We will never forget the truth.

CR: Commemoration of the 89th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

cgi?WAISdocID=7832582351+6+0+0&WAISaction=retr ieve




of michigan

in the house of representatives

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 89th
anniversary of one of history’s most terrible tragedies, the Armenian
On April 24, 1915, 300 Armenian leaders, intellectuals and
professionals were rounded up in Constantinople, deported and killed,
under orders from the Young Turk government. This was the beginning of
a campaign of terror resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians
and the deportation of more than 500,000.
The government of the Ottoman Empire justified this policy by
claiming it was necessary to suppress revolts being launched by
Armenians as a consequence of the ongoing military operations of World
War I. This assertion was patently denied by survivors and witnesses.
United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morganthau
reported at that time, “Deportation of and excesses against peaceful
Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eyewitnesses it
appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a
pretext of reprisal against rebellion.”
Not content with perpetrating this atrocity, the Young Turks denied a
genocide had taken place. Generations have since been raised denying
this tragedy. Such denials are refuted by the archival documents and
first-hand accounts found in such recent scholarly works as Peter
Balakian’s The Burning Tigris and Samantha Power’s A Problem From Hell.
Director Atom Egoyan presented the horror of the siege of Van in his
film Ararat, which was based, in part, on the memoirs of Clarence
Ussher, an American physician and missionary working in Turkey at the
In Detroit and its surrounding suburbs live one of the largest
Armenian-American communities in the United States, many of whom are
the children and grandchildren of survivors or actual survivors
themselves. This weekend, I will be attending a commemoration ceremony
at St. John’s Armenian Church in Southfield, Michigan, in which some of
these individuals will be in attendance. To those who suggest that this
ruthless genocide of a people and culture did not happen, I ask, what
further testimony could the world possibly want?
Mr. Speaker, for myself and my constituents, I rise today to urge
those who deny this genocide to accept it as fact. Only then can we
move forward and stop these atrocities from repeating themselves over
and over again.

Political intrigue marked Armenian-genocide vote

Globe and Mail
POSTED AT 2:13 AM EDT Friday, Apr. 23, 2004

Political intrigue marked Armenian-genocide vote

>From Friday’s Globe and Mail

Ottawa – Aris Babikian watched nervously from the gallery of the House of
Commons on this, a most important and historic day.

For half of his life, the 50-year-old Toronto immigration consultant had
lobbied Ottawa to recognize as genocide the mass killing of Armenians during
the First World War.

By his count, the vote would be close.

Seated across the vast chamber from him were members of the Turkish-Canadian
community. Clearly, they were nervous, too.

On the floor of the Commons, MPs were preparing to vote. Deputy Prime
Minister Anne McLellan yelled at her colleague, Revenue Minister Stan Keyes:
‘You get up. You have to vote.’

Cabinet ministers had been ordered to vote against the motion, and it would
become clear later that Mr. Keyes was not comfortable with the rule of
cabinet solidarity.

Other ministers were missing: Trade Minister Jim Peterson, a friend to the
Armenian community, and Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.

The Prime Minister also was not there. His office said he doesn’t attend all
private member’s votes.

Tension in the chamber was palpable; people were edgy. But the motion
passed, 153 to 68.

Mr. Babikian was elated. The Armenian ambassador to Canada, religious
leaders from the community and other members were crying and hugging.

The Turkish contingent remained silent.

‘I was shocked. Until the last moment, I was actually expecting…reason to
be winning over the political needs or voting needs…,’ said Fazli Corman,
a diplomat at the Turkish embassy, who was also in the chamber. ‘This is
making us boiling with anger because it is just a travesty of facts.’

Others were boiling, too – for other reasons.

Mr. Keyes left the chamber and was heard by some of his colleagues cursing
in the private lobby.

‘I didn’t want to vote for that,’ sources overheard him saying, angry that
Mr. Peterson and Mr. Cotler had ducked the vote.

Mr. Corman believes that MPs supported the motion only because they are
worried about angering their constituents.

‘… The Armenians are voters at this moment in Canada,’ the Turkish embassy
diplomat said. ‘Because of that the Canadian Parliament comes out and puts
themselves into the position of a judge and then decides about my history.
It is not acceptable.’

The vote has been condemned by Turkey and Turkish-Canadians and celebrated
by the Armenian community worldwide.

Mr. Babikian went to bed, finally, at 5 o’clock yesterday morning after
spending hours on the telephone being interviewed by media in Armenia,
Lebanon and the U.S.

For him, this victory acknowledged the suffering of his grandfather, whose
family was wiped out in the massacre. For years Mr. Babikian has been
travelling to Ottawa to lobby MPs, an effort that became more intense over
the past several months as the vote approached.

In that time, the Armenian community sent out more than 2,000 e-mails and
5,000 postcards to MPs. There have been phone calls to politicians from
their constituents and meetings in communities from Quebec to British

Special dossiers explaining the Armenian point of view were also sent to all
MPs.The other side had been pushing hard, too. Mr. Babikian was not only
fighting the Turkish government and the embassy but also two large Canadian
corporations with contracts in Turkey and an unsympathetic Foreign Affairs

Twice this week, the Turkish ambassador to Canada, Aydemir Erman, had
written to MPs, arguing the vote would affect Turkish-Canadian relations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham had also sent letters, expressing his
‘deep concern’ with the motion, saying it could have ‘far-reaching negative

Thunder Bay, Ont., Liberal MP Stan Dromisky, head of the Canadian Turkish
Parliamentary Friendship Group, had talked to his colleagues about the
billions of dollars of lost business for Canadians if the motion passed.

Bombardier employs about 1,000 people in his riding. The company is making
subway cars for the Ankara subway project.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier said Thursday that the company is hopeful the
motion will ‘not impact our future market position in Turkey…’

Meanwhile, there were some MPs, such as Conservative Stockwell Day, who had
been telephoned by companies with contracts in Turkey, such as SNC Lavalin.

He said he listened, but the call did not change his view. ‘We make our
decisions based on the principle of the issue.’

Mr. Babikian learned Tuesday afternoon that Mr. Graham was to attend the
next day’s Ontario Liberal caucus to discuss the issue, just hours before
the vote was to be held.

He contacted his ‘friends in the Liberal Party’ and told them it was ‘do or
die.” ‘If you respect our friendship…you have to speak up,’ he told them.

They did during a heated caucus in which Mr. Graham and other MPs, such as
Mr. Karygiannis, who has fought for this for the past 15 years, presented
their sides.

Later Wednesday, the motion passed.

Despite years of effort, Mr. Babikian believes the motion passed, in part,
because of changes in the House of Commons – private member’s motions now
must be voted on and the Prime Minister has allowed his back bench to vote
freely. He harbours no grudges against cabinet ministers who voted against
the motion – except for one.

‘But what’s bothered me and what bothered my community is the extent Bill
Graham went to put pressure on the caucus … to go and put pressure in the
11th hour on the caucus you’d think Bill Graham is a senior civil servant in
the foreign affairs of Turkey.’