|Top A.R.F. News Archives January 2008|
Wednesday January 30, 2008
The 5 Leading Armenian Presidential Candidates Foreign Policy Program - 2008
Hovannesian Pays Tribute to National Hero Aram Manoukian
Candidate Vahan Hovannesian and his campaign manager Armenian
Revolutionary Federation of Armenia Supreme Body Representative Armen
Rustamian Tuesday lead a procession of students from the ARF Nigol
Aghbalian Student Union to the grave of prominent ARF revolutionary Aram
Manoukian to commemorate the 89th anniversary of his death.
The ceremony for the national hero took place in Yerevan's Tokhmakh Central Cemetery. Hovannesian also visited the graves of prominent ARF members Hrair Marukhian and Eduard Hovannesian.
Manoukian, who was a founding father of the first Republic of Armenia was born in 1879 in the village of Zeyva (modern day David-Bek) in Ghapan and joined the ARF at an early age. In 1903, he became involved in the ARF led defense of Gandzak and Kars.
Between 1912 and 1915, Manoukian lived in Van as an ARF activist, teaching at schools, writing in the press, and encouraging Armenian youth to organize. When World War I broke out in 1915, he led the successful "Resistance of Van." In 1918, he helped organize Armenian's to fight in the Battle of Sardarabad.
"As the first Interior Minister of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, Manoukian lived alongside the people and personally visited the refugee camps where he was infected with typhus by survivors of the Armenian Genocide," Hovannesian said. Manoukian died from the disease on January 29, 1919."
Also known as "Aram of Van," Manoukian was a unique individual and statesman who endured the hardships of his people alongside them, according to Hovannesian.
"Aram Manoukian was a founder of our first independent country," Hovannesian noted. "There are certain things that just can't be displayed in museums, one is our struggle for national liberation, the other is the establishment of an independent homeland, Aram Manoukian was instrumental in both."
"Our national heroes, most of whom were ARF members, do not belong to our party any more. They are national heroes and their legacy, apart of our national values," Hovannesian said. "Dro, Njdeh, Aram Manoukian and many other prominent leaders in our liberation movement were all ARF members, but they were all Armenian and thus belong to our entire nation."
"We should never forget that we gained independence and won the Artsakh war because national heroes like Aram Manoukian were able to restore Armenian statehood in 1918," Hovannesian added.
Tuesday January 29, 2008
150,000 Sign Hovannesian's 'Contract with Voters'
Candidate Vahan Hovanessian's campaign office reported Monday that
150,000 eligible voter had already signed the candidate's "Contract with
the Voter," which was issued last month as part of the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation Bureau member's presidential campaign.
Hovanessian's campaign manager Armen Rustamian said that his office anticipated a surge in that number, as there were more signatures coming in daily.
He also announced that more than 5,000 volunteers and campaign officials would be on hand to man the ARF's allotted number of seats on the central, regional and local electoral commissions.
Hovannesian said on Monday that he still hopes to win the backing of two prominent opposition leaders for the February 19 election.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Hovannesian also stood by his view that none of the nine presidential hopefuls, including Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, can garner sufficient votes to win the election, which is already in its first round.
We are making every effort to talk and negotiate with opposition leaders, he said when asked about the possibility of the endorsement of his candidacy by opposition leaders Raffi Hovannisian and Vazgen Manukian.
"I think real chances of victory must outweigh any kind of ambition or pressure. If that is the case, I think we definitely have a chance to reach such an agreement," added the deputy speaker of Armenia's parliament.
Manukian, who is also running for president but is not regarded as a major contender, told RFE/RL that he stands ready to form a "united front" with the ARF and Raffi Hovannisian's Zharangutyun party. The veteran politician has so far avoided holding campaign rallies, and his comments may be an indication that he is considering dropping out of the race.
The more popular Zharangutyun leader has been courted by the ARF since his party's relatively strong performance in the May 2007 parliamentary elections. But he has made it clear that he is unlikely to endorse any candidate before the fist round. Also, Raffi Hovannisian has ceded hundreds of seats in Armenian election commissions, reserved for Zharangutyun, to political allies of another leading contender, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
But Hovannesian did not approve of the move. "Let Zharangutyun think about its political image and who it is giving those seats to and the fact that it lacks people to fill up those 830 [commission] vacancies," he said.
Hovannesian also expressed confidence that the presidential race will require a run-off vote. "I think that a second round is becoming more and more likely," he said
Monday January 28, 2008
Wales Genocide Memorial Vandalized
A memorial in
dedicated to the 1.5 million Armenians massacred in the 1915 Genocide
was vandalized ahead of a service for all the victims of genocide, news
reports from Wales, UK, said Sunday.
The memorial in the Temple of Peace, Cathays, Cardiff, made of sandstone and Welsh slate, was struck with a sledgehammer on Saturday night, smashing the cross off it. The sledgehammer used to damage the monument was found close to the scene Sunday.
Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day in Wales. The service went ahead as planned, despite the
vandalism and protests.
Many people at the service yesterday were close to tears when they saw what had happened, said Caerphilly Councilor Ray Davies, who campaigned for the Armenian monument to be erected.
The desecration of the monument reminds us that we must always be vigilant against racism and hatred which is never far from the surface," he said.
"It was particularly
saddening for the Armenians present that this happened on the day of the
Holocaust Memorial Day. This service wasn't specific to the Armenians.
We were trying to be all-inclusive about all those historical events
where people have been massacred," said Director of the Welsh Center for
International Affairs Stephen Thomas. "It wasn't very helpful in terms
of trying to create a bridge and links between
and Armenia that this was carried out. People were upset when they
turned up and saw what had happened."
The Turkish community released an official statement condemning the action and Hal Savas, a member of Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights, was present at the service.
"Whoever has done it should be ashamed of themselves," Savas said. "We would condemn any damage done to any religious monument."
The memorial was unveiled in November to remember all the Armenians murdered by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923. Members of the Turkish community protested the erection of the memorial.
Friday January 25, 2008
Clinton team's experience with Turkey is seen as a plus, while Obama is viewed as unpredictable
Those Turkish officials favoring Clinton believe that under her presidency Ankara is unlikely to encounter bad surprises.
On Turkish-Armenian matters, both Clinton and Obama have backed some initiatives calling for U.S. recognition of World War I-era killings of
Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Clinton is among 32 cosponsors of a genocide resolution pending in the 100-seat Senate, but Obama is not. However, three years ago he signed
a letter to President George W. Bush calling for the recognition of the "Armenian genocide."
But despite her co sponsorship in the dormant Senate legislation, Clinton was criticized by the Armenian National Committee of America, an influential U.S. Armenian group, for "voicing reservations" in October about the adoption of the latest House resolution on Armenian genocide claims.
Some analysts say concerns by many Turkish officials over Obama's potential presidency are baseless.
"Before the 1992 elections, then President Turgut Özal was close to then President George H.W. Bush, and was openly backing Bush. The Turks then had similar worries about Clinton," said Bulent Aliriza, director of Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank here. "But the Turkish U.S. relationship flourished to an unprecedented degree during the Clinton presidency. The same may happen with Obama."
Thursday January 24, 2008
Hovannesian Campaigns in Shirak Province
Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian Wednesday met with residents of Shirak Region in the towns of Sarnaghbyur,
Pemzashen, Artik, and Akhuryan.
Speaking in Sarnaghbiur about the country's tax policies, Hovannesian, who is also an A.R.F. Bureau member and Deputy Speaker of the
National Assembly, told
residents that people are often misled about taxes. Small businesses, he
explained, pay taxes more promptly than large ones, who sometimes don't
pay taxes at all.
He also spoke about the practice of vote buying, which has been a major problem that has plagued Armenia's past presidential elections.
Hovannesian assured that his
election campaign will not tolerate vote buying or the intimidation of
voters by people looking for political favors.
Hovannesian also discussed serious economic issues such as poverty reduction, investment, and development.
According to Hovannesian, there has been little economic improvement for the average family. Inflation has been rising along with family aid, leaving people in the same circumstance of poverty, he explained.
Armenia's welfare system should be revamped, because its failure to address poverty is contributing to the system of vote buying in Armenia. People, who consider themselves poor and destitute, are more willing to sell their votes for immediate relief, he explained.
Lack of any real investment in areas of the economy that will benefit the average citizens of Armenia is also a problem, Hovannesian said. The other regions of the country should be developed as well, not just Yerevan, he added.
"Money is invested to set up saunas, restaurants, casinos and to build elite buildings," he said. "Businessmen are afraid to invest in other sectors to avoid pressuring tax and customs policies."
In Artik, A.R.F. member and Deputy Science and Education Minister Bagrat Yesayan explained to hundreds of rally goers why the A.R.F. nominated
Vahan Hovannesian as the party's presidential candidate. While, Artashes Shahbazian, the secretary of the A.R.F. faction in parliament, explained that
the A.R.F.'s decision to field
its own candidate stemmed from the party's belief that everybody in
Armenia should prosper and not just a small group."
Hovannesian pledged that if elected, his first task will be to make sure elections in Armenia are conducted in a free and fair manner.
Hovannesian also spoke to the residents of Shirak about monopolies, and heavy taxes
Migration, one of the A.R.F.'s key issues, was also addressed during Hovannesian's visit to Shirak. "We should find ways to bring people back to Armenia," Hovannesian said.
During one of Hovannesian's question and answer sessions, in Akhurian, a Karabakh war veteran asked Hovannesian what his stance is on the Karabakh issue. "Armenia's policy on the Karabakh issue is a little too soft, while Azerbaijan is not ready for concessions. Azerbaijan too should be ready to make concessions,"
Wednesday January 23, 2008
Hovannesian Pledges Systematic Changes as He Kicks Off Presidential Race
Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian questioned the legitimacy of
Armenia's leadership and pledged to end the country's culture of
electoral fraud as he campaigned in the southern Armavir region on
Addressing a crowd gathered at the regional capital, Hovannesian, who is an A.R.F. Bureau Member and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, explained why the country's rulers have failed to deliver on their promises to the electorate.
"The government does not consider itself to be the servant of the people," Hovannesian remarked. "We cannot ensure real progress in our country
under such conditions."
"Presidential or parliamentary elections always create a situation in Armenia in which those who have come to power owe their success, their victory not to you, but to criminal or semi-criminal clans, wealthy individuals, oligarchs, senior government officials, who bring them votes on a plate by trampling on your rights, by crushing, deceiving and bribing people-by playing lip service to democracy."
The authorities neither benefit nor become healthier from playing such lip service to democracy, Hovannesian said.
"They have become used to eating from this plate, but we will break that plate," he exclaimed.
It is impossible to build a paradise in a sea of poverty, where only one segment of the country is developed, while the others are left in ruin,
"Our program therefore demands and proposes systematic changes in all sectors of Armenian life," Hovannesian said. "There is only one mechanism
to carry this out and that is
the restoration of justice."
The rally was initially to be held in the town's main conference hall. But Hovannesian had to rally supporters outdoors after being controversially denied permission to use the premises by Armavir Mayor Ruben Khlghatian, who is a member of Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia.
"The conference hall must be returned to the people because the mayor has [effectively] privatized it." said Artur Aghabekian, an A.R.F. parliamentary faction member and the chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Interior Affairs.
Hovannesian's campaign faced a similar problem in the nearby village of Mrgashat whose Republican mayor, Manvel Danielian, also refused to let the A.R.F. candidate use the village club.
"Unfortunately, they fear any new thing in our country," Hovannesian told villagers. "There is one new thing which we shouldn't fear, which we should aspire to and succeed in bringing about. That new thing would be to elect a president that represents the people."
Bulgarian Lawmakers Reject Armenian Genocide Resolutions
parliament announced it had rejected Thursday four proposals by
opposition lawmakers to officially recognize the Ottoman massacre of
Armenians during World War I as genocide.
Legislators voted against three draft resolutions and against issuing a declaration "condemning the genocide against the Armenian people within the Ottoman Empire," the parliamentary press office said.
The proposals, tabled separately by the Ataka party, the Bulgarian People's Union and Union of Democratic Forces were rejected by the
The coalition also includes a Turkish minority party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and the centrist NMSP party of former king Simeon
Almost a third of the lawmakers present in the 240-seat legislature abstained from the vote.
"I do not believe that there is a deputy in this hall who is not aware what the physical destruction of over one million Armenians means, but the
historical truth is one thing,
and politics completely another," Socialist deputy Alexander Radoslavov
said after the vote.
A number of countries and official bodies, notably the European Parliament, France, and Canada have labeled the killings as genocide.
But Bulgaria has, on several occasions, refused to pass a genocide resolution for fear of sparking a diplomatic row with neighboring Turkey.
The Balkan state of 7.6 million people has an 800,000-strong Turkish minority population and is also home to over 10,000 descendants of Armenian refugees who fled the killings.
Tuesday January 22, 2008
CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF
Presidential candidate Barack Obama shared with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) a strongly worded statement today calling for Congressional passage
of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 & S.Res.106), and pledging that,
as president, he will recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In his statement, the Presidential hopeful reaffirmed his support for a strong “U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy.”
He also pledged to “promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America ’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination.”
“Armenian American voters welcome Senator Obama’s powerful call for real change in how our government addresses the core moral and foreign policy issues that hold such great meaning for our community,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian . “After decades of White House complicity in Turkey ’s efforts to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, most recently in the form of President Bush’s personal efforts this past October to delay the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the time has clearly come for a President who will personally lead – not obstruct – the commemoration of this crime against all humanity.”
As a Senator, Barack Obama has spoken in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and cosigned a letter urging President Bush to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. He has forcefully called for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, but has yet to formally cosponsor this legislation. While visiting Azerbaijan in August 2005, Senator Obama was asked by reporters why he cosigned the letter to President Bush. Obama defended his decision by stating the genocide was a historical fact. The Illinois Senator publicly criticized the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to
Armenia John Evans, who was dismissed for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide.
In recent weeks, the ANCA has invited each of the candidates to share their views on Armenian Americans issues, and to comment on both the growing relationship between the U.S. and Armenian governments and the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples. Questionnaires sent to the candidates have invited them to respond to a set of 19 questions, including those addressing: affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, U.S.-Armenia economic, political, and military relations, self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh, the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and the genocide in Darfur .
Armenian Americans, in key primary states and throughout the country, represent a motivated and highly networked constituency of more than one and a half million citizens. The ANCA mobilizes Armenian American voters through a network of over 50 chapters and a diverse array of affiliates, civic advocates, and supporters nationwide. ANCA mailings reach over a quarter of a million homes, and, through the internet, updates and action alerts reach well over 100,000 households. The ANCA website, which features election coverage from an Armenian American point of view, attracts over 100,000 unique visits a month. The ANCA also has broad reach to Armenian American voters via a sophisticated media operation of newspapers, regional cable shows, satellite TV, blogs, and internet news sites.
To learn more about the Obama campaign, contact:
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago , IL 60680
Tel: (866) 675-2008
Friday January 18, 2008
A.R.F. Leader Giro Manoyan's interesting paper; presented at the "Wider Black Sea" conference
During January 14-15 the Armenian International Policy Research Group, AIPRG, organized a conference in Armenia on "Wider Black Sea:
Perspectives for International and Regional Security." At this conference unger Giro Manoyan presented a paper representing, International Secretary, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Armenia with respect to Turkey , Azerbaijan , Georgia , Russia , EU etc.. We are providing the link to unger Giro's interesting analysis of the political relationships of
City of Glendale - Protest Meeting - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 @ 6:00 PM
Thursday January 17, 2008
Vahan Hovannesian Responds to Readers’ Questions
-Dear Mr. Hovannesyan,
Also would you be in support of a new law that would
cause parliament members who are rarely present in
parliament, to lose their seat? As you know Serge’s
brother who is a parliament member, is very busy
with real estate development in
Los Angeles and is unable to attend
Wednesday January 16, 2008
Aztag Building Unharmed After Fresh Beirut Bombing
BEIRUT--The site of Tuesday afternoon's bomb blast in Beirut was extremely close to our sister publication Aztag's offices and the Tekeyan
Armenian day school.
Asbarez contacted Aztag colleagues, who reported that the Shaghzoyan center, which houses the Aztag editorial offices, the Vana Tsain radio station, the Pakin periodical center, the Hamazkayin printing plant and the offices of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Lebanon,
as well as the adjacent school
were unharmed after the bombing.
Aztag also reported that the Armenian-owned and operated Vanlian factory nearby did sustain severe damages.
Tuesday January 15, 2008
Bush Visits Bethlehem, Reminded about Armenian Genocide
President George Bush was asked to reconsider the Armenian Genocide Resolution by Primate Aris Shirvanian of the Jerusalem Diocese
of the Armenian Apostolic
Church last week during the presidents working visit to Israel and the
After talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush attended Chapel at the Church of the Nativity of Christ where he met with
the Christian religious leaders of the community. Primate Shirvanian reminded President Bush that the Armenians were the first nation to adopt
Christianity as the state
religion. He also requested that the American President reconsider his
stance on the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res. 106).
President Bush told Shirvanian that he spoke about the issue with the Turkish President and is thinking it over it.
Monday January 14, 2008
New High School Genocide Course Angers Turkish-Canadians
course about genocide to be offered in Toronto high schools this fall
has sparked anger among Turkish-Canadians for including the Armenian
Genocide, the Toronto Star reports.
The 11th grade history course, the only one of its kind at a high school in Ontario and possibly Canada, is designed to teach teenagers the consequences of a government's decision to set out and destroy people of a particular nationality, race or religion. The course examines genocide with three examples: the Holocaust, which exterminated 6 million Jews in World War II; the Rwandan genocide of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate
Hutus in 1994; and the Turkish
genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.
"These are very significant, horrible parts of history, and without sounding hackneyed, we hope we can learn something from them so we can make a better world for our children's children," said Gerri Gershon a trustee of the Toronto District School Board. Gershon proposed the course after a moving
tour in 2005 of the Nazi death
camps in Poland.
"This isn't a course to teach hatred or blame the perpetrators," said Gershon. "Our goal is the exact opposite: To explore how this happens so we can become better people and make sure it never happens again."
But the Council of Turkish Canadians has gathered more than 1,200 signatures on an online petition opposed to the course for calling the Armenian killings a "genocide" and inciting anti-Turkish sentiment.
Denmark Refuses to Recognize Armenian Genocide
Denmark does not officially recognize that Ottoman massacres of Armenians during World War I constitute genocide, Danish Foreign Minister
Per Stig Moeller said
"In the government's opinion, this is a historical question that should be left up to the historians," Moeller wrote in a written parliamentary answer, indicating that Denmark would not follow the lead of some 20 other countries, including France, that have labeled the killings genocide.
Moeller's note came in response to a question from parliamentary member Morten Messerchmidt, of the far-right Danish People's Party, on whether "Denmark had officially recognized this genocide."
"It is unfortunate that the Danish government refuses to join other countries in recognizing this genocide," Messerschmidt told AFP. "It is as if they
fear Turkey's reactions."
Copenhagen's decision "to not recognize this genocide shows that the government indirectly supports Turkey's cowardly refusal to take responsibility
for its history the way the Germans did after World War II," he said.
Wednesday January 9, 2008
Vahan Hovanessian Launches Presidential Campaign Website
Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian's official campaign website has been launched and can be visited at
The website features Hovannesian's biography, with sections also dedicated to major news, interviews and media. The interview section
of the website
allows people the opportunity to submit their questions to Hovannesian,
which will be answered and posted in the section as well.
The website also features a side section that allows visitors to mark issues of importance to them.
90th Anniversary of Sardarapat Battle to be Celebrated in Armenia
The Republic of
Armenia will officially mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of
Sardarapat this year.
Armenia will also be celebrating the 124th anniversary of the birth of General Drastamat Kanayan (Dro), and the 75th anniversaries of the
Opera and Ballet National Academic Theatre and the Armenian State Architectural University.
Tuesday January 8, 2008
Armenian Christmas Service in Paris Disturbed by Bomb Scare
A bomb scare disturbed the Christmas Day mass of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Paris Sunday when police,
responding to the threat,
evacuated the church during mass to conduct a full-scale search for the
The anonymous call came from a phone booth located close to Avenue des Champs Elysees Sunday morning, police reported. Police arrived at the church at 11:35 AM and called for a complete and immediate evacuation. Primate Norvan Zakarian, who was conducting the mass, initially refused to comply but was eventually persuaded to evacuate the church.
Mass resumed after the police
search revealed no signs of explosives on the premises.
On October 24, a mob of Turkish ultranationalists destroyed an Armenian Cafe in Brussels during riots triggered by the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106) by the influential Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives.
Sunday's scare also occurred at a time when the French Senate is set to consider a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Karapetian also stated that the presidential elections will advance into a second round.