Monday, January 31, 2005

Guess who was picked up by the police in Dubai a little while back with his son and a friend? Click here to see who gets in trouble even when outside of Armenia?
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
31 January 2005

Deadly Car Crash Highlights Reckless Driving By Armenia’s Rich

By Ruzanna Khachatrian and Emil Danielyan

Two people were killed and at least six others injured in a car crash in Yerevan late on Sunday, the latest deadly consequence of reckless and unchecked driving by Armenia’s wealthiest citizens.

A spokesman for the Armenian police, Zarzand Gabrielian, confirmed on Monday reports that a luxury SUV car rammed three other vehicles on a busy street intersection near the city center. The incident occurred during a heavy snowfall that made traffic particularly dangerous.

The dead persons were the driver of a taxi and one of his passengers, a 30-year-old woman identified as Nata Ayunts. She was in the car with her husband and infant child. They both were hospitalized with serious injuries along with four other victims.

Gabrielian said the driver of the Hummer jeep, a certain Armen Tovmasian, fled the scene and sought medical aid at a hospital five hours later. “An investigation is underway,” he told RFE/RL without elaborating.

It was not clear if the man was questioned by the police or underwent alcohol tests the next morning. Gabrielian said only that Tovmasian is not the formal owner of the car, the hugely expensive civilian version of the Humvee personnel carriers widely used by the U.S. army. He also identified the car’s license plates as 77 SS 776.

Many wealthy and government-connected Armenians consider it highly prestigious to have as many repeated numbers on their cars’ license plats as possible. The most powerful of them usually ride in motorcades made up of several SUVs with virtually identical numbers.

The presence of several 8 digits, for example, indicates their ownership by millionaire businessman Gagik Tsarukian, while 6s are seen as the exclusive domain of another “oligarch,” Samvel Aleksanian. Individuals close to a brother of Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and a top army general, Seyran Saroyan, are thought to have three or more 7s on their plates.

The police spokesman claimed that it is still not known who is the officially registered owner of the Hummer in question. Another, more senior, police source said that there are only 11 Hummers in the impoverished country.

Luxury cars, especially those with “fancy” numbers, routinely ignore traffic lights and breach speed limits in Yerevan. Armenia’s notoriously corrupt traffic police rarely stop or fine them.

The virtual impunity enjoyed by them prompted a high-profile inquiry from President Robert Kocharian’s Oversight Service last autumn. Officials from the service had state television broadcast images of delinquent cars breaking traffic rules as part of the declared crackdown. Some of those cars were later impounded by the police. Their unpublicized owners were reportedly forced to donate 250,000 drams ($500) each to a government-linked private charity to get their property back.

Critics say the presidential agency has no legal authority to fine anybody and should have instead made sure that the police enforce the rules fairly and equally.

Turkey Wins Censorship of Armenian Genocide in German Schools

Those charming Turks appear to be taking lessons from their only ally in the middle east.

Wednesday 26, January 2005

Pressure from Turkey has resulted in the removal of a reference to the Armenian genocide from a German school curriculum, reports said Wednesday.

The eastern German state of Brandenburg has eliminated half a sentence on the Armenians included in ninth and tenth grade history classes after a Turkish diplomat complained to state Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck, the newspaper Die Welt reported.

In a chapter entitled "War, Technology and Civilian Populations" the school book text said "for example, the genocide of the Armenian population of Anatolia." That passage has now been removed from school textbooks, the newspaper said.

Platzeck met regularly with Turkish diplomats and was "steeled" against their influence, the newspaper quoted him as saying. The prime minister added that genocide was too important an issue to be dealt with in just half a sentence. "Brandenburg's curriculum was the only one in Germany which up until now included a reference to the murder of the Armenians," said Die Welt.

Most historians say that between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were killed in 1915 and 1916 under the Ottoman Turks during World War I. The Turkish government, which denies that a genocide took place, speaks of 200,000 dead.

A Turkish embassy spokesman in Berlin declined to comment directly on the report, but noted the initiative had come from the Turkish consulate responsible for Berlin and Brandenburg - not from the embassy itself.

Prime Minister Platzeck is a member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social
Democrats (SPD). Schroeder is a strong supporter of Turkey's bid to become a
member of the European Union. Germany has almost two million resident Turks -- the biggest Turkish minority in the EU.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which serves as junior coalition partner in Brandenburg's government, is infuriated over the change to the state's schoolbooks. "The impression created is fatal," said Sven Patke, the state CDU secretary general.

The head of the Central Committee of Armenians in Germany, Schavarsh Ovassapian told Die Welt the move was "a scandal... It is depressing, if what's in schoolbooks in Brandenburg can be dictated from Ankara," he said.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Wales-Armenia Solidarity
Press Release

Uk government recognises the Armenian Genocide by the "back-door"

For the first time ever, an UK government web-site has referred to the "Armenian Genocide" and "Armenian Holocaust" This was in the official Holocaust Memorial Day web-site, with reference to the Commemmoration in Cardiff, Wales of the Commemmoration of the Armenian and Jewish Holocausts at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff on 26th January. Taking part was the First Minister of the National Assembly of Wales, Rhodri Morgan.

This might be the way of testing the water by the British government, who are fearful of debating the matter in full view of the media, but are hoping for a gradual softening by the Turks on the issue. It seems that they are happily allowing Wales to take the moral lead, seeing what the Turkish response will be.

During the meeting, Jenny Randerson, a senior figure in the Welsh Liberal Democrats and a former minister in the Assembly government conveyed that she was astonished at the sustained pressure to which she was subjected since speaking out on the Genocide issue in 2001. We are proud that she has not wavered once in her support.

We can assume that those in the pay of Turkish authorities are putting similar pressure on our prime minister Rhodri Morgan. We call on Armenians world-wide to send messages of support for the Recognition of the Genocide by the National Assembly for Wales to and to counter this menace

26 January 2005

Every one has a right to life

Yerevan, January 19, 2005. We were informed by the by the Undertakers' Office of the Yerevan Municipality that this month, as of January 19th, fourteen corpses had been buried in the area of the Nubarashen Cemetery reserved for “the unclaimed”.

“I am dying,” says Gor, who was proud of his solitude just days ago. “If you hadn't come I would have been dead in an hour.” On January 20th, we had decided to visit Gor on the spur of the moment. We aimed our flashlight in every direction and called, “Gor! Gor! Are you here?” No response. Then we saw something wrapped in rags in the corner of the huge basement of a newly erected building. Suddenly the rags moved and we saw a dog's head. Then Gor's face appeared next to the dog. “Why are
you bothering me? I'm sleeping,” he mumbled.

Gor wasn't sleeping. His body was freezing. He had been lying on the wet ground for two days and his body was entirely drenched with the water dripping off the walls. “Would you give me some vodka?” he asked. “I can't feel my body. Would you light a fire, please?” We managed to bring Gor to his senses. He drank half a bottle of vodka, and after he had sat by the fire for a while it was as if his frozen brain cells began to thaw, and he spoke. “I want to go and see my mother. Would you help me get to Byurakan? My mother lives there,” the fifty-eight year old Gor said. He hadn't seen or heard from his mother in a year.

We got him into a taxi somehow at around 10 p.m. and sent him to Byurakan.

On January 21 st we met with the resident coordinator of the UN office in Armenia, Lise Grande. She told us she would raise the issue of the homeless people at a January 24 th meeting between the members of the Armenian government of Armenia and representatives of donor organizations. She also promised to keep the problem of homelessness at the center of her own attention, with special focus on two crucial
issues — documents and shelter.

Also on January 21 st, having taken a bath and dressed in new clothes, Noro, Miko, Rafo, and Lolo moved to an apartment Hetq had rented for the for one month. Thanks to $200 from the Association of Armenian Student of New York, $100 from an Armenian American doctor who didn't want his name made public, and other donations by staff members, we were able to find shelter for these men, at least for the coldest winter month. The four homeless men promised not to go back to the streets, and to find
work. We were also able to help Gohar, a homeless woman, move back in with her son in Sevan.

At the Hetq office, we have been talking about the problem of the homeless in Yerevan for several weeks now. Is there anything that journalists can do about it? What is our mission? If we can't change anything with the articles we write, if we can't improve any lives, then it is pointless to keep doing this work. Even if hundreds of people respond to our articles, if nothing changes as a result, it means that something is wrong. All human rights follow from one basic right – the right to life. If this right is not guaranteed, everything else is meaningless.

On January 27, 2005 Hetq will organize an event entitled The Right to Life. Article 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia states that everyone has the right to life. This will be the subject of a discussion to take place at the Narekatsi Art Union. The will be an exhibit of photographs by Onnik Krikorian at the event, as well as the premiere of a film on the problem of homelessness in Yerevan, a joint
production of Yerkir Media TV and the Investigative Journalists of Armenia.

Edik Baghdasaryan

Photos by Edik Baghdasaryan, Onnik Krikorian

I am late to post this story and just want to not that after this story was run, Gor died.

For all you Orhan fans, here is another letter to share:

From: "orxan huseyinli"
Subject: from Oran
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 08:31:57 +0300

Hi Ara! hOw are you? i hope you,re well! so i m very glad that you and
your people want to choose this problem with peace way! I dont like
war too! If the second war will began between us so i thing Armnenia
and azerbaijan will give a lot of his sons to this war! but why? Lets
choose this problem with civil way! Because we have a ways to choose
this problem1 I thing and i belive that we will choose this problem!
Azerbaijan and Armenia killed a lot of people during the war! You
killed azeris, we killed armenians1 But why?! But we lived in soviet
union with peace! Dont you remember! We lived together with armenians
here in baku! And armenians lived in armenia with azeris together1 i
thing our people(armenian and azeri people) cant do anything because
this is polytics and we cant do anything1 But i know just one! We are
ready to live with armenian people in Karabakh! Because we want to
return back to karabakh!! But what about polytics? Are they want this?
i dont know! and thats all! i hope you understand me! thank you again
and take care!
with best regards,Orhan

Here is an e-mail I just received that I wanted to share with you.

From: MihranK
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2005 15:25:59 EST
Subject: Karabakh resolution.

Dear Mr V.Oskanian,

Sadly it has become abundantly clear that under your leadership the Armenian Foreign Ministry is not working as it should be, after the negative resolutions on Karabakh and also the statement by Ms Jones of the State department on Karabakh, although she apparently apologised to you on the phone but no written apology or statement has been seen to date, not to mention your other foreign policy failures.

Mr Oskanian it's time you moved on for the good of Armenia as Armenia needs a smart Foreign Minister who can lead his team to successes, so far you have been a miserable failure.

Yours sincerely.

Mihran Keheyian

28 Jan. 2005

Saturday, January 29, 2005

French Man Dies Of Carbon Monoxide In Armenia

(AP) - A French man died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his Yerevan apartment, emergency officials said Thursday, the latest in a rash of deaths in Armenia caused by gas leaks and faulty heating stoves.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said Christophe Kyababchyan, a 34-year-old French citizen, was found dead in his apartment by his business partner. The ministry said an improperly installed gas heater was likely to blame.

The incident brings the number of gas poisonings in Armenia in the past year to 26, 16 of which occurred in December alone, according to emergency officials. The prosecutor general's office, however, says there were 24 deaths in 2004 by natural gas poisoning alone.

Many people in the ex-Soviet republic use makeshift stoves and homemade gas heaters, sometimes tapping illegally into gas lines, because their homes lack heaters, which are expensive.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Protest against Human Rights Violation

Today ended my one-week protest-hunger strike (begun Monday, 17 January, from 00:00 o’clock)

I consider it necessary to inform you that I am unaware whether my applications to the RA President and his administration have merited any attention. Except that, during this period, on January 19, not by my wish, but at the demand of the Central police department, I appeared there. Subsequently, again against my will, they demanded that I sign an affidavit. Aside from that, they added to my personal data my foreign land, Iranian citizenship.

As I indicated in the department (and it was recorded in my personal data record), I together with my family have an RA Permanent Residency identification paper (received in 1996), I am registered in Yerevan and live there. In Armenia I have never appeared, nor have I ever made application as a foreign land, Iranian citizen, but rather have been made to understand, that aside from voting, being elected, or serving in the military, I possess the status of an RA citizen.
Thus, however, the result of my application-complaint, at least for now has been to create additional annoyance for me and my family. Nevertheless, unfortunately I also realized that, perhaps the interpretation of the application of the law related to my complaint (but not really the application) may be because of the assumption that the applicant is from a foreign country. Since the RA citizen is generally suppressed from sending application-complaint to any tribunal (and also to the president).

What is unfortunate is that in Armenia the common citizen feels himself more unprotected than the foreigner, even the citizen of Iran. It is unfortunately, but it is so.

I am continuing my protest-hunger strike connected with the Human Rights violation case against me.

V. Gasparyan
Monday, 24 January 2005

Monday, January 24, 2005

Question: What to you get when you take a Diaspora-Armenian, corruption and unanswered complaints to President Robert Kocharian’s Administrative Service?


A week has passed since Diaspora-Armenian Vartges Gasparyan started a hunger strike to protest his human rights being violated.

I spoke to Vartges on the phone a few days ago to get more details as to what lead him to protest in this way and he asked me in a frail voice for my e-mail address so he can send me documents.

After receiving the documents, I sent them off for translation so I could share with you and we can together figure out what pushed Vartges to take such an extreme action.

To: RA President Administrative Service
RE: Demirchian Building 17
FROM: Residents at entrance of Apartment 1

We are informing you, that in September 2004, when we learned of the review of gasification of neighboring buildings, we applied to those responsible for the work, Samvel and Ashot Khachatryan (“Ashlit”), with whom we signed a contract first for the connection to the gas line, and then separate contracts for the restoration of service to individual apartments.

The aforementioned, using as an excuse various bureaucratic excuses charged us high fees, among which for pipes to the apartments 3,000 drams per linear meter, and for the gas line, 5,000 drams per linear meter, for a total of 100,000 drams ($200), in order to overcome paperwork problems. With all of that, however, they didn’t fulfill their responsibilities.

They are working with the simple algorithm, that they promise a result from the beginning, that is gasification; with that they secure the amounts they want; after that they leave the gas pipes exposed to be threaded into the new building, and with additional payments, again promising to restore gas service, in hopes of solving all the problems. And they trick each new person with that they need meter fees from the previous ones, or that they don’t have proof of ownership, etc.; and for that reason alone they haven’t restored their gas service.

As a result of the numerous written and oral promises given for non-performance, one of the residents took out and showed them the pipes, so that he would not be a means for tricking others. Other residents are considering putting a stop to such trickery with forceful means.

Because we don’t find such trickery to be the doing of two people, and because they have superiors in higher bodies, we are appealing to you to stop their activity, to call for responsibility to their superiors and to restore the work of gasification.

Vartges Gasparyan Apt.1 Tel. 566720
Felix Egibyan Apt.2 Tel. 523056
H. Melkonyan
T. Ohanyan Apt.3 Tel. 523414
A. Azaryan Apt.6 Tel. 545430
7 December 2004

To: RA President Administrative Service
RE: Demirchian Building 17, Apartment 1
FROM: V. Gasparyan

With regard to the request sent to you concerning the gasification of Demirchian Building 17, after submitting my application-complaint, “unknown individuals” successively broke the windowpanes of my residence.

I am informing you that the broken windows are remaining as they are until I hear from you.

V. Gasparyan
14 December 2004

To: RA Presidential Counsel, Mr. B. Yesayan
Re: Demirchian St., building 17, apartment 1
From: V. Gasparyan

This is to inform you that the two attached inquiries have remained unanswered for more than 10 days.

It is important to note to the president’s administrative bodies that together with this patient attitude, there have been great expenditures for gas and in the frigid apartments waiting for gas service, and also as a result of issue the breaking of the window glass of the request-complaint initiator.
It is sufficient to delay this situation only so far, so that the individual seeking mercy and paying a bribe, look out for himself. After that, there will remain nothing else to solve.

In the attached letter, you should not fail to see the intermediary organization’s, Ashlid’s cashed bribe of $200 (to pay the principal bodies) documentation. Perhaps it is not the most critical example of corruption, but in the end it is possible to happen, let’s say, that a minister would take a bribed from a simple citizen, and that the latter would succeed in presenting his testimony(?) to you, unavoidably.

Mr. Yeshayan, my purpose for appealing to you and the superiors is that I doubt whether the irregularity has been corrected from above. Therefore, I hope that your reply will be correct and not late.

V. Gasparyan
19 December 2004

TO: RA President Robert Kocharian
FROM: V. Gasparyan
Demirchian St., Building 17, Apartment 1
Tel. 56-67-20

Asking your forgiveness in advance, if the issues under consideration appear minor and a waste of your time, I would like to present a small picture of a long story.

In August of this year, I applied to the Armeno-Russian Gas Co. to gasify the Demirchian Building 17. Here they told me that our building was not anticipated to be gasified until 2007. Thereafter, it was revealed that the company which cashed the expenses of construction/renovation, as well as the $200 to pay the Armeno-Russian Gas Co., through which our building specifically was gasified. After that, they delayed the gasification of the apartments beyond the date stipulated in the contract, probably to receive additional monies.

Regarding this I submitted a request-complaint to your administrative service, after which “unidentified individuals” broke the windowpanes of my residence. And after presenting another request, the work was sent to the police department.

The latter, coming to my residence, and learning that at that time was abroad, using their orders as a an excuse, demanded that I appear at the police department the next day, which I could not do. Thereupon, bothering my family, they demanded from my wife to appear at the police department, which she refused. In the end, they demanded that she sign whatever affidavit on the spot.

Mr. President, where and until when must this go on, which is not accidental, but a daily deepening and worsening soviet lifestyle, and of soviet times.

Is it that being familiar with such a process, you still expect that people have endurance for such lawlessness? By the way, law-breaking and disregard for human dignity has become so widespread, that it has become tolerated as the way it is, regardless of all kinds of injustice.

I simply will not tolerate this way of life and am resorting to a hunger strike.


V. Gasparyan

Tuesday, 18 January 2005.

To whom it may concern

Apart. 1, build. 17, Demirchian St. Yerevan 375019, Armenia
Tel. 00374-1-566720 or 00374-9-499175
E-mail: or

In December 2004 in order to protest against a past of corruption I applied to staff of the President of Armenia. After my protest some unknown people broke the windowpanes of my home.

After my second application to the President’s staff, the application was sent to police station. After which the police force themselves on my family in different ways and me and bothers us.

In order to protest against these various Human Rights violations since Monday January 17 2005 (00:00 local time) I’ve started a total hunger strike and I’m going to continue indefinitely.

January 21, 2005

Sunday, January 23, 2005

PanArmenians News
Jan 22 2005


/PanARMENIAN.Net/ As reported by Haylur information program of the Public TV Company of Armenia, in a telephone conversation with Armenian Foreign Minister V. Oskanian US Assistant Secretary of State E. Jones stated she was sorry her words that actually did not refer to Nagorno Karabakh were negatively responded by the Armenian society.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


YEREVAN, JANUARY 21. ARMINFO. "I know what criminal elements US Assistant Secretary of the State Elizabeth Jones had said about and I don't think that the matter concerned Nagorny Karabakh." U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia John Evans stated in the interview to TV company Armenia, commenting on the recent statements of Elizabeth Jones.

According to him, the U.S policy concerning the process of peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict remains unchanged. The United States provide assistance both to Yerevan and Baku in reaching resolution to the conflict, which is said in the statement of the U.S. Embassy this week. The United States is the good partner of Armenia and what is said does not require proves. As regards the statements of U.S. Assistant Secretary of the State Elizabeth Jones, "I have known her for almost 30 years as a professional diplomat and when I first read the information about its statements, I thought immediately - something is wrong here", John Evans stressed.

He thinks that the statements of Elizabeth Jones concerning criminal elements did not concern Nagorny Karabakh. Generally, she had an unofficial talk with journalists during his vide news conference and meant then that the USA and Russia must cooperate closely in the issue of settlement of the conflicts in Abkhazia, Transdnesitria, Nagorny Karabakh. And she had noted there are extremist criminal elements here in the districts bordering with Russia. "I know the geography and I don't think that the matter concerned Nagorny Karabakh - we know what districts and elements she meant", the American diplomat said.

He noted also that the USA has given humanitarian aid to Nagorny Karabakh for a long time. This assistance is also provided by the USA budget this year, at that the USA is one of the two countries of the world which provides such an aid to Nagorny Karabakh. Those, who wrongly comment on the statements of Elizabeth Jones, tries to damage the Armenian-American relations, which are at not bad level, and it is very important, John Evans said.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Assimilation and illegal alien is all I can think of when I read the article titled “Family struggles to keep teen daughters in U.S. LV girls are in federal custody, face deportation to Armenia”

The story reads very much like the story of the Armenian family in Colorado last year who were facing a similar fate.

My assimilation statement comes from the Las Vegas deportees who were born in Armenia, but the story claims that they don’t even know the language. You have to wonder if they even know where Armenia is?

Both stories are similar in terms of appeals to President Bush for their release. In the Las Vegas case, the illegal aliens youngest sister, who was born in America wrote to Bush to ask:

"Why can't they come home?"

"I mean they didn't do anything wrong like drugs or even smoke."

"I'm asking you these questions because you are the only person that can answer these questions."

She signed the letter, "Just a kid, Patricia Sarkisian."

Well Patricia, I’m not sure who told you that only President Bush can answer your question, but you can ask anyone and get the same answer.

In legal terms, your sisters Emma and Mariam are illegal aliens who entered America on tourist visas and overstayed their welcome by 14 years.

They are also in legal terms citizens of Armenia, the country they were born in.

If you are asking who is to blame for this, it should be clear that your father Rouben Sarkisian and your mother Anoush Sarkisian broke the law by not returning to their country of origin when their visa expired.

If you ask me, it would be a good thing for the children to return to Armenia (all 5 of them). There is no doubt in my mind that they can find someone willing to help them out until their father gains citizenship and can then work to bring them back to America. In fact my fiancé and I would be willing to host the sisters if they can’t find someone to help out.

One thing they will gain during their stay is learning the language and Armenian culture, which is not a bad thing if you ask me.

As for their attorney Jeremiah Wolf Stuchiner, who calls this case "absolutely ridiculous” and compares the case to that of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy in 2000 who also was taken by armed federal agents from his relatives in the United States, I find Mr. Stuchiner's comparison absolutely ridiculous. The whole thing is very black and white. They are clearly illegal aliens and if the law dictates their deportation, so be it.

I guess I’m really tired of hearing of Armenian illegal aliens who want to manipulate the system to avoid returning to their country of origin, when the law clearly states they have no right to stay. I just think in the eyes of the international community, it makes us look bad when an attorney needs to argue humanitarian reasons for them to stay. It makes it look like Armenia is a bad place, when in fact it’s not.

YEREVAN, JANUARY 20. ARMINFO. The US official policy in the Caucasus smells of Azeri oil, says academic Stepan Stepanyan commenting on US assistant state secretary Elizabeth Jones's statement on the necessity of liquidation of separatist regimes in Nagorny Karabakh, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transdniestria.

He says that this was the US's curtsey to its allies especially in the light of the Feb 24 Bratislava meeting of Putin and Bush who are planning to discuss the Karabakh issue. "The US has forgotten that 200 years ago it was fighting for self-determination itself. And now the Armenian people turns out to have no right for self-determination." "This also means bad mark for Armenia's foreign policy and the work of the Armenian embassies abroad," says Stepanyan.

PanArmenian News
Jan 20 2005


/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Yesterday in Yerevan representatives of a range of youth and student organizations held a rally procession towards the building of the US Embassy in Armenia. The action, in which over 200 took part, aimed at expressing protest against the statement of US Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones that "establishment of stability in Pridnestrovye, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh proceeds from interests of Russia and corruption should be ended and ruling criminal separatists taken away there." In the words of action participants, their goal was to demonstrate to the civilized world and Elizabeth Jones that Nagorno Karabakh people and authorities cannot be considered separatists, as Nagorno Karabakh has never been and will never be part of Azerbaijan. The action participants also reminded that Karabakh Armenians are guided by the principle of self-determination. "The conflict in Nagorno Karabakh is not a small change for political games between the US and Russia," Chairman of the Student Council of Yerevan State University Mihran Hakobian stated. It should be noted that the action participants conveyed a respective statement to the Embassy.
Dear Friends,

For the past eight years I have been researching and writing a biography/memoir about my late brother, Monte “Avo” Melkonian. The book, entitled My Brother’s Road, has been a long time in coming, and it has not been easy to get it published. I’m happy to announce that the London publisher I.B.Tauris will officially release the book in the USA on February 1. Part biography and part memoir, My Brother’s Road is about a third-generation California boy who became a promising student of archaeology, a strike leader in revolutionary Iran, a militiaman in Beirut, a guerrilla, a convicted Armenian militant, a prison strike leader, a fugitive from half a dozen security agencies, and finally, a commander of 4000 warriors in one of the most vicious wars raging on the ruins of the former Soviet Union.

My Brother’s Road is a story that is at once inspirational and cautionary. Los Angeles Times writer Mark Arax has described it as “an astonishing book,” and historian Christopher Walker has described it as “driven by a sense of commitment which never overshoots into sentimentality or chauvinism.”

I invite you to read My Brother’s Road. The book in hardcover is now available for advance orders directly through the publisher, I.B. Tauris, or through the online booksellers. ( lists it for $19.77 plus shipping. (I understand that Amazon will ship any order of more than $25 for free within the USA and Canada. Thus, two copies of the book would cost around $40 including shipping, compared to one copy for $25. If you order more than one copy through Amazon, be sure to ask for Super Saver Shipping.) The online stores will ship the book on or around February 9. By mid-February, the book should also be available at your local bookstore. If the book is not on the shelf, please request that the store carry it.*

Best wishes,
Markar Melkonian

P.S. Please forward this message to family, friends and internet lists that might be interested.

*Proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the Monte Melkonian Fund, Inc., a California 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to assisting the neediest of the needy in Armenia.




Hilmar Kaiser, Eberhard Count Wolffskeel Von Reichenberg, Zeitoun, Mousa Dagh, Ourfa: Letters on the Armenian Genocide, (Princeton and London: Gomidas Institute, 2004), 2nd Edition, xxxii + 66, maps, ISBN 1-903656-03-6, paper, UK£8.00 / US$14.00.

Eberdard Von Wolffskeel was the only German officer who served in Ottoman uniform known to have been directly involved in the killing of Armenians. He personally led the attack on the Armenian quarter of Ourfa, and showed exceptional zeal when doing so. He was a callous man, and a racist, and took great pride in his military prowess and his lack of compassion for Armenian victims. His involvement in crushing the Armenian resistance in Ourfa--when this community's turn came to be deported and destroyed--makes particularly disturbing reading. His letters to his wife provide us with invaluable insights into the Armenian Genocide and German policy in 1915.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Kaiser is a historian specializing in late Ottoman social and economic history and the Armenian Genocide of 1915. His publications include Imperialism, Racism and Development Theories: The Construction of a Dominant Paradigms on Ottoman Armenians (Gomidas Institute, 1997); At the Crossroads of Der Zor: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915-1917 [2nd Edition] (Gomidas Institute, 2002); Harry Sturmer, Two War Years in Constantinople Sketches of German and Young Turkish Ethics and Politics [Revised and Complete Edition (Hilmar Kaiser ed. and intro.) (Sterndale Classics, 2004); Abram I. Elkus (Hilmar Kaiser ed. and intro.), The Memoirs of Abram Elkus: Lawyer, Ambassador, Statesman, (Hilmar Kaiser, ed. and intro) (Gomidas Institute, 2004).

For more information and orders contact

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

More Orhan for those that are interested:

From: "orxan huseyinli"
Suject: ok
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 15:47:17 +0300

Hi Ara! how are you? look ara i think we will find a way to choose this problem! We will return back to our lands and will live with armenian people together! But Karabakh will in our borders, not independent republic! If you let to return our people to karanakh and let to live with armenian people together so Turkey will open their border with Armenia and azerbaijan too! We will have a shoping, the routes will opened and etc.. it will be very great and cool! I thing we can choose this problem but i see some politic persons dont want this! But what we can do? we are just people , not politic person to choose all problems! Do you understand me? bye and take care!

I replied:

Suject: RE: ok
To: "orxan huseyinli"
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 11:11:43 -0800 (PST)

Dear Orhan,

I agree that every possibility needs to be considered, but like you said, we are just people and in the end there are political people who will make the final decision.

Take care and thanks for keeping the dialog civil,


Friday, January 14, 2005

The HETQ special edition on homeless in Yerevan is on line at:

I got this e-mail from Onnik today and wanted to share it with you.

Another Homeless Death

Bash died in hospital. I still don't quite understand why or how.
Again, I have to say that for over a week that we spoke to him he was visible to everyone who passed by the crossroads of Abovian and Moscovian and they did nothing. Not the government including the populist Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Artur Baghdasarian, who went to a concert within sight of the bomzh encampment, not the general public, not the Diaspora that remained in Armenia for the winter but who had too much money to spend alongside the new elite in the decadent, pretentious and quite retarded bars and restaurants of downtown and not the emergency medical services who were contacted by Edik.

In fact, if it weren't for MSF-France acting immediately I'd add that international organizations here also did nothing. Mission Armenia said they couldn't step in because their President was away and I received no response at all from World Vision. A few Diasporans outside of Armenia contacted us with offers of financial assistance but only MSF-France tried to do something with regards access to medical care on the ground.

So, Bash died and I assume, a dozen others will join him in the numbered pauper's grave dug right at the back of the Sovietashen cemetery each month until the spring and then, in December 2005, dozens more that have stepped in to take their place will risk ending up in the same place by Spring 2006.

And as there's no money in helping the homeless, nobody will. Of course, when it becomes possible to make money from doing so, the same old names that have monopolized funding Armenia in the six years that I have been here will once again come to the fore to reinvent themselves as champions of the oppressed. Still, bravo to MSF-France although their intervention was late because we rang them as a last resort. However, they responded that same day and probably spent 5-6 hours assessing and insuring that Bash was admitted into hospital. Without them, the hospitals would have continued to refuse to do so, just as the soup kitchens apparently refuse to feed them.

Not that any of this helped Bash, of course. He just merely lived a few more days longer than he might have.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Got an answer to my e-mail to my friend Orhan who lives in Baku and is interested in resolving the Karabagh conflict in a peaceful way. Here is what Orhan wrote me and my response to him for those that are interested:

From: "orxan huseyinli"
Suject: hi again
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 19:52:05 +0300

Yeah! I liked you! You want a peace ! Azerbaijani people wants peace too! But how we will get the peace if you dont wanna tio return back our land! Not Artsakh! The name thats land is Karabakh! ok? i hope we will get the peace! If you will return back our land, so we will live together how we lived a lot of years ago! But if you will not return back our land so we will get the peace with our blood! we are redy to shed our blood to give our life for our land! Because you occupied our mother land, our heard! And nobody cant live without his heard! do you understand me?! thats well! Armenia and azerbaijan did a lot of bad things together we did a lot of and you did a lot of too! But now we are looking for a peace ! Do you want peace?! we want ! if you want so return back our land! ok? end of discussion!
thanks a lot
with beat regrads,Orhan

I wrote:
Suject: Re: hi again
To: "orxan huseyinli"
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 12:54:31 -0800 (PST)

Dear Orhan,

For thousands of years wars have been fought and won or lost. With war comes the gain or loss of land and in all the written history I have read, there has never been a case of lands won in war being given back. In Armenian history, many lands have been lost to the Turks and Azeris and so far to date, I have only seen lands recovered in the Karabagh war and that was by means of war. So if your expecting lands to be given back to Azerbaijan, even that land that they claim to be their heart, I’m sorry to tell you, it will probably not happen. During the Armenian genocide, we lost many lands and though I would love that land to be returned, I know there is almost no chance of that happening and if we ever get that land back, it will only happen after we too spill much more blood for it. The only way I see this conflict resolving itself in terms of land that is your heart coming back to you other than war is in a land exchange, which even that I am doubtful will happen.

Anyway Orhan, I understand your desires and agree that the best way to resolve our issues is with peace, but know that this dream that we share will be very difficult to realize. I hope that if we meet one day it is in some nice café over a cup of coffee rather than on the battlefield.

May peace be with us all,


Monday, January 10, 2005


Today was a very depressing day for myself and Edik Baghdasarian, Editor in Chief of Hetq Online. Since 24 December we have been working on a special edition of Hetq that is due to go online on 12 January 2005. The edition will be dedicated to the homeless in Yerevan. Anyway, since 30 December we have been concentrating on one group of homeless in particular that is living in the open in a park situated right in the heart of the Armenian capital. Unlike many other homeless in Yerevan, they are not hidden away underground or in the main districts of the capital where foreigners rarely visit. They are quite visible to the authorities, the public and local and international NGOs.

Yet, nobody seems to care about them.

The group varies in size but as we've been visiting almost on a daily basis, we can quite categorically state that there is a core group of five people that sometimes increases in size to six or seven. Three of this core group are volunteer fighters from Karabagh. Edik knows this is true because he was also in Karabagh during the war. As horrible as the plight of the homeless is throughout the world, what makes Armenia different is that there are no organizations -- local, international or Diasporan -- that work with the homeless in Yerevan. Even in neighboring Georgia, a shelter for the homeless was opened in 1999 by the Pope of all people.

In 2003, the ARF-D attempted to push for a shelter to be opened in Yerevan so serious is the problem but it would appear that the authorities are dragging their feet on the matter. Even the Yerevan Mayor's Office refuses to accept that homelessness is a problem in the city.

There is an URGENT need for an organization to work with the homeless in Yerevan. Estimates for their numbers vary between 500-1000 individuals of which we know definitely of around 60-70 in just two weeks of working on the subject matter. However, what has concerned us prior to the special issue of Hetq Online due on 12 January is that in this group that we know living in a park in the center of the city, there is an urgent need for someone to step in immediately to prevent what we consider to be the likelihood of two individuals, Bash and Raffik dying this week.

The temperature during these past two days has plumetted and today, there was a noticeable deterioration in the health of Bash, a sixty year old with swollen feet who can not walk, and Raffik. The latter burnt his hand severly in a fire and runs the risk of infection in the wound in addition to looking as though he is unable to endure the sub zero temperatures at night for much longer. Unfortunately, the problem is that hospitals in Yerevan refuse to see the homeless. Instead, as is the case every year, the homeless are left to die on the streets.

In December alone we think that as many as 20 people died on the streets and we really don't want to see that number increase. Today, however, we have to admit that we are concerned that the death toll will increase by two very, very soon and we URGENTLY need to find a doctor who is willing to visit and examine these two cases in particular. As I said at the beginning of this note, there are no organizations dealing with the homeless in Armenia and while there is the need for someone to deal with this problem, the most immediate concern is getting a doctor.

The authorities don't care -- plain and simple. It is easier just to let the homeless to die. At the moment, Edik is personally treating Raffik's hand, changing the bandages, applying cream etc but the cold weather has now seen a deterioration in Raffik's general health. Bash has always been a concern and is almost certain not to survive the winter. If any individual or organization knows of a doctor in Yerevan who is willing to visit and treat these two cases please contact Edik Baghdasarian at Hetq Online urgently. Edik can be reached at or telephone (3741) 563 149.

We were hoping that the special issue of Hetq Online due on 12 January might draw attention to their plight (there is already a photostory online at: but to be honest, from visiting this one group today, I'm not sure that Raffik and Bash will survive that long. Really, I consider the matter of the utmost urgency and it amazes me that with all this money coming into Armenia as humanitarian aid that such a visible group can be ignored for so long.

Makes me question the effectiveness of that assistance to be honest and I have to wonder how much of it is actually spent on improving the social situation in Armenia and how much just goes on perks, salaries, restaurants, apartments, 4 wheel drives and the rest of it.

Thanks to anyone who can help,

Onnik Krikorian

Sunday, January 09, 2005

I got a letter from my friend Orhan, who a university student in Baku that I wanted to share with you:

From: "orxan huseyinli"
Subject: my answer!
Date: Sat, 08 Jan 2005 17:46:37 +0300

:-) Good days Ara! How are you? i hope you are well! im ok too! I don
wanna to talk to you about this! All my answer is in this internet site! You can enter and look and i hope you will know what your gangs did to my nation! And i mvery very ungry for this! Bye and take care!p.s. Please look to photos ! the with best regards,Orhan

I wrote back:

Subject: RE: my answer!
To: "orxan huseyinli"
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 05:18:03 -0800 (PST)

Hi Orhan,

I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well.

What happened in Khojaly certainly was a tragedy. You really have to ask the question of why such a thing happened?

I know from speaking to quite a few people who were in Stepanagert before the Khojaly tragedy that the Armenian people of Artsakh were surrounded on all sides and were being bombarded from artillery attacks from many places including Khojaly.

Have you ever seen what a mouse that is backed to a corner with no escape route will do? They loose their fear and fight to the death if need be.

Your leaders at the time committed one of the biggest mistakes they could and that was to NOT give the Armenian people an escape route, leaving them with no choice but to fight or die.

Believe it or not, most Armenians of Artsakh before the war were not fighters and if you gave them a 1% change to flee, they would have. What the Azeri programs did was to force common people to bring out the fighter in them and to understand that fighting and killing is not difficult at all. This is also the reason we have been able to repel attacks since 1994, because out of survival, we have all become seasoned fighters.

Khojaly resulted from the mistake of not giving an escape route and yes, there were women and children that lost their lives in the process of neutralizing the treat coming from Khojaly, as there were women and children that lost there lives in other programs that Azerbaijan’s leaders at the time carried out against the Armenian people, some of who lost their lives in the streets of the city you live in.

We have to ask the question of why the Armenians were able to take Aghdam, Kelbajar and Fizuli? Because they always gave the people there an escape route. In fact, the liberation of Kelbajar included the war being stopped for a few hours to transport civilians out of the war zone allowing safe passage to Azerbaijan .

In fairness to and to better understand the big picture, the following are events that took place prior to the Khojaly tragedy:

February 11, 1988: Armenian activists organize public demonstrations in Stepanakert and other regional centers of Karabagh. Open letters, flyers, and petitions calling for reunification with Armenia are distributed during the rallies. Christian Science Monitor, 2/29/88

February 20, 1988: By a 110-17 vote, the Regional Soviet of the Nagorno-Karabagh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) calls for the reunification of Karabagh with Armenia. Azerbaijani members of the Soviet abstain during the voting. Christian Science Monitor, 2/29/88

February 21-22, 1988: In Hadrut, Karabagh’s southernmost district, Armenian residents are attacked in retaliation for the recent public demonstrations. Many Armenians are driven from their homes toward Stepanakert.

February 23, 1988: The Central Committee of the Communist Party rejects the demands of NKAO. Massive demonstrations taken place in Yerevan, Armenia’s capitol.

February 27-29 1988: Azerbaijani mobs organize premeditated anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, an industrial city on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Hundreds are killed. Nearly all of the remaining Armenian inhabitants hastily flee. United Press International, 2/29/88; New York Times, 3/1/88

March 4, 1998: Gangs of Azerbaijanis attack, beat, and kill Armenians in the streets of Kirovabad (Ganja). The number killed is unknown. Azerbaijani police do little to stop the violence. Toronto Star, 3/11/88

March 28, 1988: The USSR Supreme Soviet presidium rejects Nagorno-Karabagh’s call for reunification.

May 13, 1988: An Armenian child is killed when Azerbaijani gangs destroy an Armenian kindergarten in Stepanakert. United Press International, 3/13/88

June 15, 1988: The Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR adopts the decision taken during the NKAO’s February 20 session regarding reunification.

July 12, 1988: The NKAO Regional Soviet once again decides, in accordance with the provisions of the USSR Constitution, to secede from Azerbaijan. Macleans, 7/25/88

July 18, 1988: The USSR Supreme Soviet rejects NKAO’s call for reunification.

July 29, 1988: Half a million people rally at night in the Armenian capital of Yerevan to protest a Kremlin ruling dashing Armenian claims to Nagorno-Karabagh. Los Angeles Times, 8/3/88

September 18, 1988: One Armenian is killed and 70 others are wounded in disturbances in Khojalu, near Stepanakert. Economist, 9/24/88; Washington Post, 9/21/88

November 20-24, 1988: Anti-Armenian pogroms take place in several Azerbaijani cities, including Baku, Nakhichevan, and Ganja (Kirovabad), during which 20 Armenians and 3 Soviet soldiers guarding them are killed. At least 300 Armenian homes are burned down in Ganja. Soviet troops are assigned to guard the homes of Armenians in Baku. A state of emergency and curfew are established in Ganja and Baku. BBC, 11/26/88; Guardian, 11/26/88

January 12, 1989: The USSR Supreme Soviet decides to keep NKAO under Azerbaijani jurisdiction. The Supreme Soviet also forms a Special Commission to directly govern the region.

August 16, 1989: The Armenians of NKAO form their own National Council.

August 19, 1989: The New York Times reports (in an article filed from Barda, Azerbaijan) that a bus full of Armenians from Mir-Bashir to Stepanakert was violently attacked by Azerbaijani youth and had to be rescued by Soviet troops. New York Times, 9/17/89

August 20, 1989: Moscow home service reports that traffic to Nagorno-Karabagh is completely cut off by an Azerbaijani-imposed blockade.

November 28, 1989: The USSR Supreme Soviet removes NKAO’s special administrative status, reinstating Azerbaijani direct rule.

January 1990: Azeri Forces begin to use the heights of Khojalu as a missile launching point upon the nearby Armenian inhabited areas of Askeran and Getashen.

January 13, 1990: Azerbaijani mobs descend upon the Armenian districts of Baku, killing more than 100 Armenians. Thousands of others are raped, wounded, and otherwise assaulted. Tens of thousands of Armenian homes are broken into and plundered. Virtually all remaining Armenians — from a previous figure of a quarter million — are driven out of the city.

January 14, 1990: Anti-Armenian rallies are held in cities throughout Azerbaijan, including Sumgait, Masally, Aksu, Divichi, Aghdam, Belokani, Zakataly, Sabirabad, Pushkino, Mingechaur, and Kusari.

February 14, 1990: According to Interior Ministry Major-General Yevgeny Nechayev, quoted in Komsomolskaya Pravda, corpses have been found buried in a grave and in a sandpit, about 30 miles apart, in northwestern Azerbaijan. Authorities announce they have found six more mutilated corpses in Azerbaijan, bringing to 18 the total discovered in two separate graves earlier in the week. Eleven of the 12 earlier victims, found in Yenikend, were described as handicapped Armenians who had disappeared from the Ganja State Invalids’ Home on January 24, 1990. Each of the bodies had numerous bullet and knife wounds. Nechayev did not identify the last six by nationality. The Ganja victims appeared to have died after the anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku.

October 23, 1990: The Armenian populated village of Berdadzor is subjected to attack by Azeri forces.

December 2, 1990: The water supply of Karabagh’s capital, Stepanakert, is sabotaged, leaving 60% of the city’s population without water. BBC, 12/8/90

January 18, 1991: A Rossiyskaya Gazeta report quotes Igor Bobanov, co-chairman of the Leningrad Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Artsakh [Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabagh], as saying that the Armenian population (20,000 to 25,000 people) has been deported en masse from the recently dissolved Shahumian region of northwestern Karabagh, and that there have been casualties. All communication with the district has been cut off, and Interior Ministry troops have disarmed the district police. The Armenpress news agency reports that servicemen have been allowed to open fire without warning if passing cars refuse to stop at checkpoints.

March 14, 1990: The European Parliament issues a statement to Soviet authorities calling for the restoration of Karabagh’s own legally endowed political bodies.

April 30, 1991: In a massive attack, Soviet forces succeed in taking over the Armenian inhabited villages of Gedashen and Martunashen. The Russian-Azeri alliance results in the capture of many prisoners.

May 1, 1991: A Moskovsky Novosti correspondent in Getashen, a town in the Shahumian region, reports seeing with his own eyes the bodies of men and women floating in pools of blood. Many of these ‘‘had had their ears chopped off and their faces slashed beyond recognition.’’ Almost all of them had their throats slit from ear to ear, he reports. In a house [evidently used as a hospital], the journalist saw a scalped corpse and a little girl sitting beside a dismembered woman’s body. Many people had bullet wounds, mostly in the arms and legs. The journalist was also an eyewitness to the shelling by heavy guns of another Armenian village, Martunashen.

May 7, 1991: Joint attacks by Soviet and Azerbaijani OMON (Interior Ministry police special forces) succeed in overrunning the villages of Getashen and Martunashen. Armenians there are ethnically cleansed, and 53 prisoners are taken to nearby Ganja. Some of the prisoners are eventually released as part of a swap after Armenian fighters manage to capture 16 Russian soldiers. BBC, 5/22/91

May 13, 1991: Soviet Fourth Army troops surround the village of Aragiul. As a pretext for the mass deportation of the village’s 233 Armenians, Azerbaijani special forces arrive to check residence papers and search for armed Armenian militants. Newsday, 5/28/91

July 2-4, 1991: Azerbaijani OMON troops, supported by USSR Internal Affairs Ministry forces, shell, overrun, and loot Armenian villages in Nagorno-Karabagh under the pretext of conducting searches. Atrocities are perpetrated against Armenians in Martuni, Vosketevan, Vank, and Arakadzor; property, money, and valuables are pillaged and looted. BBC, 7/8/91

July 13-14, 1991: Azerbaijani Interior Ministry forces, with the support of sub-units of the USSR MVD Internal Troops and the 23rd Division of the Soviet Fourth Army, forcibly deport Armenians from the villages of Manashid and Buzlukh in the Shahumian region. Women and children flee to neighboring Armenian villages, and the men hide in nearby forests. Azerbaijani troops enter the villages and pillage Armenian property. Agence France Presse, 7/15/91

October 4, 1991: The Armenian village of Khramort in the Askeran region of Nagorno-Karabagh is shelled by some 40 missiles, fired from the direction of the city of Aghdam in the adjoining Azerbaijani region of the same name. BBC, 10/17/91

December 10, 1991: In a public referendum, 99% of Karabagh Armenians vote in favor of the creation of an independent Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR). The legislature ratifies independence on January 6, 1992.

December 16-17, 1991: “Alazan” missiles and mortar shells rain down on the capital, Stepanakert, from the heights of Shushi and Kirkijan, overlooking the city. Scores are killed or wounded. Over 80% of the city is hit by the continuous shelling.

December 29, 1991: Backed by armor, 18 Azerbaijani battalions head toward Nagorno-Karabagh. Azerbaijani troops have increased their shelling of Armenian villages since Soviet Interior Ministry troops started their pullout from the newly declared republic. The Independent (London), 12/30/91

February 24, 1992: Two days after a cease-fire agreement, fighting escalated in Agdam, Khojaly, Gyandzha. 20 people were killed in an Azerbaijani missle attack on Askeran.

I guess the big question I have and you must also have is how this whole thing will end? No one wants to see tragedies like the one in Khojaly repeat itself and I would hope that in time Azeris and Armenians will come to an agreement that war is not the answer to our differences.

Be well and let us pray to our Gods for peace,


Saturday, January 08, 2005

On December 20, 2004 while in Yahoo games backgammon, I met a Turkish neighbor with the nick “Ercan”. We played and talked. Our conversation ended in the game room and continued on Instant Messenger. In the game room, he had told me of his grandfather who was killed in 1915 on the Iraqi boarder by Armenian gangs. I told him that it was possible that my grandfather had killed him. He was also under the impression that Armenian was a religion to which I told him it is a nationality.

Ara says: So tell me about your grandfather and the story that you heard of his death?
Ara says: It is very interesting to me.
Ercan says: he is my grandfather brother
Ara says: So not your grandfather, but his brother?
Ercan says: yes
Ara says: He was 18
Ara says: it happened on the boarder of Iraq
Ercan says: i think 16 years like that
Ercan says: do u know armeian gang
Ercan says: they are killed him
Ara says: When you say gang, what do you mean?
Ercan says: evrybody they are warring with 1. world war
Ara says: If it was in 1915, then it was during the genocide
Ara says: do you know what month it was?
Ercan says: my grand father said
Ara says: was it in winter?
Ercan says: when he is pray they are take him and they are killed him land
Ercan says: when warr finish
Ara says: 1918
Ercan says: turkish army drive away Armenia
Ercan says: i know its sad story
Ercan says: sriye
Ara says: Well my family was from Van
Ara says: on my father's side
Ercan says: not wan
Ercan says: van
Ercan says: siirt
Ara says: That is the town your family was from?
Ercan says: did you hear siirt?
Ara says: No
Ercan says: yes
Ercan says: its close diyarbakir
Ercan says: and beetwen mardin
Ara says: I have not heard of Siirt
Ercan says: check map
Ercan says: you can see
Ara says: I will later
Ara says: Tell me about what you know of Tallat Pasha?
Ercan says: just i can tell you i have so close friends
Ercan says: and they are armenia peoples
Ara says: I am sure
Ara says: Are there many Armenians in Turkey today?
Ercan says: they are my best friend
Ercan says: yes
Ara says: Do they talk about the past and 1915?
Ercan says: we are respect eachother
Ercan says: fuck off talatpasa
Ercan says: we have to look ahead
Ara says: Well yes we do, but like I said before, we have to remember the past so it does not happen again.
Ercan says: we will not grow with with enemy
Ercan says: we will open border
Ercan says: we will hold eachother
Ercan says: pass its pass
Ara says: What do you know of Nagorno-Karabagh?
Ercan says: what we can do
Ercan says: yes i know
Ercan says: its my famly place
Ara says: You have family from Karabagh?
Ercan says: pardon
Ercan says: near ajerbaycan?
Ara says: what town?
Ercan says: nevermind
Ercan says: Karabagh?
Ercan says: near ajerbaycan?
Ara says: Yes
Ercan says: i know
Ercan says: i understen wrong
Ara says: Nagorno-Karabagh, near Azerbaijan
Ercan says: yes
Ercan says: and so_?
Ara says: What do you think of the situation there?
Ara says: What must we do?
Ercan says: just i wish peace
Ara says: Peace is a good thing to dream about, but politics and economy do not always allow for peace.
Ercan says: so lisen to me
Ercan says: world its so big we can share why we are warring?
Ercan says: belive me its enough for evrybody
Ercan says: we can live with peace
Ara says: What you have to understand is that everyone that has a television sees nice thing they want.
Ercan says: i dont want babies die
Ercan says: i dont want peoples die
Ara says: If everyone wants those nice things, then the world and its resources are too small.
Ercan says: i dont want kids be without dad
Ara says: There are too many people that want to be rich, but too many rich people means that there have to be millions of poor people.

Ercan is inviting you to start viewing webcam. Do you want to Accept (Alt+C) or Decline (Alt+D) the invitation?

You have accepted the invitation to start viewing webcam.

Ara says: War is not about religion, but about money, power and economy
Ercan says: yes its true
Ara says: I don't have a web cam.
Ercan says: life its not fair
Ercan says: no problem
Ara says: Has anyone ever told you that you look Armenian?
Ara says: I have a friend that looks like you.
Ercan says: yes i know economi there so bad
Ercan says: but why french armenia help
Ercan says: your country
Ercan says: do u remember? how many diplomat deat from armenia teror?
Ercan says: is it solution?
Ara says: Terror is never a solution
Ercan says: ok good
Ara says: but when you have no other power in your hands, then it sometimes is the only solution at that time
Ercan says: and your country is it help pkk teror? kurdish teror?
Ercan says: is it solution?
Ara says: What is happening in Iraq today is bad, but I agree that the terror attacks they have been having are the only option
Ara says: When they killed Tallat Pasha, what at the right thing to do?
Ara says: Was that Terror?
Ara says: At that time that was the only power the Armenians has to defend themselves from more genocide.
Ara says: If you know history, then you should know that what happened in Turkey in 1915 to 1918 was going to continue in 1920 from Azerbaijan
Ercan says: its was be tragedy for armenai and also turkish people
Ara says: And the group that was leading that was Tallat Pasha and the other generals and leaders.
Ercan says: not only armenia
Ara says: Well yes, as the economy suffered much at that time in Turkey
Ercan says: your grand dad killed also turkish people when turkish army they are warring with french with england, and gang armenia killed woman and kids
Ercan says: do u know this stror?
Ercan says: strory?
Ara says: of couse I know that story
Ara says: many bad things happened in those days
Ercan says: for that its was be tragedy for armenai and also turkish people
Ara says: I now that my grandfather killed many people that in today's world and in war you would not kill
Ercan says: now we have to forget
Ara says: But why do we have to forget?
Ara says: We have to record and accept history
Ara says: so if this is to happen again, people will learn that it was wrong.
Ercan says: if i think how my granddad brother killed from armenia how i can be best friend with elizabet
Ercan says: with corch
Ercan says: are you agree with me?
Ara says: There were many people in Karabagh that were friends with Azeri Turks
Ara says: they still call each other on the phone
Ara says: to talk
Ara says: they are still friends
Ercan says: i havent grudge
Ara says: but we have to do everything we can so these wars do not happen again.
Ara says: Why is the boarder with Armenia and Turkey closed?
Ercan says: we have to live with peace
Ercan says: we have to open doors
Ara says: Why does not the Turkish government want to talk about the genocide of 1915?
Ercan says: just stubid turkish politic
Ara says: I want nothing more than to live in peace with my neighbors
Ercan says: we have to make something
Ara says: but when my house in Istanbul was taken from my family who had for over 1,000 years lived there, I have to at least have an answer to that question.
Ara says: Politics are a bad thing, but since they are there, we have to learn to deal with them
Ercan says: did you been my country?
Ara says: Not yet
Ara says: My mother has been there and felt like she was home.
Ercan says: when you will come you will wellcome
Ara says: She said that she had no problem being there.
Ara says: She told me she felt very welcome there.
Ara says: I have no doubt at all that I will feel welcome.
Ercan says: allways friend
Ara says: What do you do in Turkey?
Ercan says: so what are you job?
Ercan says: im working french car compny
Ara says: I deal with human rights
Ercan says: so what are you job friend?
Ara says: I defend people who have problems with the Armenian and Karabagh government for the most part.
Ercan says: you have great english
Ara says: I was born in America
Ercan says: really
Ara says: Our family fled Turkey in 1915 and ended up in America
Ara says: Now I have returned.
Ercan says: are you stay in usa now?
Ara says: No, I live in Nagorno-Karabagh
Ercan says: and you are choice poor country
Ercan says: bravoo
Ara says: you can read about the work I do there at
Ercan says: i understend
Ercan says: how old are you?
Ara says: I was a witness to the war there
Ara says: 39
Ara says: I saw first had what the Azerbaijani army did
Ara says: and I'm not mad at the Azeri people
Ara says: since like you said and I agree, stupid politics
Ara says: it's not about what the people want, but about what a few people at the top want to gain.
Ara says: You have said it and I agree, we must move forward and find peace
Ara says: our big problem today is that the world is not that big and the resouces we have do not take care of or are enough for everyone to live "well".
Ercan says: you mean here?
Ercan says: are you married?
Ercan says: ok nice to meet you friend
Ara says: I am engaged to be marred in the summer
Ercan says: i have to go
Ara says: Okay
Ercan says: im so happy to meet you
Ara says: Be well and let's hope we can talk again some time.
Ara says: Nice to meet you
Ercan says: i wish you alot best
Ercan says: yes why not
Ara says: Say hello to your Armenian friends from me.
Ara says: The same to you my friend.

I have written to Ercan a couple of times to continue our conversation, but until now, there has been no response.

I did a search on Yahoo for “Siirt” (which is South-West of Van) and taking a random pick of the results ( came up with this little blurb that should give us an idea of what was going on there in 1915 when Ercan’s grandfather’s brother was killed by “Armenian gangs”.

“The Ottoman Interior Minister, Tallat, and War Minister, Evan Pasha urged "purification of Turkey, and in the process, the elimination of the "unaccommodating" Christians. Thus, Djevdad Bey (15) turned his defeated forces against local Assyrian Christians. Djevdad, nicknamed Kassab tabouri (battalion of butchers), massacred the entire Christian population of Siirt and its environs. Over 70 Christian villages were sacked and burned, and all the clergy including the famous scholar Bishop Addai Scheri, fell victim to Djevdad's sword. Wherever there was an Assyrian presence, the population was decimated. This happened from the mountains of Hakkari (which bordered the newly created Russian frontier) all the way west to Turadin and Mardin, including Dyarbekir (Amida), Bitlis, Urfa (Edessa), Adana, Siirt, and Jezirat Ibn Omar. The Assyrians throughout the region were deported forcibly or massacred, their houses destroyed, and their churches, monuments and cemeteries pillaged and desecrated with human excrement. A report in L'Asie Française of that time is quoted as saying: "The martyrdom of the Assyrians who have all been virtually massacred in the district of Dyarbekir and in the region of Siirt recalls in the most vivid way the Armenian slaughter. … Over 25,000 Assyrians were massacred by Turks and Kurds, or died of hunger or other causes inflicted on the deportation routes in 1915."(16)”

Another Assault by a Yesihva Student on an Armenian Priest

Armenian New Network/Groong
January 6, 2005

by Bedross Der Matossian


While Armenians all over the world were celebrating Christmas on the 6th of January, Armenians of Jerusalem were celebrating the feast of Saint James the Lesser First Bishop of Jerusalem and the feast of King David.

On the same day Father Avedis Ipradjian woke up early to go to the Church of Virgin Mary in order to conduct a mass. After completing his duties in the church of Virgin Mary, Father Avedis returned back to the Monastery of St. James in order to take part in the Holy Mass.

`While I was standing in front of the Monastery's main gate, a Yeshiva student came and spat on me' father Avedis said. Father Avedis, who did not resort to any kind of violence, tried to convince the Yeshiva student to go with him to the police station and resolve the issue there peacefully. `I told him that he has to apologize for the incident and go with me to the police station but on the contrary he continued cursing me' father Avedis said furiously during a phone conversation late this evening.

While the scuffling between Father Avedis and the Yeshiva student was taking place, a taxi carrying four Yeshiva students stopped nearby. The students who were in the taxi immediately came to aid the Yeshiva Student. `Suddenly one of them attacked me and I still did not resort to any kind of violence' Father Avedis said. Meanwhile, a representative from the Foreign Ministry, who happened to be in the area and was accompanied by European diplomats and Israeli security, immediately came to the aid of Father Avedis. `The official immediately ran towards me and asked me if I need any help' Father Avedis said. `Then he tried to stop the Yeshiva students but he himself was assaulted. Consequently, the Israeli security interfered and tried to detain the Yeshiva students'.

After the arrival of the policemen, the four Yeshiva students were arrested and taken to the nearby police station. Father Avedis was also called to give a statement. Immediately Bishop Aris Shirvanian, director of ecumenical and foreign relations of the Patriarchate of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, who had gone directly to the police station, contacted Mr. Mordechai Levi the newly appointed advisor on Christian affairs to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski. `Straight away, Mr. Mordechai Levi rushed to the police station and condemned the incident' Bishop Shirvanian said.

That same evening the Jerusalem Post reported that the assault on the priest was immediately condemned by the New York-based Anti Defamation League, and, later, by the Mayor of Jerusalem. "This kind of behavior is outrageous, inappropriate and goes against all Jewish teachings, said the Co-Director of the ADL's Israel Office Laura Kam Issacharoff to the Jerusalem Post. Moreover, according to the Jerusalem Post, Mayor Uri Lupolianski also condemned the attack which he called a "despiccable act" which is "likely to harm the delicate relations that exist in Jerusalem." In the article the Mayor added "Jewish people, who were subject to centuries of persecution abroad, should be the first to show tolerance and moderation to others."

According to Bishop Shirvanian this kind of assault is not only against the Armenians but it is directed against all the Christian denominations. Bishop Shirvanian said that this kind of behavior is only restricted to an extreme segment of Orthodox Jews. `During a meeting between the Christian church leaders and the Jewish Orthodox Rabbis last month, the Jewish Orthodox leaders condemned these kinds of acts'. Bishop Shirvanian said.

Father Norayr Kazazian who also rushed to the police station expressed his concern that such incidents are still taking place and continued saying: `We all have to learn to live peacefully with each other and respect each other. Jerusalem is not only a Holy place for the Jews, but also for Christians and Muslims.'

This is the second assault on an Armenian clergy in the last three months. In October 2003, Bishop Nurhan Manoogian the Grand Sacristan of the Armenian Patriarchate was assaulted by a Yeshiva students while leading a procession marking the Exaltation of the Holy Cross near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

To: All Concerned with Armenia's Involvement in Iraq.

Enclosed please read an article published in today's Los Angeles times.

The US occupation terrorist forces have destroyed a whole country based on pure and simple lies. Many of the so called "coalition" forces have left and are leaving Iraq.

I strongly urge you all to put pressure on the rulers in Armenia to stay away from Iraq until the complete withdrawal of US occupying terrorist forces from Iraq. The rulers in Armenia have been bribed by the Bush Administration to show the world that many countries are supporting the US in its occupation of Iraq. Being bribed is not independence, as the rulers of Armenia wants us to believe. The US is not bringing democracy in Iraq. It is bringing death and destruction, and Armenia can not be any part of it. Armenia must first work very hard to bring democracy and prosperity into our homeland, before "spreading" its "democracy" elsewhere. Armenia must act on humane principles to survive, prosper and be respected in the long term.

I suggest you publish the attached article in your newspapers. The Armenian people must know the truth.

Note: Based on the attached information:
1. Countries that have withdrawn forces from Iraq are: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Hungary, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain and Thailand.
2. Countries planning to withdraw from Iraq are: The Netherlands.
3. Countries that have reduced or are planning to reduce their troop commitment from Iraq are: Poland, Ukraine, Moldova and Norway.


Harout Bronozian

Los Angeles Times
January 4, 2005

U.S. Reportedly Shifts on Involving Europeans
• Instead of seeking more troops, the White House will ask the Continent to support the larger effort to bring democracy to Iraq, officials say.

WASHINGTON — The United States is backing away from efforts to pressure European allies to join or remain in the American-led military force in Iraq and is instead working to coax those countries into participating in other initiatives in the region, according to senior Bush administration and European officials.

The shift comes after 15 countries, including Spain, Poland and Hungary, have either scaled back their already relatively small force levels in Iraq, announced pullouts or withdrawn their troops altogether over the last year. Meanwhile, the insurgency there has grown in intensity.

Last month, the Netherlands became the latest coalition member to signal its departure when Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp reaffirmed that all of the approximately 1,350 Dutch troops in Iraq would leave by the end of March.

Although U.S. forces account for the overwhelming majority of foreign troops in Iraq, 28 other nations are contributing to the force, most with fewer than 500 troops. As of August, forces from 31 countries were in the coalition.

Instead of asking for troops, the U.S. will try to persuade reluctant European allies to support the larger struggle to bring democracy to Iraq and reform to the Middle East.

According to administration officials, congressional aides and outside experts, the reason for the reduced U.S. pressure is threefold:

• An acknowledgment by the administration that foreign governments are confronting increasing political difficulty in keeping their forces in an unpopular and bloody conflict.

• A recognition of the need to move international debate beyond the divisive issue of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq and to work more closely with key allies to diminish terrorist threats common to the United States and Europe.

• The fact that, with few exceptions, the forces of the remaining coalition members are too small for their departure to have a serious effect on the military balance of power in the fight against the insurgency.

"We're now down to the reality that the only major outside force [aside from the U.S.] is the British," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a former Pentagon and State Department official now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

During his campaign for reelection, President Bush bristled at criticism that the war lacked international support, frequently citing the roster of countries that had contributed troops.

At the same time, U.S. officials have consistently stressed that the long-term solution to Iraq's security problems is to raise and train an Iraqi force capable of containing the insurgency, an exercise that military experts admit will take years, rather than months.

Until then, further reductions in foreign forces would merely add, however marginally, to the load already shouldered by U.S. and British troops.

The administration also is throttling back pressure on other countries as it begins to broaden its priorities in the Middle East beyond the immediate task of defeating armed resistance in Iraq. Administration officials now talk of the more politically ambitious goal of planting the seeds of reform across much of the Muslim world.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's trip to Europe and Morocco last month concentrated heavily on getting European governments to expand the NATO alliance's reach in Afghanistan and to participate in a recently launched program of economic and political reform aimed at the Islamic world.

There was little talk during that trip of adding nations to the Iraq military effort, except in the form of a new North Atlantic Treaty Organization military training mission.

Bush is expected to personally take the diplomatic lead on new efforts during the next few months. A trip by him to Europe, scheduled for late February, includes visits to NATO and European Union headquarters in Brussels as well as a stop in Berlin to revive ties with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The EU is also a crucial player in confronting other challenges in the Middle East, including containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions and settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Germany and France, which have two of Europe's largest armed forces, have refused to send troops to Iraq but are contributors to NATO's stabilization force in Afghanistan. French President Jacques Chirac has accepted Bush's invitation to visit Washington in the first half of this year.

"It's important to keep the coalition there, but there's a lot more these countries can do," said a senior administration official who declined to be identified by name.

The official listed economic support, including canceling billions of dollars in foreign debt run up during Saddam Hussein's rule, helping train Iraq's fledgling security forces and providing a show of political backing for whatever government emerges from the country's first competitive national election in more than four decades.

"It's extremely important you get a government that has the acceptance of the majority of the [Iraqi] population," this source said. "Foreign governments can, by their actions, help lend to this legitimacy."

The Netherlands is one example of the shift underway. Dutch officials admitted that, after weathering a heated parliamentary debate last June to maintain forces in southern Iraq's relatively peaceful Muthanna province through March, there was little chance of extending that mandate further.

British and U.S. officials stopped pressuring for an extension "a couple of months back," according to a Dutch government official, who declined to be identified by name.

By contrast, the government in The Hague has had comparatively little resistance to its decision in November to forgive Iraq more than $220 million in outstanding debts. Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Bart Jochems said the government was also considering sending about 25 soldiers to NATO's training mission in Baghdad and he noted that about 260 military personnel also were serving under NATO command in Afghanistan.

"We need to stop looking in the rear-view mirror and realize we're all in this together," Jochems said.

The Madrid train bombings in March, which claimed 191 lives, and the Nov. 2 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh — both linked to Muslim militants — have helped create the sense in Europe that it has a stake in helping defeat Islamic extremism.

"This isn't a trade-off, it's a transition to a whole different issue," said a veteran U.S. congressional aide. "The Europeans have woken up to the terrorism challenges we face. We can still argue if [the Iraq invasion] was a mistake, but we all have to recognize that there's a problem now that carries huge geostrategic implications. The European Union can play a role and NATO can play a role."

Experts noted that, in many cases, the withdrawal of nations from the U.S.-led military force in Iraq could have more of a political than a military impact.

"The loss will be one largely of appearances rather than effective fighting forces on the ground," said James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corp. and a veteran diplomat who has served under four presidents.

Dobbins said the involvement of these countries in other Iraq-related programs would send a positive political message.

"It will help legitimize the Iraq government and its efforts to fight and win international recognition," he said.

Monday, January 03, 2005

On the 1st, we went to the Mayor’s house for a barbeque. After being stuffed the night before, we stuffed ourselves again.

After tea, we sat around and relaxed. The Mayor’s wife Stela suggested that we play cards. I never was really into playing cards, but decided that instead of watching and wondering how these card games are played, I agreed to be taught. Though it was a little bit difficult to learn at first, I got the hang of it.

The first game we played was called durag, which in Russian means “stupid”.

The object the game is to get rid of all your cards and the one that is left with cards in their hand gets one letter from the word “durag” and if you loose 5 times you are given the title of “stupid”.

The next game we played I didn’t like at all and after playing it twice decided that this was a game that needed to be banned from being played in Artsakh. This game I guess is called liar.

All the cards are dealt and the object is to get rid all your cards. You do this by placing cards face down and calling out what have supposedly placed, for instance “three queens”. The next person can say that they believe you, don’t believe you or add more queens to the pile and even say they have added 3 queens.

I didn’t like this game at all, as it teaches children to lie, which maybe explains why so many adults here lie so much.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy belated New Years everyone!!!

I hope your New Years celebration were as good as mine.

I didn’t have an internet connection for almost a week since my return to Martuni and you know what? It felt really good not to be connected to the outside world.

New Years was quite pleasant. I also have an American-born Armenian who joined us in Martuni to welcome in 2005.

Our return to Martuni was for the most part was uneventful and the trip only took 6 hours.

At the Lachin check point, which according to a friend at the Armenian Assembly in Washington DC is better known as the 500 dram crossing (due to everyone expecting to pay a 500 dram bribe), the President has posted someone from the prosecutor’s office to make sure that the bribe taking stops.

When we got to the post, the guards and the person from the prosecutor’s office were sitting inside keeping warm and watching the cars pass. On the outside, out of view from the guards window was one of the guards smoking.

Our driver stopped just past the checkpoint, next to the guard smoking, didn’t go up to the window to register and instead walked up to the smoking guard, shook his hand and slipped him 500 dram, which we watched as the guard put in his pocket.

My guess is that the guy from the prosecutor’s office is in on this continuing lucrative deal, as no one said anything when our driver got back in the car without going up to the checkpoint window to present his document and drove off.

When we asked what that was all about, our driver said that the guy from the prosecutor’s office was there just for show, so people think that the President is on the job.

We got to Martuni, where I presented our driver with 25,000 dram, which was 7,000 dram per person, plus 4,000 dram for extra gas he has to supposedly use since we brought with us a gas heater and a carpet that I had made for my mother’s room. When he counted the 25,000 dram, he told me that I had to give another 5,000 dram, as the holiday rate was no less than 30,000 dram.

I was a little bit surprised, as he didn’t pre-warn me to the holiday gouging and when I asked him if the rate was 7,000 dram, he told me that yes, but around this time of year, no one would take us for less. I paid him, but you can be sure that this will be the last time I will ride in his car and after my fiancé repeated what happened to a couple of people, word will get around.

As for our New Years, like I said it was nice.

We spent the first part at the Mayor’s house, where I took with me a bottle of wine that one of our readers sent.

After dinner, I went to Rosa Myrig’s house, where I took a bag of Swiss chocolates that the same reader sent for her. A cup of tea and a short visit, I headed to my future in-laws house.

We welcomed in the New Years after listing to Kocharian spew some BS, we clinked glasses and sat for a meal.

At 1am, we went to the city center to join some friends and stayed for a good part of the morning.

The following afternoon, I talked with my parents as they welcomed in the New Year in California.

For those of you who didn’t get a holiday greeting from me, don’t feel bad, no one did. Fear not, you will hear from me on January 6th (as long as my connection holds out).

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Thursday 30, December 2004

Dashnaks Slam Karabakh’s Ghukasian, Quit Government

By Emil Danielyan

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Wednesday angrily withdrew its support from Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian in protest against the unexpected sacking of its sole minister in his cabinet.

In a strongly-worded statement, the local branch of the influential pan-Armenian party announced the resignation of all other Dashnaktsutyun members serving in the Karabakh government. It also portrayed Ghukasian as a weak and dishonest leader who is disinterested in the unrecognized republic’s democratization.

“He has failed to become a symbol of unity and solidarity,” the statement charged.

The dismissal of Armen Sargsian, Karabakh’s longtime education and culture minister affiliated with Dashnaktsutyun, was announced by Ghukasian’s office on Friday as part of a sweeping government reshuffle. It followed strong criticism of the government’s track record voiced by Ghukasian.

According to the Dashnaktsutyun statement, the Karabakh leader was never unhappy with Sargsian’s performance and even thanked him for his “efficient work” just days before firing him.

“In reality, Ghukasian never came to terms to the comparative success achieved by Dashnaktsutyun and other democratic forces during the recent local elections,” said the statement. “He is seriously worried about the upcoming parliamentary elections [due in 2005].”

The polls saw an opposition candidate endorsed by Dashnaktsutyun beat a Ghukasian-backed challenger and become mayor of the capital Stepanakert. The statement suggested that Ghukasian now fears losing control of the Karabakh parliament currently dominated by his loyalists.

“With this step, the president is effectively driving Dashnaktsutyun, the leading political force of Artsakh (Karabakh), into opposition,” it said. “He is also not conscious of the domestic and international significance of holding free, legitimate and democratic elections in Artsakh.”

The Karabakh Dashnaks have already been in opposition to Ghukasian in the past. They were given senior government posts in return for endorsing Ghukasian’s reelection bid in the August 2002 presidential ballot. The statement explained that they never fully agreed with his internal policies and cut the power-sharing deal only “in the interests of the Artsakh people.”

Ghukasian subjected his government to unusually strong criticism at a meeting with a large group of Karabakh officials on December 16. He complained that government and law-enforcement officials are mired in corruption and “indifferent to citizens’ problems.” He did not name names, however.