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RESOLUTION H.252 UPDATE
U.S. House of Representatives will likely have its last opportunity, before adjourning, to hold a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution on Wednesday 22 December, when the House leadership is expected to schedule a series of votes on legislation, including a measure that would provide additional health benefits for 9/11 first responders, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
LEGAL ACTION FILED AGAINST THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY, CENTRAL BANK OF TURKEY AND ZIRAAT BANKASI FOR STEALING AND PROFITING FROM LAND WHICH IS NOW THE UNITED STATES INCIRLIK AIR BASE IN ADANA - TURKEY
MANY CYPRIOT ARMENIANS, HOLDERS OF TITLE DEEDS IN US BASE OF INCIRLIK IN ADANA, PROBING HOW LEGAL ACTION MAY AFFECT THEIR OWNERSHIP RIGHTS
LAWSUIT SAYS THAT THE LAND UNDER THE U.S. AIRBASE OF INCIRLIK IS STOLEN BY TURKEY DURING THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
20 DecEMBER 2010 - LOS ANGELES - Descendants of Armenian Genocide victims today filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against the Turkish government and two leading Turkish banks seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages, citing the illegal seizure of their homes, business and farmland, a portion of which now houses a key U.S. airbase used to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuit accuses the Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and T.C. Ziraat Bankasi, one of Turkey’s largest and oldest banks, of stealing and then profiting from land that was illegally seized during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23, when the Ottoman Turks drove them from the Adana region, a center of Armenian culture and religion. The three Armenian Americans who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars as compensation for their families’ seized property and repayment of rent and other illegal proceeds collected over the past century. This is the first lawsuit filed in a U.S. court against the Turkish government in which the plaintiffs are seeking reimbursement for specific parcels of property illegally seized during the Armenian Genocide, said their attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan, whose wife, Rita Mahdessian, is one of three Armenian American plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Mahdessian’s ancestor was a wealthy Armenian landowner who was forced to flee Turkey with his family in 1915, leaving behind his home, some farmland, a dry goods store and an insurance business. Their lawsuit seeks “fair market rents and other relief for Plaintiffs, the rightful owners and their heirs, of approximately 122.5 acres of property located in the Adana region of Turkey,” according to the filing.
The Incirlik Air Base, which is located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, is considered strategically vital to U.S. interests in the region. During the Cold War, the base was used for U.S. spy plane missions over the Soviet Union. Today, the base is a vital transportation hub supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and humanitarian missions throughout the region. Fast food giants Baskin-Robbins, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are among the U.S. companies operating on the base, according to the lawsuit. The Turkish government has repeatedly threatened to deny Americans access to the base if the U.S. Congress recognizes the Armenian Genocide, despite the fact that the base is built on land illegally confiscated from Armenians. “I was upset when I learned that the Turkish government was renting my family’s property to the U.S. government for an airbase,” said Anais Haroutunian, another plaintiff in the case. “I cannot believe that the brave Americans who have served at Incirlik, some of whom are of Armenian descent themselves, would condone such abhorrent behavior by a government claiming to be our ally.” Today’s filing comes less than a week after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that descendants of Armenian Genocide victims could pursue legal action against insurance firms that failed to honor the policies of Armenian Genocide victims, re-opening the door for legal claims in California stemming from the Turkish atrocities. California, home of the nation’s largest Armenian community, is one of 43 states that have passed laws recognizing the massacre of more than 1 million Armenians nearly a century ago by the Ottoman Turks. “Until Turkey acknowledges and makes amends for this Genocide, the injustice continues unabated,” said Yeghiayan, a Glendale attorney who has championed the Armenian Genocide litigation movement. “There can be no healing until Turkey does what is right.” Joining Yeghiayan in this litigation are Los Angeles attorneys Kathryn Lee Boyd and David Schwarcz of Todd, Ferentz, Schwarcz & Rimberg. Professor Michael Bazyler of Chapman University, one of the nation’s leading experts on Genocide law and restitution, has been brought in as an international legal expert. Yeghiayan has filed more than half a dozen lawsuits related to the Armenian Genocide issue and has negotiated successful multi-million dollar settlements against two major life insurance companies. In June, Yeghiayan and Boyd filed litigation against the J. Paul Getty Museum in what is believed to be the first case in the U.S. seeking the return of cultural or religious objects stolen during the Armenian Genocide.
Haroutunian, Mahdessian and Alex Bakalian, the third plaintiff in today’s filing, have deeds proving ownership to the property stolen from their grandparents, some of which lies directly beneath the runways, warehouses and commercial buildings that have served the U.S. military since the 1950s, according to their lawsuit. The town of Incirlik, where the base was built, was also home for a large Armenian church. The lawsuit estimates the current value of the stolen Armenian land in and around Incirlik Air Base at approximately $63.9 million based on U.S. Department of Defense data.
TURKEY UNHAPPY WITH
ISRAEL - CYPRUS DEAL
AFP - Turkey summoned the Israeli envoy to convey its unease over a deal between the Jewish state and Cyprus over economic rights in the Mediterranean, officials and media reports said on Sunday.
A senior diplomat told AFP that Ambassador Gaby Levy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, a day before the agreement was signed, but would not give other details.
The issue comes atop an already deep crisis in Turkish-Israeli ties since nine Turks were killed when Israeli forces raided an activist ship carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31.
PROMENADE AT MEKHITARA GOTOGH
NEAR TURKISH - OCCUPIED MAGARAVANK
On Sunday, I visited Magaravank together with Diana Bridger, who is the Senior Police Advisor for UNFICYP and a friend of Simon Aynedjian. Although we had to walk up and down, often steep terrain of over a mile, the end result was very rewarding. Not only did we visit the Vank but also the Mekhitara gotogh, which is located on the Mekhitara plur, to the north-east of the Monastery.
This monument has a very interesting history. An introduction on Mekhitar first: Mekhitar of Sebaste was a prominent scholar and theologian. In his efforts to seek the truth and knowledge, he became associated with the Catholic doctrine and set from Alexandretta in 1695 to visit Rome. His first (and only) stop was Cyprus, Famagusta to be exact. There he was very much welcomed by the Armenian community, but news of his apostasy soon followed him, and the locals there ousted him from the city. He had heard of the great Sourp Magar monastery in Pentadhaktylos, and he sought refuge there, as in the mean time his brief stay in Alexandretta had given him the gift of malaria. Although the monks there, very strict in their manners, did not welcome him - as they knew he no longer retained the Orthodox faith -, they did give him however a place to stay. After he convalesced he returned back to Minor Asia and entered the Sourp Nshan monastery in 1696. In 1701 he founded in Constantinople his Miapanoutiun (Brotherhood) and from there he went to Peloponnese in Greece, which at the time was a Venetian possession. In 1715 the Order moved to the island of San Lazzaro in Venice, which until then was used for lepers. Even today one can see the small windows of the buildings that used to house these poor souls. From their base in Venice, the Mekhitarists as they were known - one of the first Armenian Catholic brotherhoods - expanded to Trieste and then to Vienna. What is perhaps their most significant contribution to the Armenian nation is their scriptoria and printing presses, which both saved/translated old texts and produced numerous books in Armenian, as well as the schools they founded.
Coming to Cyprus: In 1897, following the Hamidian massacres and the numerous orphans that these horrific massacres caused, Vahan Kurkdjian (Pagouran), a teacher and an intellectual, decided to come to Cyprus to teach here. With financial aid from Manchester, France and elsewhere, he set up a small school, called "National Educational Orphanage" in Nicosia, where he taught his about 30 or so students, most of whom were orphans. Summer sessions were held in one of the six rooms of the Monastery. His impact on his students' political beliefs was extremely powerful, and so was his impact on the deghatsi community: he made remarkable efforts to help them understand that other than being Armenian-Cypriots or Cypriots of Armenian descent, they were also part of a greater whole, the Armenian Diaspora (which at the time was significantly smaller and less scattered than it is today). He admired Mekhitar, and so on 8/09/1901 he and his students erected a small monument in memory of the 200th anniversary of the formation of Mekhitar's Order. In 1931, this was re-built with the help of architect Garo Balian, the very same who designed the twin buildings of the Melkonian. To my knowledge, this is the oldest Armenian monument in Cyprus still surviving (but not the oldest inscription in Armenian). I am attaching a photo of its inauguration, where Movses Soultanian and Rapael Philibbossian are shown together with Sahag Catholicos and Bedros Saradjian, the famous Armenian Archbishop in Cyprus at the time. Also attached is a very rare photo (first time ever digitised) of the inauguration; unfortunately it is not of good quality.
Additionally, Pagouran strived to encourage hayakhosoutiun amongst the predominantly Trkakhoss Armenian-Cypriot locals, and had great plans about turning Cyprus into a "meshagoutayin getron" for Armenianism. Unfortunately, his plans came to a halt when his two and a half year old only son Mihran died in 1904, leaving him with no choice than to leave Cyprus, as he was too hurt by his memories he had with his son here. Mihran was buried in the old Ledra Palace cemetery, though not in 1898 as erroneously the commemorative plaque mentions. So Pagouran, who had written a very interesting book about Cyprus and the community here (called "Hay Gibros, published in 1903) and published other books in his press in Nicosia, took his wife and left for Egypt, where he started printing a newspaper, Lousaper. Through this newspaper he tried to call all Armenians for unity and solidarity, which very soon (1906) led to the formation of the AGBU, with Boghos Noubar Pasha as its first President. Pagouran became even more important in Armenian matters when he moved to the United States and wrote the History of Armenia in English and although he is now long gone, his memory lives on in those who were his students and their ancestors.
Pagouran is indeed a very interesting personality and, along with Mekhitar, amongst the most important Armenians who passed by our small but beautiful island. It remains a point of guessing what would Pagouran have accomplished if he had stayed in Cyprus... (and if AGBU were to be formed if he had stayed in Cyprus.
The inscription on the east side of the monument reads as follows:
"8 Sept(ember) 1901
In memory of the two hundredth anniversary
of Abbot Mekhitar.
The students of the Nat(ional) Edu(cational) Orphanage
Restored by the former students
M(ovses) S(oultanian), S(imon) V(anian) 1931
A(?) B(edevian), R(apael) P(ilibbossian)"
The inscription on the west side of the monument (probably taken out from the original monument) is a poem by Vahan Kurkdjian and reads as follows:
"Hail to you hill, temple of nature,
may this stone monument be a memorial
of your holy name from century to century
long live the full of light great Mekhitar
Let us hope that by reading my e-mail you too will become bearers of Pagouran's name and his great work.
EALING COUNCIL OFFICIALLY
RECOGNIZES ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
Armenian National Commitee of the UK London SW7 4UB - 14th December - At full Council meeting of 14th December 2010, Ealing council voted by absolute majority to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The motion moved by Ara Iskandarian a Labour Councillor of Armenian decent, stated:
“Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2011 is recognition of not only the suffering of those who died in the holocaust but also recognition of all the people who have suffered as a result of Genocide.
The London Borough of Ealing is home to an Armenian Community of some several thousands and has hosted an Armenian population since shortly after the First World War. The borough has subsequently been seen as the centre of Armenian community life within the United Kingdom.
Many of the Borough’s Armenian residents are the second and third generation descendants of survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide in which one and half million innocent victims were murdered by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
Last April, the Armenian community of Ealing planted an apricot tree, by way of a simple memorial to the victims. Their intention was to place alongside the apricot tree an explanatory plaque reading:
“This Apricot Tree (Prunus Armeniaca) serves as a memorial to the one and half million victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide”
The plaque has yet to be put up.
Council resolves: - To again observe Holocaust Memorial Day as an acknowledgement of all the victims of Genocide.
- To categorically acknowledge and recognize the events of 1915 perpetrated against the Armenians as constituting Genocide.
- To include the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in subsequent Holocaust Memorial Days and related events within the borough.
- To reconfirm this Council’s commitment to cohesion between communities, both locally and nationally, and its ongoing support for dialogue and reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian communities.
- To allow the unveiling of a commemorative plaque containing the above text and for it to be placed in the closest possible proximity to the apricot tree on Ealing Green.” The motion was carried with absolute majority.
Labour Party Councillors Julian Bell, the leader of the Council, Bassam Mahfouz and Ara Iskandarian, were instrumental in securing the vote.
The Chairman of Armenian Community and Church Council of Great Britain, Ara Palamoudian and the head of The Armenian National Committee of United Kingdom, Sevan Artin were present at the chamber during the meeting.
Member of Parliament Stephen Pound for Ealing North has been closely cooperating with ANC UK and the Armenian Community and Church Council (ACCC) of Great Britain towards successful conclusion of this resolution.
Turkey has decided to begin production on the first Turkish fighter jets in 2020.
Famous Turkish theatre actor, stage director and producer Haldun Dormen intends to give a performance on Armenian Genocide, on April 24. Dormen's most recent project was a Kurdish-language play Winter Story within the framework of the theater festival in Ankara.
Thanks to WikiLeaks, we now know that the United States of America has nuclear weapons in several European countries, without the knowledge of their populations. It will come as a surprise to millions of Turks, Dutch and Belgians to know that without their sanction, these governments have allowed the USA to station tactical nuclear weapons on their soil.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told his Parliament that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a letter to President Obama asking him to prevent a House vote declaring World War I-era killings of Armenians a Genocide. Davutoglu warned that a vote would endanger US-Turkish relations, saying, "We cannot allow the resolution to hang over Turkish-US ties like a Sword of Damocles."
The '100 Greatest Temples' book, which found its unique place in the Russian National Library of Saint Petersburg, presents the greatest and most beautiful temples and cathedrals of the world. The Parthenon, Caliph Umar Mosque, Suleimanie Mosque of Bolis, St. Peter's Basilica of Rome, Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral are listed in the book's list of the greatest temples of the world. The authors have also included the ruins of the Cathedral of Zvartnots as a unique masterpiece of mediaeval Armenian architecture.
AZERIS CONSTRUCTING MEMORIAL
FOR 1918 "GENOCIDE VICTIMS"
combined Azeri news sources - Guba Genocide Memorial Complex, which is being constructed in memory of the victims of the Genocide committed by Armenians against Azerbaijanis in 1918, will be completely ready by the end of next year.
The head of the Guba Genocide Expedition, research worker of Archeology and Ethnography Institute of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Gahraman Aghayev told APA that the groundbreaking process had been completed. Aykon company of Azerbaijan is continuing the construction.
According to the head of the expedition, after the complex is ready, it must have the status of memorial complex, not the status of a museum.
“This is devoted to the memory of the Genocide committed against the Turkic world. This complex must function under the joint subordination of Archeology and Ethnography Institute and Heydar Aliyev Foundation and must be protected by them,” he said.
Gahraman Aghayev said a complex will also be built in Guba cemetery – 200m away from the complex. The project of the complex is ready and will be surrounded with glass, and the cemetery will be preserved inside the complex.
BALEARIC ISLANDS - SPAIN
ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RECOGNITION PROCESS LAUNCHED
The Armenian National Committee of Spain (Consejo Nacional Armenio de España) informed that on December 14th, 2010, the Human Rights Committee of the Balearic Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution considering “the fate suffered by the Armenian people between 1915 and 1921 as a Genocide”, in accordance with the UN Convention on the prevention, and the punishment of the crime of Genocide, adopted in December 1948.
“I consider the recognition of Genocides, and in particular that of the Armenians, as being a just cause and inevitable for a historical justice; it is necessary in order to prevent other Genocides” declared the deputy Miquel Àngel Llauger, member of the Bloc Per Mallorca (Coalition of the Left, Ecologist and Nationalist Groups) and initiator of the resolution.
The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy expressed its satisfaction to the initiators of this historical resolution and is keen on giving its support to the Members of the Human Rights Committee of the Balearic Parliament for this courageous act.
“It is a big step in the fight against Genocides and denials” declared Hilda Tchoboian, President of the European Armenian Federation. “We invite all the political forces of the Parliament to join the Bloc Per Mallorca and vote in favour of this resolution when put on the Parliament’s agenda according to the predefined calendar”.
The Federation recalls that the Balearic Islands thus follow the example in Spain of the Basque Country (April 2007) and Catalonia (March 2010) Parliaments, which, based on the Resolution “For a political solution of the Armenian question” adopted by the European Parliament in 1987, formally recognized the Armenian Genocide, and call on the Spanish government to do the same. The Federation also considers that the final recognition by the Balearic Parliament will contribute to the necessary recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Spanish Parliament.
“These successive recognitions in Europe aim to Turkey to involve itself in a process of justice with respect to the Armenian people” affirmed Hilda Tchoboian.
“The members of the Balearic Parliament understood the lesson from History: at the time when Europe is concerned with security issues, the recognition of the Genocide is an additional guarantee against the dangers of the denial and the emergence of totalitarianisms which threaten the European societies. It is a significant contribution to the construction of values for a Europe of citizens” concluded Hilda Tchoboian.
Direct to Yerevan - Armenia
Letters to the Editor
Suggestion to Armenia Fund 2011 Telethon A special Telethon should be arranged next year, where only the Oligarchs from Armenia should participate and manifest their charity towards Armenian children's, raising the necessary funds to improve the lives of our children and young people throughout Armenia, Artzakh and Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia's orphanage Bird's Nest at Byblos Lebanon.
AYMA BALL at The Cyprus Hilton Saturday 25 December at 9:00pm
Featuring singers Lisa & Serop with
International & Armenian selection of songs accompanied by Seto Baghdassarian and his orchestra Price: 45 euros. Youth tickets at 30 euros
Sign up with Mayda Neshanian 99803039 & Krkior Mahdessian 99650897
Gibrahayer Calendar of Events
Friday 24 December - Madagh preparation in Larnaca.
Saturday 25 December - Sourp Stepanos Church madaghorhnek.
Saturday 25 December at 9:00pm - AYMA Ball at The Cyprus Hilton. Featuring singers Lisa and Serop with international and Armenian selection of songs, accompanied by Seto Baghdassarian and his orchestra. Price: 45 euros. Youth tickets at 30 euros. Sign up with Mayda Neshanian 99803039 and Krkior Mahdessian 99650897.
Saturday 1 January 2011 at 11:00am - Prayers at Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church.
Saturday 1 January 2011 at 4:00pm - AYF Artsakh Badanegan Miyoutyoun welcome Gaghant Baba at AYMA/HMEM. Fun & Games on the first afternoon of 2011.
Wednesday 5 January 2011, at 5:00pm - Jrakalouyts - Jamerkoutiun at 5:00pm and Holy Liturgy at 6:00pm at all Churches in Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol
Wednesday 5 January 2011, at 6:00pm - Armenian Evangelical Church - Christmas Service in Greek Evangelical Church, 20 Gladstonos street, Nicosia. The Service will include Christmas Hymns, Carols, Scripture Reading and Message by Hrayr Jebejian.
Thursday 6 January 2011 - Christmas Holy Liturgy, Cherorhnek and Karoz.
Gibrahay Sports by Sevag Develetian
Edgar George Avanisian aged 10, of the reputable Famagusta Judo Academy participated in the 7th International Judo Tournament, “Olympia” that took place in Sofia, Bulgaria and on Sunday 12 December, won the Bronze medal after four wins and one defeat in the under 38 Kg category. Edgar trains three times a week with his team and with his coach Spyros Spyrou, who has been Cyprus Champion in Judo for 12 years and with numerous wins in International Tournaments to his credit, the most notable being 11th place in the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.
AGBU Ararat suffered a 6-2 defeat against rivals Omonia FC in the Cyprus Futsal Cup. Omonia - managed by former Ararat FC coach Karekin Constanian - knocked Ararat FC out of the cup.
AGBU Ararat have confirmed the departure of head coach Ara Bedrossian. The news shocks the community as coach Bedrossian has enjoyed many successes in the past two years at the club, including being the first Cypriot team to qualify into the Elite round of the UEFA Futsal Cup.
AGBU Ararat suffered a 2-1 defeat against Parnassos in the Futsal Premier League.
Homenmen defeated Dimitrakis Christodoulou Dherynia 6-5 in the Cyprus Futsal.
Homenmen suffered a 4-3 defeat against CITY Futsal in the Fustal 2nd Division.
HMEM/AYMA's match was postponed due to the incompetency of the Cyprus Amateur League Federation, as no fields were available to host the scheduled match.
AGBU Ararat U-17's scored a 4-1 win against SPE Strovolou in the Cyprus U-17 Futsal League.
Sports News by Sevag Develetian
BASKETBALL: Turkey's Pınar Karshıyaka basketball team took a double beating on Tuesday night when it was defeated in Nicosia by APOEL 82-20 in the FIBA Eurochallenge. Turkish media reported that "Apoel fans threw stones and gas bombs right after the referee's final whistle. The rampage continued in the corridors and locker rooms as fans carrying sticks attacked Pınar Karshıyaka players and officials. Some members of the Turkish team were injured and the Turkish team was trapped in the stadium for a while." The Turkish team left for Izmir via Athens on Wednesday.
BASKETBALL: LA Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has signed a 2 year agreement with Turkey’s national airline carrier. Bryant will be the reported “Global Ambassador” for Turkish Airlines. The decision has caused uproar within the Armenian-American community in the United States and especially within Southern California, which boasts the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia.
FOOTBALL: Henrik Mkhitaryan has been named in the “ideal team" of FC Shakhtar 2010, voted by the club's fans.
TENNIS: David Nalbandian is ranked 27th with 1480 points in the men’s tennis rankings released by the ATP on December 20. Spaniard Rafael Nadal (12,450 points) continues to top the rankings, followed by Roger Federer (Switzerland) with 9,145 points and Novak Djokovic (Serbia) with 6,240 points. Cyprus champion Marcos Baghdatis is ranked 20 in the world, after a year that saw him defeat both Federer and Nadal.
CHESS: 12 grandmasters will participate in the 71st Armenian Chess Championship that will be held in Tigran Petorsyan Chess House in Yerevan from January 10 -12, 2011.
BASKETBALL: On December 16, Hatis women’s basketball club hosted Dynamo Moscow in the last 16 of the Women's Basketball Eurocup 2010. Dynamo Moscow beat Hatis Yerevan 57 - 62.
TENNIS: David Nalbandian has won the Copa Peugeot Argentina 2010 tournament in Buenos Aires. Nalbandian defeated Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-6 in the finals.
CHESS: Armenian Grandmaster Zaven Andriasian finished 17th at European Blitz Championship in Warsaw, Poland. Slovakia’s Sergei Movsisian came 4th. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France won the championship.