Monday, March 30, 2009

Will Turkey open border with Armenia after U.S. President’s visit?

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey pledged to open the border with Armenia within a month, Hurriyet quoted a European Commission representative as saying.

“Ankara is awaiting U.S. President Barack Obama to arrive. The Turkish-Armenian border will be opened in April. We are hopeful for normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well. Establishment of peace in the region is in the interests of Europe,” the source said on condition of anonymity.


Famous German sociologist Doctor Tillman Alert, as sources report, is going to visit Armenia on 31 May. did not manage to find out the mission of Doctor’s visit but one thing is obvious – Doctor’s mission varies from its previous ones. Once the German sociologist visited Armenia to have some lectures but this time Mr. Alert is looking for some materials for his current surveys.
Tillman Alert is a sociologist and professor from J.W. Goethe University. He is the author of various surveys and scientific works.
Doctor Alert is also famous for his great interest towards Armenian oriented topics, such as Armenia as a partner of Europe, Armenian culture, Armenian art, Armenians. The German professor has also discussed Armenian Genocide in his works.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany to visit Armenia

Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany Gernot Erler will visit Armenia March 29-31 accompanied by the Chairman of the Germany-South Caucasus Parliamentary Group of the German Bundestag, MP Steffen Reiche.During the visit Gernot Erler is expected to have meetings with the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, Chairman of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan, Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairwoman of the Armenian-German Deputy Group Arevik Petrosyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

! Reproduction on full or in part is prohibited without reference to Public Radio of Armenia

Gyumri has preserved the aura and architecture of the 19th century

Gyumri, Armenia - The devastating earthquakes of October 22, 1926, and December 7, 1988, which claimed the lives of about 750 and 17,500 residents of Gyumri respectively, ruined most of the city's buildings except those built during the czarist era - from the second half of the 19th century to the 1920s. When you walk through the central streets of Gyumri, you feel the aura of the 19th century and become fascinated by the city's architecture. That city, however is not present-day Gyumri, it is Alexandrapol, a city which in its day used to be the second richest, most beautiful and attractive city after Tbilisi.
At the beginning of the 19th century, present-day Gyumri was just a village named Kumayri. However, after a dozen years it became one of the most important railway junctions in the Caucasus. In 1837 Russian Czar Nicolai I visited Kumayri and in honor of his wife, Alexandra Fiodorovna, renamed Kumayri, Alexandrapol. Three years later in 1840 Alexandrapol received the status of a city.
In order to learn the history of today's Gyumri and feel the breath of former Alexandrapol, the available volumes of history books and ethnography are not enough. A visit to the museum of the Dzitoghtsians, which is in the center of the city, in old Kumayri, is a must. In general, Gyumri is very rich with museums. I always try to avoid using the ambitious phrase "open-air museum," regardless of which country or city and site it may refer to. However, when it refers to Gyumri's center, where 100-150-year-old architecturally valuable buildings, villas, museums, churches, and other structures with black, sometimes black-and-yellowish stones, are located, the phrase "open-air museum" can be used.
There are three house-museums in the center of the city, on Varpetats Street: Armenian writer Avetik Isahakian's, Hovhannes Shiraz's, and actor Mher Mkrtchian's, who is loved by Armenians throughout the world. The crafts museum of the Aslamazian sisters is located a short distance away. However, the most famous museums, where diasporans and tourists to Gyumri visit, are without a doubt that of the Dzitoghtsians and sculptor Merkurov.
The museum of the Dzitoghtsians
The Dzitoghtsians Museum or the museum of national architecture and urban life of Gyumri was constructed in 1872. The house that is the museum today used to belong to one of the wealthiest people in Gyumri, Petros Dzitoghtsian. I toured the museum with Karine Mkrtchian, one of the employees of the museum.
The museum comprises several sections, where belongings of the former owners have been preserved. Here you can get a clear idea of how wealthy Armenians lived 150 years ago, their tastes, preferences, and interests. Their furniture has been preserved in the rooms of the Dzitoghtsians: the piano and watch brought from Austria 130 years ago, paintings by famous painters brought from Italy and other pieces of furniture brought from Russia and Europe.
Alexandrapol was truly considered the city of arts and crafts. Armen Tigranian staged the opera Anush for the first time in Alexandrapol. The instruments on which they played at that time including the bagpipe, kyamancha, shvi, duduk, and tar have been preserved in the museum. Jivani and Sheram, the famous Armenian ashughs (minstrels) of that time sang in Alexandrapol.
The arts of jewelers, silversmiths, blacksmiths, lace work, and other crafts were developed in the city.
"There were two beer factories in Alexandrapol. One belonged to the Dzaghikians and was constructed in 1881 and the second, which opened sometime later, belonged to Mkrtich Dzitoghtsian, who was Petros Dzitoghtsian's brother. He sent his son to Munich, where he learned the art of making beer. The beer produced in Alenxandrapol was in demand not only in Armenia and the Caucasus, but also outside its borders," explains Karine Mkrtchian.
In the Dzitoghtsians museum you feel that you are in the 19th century, the time when Alexandrapol was the richest Armenian city. At that time Eastern Armenia, which was a part of czarist Russia, only had six cities: the richest and the most important one was Alexandrapol, then came Yerevan, New Bayazet (today's Gavar), Goris, Shushi, and Kars.
In the 1920s the Dzitoghtsians left their house and moved to the Crimea and from there to France. There are no other details about them and their heirs. In 1984 the house was turned into a museum. However after 1988 it was inhabited.
Sergey Merkurov's museum
Sergey Merkurov's museum is next to the Dzitoghtsians museum. Director Arshak Manukian says that Merkurov's creations are phenomenal in the development of Armenian sculpture genre. The creation of monumental memorials of renowned people in pre-revolution Russia is linked to him.
Sergey Merkurov was Greek by origin. To be more precise, in his own words, which he repeated several times, "I am a Greek Gyumretsi [resident of Gyumri] or a Greek-Armenian Gyumretsi." Decades after moving from Alexandrapol, not only did he not forget Armenian, which was like a native language to him, but he always talked and like all residents of Gyumri, joked in the Gyumri dialect.
The Merkurovs, their true surname Merkuridi, moved to Alexandrapol in the mid-19th century, along with another 100 Greek families. Merkurov's grandfather was a trader who had shops in Kars, Tbilisi. and Baku, as well as baths in Alexandrapol. The Merkurovs were among the wealthiest families of the city.
The future sculptor lived and studied in Alexandrapol till the age of 15, then moved to Tbilisi and studied and worked in Zurich, Munich, Paris, Moscow, and many other cities. He studied philosophy and, apart from Armenian, he was also fluent in English, Russian, German, and French.
"Merkurov was a sculptor and monument maker. His huge sculptures were placed in the open air in squares. When we opened this museum we had some difficulties since we could not move some of those sculptures here. Merkurov is famous for being a master of death masks. In the pre-Soviet and Soviet period Merkurov was the most famous death-mask-maker," recounts Manukian.

by Tatul Hakobyan
Published: Friday March 27, 2009

Turkey and Armenia Relations Continue to Warm as Deal to Reopen Border Inches Forward

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 59
March 27, 2009 12:58 PM Age: 20 hrs
Category: Eurasia Daily Monitor, Turkey, Armenia, Home Page, Foreign Policy
Emrullah Uslu

On March 17, Congressmen Adam Schiff, George Radanovich and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone and Mark Kirk introduced a resolution to the U.S. House of Representatives co-sponsored by over 70 House colleagues to recognize the Armenian "genocide" of 1915. The resolution is identical to the one introduced in both the House and Senate in the 110th Congress, which was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (, March 17). The timing of the legislation is especially critical, since President Obama will visit Turkey on April 6-7. Obama promised his American-Armenian supporters during his presidential election campaign that he would recognize the 1915 "genocide," yet his trip to Ankara will seek to improve U.S. relations with Turkey after the difficulties experienced in recent years.
Moreover, this comes at a time when Turkey and Armenia have finally found a way to talk directly, which could yield positive results after the "soccer match diplomacy" that began when Turkey's President Abdullah Gul visited Armenia to watch the Turkish and Armenian national soccer teams play (Cihan Haber Ajansi, September 5, 2008). Since then, Turkish and Armenian diplomats have agreed on a successful strategy to improve their bilateral relations. In fact, political observers expect that the rapprochement might precipitate the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border, as early as April (EDM, February 10).
The debate surrounding Turkey's border policy was sparked after Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentarian Sukru Electag claimed that "some Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentarians during their visit to Washington in February 2009 stated that the AKP will open the border after the local election in March 29" (Sabah, March 15). Despite the denials by AKP deputies regarding these claims, following a recent visit to Washington one AKP deputy said, "Turkey and Armenia are very close to a deal to open embassies in Ankara and Yerevan and it is very likely that the Turkey-Armenia border will be opened soon if the third parties do not harm the process" (EDM, February 10). In addition, the Chairman of the CHP, Deniz Baykal complained about the AKP's methods in seeking to solve the Armenian problem. Baykal has accused the AKP of failing to consult the CHP "we learn the latest developments from the U.S. officials" (Radikal, March 17).
Diplomatic traffic between Washington, Ankara, and Yerevan has reportedly prepared the way for positive developments ahead of Obama's visit to Turkey. Ankara has intensified its diplomacy with Yerevan in order to improve relations with Armenia before Obama's arrival (Cumhuriyet, March 11). It seems that Washington has also been involved in this process and that it has produced positive results. Armenia's President Serj Sarkisyan and the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently held a telephone conversation in which they discussed developments between Turkey and Armenia (Milliyet, March 18). Yet, it appears that the supporters of the "genocide" resolution do not share the concerns of the U.S. State Department. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that Obama's visit does not change the fact that "there was an Armenian genocide, and there are those of us in Congress who will continue to make that point" (Reuters, March 17).
The trend towards greater economic cooperation has complemented these political developments. For instance, indirect trade between Turkey and Armenia has increased from $30 million in 1997 to approximately $130 million in 2005 (, March 13, 2005). Turkish and Armenian businessmen have been actively searching for alternative ways to develop better relations and in 2008 Turkish and Armenian cheese makers jointly produced a new brand (Milliyet, May 24, 2008). Furthermore, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan revealed that 40,000 Armenian citizens live and work in Turkey illegally and he has authorized their continued residence (CNNTurkey, January 28). The Armenian Energy Ministry also revealed that it has updated its infrastructure facilitating electricity sales to Turkey based on an agreement that was signed during Gul's visit to Yerevan last September. Armenia will initially sell 1.5 billion kwh of its electricity and this will be increased in the future to 3.5 billion kwh (Cumhuriyet, March 17).
Arguably, Turkey and Armenia have never had such close relations. Thus, Turkey does not want this process jeopardized by the U.S. Congress. Ambassador Ahmet Davutoglu, chief adviser to Prime Minister Erdogan, said he was confident that the U.S. administration would not allow the Armenian genocide issue to derail the positive climate in Turkish-U.S. and Turkish-Armenian relations. "All of these things could be debated from a historical perspective, but it should not hijack the strategic vision of Turkish-American relations or Turkish-Armenian relations" (Today's Zaman, March 21).
Turkey has one clear objective, despite these constructive developments: convincing Azerbaijan about its steps towards Armenia. It appears that in every move made by Ankara it informs Baku about its initiatives. For instance, five days after Gul's visit to Yerevan, he went to Baku to discuss his visit to Armenia (Hurriyet, September 10, 2008). Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov, liaise closely on the subject (EDM, February 10). However, it remains to be seen whether the Azeris will actually accept Turkey's policy shift towards Armenia.
Turkey's rapprochement with Armenia will not end the issue of the Armenian genocide claims. Turkish lobbyists have initiated new programs in various universities, aimed at producing academic work to turn the "lost" debate in their favor. Such an approach could engender a lively debate about the issue. However, because of the questionable scholarly attitudes, strategies, and shadowy relations with the Turkish establishment, academics involved in this effort to produce a "scholarly" presentation of the Turkish viewpoint might undermine their cause.

Travel to Armenia - Episode 169

The Amateur Traveler talks to David Dougherty about his recent trip to the small country of Armenia. David speaks about the sight of the Ararat frame (just above the border in Turkey), of the monasteries and the churches, mounting the packed buses of monospace (marshrutkas), meeting people of the country with a shared interest, food, the legends and part of the history (the Armenian genocide).
to click here to download (the mp3)to click here to download (increased iTunes)
NewsNews of voyage - sick boat, 2008 surer for air transports, new rules of visa of the USA
At least 340 made sick on the boat of cruising to Brazil2008 were one of the surest years on the disc for air transports
To show the notesMoney:$1.00=about 300 AMD (Armenian drachmas). Money is easily converted in some supermarkets and travel agencies (in either direction). Most of the time a saving in money comptant-seulement unless to and dear department stores and restauraunts with Yerevan. David says “I had no trouble carrying cash around. I hid it and there is no crime of street to speak about.”Health:The medicine of malaria (chloroquine) sometimes recommended late arise-fall while visiting the sector from valley from Ararat (Khor including Virap). From what David heard locally, it’s probably only necessary if visiting the Armash fish ponds, or if staying overnight in the summer. The occasional visitors really do not need him.To be careful drinkable local tap water, otherwise aucuns special concern.Emboutage:Usually 10%. Some restaurants add the service to the bill, although they won’t always tell you. If you see % in bottom of the first page of the menu, it is what means usually that.Tax and of service:The starting tax of 10.000 AMD to the airport which you do not know until you held with control and the customs raye (and you must pay this front, naturally! The wages at the office of exchange of money and they will give you a receipt. E-visas available if you fly into Zvartnots airport only.You can apply for an Electronic visa at the Armenia foreign ministry and follow link for E-visa.Accomodation:“In Yerevan I stayed at the Envoy Hostel, which was great, in the center and reasonable. A lunch of bread and orange marmelade included. Guests may use communal kitchen. They can arrange a van of the airport (I recommend this).The large hotels are available to Yerevan and perhaps some more big cities (but to be very expensive). Homestays are available, and can be requested with dinner (highly recommended to do). Cooking at the house in Arm�nie tends to being well better than a restaurant. Pay as you get off. Wages as you go down. You can join tours on the spot if you wish. You can join excursions on the spot if you wish. They do Armenian, Russian, and English language by default without any further notice. They make Armenian English, Russian, and by defect without any other preliminary communication. The exhibits are rather bizarre, but interestingState Museum of Armenian History (on Republic Square)National Art Gallery (on Republic Square).Cascade - outdoor sculptures on a hill with a view of Mt. The exposed objects are rather odd, but interestingMuseum of state of the Armenian history (on the place of Republic)National art gallery (on the place of Republic).Cascade - external sculptures on a hill with a sight of MT. They are not used to tourists, but they certainly deserve more. They are not employed with the tourists, but they deserve certainly more. This happened to David at the Genocide Memorial. This arrived at David at the memorial of genocide. I found a 10-lesson cd course by Pimsleur for Armenian, which is good for the basics. I found run Cd of 10 lessons by Pimsleur for the Armenian, which is good for the foundations. West Armenian is spoken by diaspora Armenians who lived in Lebanon, Turkey, etc. In the west the Armenian is spoken by the Armenians about Diaspora are which lived in Lebanon, in Turkey, Armenian etc in the east what they now speak in Republic Of Armenia.”For current events and news in English control Groong outside - the Armenian network of news.To obtain in mood for your voyage, to listen to a radio station on line with the Armenian pop music (requires the flash).