2021 April 26

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Apr/26/2021 news: (1) Constantinople; Azerb. concerned about Biden admin.; Genocide bill proposed in Turkey (2) PACE & Europe (3) Debate over snap elections (4) NSS arrests Defense official (5) Bypass-road in Yerevan (6) Economic stats: March is recovering (7) More vaccines arrive (8) Borders (9)...
by ar_david_hh


Enjoying your Monday? This is your 10-minute news recap in 2531 words.

Constantinople: public continues to react to Joe Biden's genocide recognition speech

Azdak newspaper editor Shahan: there is another important wording in the President's message that is remarkable and outlines the possible direction of US foreign policy. Biden used the word Constantinople while describing the events. It signals a new vector in US-TR relations.

This is an official statement by Washington that one of the most important cities in Turkey is non-Turkish. This may also be a prelude to remembering that other territories are not Turkish.

It's a new card in America's diplomatic arsenal.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050370.html

Turkish lira nears record low after Biden recognizes the Armenian genocide

Lira dropped 1.2%, reaching 8.48 per dollar.

Turkish ambassador to the US returned to Turkey for consultations, while Erdogan promised a "response" within a few months.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050436.html https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-lira/turkish-lira-nears-record-low-after-biden-recognises-armenian-genocide

Turkish MP Garo Paylan drafts a resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide

BALLSY MOVE, I GOTTA SAY. The Turkish-Armenian MP from the HDP party submitted the resolution to Turkish Parliament leaders. It aims to recognize the Genocide, amend the citizenship law, and remove the names of perpetrators from Turkish streets and public places.

The great crime must be recognized by the Turkish Parliament, and the victims of the Armenian Genocide must achieve justice 106 years later, said the soon-likely-to-be-arrested MP. "Justice for the Armenian Genocide is possible only in Turkey."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050392.html

Dashnaks condemn the Turkish regime for political persecution of HDP party

HDP is a pro-Kurdish and pro-Armenian party. "Trial began against 108 officials today. They are accused of murder, spreading terrorist propaganda, etc. 38 are facing life sentences. A combined 19,680 years in prison. Among them are HDP leaders. We express solidarity with HDP," said ARF.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050460.html

Foreign Minister Ayvazyan about Armenia-Turkey relations:

We are familiar with the Turkish president's letter about Turkey's willingness to develop ties with Armenia based on mutual respect. For us, actions are what's important, not words.

There have been similar messages in the past. There was even a document signed mutually [Serj's soccer matches with Turkey in 2009]. It did not, however, have a positive continuation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050380.html https://www.rferl.org/a/TurkishArmenian_Football_Diplomacy_Heads_For_Rematch_In_Bursa/1851889.html

European Parliament MP Michael Gahler:

The real tragedy is that Turkey does not take responsibility even after 106 years. Accepting own history fully and confirming tragic moments by emphasizing "never again" is an opportunity to receive forgiveness from the families of victims.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050457.html

Ilham Aliyev is mad at Joe Biden / United States & USAID

Biden's recognition of the Armenian Genocide was a cold turkey for Azerbaijan. Aliyev called it a "historic mistake". He is concerned about Biden's overall stance in the Caucasus.

Azeri regime's haqqin outlet drew attention to Samantha Powers's "exclusively pro-Armenian position" and her being a supporter of the Kosovo population's right to self-determination.

Samantha Power will lead the influential USAID agency. Azerbaijan already had disagreements with USAID from the Obama era. At one point they deliberated termination of the cooperation. USAID has had limited activity in Azerbaijan since 2017.

Samantha Power recently proposed increasing aid to Armenia, which was cut during the Trump era.

A Russian expert proposed the areas where Azerbaijan can have leverage on the US. "Sanctions and economic pressure against Azerbaijan are possible, but it should be answered in the following way: cooperate with Turkey on the issue, purchase American oil site shares, Exxon's 6.79%, ConocoPhillips 2.5%, an order to suspend Azeri investments in the American economy, withdrawal of existing funds." The expert notes, however, that it will be disruptive for Azerbaijan because the United States is the 3rd largest investor in Azerbaijan with 10.5%.

[Russian expert basically: here is your foot, now shoot it, baby.]

https://factor.am/363773.html

Foreign Minister Ayvazyan about Azerbaijan participating in EAEU session:

There is no consensus to invite Azerbaijan to take part in the April 29 session.

[Context: Belarus and possibly Kazakhstan are lobbying to invite non-member Azerbaijan to join the EAEU trade bloc session. Russia also prefers Azerbaijan to join the economic bloc. Some have argued that Russia has been appeasing Azerbaijan at the expense of Armenia with an attempt to keep Azerbaijan in its sphere of influence amid Turkish meddling in the Caucasus. Armenia could veto Azerbaijan's membership... if Russian allows.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050382.html

MFA Ayvazyan criticized Azerbaijan's policy of destroying Armenian churches and cultural monuments:

We have witnessed destructions and official statements that justify the destructions. That's concerning. This issue is within the scope of our constant attention and work. Our international partners have harshly criticized the events.

[A photo was circulated showing how Azerbaijan destroyed a cross from Shushi's St. Ghazanchetsots gates.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050405.html

borders

Defense Ministry published a daily ceasefire report saying no incidents were recorded.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050435.html

Another border incident between a shepherd and soldiers. Aravus mayor reported that Azeri soldiers assaulted a shepherd after his herd got close to the border. He was told to stay 100 meters away from the line.

https://factor.am/363651.html

Landmine explosion killed one Azeri and injured two others in occupied territories of Artsakh. They were civilians who secretly sneaked into the area.

https://factor.am/363751.html

EuroNest session was held last week

Armenian delegates presented POW information. EU representatives joined with the calls for their immediate release.

Azerbaijan made a failed attempt to bring up the safety of the Metsamor nuclear plant topic during EuroNest.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050358.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050356.html https://youtu.be/pu-NYOVvpO8

Putin and Macron discussed the Artsakh conflict over a phone

They noted that the ceasefire is in place and both sides have agreed to talk, including via OSCE Minsk Group.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050463.html

PACE delegate LHK Marukyan about Aliyev's Saddam Park:

After my PACE speech, PACE's co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan Stefan Schennach approached me to view the images I had shared [about Aliyev walking in Saddam Park next to helmets]. He viewed them and said the images had a great resonance across Europe and were published on front pages of leading magazines.

Aliyev helped us by opening that park. He helped us to display the nature of the regime and the terrorist group we are dealing with, hence the need to repatriate POWs ASAP. (PACE members recently urged Azerbaijan to release POWs)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212341

Lithuanian Foreign Minister visits Armenia

Foreign officials continue to pay tribute to victims of the 1915 genocide. Lithuanian MFA laid flowers in Tsitsernakaberd after medeeting MFA Ayvazyan. Armenia and Lithuania agreed to cooperate in international affairs.

MFA Landsbergis: It is a great honor to be here and talk to real Lithuanian friends. I can say that 30 years ago when there were extremely difficult times for Armenia, we were together during that period, and today we are also ready to meet the needs.

The EU has stated clearly that all POWs must be freed if there are plans to establish mutual trust. I join the EU's call. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050362.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050385.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050395.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050398.html

Lebanon and Armenia sign Sports & Youth cooperation memorandum

Lebanese Minister Ohanian arrived in Armenia last week. She signed a document with Education Minister Dumanyan.

MFA Ayvazyan later spoke with Ohanian about the issues concerning the Lebanese-Armenian community

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050420.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050375.html

Armenia and India discuss military tech cooperation

MOD Vagharshak met Indian ambassador Dewal to discuss defense cooperation. Each state will send expert groups.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212378

HHK has not yet decided whether they will participate in June 20 snap elections

https://factor.am/363754.html

electoral reform law is signed into law

Parliament recently approved part of the wider electoral code reform, specifically about replacing the Rating voting system with a Proportional.

President Sarkissian, in a now-routine move, chose not to sign the bill but did not send it to Constitutional Court either. Today Parliament President Mirzoyan signed it into law.

The rest of the reforms, which would have prevented authorities from abusing state resources during campaigns, lowering Parliament entry threshold, etc., are not yet approved because the opposition argued (and Venice Commission would have probably agreed) that there is not enough time until elections to get accustomed to new rules. The ruling party agreed not to rush it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050361.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050372.html

debate over Pashinyan serving as acting Premier until snap elections

Pashinyan resigned yesterday. As announced earlier, the opposition Parliamentary parties will not elect a new Premier so snap elections can be held.

Opposition parties, more specifically members of the former regime, argue that Pashinyan does not have the Constitutional right to act as Premier. They cited Pashinyan's 2018 speech during which the latter cited unnamed lawyers who allegedly concluded that a resigned Premier [Serj] cannot continue to serve as Premier.

Non-former-regime opposition LHK disagrees with the former regime: "Those who wrote the law are now complaining that the government does whatever it wants. They wrote the law for themselves and now the current government is taking advantage of it. There is already precedence since 2018 [of Pashinyan resigning but continuing to act until new elections]. Nobody complained about it at the time. Let them [former regime] challenge their own law in the Constitutional Court. This is why we are against both."

Former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan is also concerned about the legality of elections if Pashinyan remains in charge. His critics, however, noted that Ter-Petrosyan did not see an issue in 2018 and even congratulated Pashinyan on the victory.

A fact-checker found that it is not against the Constitution for the resigned Premier to continue to act:

Article 158: վարչապետի կողմից հրաժարական ներկայացվելու դեպքում կառավարության անդամները շարունակում են իրենց պարտականությունների կատարումը մինչև նոր կառավարության կազմավորումը: (in the event the Premier resigns, the members of government continue to serve until the formation of a new government)

Article 147: վարչապետը ևս համարվում է կառավարության անդամ։ (The Premier is also considered a member of the government.)

Others have argued that not only the Premier is allowed to continue to serve, but he is required to do so.

What is the difference between now and Serj's 2018 resignation? In 2018, when Serj resigned, he chose not to continue to act as Premier by transferring his powers to Karen Karapetyan. It was an attempt to satisfy the protesters without actually giving up his power. The difference now is that Pashinyan is not transferring the power to a teammate to appease the opposition.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050414.html https://fip.am/15266 https://youtu.be/xQO21bOL--8

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212320 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212372 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212368

Russian expert predicts Pashinyan victory unless sudden surprises happen

Pritchin, head of RU Science Academy's eastern studies: Nikol Pashinyan's victory in the upcoming elections is more probable. If nothing extraordinary happens before elections, Pashinyan's party will win, although not as decisively as in 2018.

According to polls, Pashinyan still has widespread support and he has political force behind him. He is resigning from Premier's position only technically.

Despite the results of the Karabakh war, the low ratings of former officials work in his favor. There is no third force, so he remains a leader without an alternative.

He has another advantage over opponents: mobilizing the street and talking to the public.

However, this can change if sudden changes take place internally or on the Armenian-Azerbaijani borders.

[Let's just accept the fact that I wasted 5 minutes typing what we already knew. Next...]

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/292409/

anti-corruption: NSS arrests a Defense Ministry official after bribery

The report says: Syunik police and NSS busted a MOD official over bribery to exclude an able-bodied conscript from the military draft.

The man was supposed to join the army in the winter of 2021 but contacted a friend in MOD to falsify his medical documents. The official demanded $3000. They were arrested after the transaction. Both have confessed.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050344.html

rumors and rebuttals: qaj nazar

Նազա՛ր, Նազա՛ր մինչև վերջ is a theatrical performance presumably critical to the government. The Education Ministry denied rumors claiming the performance was censored. "The lead actor is not in Armenia so it was delayed. The theater director also denied the censorship rumors."

The ministry criticized the performances that contain excessive amounts of swear words. "They should be responsible in terms of quality and standard, and not in terms of politics."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050374.html

search operations

Armenian crews canvassed former battlefields in Ishkhanadzor, Qashatagh. No bodies were found.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050354.html

Korea gorge bridge is being rebuilt to alleviate Yerevan traffic

Yerevan has multiple projects to reduce city traffic by providing bypass roads to cars that pass through Yerevan while traveling elsewhere. You might remember the Western Circle Ring's new highway and bridge.

Another similar bypass project is in the Korea gorge. The 50-year-old small bridge, which connects Yerevan to Kotayk province, is being renovated.

Municipality says many drivers avoid using it today due to poor conditions. Initially, they wanted to strengthen and add a new lane but decided to build a new bridge instead. The 4m width will turn into 8m, in addition to new sidewalks.

The bridge connects Davtashen to the Zaytun district, and also allows travel to Kotayk and Aragatsotn. Travelers going to Ashtarak or Zovuni will bypass the Yerevan center. "The nearby road should also be renovated to use the full potential," said the city.

https://youtu.be/-elsnwLNhVo?t=4

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050365.html

Martuni and Yeghegnadzor will have new clinics

Healthcare Ministry: the construction of a fully-equipped Martuni clinic began last year and will finish in 2023. Dozens of beds will become available this year. It'll have a clinic, lab, surgery room, therapy.

Yeghegnadzor will have a similar clinic with dozens of beds. The construction begins this year. Both clinics will have helicopter pads. Overall, 12 clinics and hospitals are undergoing construction/renovation in Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050394.html

economic stats: strong growth in March

1Q21 vs 1Q20: -2%

March 2021 vs March 2020: +3.8%

March 2021 vs February 2021: +9.6%

below are stats for 1Q21 vs 1Q20, and month-over-month

Industrial output: -3.9%, MoM +9.1%

Agriculture: -1%, MoM ?

Construction: +4.7%, MoM +23.5%

Services: -8.1%, MoM +9.5%

Electricity production: +1.4%

Foreign trade: -4.4%, MoM +12.8%

Exports: +3.4%, MoM +11.6%

Imports: -8.7%, MoM +13.5%

Consumer price index: +5.2%

$1 = ֏524 in 1Q21.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050383.html https://factor.am/363499.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212315

Pope Francis donates an emergency vehicle equipped with tech

... as part of a COVID fight in Armenia. The vehicle was blessed in Qanaqer. Apparently Vatican's website writes articles in Armenian:

https://www.vaticannews.va/hy/pope/news/2021-04/hy-dono-papa-materiale-sanitario-armenia-covid.html

COVID stats

2467 tested. 181 infected. 820 healed. 21 deaths. 13527 active (down).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050352.html

Russia donates Sputnik-V vaccines to 7,500 Artsakh residents

The 15,000 shots were transferred through the mediation and partial subsidy of the Russian-Armenian political forum called "Lazarian Group". It's part of an official Russian government campaign to help residents of several unrecognized republics.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/604207/լազարյան-ակումբը-7500-սպուտնիկ-v-պատվաստանյութ-է-ուղարկել-արցախ/

Armenia obtains 14,000 dozes of Sputnik-V

Armenia's Healthcare Ministry reported the arrival of 14,000 doses today. [presumably separate from the 15,000 Artsakh donations]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050459.html

vaccinated Armenians can travel to Cyprus

... without giving a test, without quarantine (even if came into contact with a carrier), regardless of Armenia's overall pandemic stats. Effective May 10.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050431.html

chess victory

Grandmaster Manuel Petrosyan is the winner of the PNWCC Online Super tournament.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1050388.html

Yerevan Spring Marathon

... is next Sunday. Participants will run in Hrazdan gorge. This year the contributions will be donated to the soldiers' recovery fund.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/212325

today in history

1925: Armenian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist Gerard Cafesjian is born. His foundation made a significant contribution to infrastructure and charity projects across Armenian and Artsakh.

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Cafesjian

do not miss weekend news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/myijoz/apr252021_news_recap_1_world_marks_the_106th/

end of report

The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.

News archive: http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

Donations: soldiers' families, humanitarian aid, US tax-deductible donation.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mz6fxp/apr262021_news_1_constantinople_azerb_concerned/

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