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The Armenian cultural invasion on Turkey

July 30 ( ): While diplomacy seems at a stalemate in
relations between Turkey and Armenia, exchange of culture shows more signs
of reaching understanding.
Last month, the 12-member Armenian Navy Band returned from Turkey after a
successful tour. Earlier in the spring, the Sundukyan National Academic
Theater performed there. And at about the same time, dudukist Jivan
Gasparyan toured Turkey.

The Sundukyan Theater had success in Turkey.
`Artists have recently made serious steps in Armenian-Turkish relations and
probably we can obtain successes there where diplomats fail,' says Sundukyan
art director Vahe Shahverdyan.
Over his long career, Gasparyan has seen some softening of cultural borders.
During Soviet times, he was invited to play in Turkey with a Russian
ensemble. But the only way he could get a visa is if he changed his surname.
Of course he refused.
But in 2000, he finally got the chance to play there on the invitation of
Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider.
`When I got off the plane I was alone in a foreign and, significantly, in
the country of my ‚=80=98enemy'. I had never been so excited,‚=80=9D Gasparyan recalls.
`Suddenly I saw a Turk with big piece of paper with ‚=80=98Gasparyan' written on
it approaching me. They took my passport for putting entry visa on it. In
two minutes they returned and without even a customs check I left the
territory of the airport. Outside the airport a limousine was waiting for
me. Then I was taken to luxurious five-star hotel.'
The duduk player was surprised with the special attention he received,
including a standing ovation.
`My performance was a part of Vollenweider's concert program and before
announcing the names of artists audience didn't know who performed except
Vollenweider at the concert. When my name was announced silence fell in the
concert hall for a moment and suddenly the audience burst into applause,‚=80=9D
says Gasparyan, still excited by the moment.

Arto: "Citizen of the planet"
His concert with Vollenweider led to four solo tours and several recordings
in Turkey.
This spring's concerts included conversations between the audience and the
artist, including sensitive political topics.
Turkish media highlighted Gasparyan's responses: `We artists don't want to
be involved in politics. We make efforts to strengthen relations between
nations with the help of our art. There is no nation to wish a war and I‚=80=99m
glad that with my music I contribute to establishment of kind and good
On the eve of his concert, Gasparyan attended the concert of Turkish singer
Sezen Agsu. When Agsu saw Gasparyan sitting in the hall she left the stage
and hugged him. Then standing on the stage she said: `A perfect musician is
now in this hall. I've been listening to his works for 20 years andevery
time I've been touched with them.'
The Sundukyan Theater felt similar appreciation during two tours this year,
including participation in the Festival of Black Sea Countries, in Trabzon.
People's Artist Lorents Arushanyan says the festival was a serious test for
them, during which they managed to overcome years of barriers. `Of course,
even if they carried us in their arms we would never forget our judgment,
our ancestors' judgment, but with such cultural cooperation we in some
measure will probably contribute to a solution of political problems,‚=80=9D he

The spring visit was the third time the Armenian Navy Band has played
It's founder, Arto Tunchboyajyan was born in Turkey, but maintains a
universal attitude concerning nationality, often expressed in ANB
I am a citizen of the planet earth and with my art I'm finding waysof trust
towards everyone despite their nationality. Of course, it doesn't mean I
forget about history. I know better than anyone about our bitter days,‚=80=9D
Tunchboyajyan says.

Gasparyan: "I had never been so excited."
Saxophonist David Nalchajyan says art is very strong and powerful tool. And
in the case of ANB, it is complemented with comments by Tunchboyajyan about
regional relations that sometimes are controversial.
`Our concerts are very free. Often they are full of conversations and during
concerts Arto has dialogues with Turkish audience and tells about their
defects and other things,' says Nalchajyan.
Nalchajyan says some people walked out of the hall. `But young people have
free approaches and even they ask about Armenian questions. They simply don'
t know anything as they were told a completely different story and that is
what should be changed.'
Political analyst Slavik Minasyan regards such Armenian-Turkish cultural
developments to be diplomatic progress, which can contribute to friendship
without violating national dignity and without burying history in oblivion.
But, he recalls that, although Armenian artists have been received in
Turkey, there has been no reciprocation. In fact, even a Turkish film was
banned from `Private Look', an international festival here two years ago.
Many people criticize artists for going to Turkey. But these people wear
Turkish clothes and use different goods of Turkish production,' he says.
`Why shouldn't we import our art. Let them see that despitethat their
ancestors committed genocide, Armenians continues to live.'


The Armenian medieval trade ship Kilikia put to sea on July 14 sailing from
Poti, Georgia to Sochi, Russia. Armenian Ambassador in Georgia Georgi
Khosroev hoisted the Armenian tricolor on the ship and with the blessing of
Bishop Arakel Kilikia started its historical journey.

Captain Karen Balayan reported that the reproduction ship's two-daymaiden
voyage was filled with difficulties. Two oar wheels were broken by strong
winds and heavy waves and the 12-member crew was stuck by sea sicknesses.
Once docked in port at Sochi, members of the Ayas Sea Exploration Club were
met by members of the Armenian community who took them in and fed them.
Writer and publicist Zori Balayan has joined the journey (which can be
followed on the club's website at
Weather conditions permitting, Kilikia's next stop will be Novorosiysk,


During the third week of July - coinciding with the 30th anniversary of its
invasion - Cyprus witnessed a massive influx of military hardware and
personnel (documented by images from the local press), from mainland Turkey.
During the same week military aircraft violated Cyprus airspace and a
massive military show was put on during the military parade for the
"peace-keeping operation " in Cyprus that turned 200,000 people refugees,
killed thousands and keeps three decades later, hostage the one third of the

It is during this week that we come across a report from Reuters dated July
23, 2004 about Turkey disarming by scraping four army brigades.

Turkey to scrap four army brigades

ANKARA, July 23 (Reuters) - Turkey's military General Staff plans to abolish
four brigades, cutting the size of NATO's second biggest army by 18,000 in a
drive to improve efficiency and flexibility, the Referans daily said on

Those to be scrapped are the 33rd armoured brigade near the Bulgarian and
Greek borders, the 7th mechanised brigade on the Armenian border, the 10th
infantry brigade on the Iranian border and the ninth armoured division in
central Anatolia, it said.

The report said the General Staff also aimed to scrap its Aegean army next
year in a move seen as underlining much-improved ties with Greece, a NATO
ally but traditional rival with which Turkey almost went to war as recently
as 1996.

The General St aff declined to comment on the report.

The cuts could save cash-strapped Turkey about 65 trillion Turkish lira
($44.29 million), the report said, adding that they had been authorised by
the head of the General Staff, General Hilmi Ozkok.

The report, written by Lale Sariibrahimoglu, who is also Turkey
correspondent for the respected British-based Jane's Defence Weekly, said
Ozkok had initially intended a more radical shakeup, slashing the land
forces from 400,000 to 280,000. Turkey's Defence Ministry statistics show
Turkey's defence budget for 2004 stood at 9,880 trillion lira, about 3.4
percent of gross national product (GNP).

But these figures do not include substantial extra-budgetary funds, for
example, an estimated 2,400 trillion lira allocated to the gendarmerie, or
military police, and the coast guard.

Under reforms sought by the European Union, which Turkey aims to join,
Turkey recently agreed to allow full parliamentary scrutiny of all future m
ilitary spending.

The armed forces have a special place in Turkish society and see themselves
as the ultimate guardian of the country's secular
democracy, but they are having to accept a big reduction in their political
influence as Turkey moves closer to the EU.

Turkey has a total of 800,200 people serving in its armed forces, the bulk
of them conscripts, making it second in size only to the United States in
the 26-nation NATO alliance. ($1=3D1467500 Turkish Lira)


Armenia: We wish them well

"Such an issue (relations with Armenia) cannot be left frozen while all
other issues are being solved. We are trying to settle that problem, too.
Armenia is beset by economic troubles in many ways. We would not want the
people of a neighboring country to be wracked by troubles regardless of
which country might be in question. We would want to help. Yet there are
circumstances restricting our ability to proffer help. At a time when some
20 percent of Azerbaijani territory is under [Armenian] occupation ... There
are difficulties created by this situation. We feel responsible about this
matter and we are trying to play the role of catalyst for the settlement of
this problem. I cannot say that we have gone a long way toward achieving
this purpose yet during the Istanbul meeting, all three countries at least
expressed their determination to hold talks about the problem and work on
it. There is a need to be courageous."

Cyprus: Our gain is worth more than any amount of money

There are two important topics in the Cyprus issue: first, the future of
Turkish Cypriots, second, the incredible problems being created for Turkey
by those using Cyprus as an excuse. A crucial turning point regarding both
matters was reached sometime ago. This issue used to be exploited as a
flimsy pretext to conduct an incredible propaganda campaign and create an
unfavorable international image for Turkey. By being represented as a
quarrelsome country trying to achieve certain military interests, unable to
comprehend Europe's culture of compromise, entirely incapable of t alking
peace, and always relying on crude force, Turkey was forced to pay
incredible political prices. Our latest polices and the results of the
Cyprus referenda have relieved Turkey. From now on, nobody can exploit
Cyprus to Turkey's detriment. Not only have the obstacles placed before
Turkey by those abusing the Cyprus issue been removed through our policies
but they have also turned into pluses for Turkey. It has been proven that
Turkey supports peace and compromise. This is a gain worth more than
billions of dollars.

--¬ Cites Senator Kerry's Long Record of Support on Armenian American
Issues, President Bush's Retreat from his Pledge to Recognize the Armenian
WASHINGTON, DC - In a move expected to impact electoral outcomes in key
presidential election swing states this November, the Armenian National
Committee of America (ANCA), the nation's grassroots Armenian American
organization, today announced its endorsement of the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
"For Armenian Americans, the clear choice is John Kerry," said ANCA Chairman
Ken Hachikian.¬ "Senator Kerry has been a friend of the Armenian American
community for over twenty years, with a proven track record of fighting hard
for issues of concern to Armenian Americans across the nation.¬ He faces an
incumbent, President Bush, whose record on Armenian issues has grown
progressively more disappointing throughout his tenure in the White House,
beginning with his broken campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian
Genocide, including his Administration's attempt to end military aid parity
between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and up until this week, with his
Administration's strident attacks on legislation recognizing the Armenian
John Kerry welcomed the ANCA endorsement, stating that, "John Edwards and I
would like to thank the ANCA for its endorsement.¬ We are looking forward to
working with all Armenian Americans to create a stronger America, more
respected in the world."
"We call upon Armenian Americans to compare the respective records of
Senator Kerry and President Bush, to weigh the importance of their ballot
for the future of U.S.-Armenian relations, and to cast their vote for the
Kerry-Edwards ticket on November 2nd," added Hachikian.

The ANCA endorsement follows closely in the wake of the Bush
Administration's forceful attack on the Schiff Amendment, a provision
adopted last week by the U.S. House that prevents Turkey from using U.S.
foreign aid to lobby against the Genocide Resolution.¬ Armenian Americans,
particularly those in key swing states such as Pennslyvania, Ohio, and
Florida, are positioned to play a decisive role in what looks, by all
accounts, to be a hotly contested election.

KEF for Kerry / Armenstock 2004 is a campaign rally in celebration of John
Kerry's nomination for President -- in the form of a day-long Armenian music
festival at Camp Haiastan.¬ ¬ Combining a celebration of music with political
activism, it brings together some of the best Armenian musicians from both
coasts to help kick-off a nationwide voter mobilization and
get-out-the-Armenian-vote campaign for the fall of 2004.
The festival will feature a wide range of Armenian musical styles,
including, Armenian Jazz, Progressive KEF, Traditional Folk, Alternative
Folk and Armenian Pop. There will be a host of informational tables and
merchandise booths set up around Camp, manned by an array of Armenian groups
and organizations. Traditional picnic food will be available throughout the
day at our "Kebab for Kerry" pavilion.
Armenians for Kerry is a bipartisan group of Armenian Democrats,
Independents and moderate Republicans who've rallied to elect John Kerry as
President of the United States.

Wish we were wrong
( )¬ To join the European Union, Turkey is ready to fulfill
any precondition, to meet any requirement put forward by the civilized world
except admitting the Armenian Genocide. This is neither a news, nor a result
of an analysis. This is a fact that should bee seen and taken into account.

This reality is not a dead-end: at least for us, Armenians. It is only
dead-end for Turkey and those who play -- or sponsor-- "conciliation" games.
There was nothing new in the statements made by the Turkish prime minister
in Paris.

A while ago, Turks were trying to mislead the international opinion by
insisting that it is the Dias pora Armenians who are in the way of
establishing relations between Armenia and Turkey because the Diasporans, on
the contrary to the then leaders of Armenia, demand the recognition of the
Armenian Genocide.

Now Turks accuse all Armenians. For hours, they are ready to speak about the
benefits of border trade with those who serve the interests of the
above-mentioned thesis of Turks, who encourage them.

Those Armenians who speak of the "mutually beneficial" trade do not
realize - or do not want to realize - that before offering an economic
trade, Turkey is offering us a moral trade: economic benefits in exchange of
abandoning the demand for the international recognition of the Genocide. The
Turks have already said a "welcome." It is expected that those in this side
who are ready to collaborate, will become more active. Wish we were wrong.


- A number of Armenian environmental organizations demand that the current
and former mayors of Yerevan, former chief architect, as well as Government
officials, who contributed to mass destruction of green zones in Yerevan, be
held responsible for their actions.

- In the first half of 2004, the average price of 1sq. meter of housing in
Yerevan was 214.3 USD, a 34.8% increase as against the first half of 2003,
and a 14.1% increase as against the second half of 2003.

- Days of Armenian Culture will be held in Strasbourg in Sept 2005, with
traditional and jazz music concerts, Armenian cinema shows, exhibitions and
ancient book presentations.

- Baku TV reports that Armenian military units fired fr om assault-rifles
and machine-guns on the Azerbaijani positions in the village of Qizil Hacili
in Qazax District from their positions in¬ Ichevan.

- Russia has begun to cut off gas supplies to the Georgian capital of
Tbilisi, amid escalating tensions with its neighbor over the pro-Russia
separatist region of South Ossetia.

- With a picketing outside the Turkish Embassy in London, and organised by
The National Federation of Cypriots in Britain, Greek Cypriots chanted
''Turkish troops out of Cyprus'' demanding and end to the Turkish invasion
and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory.

- A project proposal to the government of Cyprus by a Cypriot architect for
the construction of a Formula 1 race truck was submitted last week.

- Armenian-French archaeological group have started examining the gorge of
the river Vorotan in the region of Syunik. They will study rocks where there
may be traces of activities of the paleoli te man.

g i b r a h a y¬ ¬ c a l e n d a r

‚=80Ę VERCHIN JAM The Armenian community of Cyprus is being informed bylocal
radio stations and media that a Dance Group from Gyumri - Armenia is in
Cyprus, performing in local festivals. They have been invited to spend two
weeks in Cyprus by the Xylotympou Cultural Society and will be performing
with the following schedule.

Friday 30 July: Xylotympou Festival at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday 31 July: Platres Festival at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday 1 August: Ayia Napa Festival in the evening

* Why is it that noone in our community knows that a Dance Group from
Armenia is here?
* Why is it that we are being notified about their performances through the
local media?
* Are we on permanent hibernation? Or we simply don't care?
* Didn't anyone from Armenia get in touch with community representatives?
* If they did, who did they contact?
* Why are we not organising a community gathering for the Dance group and
providing the opportunity to our youngsters to meet their brothers and
sisters from Armenia?

‚=80Ę THE TEKEYAN YOUTH MOVEMENT OF CYPRUS is organizing a unique excursion to
Armenia, 7-14 August. Participants will exclusively be Armenian youth (ages
13 to 35) from all over the world. The one-week programme is specially
organized to include an optimum amount of sightseeing, led by expert guides.
Trips to Shushi, Stepanakert, Noravank, Gladzor, Lake Sevan, Dilidjan, Barz
Lidj, Khor Vi rab, St. Etchmiadzin, Zvartnots, Sartarabad, Garni, Keghart,
Dzidzernagapert are included in the meticulously prepared programme. Lodging
will be at the "Lousakert" Hotel, 20 kilometres North of Yerevan, ideally
situated in an orchard. The hotel rooms are fully equipped with all the
necessary facilities. The price of the WHOLE PACKAGE, including FULL BOARD,
all the excursions, transfers from and to the airport, return air fare from
Cyprus and visa to Armenia is only 335 Cyprus pounds. Those interested
should immediately call 99747798 or 99929343, as availability is very

‚=80Ę The Armenian Youth Federation is organising its 17th Annual Summer Camp at
the Camp Site of Morphou Prelature at Kalopanayiotis from 9-15 August 2004.
A rich educational and fun programme including Martial Arts, Swimming,
Trekking, Treasure Hunt, and Kisherayin Arshav. To receive more information
or to register please contact the following: Nareg Tavitian 99488926, Nora
Sarian 99439956 or Simon Aynedjian 99437073.

‚=80Ę The Armenian Youth Federation organised a youth gathering at Aktea Beach
in Ayia Napa for the weekend of¬ 17-18 July. Enclosed some images fromthe
weekend at the link:
Once you enter the site, click on view as slideshow on the right.

‚=80Ę THIS SATURDAY ON THE BEACH The Ar menian Youth Federation is organising
Beach Party on Saturday 31 July, 2004 from 7:00 p.m. at The Fig Tree Bay in
Protaras Beach. Skiing, snacks, drinks, music, dancing and midnight swim.
Special package: All-inclusive participation to the Beach Party,
accommodation and breakfast at Aktea Beach in Ayia Napa for only 17.00.
Contact Jirayr Sarkissian 99445018, Hagop Ipdjian 99476305, Bedo Mouradian
99319415 and Marie Louise Kouyoumdjian 99839768 for more details.

‚=80Ę Khanasor and Lisbon 5 Expeditions commemoration took place on Sunday July
25, 2004, at "Loumada ton Aeton" in Troodos. Images from the event in the
next issue of Gibrahayer.

‚=80Ę Armenian Radio Hour on The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation can beheard
via real audio on . Broadcast times 17:00-18:00 local Cyprus
time (14:00-15:00 GMT) News bulletins at 17:15 local time on Sundays,
Tuesdays, Fridays. Armenian Cypriots can also tune in on the following radio
frequencies 91.1 FM (Mount Olympus - for Nicosia listeners) 94.2 FM
(Paralimni/Protaras/Agia Napa) 92.4 FM (Larnaca) 96.5 FM (Paphos).

‚=80Ę A Tour to Armenia is being organised by the Central Executive of
Hamazkayin from August 20-September 3, 2004 with the participation of
members and friends from Armenian d iaspora communities. Trips to Karabagh
are also scheduled. To receive more info and to apply for the trip please
contact the Cyprus Hamazkayin Committee members immediately.

‚=80Ę POSTPONED The Annual General Meeting of The Hamazkayin Cultural and
Educational Association "Oshakan" Cyprus Chapter has been postponed for
Tuesday September 14, 2004.

The Armenian Prelature announces that the next permit for the Armenian
Cemetery visitation at Ayios Dhometios on the Green line, is scheduled for
Sunday 25 July, 2004.

JOURNEY TO ANATOLIA 2004 13th. August 2 004 - 28th.August 2004
- Flights
¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ Istanbul ‚=80`Kayseri¬ (2004-08-13)
¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ Kars¬ ¬ ¬ -¬ Istanbul¬ (2004-08-28)
Airport Transfers*Boat Transfers*Package of Excursions*All Entrances for
Museums & Sights*Guide Interpreter*Overnight stay in 4 star Hotels with
breakfast (only double rooms)
Price: EURO¬ 1150 - Inquiry:
Alfrant Bedros Tel.: 0049-173 90 26 590 Email: [email protected]
Journey details¬ (details are posted, as sent to us by the organiser)

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