1) Deputy FM Discusses Secret Talks with Turkey
2) Armenian Parliament Elects Torosian as New Speaker
3) Grassroots Pressure Building for Congressional Hearings on Evans Firing
4) Turkey Cracks 'Plot' to Kill PM

1) Deputy FM Discusses Secret Talks with Turkey

TSAKHKADZOR (Armenpress)Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia, Gegham
Gharibjanian, responded Thursday to statements made by the Turkish Foreign
Affairs Ministry about secret meetings conducted between Armenian and Turkish
diplomats on improving relations between the two countries.
According to the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Namik Tan, there
have been three meetings between representatives of the Armenian Foreign
Affairs Ministry and "preparations are being made for the organization of
further meetings."
Referring to this statement Gharibjanian said that as of now, the Armenian
Foreign Affairs Minister and his aides are not dealing with such issues.
However, they are closely following these processes.
"Last year meetings were conducted, but during this year no meeting took
place," said the deputy minister.
The Turkish press reported that the Turkish side proposed the
establishment of
two committees to simultaneously hold talks on political issues and the
Armenian genocide, which Armenia rejected.
"We have suggestions and everybody knows about them, including Turkey: they
are--opening borders between Armenia and Turkey without pre-conditions,
establishing diplomatic relations, and, of course, recognizing the Armenian
genocide," Gharibjanian said.

2) Armenian Parliament Elects Torosian as New Speaker

YEREVAN (RFE/RL/Armenpress)--Armenia's Parliament elected Tigran Torosian as
its new speaker on Thursday, replacing Artur Baghdasarian after his Orinats
Yerkir party withdrew from the ruling coalition.
The National Assembly voted for him by 94 to 1, with a small number of
opposition members boycotting the vote.
Torosian, 50, is a senior member of Markarian's Republican Party (HHK), which
has the largest faction in the parliament and is the biggest of the three
parties represented in Armenia's Government. An engineer by training, he
as parliament vice-speaker until now.
Baghdasarian said before the secret ballot that he and eight other lawmakers
remaining in the Orinats Yerkir faction will unanimously vote for Torosian,
praising his former deputy as "one of the few professionals in our

"I think that his personal and professional qualities make him fit to run the
National Assembly," said the ex-speaker.
Opposition deputies who took part in a debate preceding the vote also
commended those qualities, but claimed that Torosian will not make any
difference in the Armenian political stage in his new capacity. They dismissed
the parliament as a rubber stamp body that has little impact on government
"We are faced with very difficult problems and serious challenges," Torosian
said in his acceptance speech. "I am sure that those of our colleagues who did
not take part in the election agree that we are facing such challenges," he
added, referring to the opposition minority that boycotted the vote.
In his speech, the new speaker said one of the key challenges facing Armenia
is to holding "democratic elections" next year and in 2008. He said Armenia is
facing a serious challenge now of proving that it is moving in the right
"The 2007 parliamentary elections will be of paramount significance to us in
order to dissipate the international community's apprehensions that we are no
longer able to ensure free and democratic polls. We have no alternatives, but
fair elections, a key factor to improve our life," he said.
He said that Armenian authorities have to revise the country's legislation to
bring it in line with constitutional amendments adopted in last November's
referendum. Torosian also pointed out the necessity of shaping a proper
political climate in Parliament to win back the respect of citizens.

3) Grassroots Pressure Building for Congressional Hearings on Evans Firing

WASHINGTON, DC--Tens of thousands of Armenians--in the United States and
Armenia--have voiced their outrage over the Administration's firing of US
Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans, reported the Armenian National
Committee of America (ANCA).
In Armenia, tens of thousands of Armenians took part in the "Yellow Ribbon
Campaign" to protest the Evans firing and, more broadly, to voice
opposition to
a number of recent instances in which foreign diplomats stationed in Armenia
have denied the Armenian genocide. The campaign, which took place at the
Dzidzernagapert Memorial to the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan, started on April
24 with countless thousands of individual Armenians each tying a single yellow
ribbons on 100-yard lengths of rope stretched along the walking path
leading to
the Genocide Monument.
In the United States, Armenian American activists have called for
Congressional hearings into the Government of Turkey's role in dismissal of
this highly-respected 35 year Foreign Service veteran over his honest and
accurate description of the Armenian genocide as a clear case of genocide.
ANCA WebFax system--on the web at been used by activists
throughout the United States--including a large number from state and
represented by Members of committees with oversight responsibility of the
In their WebFaxes, these concerned citizens have stressed that: "Ambassador
Evans is, in effect, being punished for honoring his President's pledge to
properly recognize the Armenian genocide--a promise that George W. Bush
made on
the campaign trail in February of 2000 but abandoned once in the White House.
Ambassador Evans should be praised, not dismissed, for rejecting "gag-rules"
imposed by the Turkish Government on the discussion of the Armenian
genocide by
America's leaders at home and diplomats abroad."
In demanding hearings on the Evans firing, the WebFaxers note that these
inquiries should "include testimony by all the key figures involved, including
the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor Stephen
Hadley. Among the issues that should be explored is the role of the Turkish
Government in exporting its suppression of free speech to the United States
the implications for the future of the Foreign Service if a senior American
diplomat's career has been ended simply for acknowledging the historical
on one of the world's greatest human rights tragedies."
Commenting on the lack of openness by the Administration in dealing with this
matter, the WebFax letters note that, "the Administration has lacked the
courage to speak honestly--either to Congress or the American people--about
reasons for firing Ambassador Evans. Hopefully, these hearings will provide
the transparency that we, as citizens, have the right to expect of our
The firing of Ambassador Evans was the result of his February 2005 statements
at Armenian American community functions characterizing the Armenian genocide
as a genocide. Following his statements, Ambassador Evans was forced to issue
a statement clarifying that his references to the Armenian genocide were his
personal views and did not represent a change in US policy. He subsequently
issued a correction to this statement, replacing a reference to the genocide
with the word "tragedy."
The American Foreign Service Association, which had planned to honor
Ambassador Evans with the "Christian A. Herter Award," recognizing creative
thinking and intellectual courage within the Foreign Service, reportedly
rescinded the award following pressure from the State Department a few days
before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Washington, DC
to meet with President Bush.
Congressional Response:
On the eve of the announcement of Evans' replacement, sixty Members of
Congress, led by Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), sent a letter to
Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice asking for clarification of the reasons behind
Ambassador Evans' recall. Earlier, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair
Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Representative
Grace Napolitano (D-CA) had each officially called on Secretary Rice for a
clarification of the State Department's position on this issue. They have yet
to receive any response to their inquiries.
Media Response:
The Los Angeles Times, in a strongly worded March 22 editorial, made direct
reference to Ambassador Evans' impending dismissal, calling on the Turkish
Government and US State Department to end their policies of Armenian genocide
On March 24, the Fresno Bee, published a similarly strong editorial
Evans' firing. The Washington Times, on May 26, ran a story about the
"geopolitical firestorm" created by Evans' remarks.
Armenian Youth Response:
At the Armenian Youth Federation Junior Educational Seminar, held in Western
Pennsylvania over the Memorial Day weekend, over 400 young Armenian Americans
designed, produced, and signed original petitions protesting the
Administration's decision to fire Ambassador Evans for telling the truth about
the Armenian genocide.

4) Turkey Cracks 'Plot' to Kill PM

(BBC News)--Anti-terror police in Turkey are reported to have foiled a plot to
kill Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish newspapers say nine people, including three soldiers, have been
detained in the capital, Ankara.
Police are said to have found grenades, explosives, a timer, and a sketch
showing Erdogan's route home.
There has been no official comment. Erdogan, whose party has Islamic roots,
criticized last month the army's chief for encouraging popular protests.
He attacked General Hilmi Ozkok for supporting demonstrations against
militancy after a judge was murdered by a suspected Islamist gunman.
The army sees itself as the guardian of secularism in predominantly Muslim
The Hurriyet and Sabah newspapers suggested Cuneyd Zapsu, one of Erdogan's
advisers, was also the target of a possible attack.
There has been no confirmation from the police, but the semi-official
news agency said the suspects were "allegedly planning an attack against a

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