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Why ASATRYAN and MOVSISYAN began to study AZERBAIJANI

The Azeri Times

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Learning Azerbaijani is becoming more and more popular in Armenia. While the two countries remain in a near-war-like state, some emphasise the strategic importance of ‘know thy enemy’, while others seek a better understanding of their disconnected neighbours. This is stated in an article by journalist Armine Avetisyan, published on the Caucasian news portal OC Media.

Notes in Azerbaijani and Armenian (Armine Avetisyan/OC Media)
For the first time in 2012, an Azerbaijani language textbook was published in Armenia. The book was the initiative of the Chair of Turkish Studies at Yerevan State University. It has been certified to be of an academic level by the university’s Academic Council. The textbook is in great demand today, as the desire to learn Azerbaijani is increasing day by day in Armenia.

Learning Azerbaijani

Twenty-eight-year-old economist Ashot Asatryan has been attending private Azerbaijani lessons for two months. At first he tried to learn the language on his own, but was unable to master it through online programmes alone.

‘I read news written on Azerbaijani websites a lot. At one point it was just a hobby. Then I began to actively follow developments in Azerbaijan, whether political or military. I translated the most interesting parts of the news into Armenian and posted them on my Facebook page. My notes were quickly reprinted on Armenian websites. Over time, I went from being a consumer to a distributor of information, and started to study the Azerbaijani-language articles. At that time I realised that I should learn the language, because the translations from Google Translate cannot always be trusted’, Asatryan told OC Media. Previously, he read mostly Russian-language articles, but is now able to read and translate from Azerbaijani.

During his two months of study, Ashot has gained a solid grasp of Azerbaijani grammar, and is now working on enriching his vocabulary. The entire course lasts six months, for which he will pay $300.

‘I am attending individual classes, but there are also a few groups learning the language through another programme. I know many young people who are interested in Azerbaijani like me. I aim to open a specialised language group after learning the language properly, which will teach Azerbaijani’, says Asatryan.

‘Strategic importance’

Interest in Azerbaijani has intensified in Armenia — especially after the 2016 Four-Day War. Interest in news from Azerbaijan has spiked, with many people wishing to get a clearer image of what is going on in the ‘enemy country’. People are interested in any kind of news about Azerbaijan, social, political, or military.

‘Our countries are on opposite sides of the conflict, so the presence of experts knowing each other’s language is of strategic importance. Besides, I always say that you need to know your neighbour’s language to communicate and talk with them — it will give you an advantage. The more I talked with Azerbaijanis, the more I felt their discomfort, because I was always one step ahead of them — I have mastered their native language’, Ashot Movsisyan, Asatryan’s Azerbaijani teacher told OC Media.

Ashot Asatryan and his teacher, Ashot Movsisyan (Armine Avetisyan/OC Media)

‘My first teacher was my grandmother’

Movsisyan, 24, is a Turkologist by training. He graduated from Yerevan State University’s Department of Turkology. From an early age, Movsisyan showed an interest in Azerbaijan and its language. After showing an interest, he began to learn a few words.

‘My first “teacher” of Azerbaijani was my grandmother, from whom I learned the numbers. Then my father helped me a lot, thanks to which my knowledge of the language steadily increased over the years. I remember one day, my father was watching a programme about the Azerbaijani army on Azerbaijani TV and I asked many questions. My questions were so numerous that my father refused to continue translating and changed the channel. On that day I promised to myself that I would learn the language to understand and communicate with my Azerbaijani counterparts. At first, I learned the language as a linguist without textbooks — TV channels helped a lot. Studying Turkish at university has also helped me learn Azerbaijani faster, because these two languages are very similar’, he says.

According to Movsisyan, it is easy for Armenians to learn Azerbaijani, as there are a number of linguistic similarities. It was easier still for him, he says, because there are many words of Turkish and Persian origin in his dialect (the Karabakh dialect of southern Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh).

‘It also helped me to master Azerbaijani more easily. For some Armenians, some of the sounds are bit of a challenge, and learning it requires hard work’, says Movsisyan. It takes years to master the language and to be able to apply it practically, he says.

For the latter, the problem is complicated. Azerbaijanis and Armenians, as warring sides in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, have practically no contact.

Learning more than just the language

Yerevan State University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies has offered courses in Azerbaijani language since 2008. When they first began, Azerbaijani was taught as a second eastern language in the department of Turkology, and for the last two years, an Azerbaijani Studies programme has also been offered.

‘In 2 years, the first students will graduate from this programme. I’m happy to say that many people are interested in it, and we are implementing it together with the Ministry of Defence, providing four free places with this funding. We are teaching at a high level. While in the past there were no appropriate textbooks, for the last five years we have had a specialised book which is purely educational. The course includes the situation of the national minorities in Azerbaijan, politics towards them, as well as domestic policy in Azerbaijan’, Ruben Melkonyan, deputy rector of the Faculty of Oriental Studies told OC Media.

According to Melkonyan, the strategic significance of studying Azerbaijani goes without saying, as Azerbaijan is both a neighbour and enemy of Armenia. He says that the study and teaching of the Azerbaijani language also has important scientific and political significance.

The Chair of Turkish Studies at Yerevan State University was founded in 1991. In 2010, the Chair was reorganised into the Chair of Turkic Studies, which teaches the literature, culture, and history of Turkish, Ottoman, Azerbaijani, Kazakh, and other Turkic peoples.

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Armenia

Armenian police sent to border with Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

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On August 23, the first units of the Armenian internal troops will leave for the border with Azerbaijan. As reported by Azeri Daily with reference to the Armenian media, the head of the police of Armenia Valery Osipyan said this at the preparatory meeting in connection with the sending to the border of the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees.

‘Police troops are distinguished by their discipline. You have many years of experience, there are commanders who have passed the military way. I am more than sure that you will accomplish your mission with honour,’ said Osipyan to the commanders of internal troops.

The head of the Armenian police reminded that in April 2016 police troops participated in military operations in Karabakh, and promised at the first opportunity to arrive at the positions.

The first watch of the Armenian internal forces will be held in the Tavush region on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

It should be reminded that Defence Minister David Tonoyan proposed to send Armenian Internal Troops to combat duty on the border with Azerbaijan.

As is known, due to the acute shortage of military personnel experienced by the Armenian army in occupied Karabakh and on the border with Azerbaijan, residents of nearby villages were periodically recruited for combat duty. As a result, because of the lack of military discipline, unpleasant incidents occurred.

It is assumed that after the deployment of the internal troops units on the border with Azerbaijan, the Armenian Defence Ministry will have the opportunity to send additional troops to Karabakh. The fact is that there is a shortage of Armenian troops on the contact line. Many posts have only two or three servicemen on duty, and at some points of observation there is no one at all.

As noted by Valery Osipyan, in order to repulse the counter-offensive undertaken by two or three units of the Azerbaijani Army in April 2016, not only the occupation forces of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also the internal forces troops from Armenia were mobilised.

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Armenia

Kocharyan returning to politics after arrest

The Azeri Times

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He again stated that the accusations against him were fabricated and that he is ready to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian has announced his return to politics in a statement released on 16 August. His return follows his recent release from custody.

“Consider that I have definitely returned [to politics]. It may be in different formats. I can tell you about the reasons that prompted me to return to politics. Two reasons.

“The first is the geopolitical threats that I see today. Just look at the map and see which countries surround us and what kind of relations we have with them. Today, Russian-American relations are at the lowest level since the Cold War; [there are] new sanctions, [and consider] the state of US-Iranian relations.

“And look at the behavior of Turkey. This is a different state than ten years ago. They aspired to the European Union and this has limited them in terms of aggressive policies and interference in the internal affairs of their neighbours. We know about Turkey’s relations with Azerbaijan and the unresolved Karabakh conflict.

“And try to connect it all … We have a government that, in my opinion, does not understand all this. That does not have experience. That does not understand that in this situation only a powerful army is the true guarantee of our statehood.”

 

Robert Kocharyan was the President of Armenia from 1998 to 2008. His arrest is connected to the events of 1 and 2 March, 2008. Following the presidential elections on 18 February 2008, supporters of the first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, demanded an investigation into the election results, claiming Levon Ter-Petrosyan won the election instead of Kocharyan. Thousands of protesters occupied the central square in Yerevan, taking part in demonstrations round the clock until 1 March.

On 1 March, military-grade weapons were used in the dispersal of crowds. Eight civilians and two police officers were killed in the process. Kocharyan was still the president of the country at the time of these events. According to data from the Central Electoral Commission, President Serzh Sargsyan was elected. However, he had not yet taken office.

Robert Kocharian also said that he is concerned about the relations between Armenia and Russia and the rhetoric of the Armenian government regarding Moscow:

“Russia is not a country with which one can speak in the language in which the Armenian authorities speak today. This is our strategic partner, with which cooperation is very important for our security.”

•  Why was the former president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan arrested and why was he released?

Robert Kocharian also once again stated that the current authorities fabricated the lawsuit against him. He believes that what is happening with him is the elimination of political opponents. Robert Kocharian considers the decision of the court on his release a victory of his lawyers.

“This is not the case when you can say that this or that part of the charge is weak or strong. All charges were based on false, falsified, artificial evidence and conclusions,” he stated.

Kocharyan called for making the trial public and giving the public an opportunity to get acquainted with the details of the criminal case.

“Let the defending side publicly speak about everything connected with the case. You will see that the whole thing is artificial, this is a model of classical political persecution,” he said.

The former president also announced he was ready to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan:

“Of course I’m ready to meet with him. I never avoided negotiations, I was always ready for them.”

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Armenia

Pashinyan: My predecessors wanted to surrender Karabakh

The Azeri Times

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The case of March 1 was fully disclosed, Nikol Pashinyan said during the rally in Yerevan. According to him, there is no option for a single leader of this crime to escape responsibility. Those guilty of killing ten people on March 1, 2008 will be punished.

‘Now, many people, realising that their hours are numbered, that their place is in prison, that they will answer to the people, began to present themselves as victims of political persecution,’ the Armenian premier stressed.

‘All of you will be imprisoned as assassins, I am authorised to declare it on behalf of the Armenian people, citizens of Armenia,’ Pashinyan said.

He pointed out that some people say that a ‘civil war’ is possible in Armenia: ‘Civil war can only be in your offices. How many citizens’ support do you have to start a civil war? 17 former corrupt officials and 22 other fakes. This is your civil support,’ Pashinyan said.

According to him, if someone once again threatens a ‘civil war,’ the National Security Service of Armenia will deal with it.

* * *

‘I will not sign a single piece of paper on Karabakh in secret from you. If there is an option, I will come here, I will introduce it to you, and you will decide whether we should act on this option or not,’ said Nikol Pashinyan during the rally on the Republic Square in Yerevan.

He accused his opponents of acquiring media, creating fake accounts in social networks and spreading rumours that the Pashinyan government came to power allegedly in order to ‘surrender the territories.’

According to Pashinyan, in fact it was his predecessors who planned to do it, and he has all the documents at his fingertips that confirm this.

‘We are ready for a peaceful settlement, but anyone who tries to suspect me of the intention to surrender the territories does not understand that the issue is not decided by the government, but by the people,’ Pashinyan added.

He stressed that he has not entered into any talks on Karabakh so far.

* * *

‘Today the Armenian people are more united than ever. Today is the day of victory for the entire Armenian people. This is a rally of the unity of the Armenian people,’ said Nikol Pashinyan, writes Aysor.

In their hands the rally participants hold posters with the crossed out portrait of Serzh Sargsyan.

Nikol Pashinyan also addressed the April events, as a result of which Serzh Sargsyan resigned, which, according to him, became possible only thanks to the Armenian people, not the West or the North.

‘The strength that made this unprecedented event possible, exceptional and powerful, is the Armenian people, the citizen proud and with dignity, the Diaspora, every Armenian… The direct rule of the people, the direct power of the people was established in Armenia,’ the prime minister said.

* * *

A rally was held at the Republic Square in Yerevan, convened by the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. During the rally, Pashinyan sums up his work in 100 days.

At the rally, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in support of the incumbent government of Armenia and Nikol Pashinyan.

‘This rally is not directed against anyone,’ Pashinyan said, adding that the action only symbolises 100 days of people’s victory in the ‘velvet revolution.’

He also noted that what happened was exactly a revolution, because there was a change in the system of government.

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