Monday, May 6, 2013

Republic of Armenia,,, Armenia (i/ɑrˈmiːniə/ Armenian: Հայաստան Hayastan), officially the Republic of Armenia (Armenian:Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն, Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun), is a mountainous country in the South Caucasusregion of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe,it is bordered by Turkeyto the west, Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ battery Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south. Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its religion,[10] Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ battery in the early years of the 4th century (the traditional date is 301 AD).[11] The modern Republic of Armenia recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church, the world's oldest national church, as the country's primary religious establishment.[12][13]Armenians have their own unique alphabet invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD. Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ battery A former republic of the Soviet Union, Armenia is an emerging democracy and as of 2011 was negotiating with the European Union to become an associate member. It has the right to be an EU member provided it meets necessary standards and criteria.[14][15][16][17] The Government of Armenia holds European integration as a key priority in its foreign policy. Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ battery The native Armenian name for the country is Hayk’. The name in the Middle Ages was extended to Hayastan, by addition of the Iranian suffix -stan (place). The name has traditionally been derived from Hayk (Հայկ), the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and a great-great-grandson of Noah, who according to the 5th century author Moses of Chorene defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC, Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ battery and established his nation in the Araratregion.[19] The further origin of the name is uncertain. The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun inscription (515 BC) as Armina (         ). Ancient Greek ArmeniaΑρμενια Αρμένιοι "Armenians" is first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus(476 BC).[20] Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ battery Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality. He relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians.[21] According to the histories of both Moses of Chorene and Michael Chamchian, Armenia derives from the name of Aram, a lineal descendent of Hayk. Sony VAIO VPCF127FJ/W battery Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat, upon which Noah's Ark is said to have come to rest after the flood. (Bible, Gen. 8:4). There is evidence of an early civilization in Armenia in the Bronze Age and earlier, dating to about 4000 BC. Sony VAIO VPCF128FJ/B battery Archaeological surveys in 2010 and 2011 at the Areni-1 cave complex have resulted in the discovery of the world's earliest known leather shoe,[24] skirt,[25] and wine-producing facility.[26] Several bronze-era states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire (at the height of its power), Mitanni (South-Western historical Armenia), and Hayasa-Azzi (1500–1200 BC). Sony VAIO VPCF129FJ/BI battery The Nairi people(12th to 9th centuries BC) and the Kingdom of Urartu (1000–600 BC) successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland. Each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of theArmenian people.[27][28][29][30] A large cuneiform lapidary inscription found in Yerevan established that the modern capital of Armenia was founded in the summer of 782 BC by king Argishti I. Sony VAIO VPCF12AFJ battery Yerevan is the world's oldest city to have documented the exact date of its foundation. Around 600 BC, the Kingdom of Armenia was established under the Orontid Dynasty. The kingdom reached its height between 95 and 66 BC under Tigranes the Great, becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of its time within the region. In the next centuries Armenia was in the Persian Empire's sphere of influence. Sony VAIO VPCF12AGJ battery Throughout its history, the kingdom of Armenia enjoyed both periods of independence and periods of autonomy subject to contemporary empires. Its strategic location between two continents has subjected it to invasions by many peoples, including the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs,Mongols, Persians, Ottoman Turks and Russians. Sony VAIO VPCF12AHJ battery Religion in ancient Armenia was historically related to a set of beliefs which in Persia led to the emergence ofZoroastrianism. It particularly focused on the worship of Mihr (Avestan Mithra) and also included a pantheon of native Aryan gods, such as Aramazd, Vahagn, Anahit, and Astghik. The country used the solar Hayk Armenian calendar, which consisted of 12 months. Sony VAIO VPCF135FG battery Christianity spread into the country as early as AD 40. King Tiridates III (AD 238–314) made Christianity thestate religion in AD 301,[31][32] becoming the first officially Christian state, ten years before the Roman Empiregranted Christianity an official toleration under Galerius, and 36 years before Constantine the Great was baptized. Sony VAIO VPCF138FC/BI battery After the fall of the Armenian kingdom in AD 428, most of Armenia was incorporated as a marzpanate within the Sassanid Empire. Following an Armenian rebellion in AD 451, Christian Armenians maintained their religious freedom, while Armenia gained autonomy. After the Marzpanate period (428–636), Armenia emerged as the Emirate of Armenia, Sony VAIO VPCF138FJ/B battery an autonomous principality within the Arabic Empire, reuniting Armenian lands previously taken by the Byzantine Empire as well. The principality was ruled by the Prince of Armenia, recognised by the Caliph and the Byzantine Emperor. It was part of the administrative division/emirateArminiyya created by the Arabs, Sony VAIO VPCF139FJ/BI battery which also included parts of Georgia andCaucasian Albania, and had its center in the Armenian city Dvin. ThePrincipality of Armenia lasted until 884, when it regained its independence from the weakened Arabic Empire. The re-emergent Armenian kingdom was ruled by the Bagratuni dynasty, and lasted until 1045. Sony VAIO VPCF13AFJ battery In time, several areas of the Bagratid Armenia separated as independent kingdoms and principalities such as the Kingdom of Vaspurakan ruled by the House ofArtsruni in the south, Kingdom of Syunik in the east, or Kingdom of Artsakh on the territory of modern Nagorno Karabakh, while still recognizing the supremacy of the Bagratid kings. Sony VAIO VPCF13AGJ battery In 1045, the Byzantine Empire conquered Bagratid Armenia. Soon, the other Armenian states fell under Byzantine control as well. The Byzantine rule was short lived, as in 1071 Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines and conquered Armenia at the Battle of Manzikert, establishing the Seljuk Empire. Sony VAIO VPCF13AHJ battery To escape death or servitude at the hands of those who had assassinated his relative, Gagik II, King of Ani, an Armenian named Roupen went with some of his countrymen into the gorges of the Taurus Mountains and then into Tarsus of Cilicia. The Byzantine governor of the palace gave them shelter where the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia was eventually established. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery Cilicia was a strong ally of the European Crusaders, and saw itself as a bastion of Christendom in the East. Cilicia's significance in Armenian history and statehood is also attested by the transfer of the seat of the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, spiritual leader of the Armenian people, to the region. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery The Seljuk Empire soon started to collapse. In the early 12th century, Armenian princes of the Zakarid noble familydrove out the Seljuk Turks and established a semi-independent Armenian principality in Northern and Eastern Armenia, known as Zakarid Armenia, which lasted under the patronage of the Georgian Kingdom. Sony VAIO VPCF13ZHJ battery The noble family of Orbelians shared control with the Zakarids in various parts of the country, especially in Syunik and Vayots Dzor, while the Armenian family of Hasan-Jalalians controlled provinces of Artsakh and Utik as the Kingdom of Artsakh. During the 1230s, the Mongol Empire conquered the Zakaryan Principality, as well as the rest of Armenia. Sony VAIO VPCF148FJ/B battery The Mongolian invasions were soon followed by those of other Central Asian tribes (Kara Koyunlu, Timurid and Ak Koyunlu), which continued from the 13th century until the 15th century. After incessant invasions, each bringing destruction to the country, with time Armenia became weakened. In the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia divided Armenia. Sony VAIO VPCF149FJ/BI battery From 1604 Abbas I of Persia implemented a "scorched earth" policy in the region to protect his north-western frontier against any invading Ottoman forces, a policy which involved a forced resettlement of many Armenians outside of their homelands.[33] In 1813 and 1828 theRussian Empire annexed Eastern Armenia from Persia (consisting of the Erivan and Karabakh khanates[34]).[35] Sony VAIO VPCF14AFJ battery Under Ottoman rule, the Armenians were granted considerable autonomy within their own enclaves and lived in relative harmony with other groups in the empire (including the ruling Turks). However, as Christians under a strict Muslim social system, Armenians faced pervasive discrimination. When they began pushing for more rights within the Ottoman Empire, Sony VAIO VPCF14AGJ battery Sultan‘Abdu’l-Hamid II, in response, organised state-sponsored massacres against the Armenians between 1894 and 1896, resulting in an estimated death toll of 80,000 to 300,000 people. The Hamidian massacres, as they came to be known, gave Hamid international infamy as the "Red Sultan" or "Bloody Sultan".Sony VAIO VPCF14AHJ battery The Ottoman Empire began to collapse and in 1908, the Young Turk Revolution overthrew the government of Sultan Hamid. Armenians living in the empire hoped that the Committee of Union and Progress would change their second-class status. Armenian reform package (1914) was presented as a solution by appointing aninspector general over Armenian issues. Sony VAIO VPCF14ZHJ battery When World War I broke out leading to confrontation of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire in the Caucasus and Persian Campaigns, the new government in Istanbul began to look on the Armenians with distrust and suspicion. This was because theRussian army contained a contingent of Armenian volunteers. Sony VAIO VPCF217HG battery On 24 April 1915, Armenian intellectuals were arrested by Ottoman authorities and, with the Tehcir Law (29 May 1915), eventually a large proportion of Armenians living in Anatolia perished in what has become known as the Armenian Genocide. There was local Armenian resistance in the region, developed against the activities of the Ottoman Empire. Sony VAIO VPCF217HG/BI battery The events of 1915 to 1917 are regarded by Armenians and the vast majority of Western historians to have been state-sponsored mass killings, or genocide.[37] Turkish authorities, however, maintain that the deaths were the result of a civil war coupled with disease andfamine, with casualties incurred by both sides. Sony VAIO VPCF217FG battery According to the research conducted by Arnold J. Toynbee, an estimated 1 500,000 Armenians died during the Armenian Genocide in 1895–1920.[38] According to the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the death toll was "more than a million".[39] Sony VAIO VPCF217FG/BI battery Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have been campaigning for official recognition of the events as genocide for over 30 years. These events are traditionally commemorated yearly on 24 April, the Armenian Martyr Day, or the Day of the Armenian Genocide. Although the Russian army succeeded in gaining most of Ottoman Armenia during World War I, their gains were lost with theBolshevik Revolution of 1917. Sony VAIO VPCF219FJ/BI battery At the time, Russian-controlled Eastern Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijanattempted to bond together in the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. This federation, however, lasted from only February to May 1918, when all three parties decided to dissolve it. As a result, Eastern Armenia became independent as theDemocratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) on 28 May. Sony VAIO VPCF21AFJ battery The DRA's short-lived independence was fraught with war, territorial disputes, and a mass influx of refugees from Ottoman Armenia, bringing with them disease and starvation. The Entente Powers, appalled by the actions of the Ottoman government, sought to help the newly founded Armenian state through relief funds and other forms of support. Sony VAIO VPCF21AGJ battery At the end of the war, the victorious powers sought to divide up the Ottoman Empire. Signed between the Allied and Associated Powers and Ottoman Empire at Sèvres on 10 August 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres promised to maintain the existence of the Armenian republic and to attach the former territories of Ottoman Armenia to it. Sony VAIO VPCF21AHJ battery Because the new borders of Armenia were to be drawn by United States President Woodrow Wilson, Ottoman Armenia is also referred to as "Wilsonian Armenia." In addition, just days prior, on 5 August 1920, Mihran Damadian of the Armenian National Union, the de facto Armenian administration in Cilicia declared the independence of Cilicia as an Armenian autonomous republic under French protectorate.[40] Sony VAIO VPCF21Z1E/BI battery There was even consideration of possibly making Armenia a mandate under the protection of the United States. The treaty, however, was rejected by the Turkish National Movement, and never came into effect. The movement, under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, used the treaty as the occasion to declare itself the rightfulgovernment of Turkey, replacing the monarchy based in Istanbul with a republic based in Ankara. Sony VAIO VPCF21ZHJ battery In 1920, Turkish nationalist forces invaded the fledgling Armenian republic from the east and the Turkish-Armenian War began. Turkish forces under the command of Kazım Karabekir captured Armenian territories that Russia had annexed in the aftermath of the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War and occupied the old city of Alexandropol (present-day Gyumri). Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B battery The violent conflict finally concluded with the Treaty of Alexandropol on 2 December 1920. The treaty forced Armenia to disarm most of its military forces, cede all former Ottoman territory granted to it by theTreaty of Sèvres, and to give up all the "Wilsonian Armenia" granted to it at the Sèvres treaty. Sony VAIO VPCF116FG/BI battery Simultaneously, the Soviet Eleventh Army, under the command of Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze, invaded Armenia at Karavansarai (present-day Ijevan) on 29 November. By 4 December, Ordzhonikidze's forces entered Yerevan and the short-lived Armenian republic collapsed. Armenia was annexed by Bolshevist Russia and along with Georgia and Azerbaijan, Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI battery it was incorporated into the Soviet Union as part of the Transcaucasian SFSR (TSFSR) on 4 March 1922. With this annexation, the Treaty of Alexandropol was superseded by the Turkish-Soviet Treaty of Kars. In the agreement, Turkey allowed the Soviet Union to assume control over Adjara with the port city of Batumi in return for sovereignty over the cities of Kars, Sony VAIO VPCF119FC battery Ardahan, and Iğdır, all of which were part of Russian Armenia. The TSFSR existed from 1922 to 1936, when it was divided up into three separate entities (Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, andGeorgian SSR). Armenians enjoyed a period of relative stability under Soviet rule. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI battery They received medicine, food, and other provisions from Moscow, and communist rule proved to be a soothing balm in contrast to the turbulent final years of the Ottoman Empire. The situation was difficult for the church, which struggled under Soviet rule. After the death of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin took the reins of power and began an era of renewed fear and terror for Armenians.[41] Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ battery As with various other ethnic groups who lived in the Soviet Union during Stalin's Great Purge, tens of thousands of Armenians were either executed or deported.[citation needed] Armenia was spared the devastation and destruction that wrought most of the western Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War of World War II. Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B battery The Nazis never reached the South Caucasus, which they intended to do in order to capture the oil fields in Azerbaijan. Still, Armenia played a valuable role in aiding the allies both through industry and agriculture. An estimated 500,000 Armenians, out of a population of 1.4 million, were mobilised. 175,000 of these men died in the war.[42] Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E battery Fears decreased when Stalin died in 1953 and Nikita Khruschev emerged as the Soviet Union's new leader. Soon, life in Soviet Armenia began to see rapid improvement. The church which suffered greatly under Stalin was revived when Catholicos Vazgen I assumed the duties of his office in 1955. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery In 1967, a memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide was built at the Tsitsernakaberd hill above the Hrazdan gorge in Yerevan. This occurred after mass demonstrations took place on the tragic event's fiftieth anniversary in 1965. During the Gorbachev era of the 1980s with the reforms of Glasnost and Perestroika, Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E battery Armenians began to demand better environmental care for their country, opposing the pollution that Soviet-built factories brought. Tensions also developed between Soviet Azerbaijan and its autonomous district of Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority-Armenian region separated by Stalin from Armenia in 1923. About 484,000 Armenians lived in Azerbaijan in 1970.[43] Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E battery The Armenians of Karabakh demanded unification with Soviet Armenia. Peaceful protests in Yerevan supporting the Karabakh Armenians were met with anti-Armenian pogroms in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. Compounding Armenia's problems was a devastating earthquake in 1988 with a moment magnitudeof 7.2.[44] Sony VAIO VPCF127HG/BI battery Gorbachev's inability to alleviate any of Armenia's problems created disillusionment among the Armenians and fed a growing hunger for independence. In May 1990, the New Armenian Army (NAA) was established, serving as a defence force separate from the Soviet Red Army. Clashes soon broke out between the NAA and Soviet Internal Security Forces (MVD) Sony VAIO VPCF135FG/B battery troops based in Yerevan when Armenians decided to commemorate the establishment of the 1918 Democratic Republic of Armenia. The violence resulted in the deaths of five Armenians killed in a shootout with the MVD at the railway station. Witnesses there claimed that the MVD used excessive force and that they had instigated the fighting. Sony VAIO VPCF136FG/BI battery Further firefights between Armenian militiamen and Soviet troops occurred in Sovetashen, near the capital and resulted in the deaths of over 26 people, mostly Armenians. The pogrom of Armenians in Baku in January 1990 forced almost all of the 200,000 Armenians in the Azerbaijani capital Baku to flee to Armenia. Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI battery On 17 March 1991, Armenia, along with the Baltic states, Georgia and Moldova, boycotted a nationwide referendum in which 78% of all voters voted for the retention of the Soviet Union in a reformed form. On 23 August 1990, Armenia declared independence, becoming the first non-Baltic republic to secede from the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO VPCF135Z1E/B battery When, in 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved, Armenia's independence was officially recognized. However, the initial post-Soviet years were marred by economic difficulties as well as the break-out of a full-scale armed confrontation between the Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh War). Sony VAIO VPCM125AGP battery The economic problems had their roots early in the Karabakh conflict when the Azerbaijani Popular Front managed to pressure the Azerbaijan SSR to instigate a railway and air blockade against Armenia. This move effectively crippled Armenia's economy as 85% of its cargo and goods arrived through rail traffic.[47] In 1993, Turkey joined the blockade against Armenia in support of Azerbaijan.[48] Sony VAIO VPCM128JC/L battery The Karabakh war ended after a Russian-brokered cease-fire was put in place in 1994. The war was a success for the Karabakh Armenian forces who managed to capture 16% of Azerbaijan's internationally recognised territory including Nagorno-Karabakh itself.[49] Since then, Armenia and Azerbaijan have held peace talks, mediated by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Sony VAIO VPCM128JC/P battery The status of Karabakh has yet to be determined. The economies of both countries have been hurt in the absence of a complete resolution and Armenia's borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed. By the time both Azerbaijan and Armenia had finally agreed to a ceasefire in 1994, an estimated 30,000 people had been killed and over a million had been displaced.[50] Sony VAIO VPCM129AJ/L battery As it enters the 21st century, Armenia faces many hardships. It has made a full switch to a market economy and as of 2012, is the 39th most economically free nation in the world.[51] Its relations with Europe, the Middle East, and the Commonwealth of Independent States have allowed Armenia to increase trade. Sony VAIO VPCM129AJ/P battery Gas, oil, and other supplies come through two vital routes: Iran and Georgia. Armenia maintains cordial relations with both countries. The Republic of Armenia, covering an area of 29,743 square kilometres (11,484 sq mi), is located in the north-east of the Armenian Highland. Sony VAIO VPCM129AJ/W battery The terrain is mostly mountainous, with fast flowing rivers and few forests. The climate is highland continental, which means that the country is subjected to hot summers and cold winters. The land rises to 4,090 metres (13,419 ft) above sea-level at Mount Aragats, and no point is below 390 metres (1,280 ft) above sea level.[52] Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery Mount Ararat, which was historically part of Armenia, is the highest mountain in the region. Now located in Turkey, but clearly visible in Armenia, it is regarded by the Armenians as a symbol of their land. Because of this, the mountain is present on the Armenian national emblem today. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/P battery Armenia has established a Ministry of Nature Protection and introduced taxes for air and water pollution and solid-waste disposal, whose revenues are used for environmental protection activities. Waste management in Armenia is underdeveloped, as no waste sorting or recycling takes place at Armenia's 60 landfills. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery Despite the availability of abundant renewable energy sources in Armenia (especially hydroelectric and wind power), the Armenian Government is working toward building a new Nuclear Power Plant at Medzamor near Yerevan. The climate in Armenia is markedly continental. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. Sony VAIO VPCM125AG/L battery The temperature fluctuates between 22 and 36 °C (72 and 97 °F). However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while autumns are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage. Sony VAIO VPCM125AG/P battery Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -10 and -5 °C (14 and 23 °F). Winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1,900 metres (6,234 ft) above sea level. Sony VAIO VPCM125AG/W battery Politics of Armenia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic. According to the Constitution of Armenia, the President is the head of government and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Sony VAIO VPCM125JC/W battery The unicameral parliament (also called the Azgayin Zhoghov or National Assembly) is controlled by a coalition of four political parties: the conservative Republican party, the Prosperous Armenia party, the rule of law party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Sony VAIO VPCM126AA/L battery The main opposition party is Raffi Hovannisian's Heritage party, which favors eventual Armenian membership in the European Union and NATO. The Armenian government's stated aim is to build a Western-style parliamentary democracy as the basis of its form of government. It has universal suffrage above the age of eighteen. Sony VAIO VPCM126AA/P battery International observers of Council of Europe and US Department of State have questioned the fairness of Armenia's parliamentary and presidential elections and constitutional referendum since 1995, citing polling deficiencies, lack of cooperation by the Electoral Commission, and poor maintenance of electoral lists and polling places. Sony VAIO VPCM126AA/W battery Freedom House categorized Armenia in its 2008 report as a "Semi-consolidated Authoritarian Regime" (along with Moldova, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia) and ranked Armenia 20th among 29 nations in transition, with a Democracy Score of 5.21 out of 7 (7 represents the lowest democratic progress).[57] Sony VAIO VPCM126AG/L battery Since 1999, Freedom House's Democracy Score for Armenia has been steadily on the decline (from 4.79 to 5.21).[58] Furthermore, Freedom House ranked Armenia as "partly free" in its 2007 report, though it did not categorise Armenia as an "electoral democracy", indicating an absence of relatively free and competitive elections.[59] Sony VAIO VPCM126AG/P battery However, significant progress seems to have been made and the 2008 Armenian presidential election was hailed as largely democratic by OSCE and Western monitors. Armenia presently maintains good relations with almost every country in the world, with two major exceptions being its immediate neighbours, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Sony VAIO VPCM126AG/W battery Tensions were running high between Armenians and Azerbaijanis during the final years of theSoviet Union. The Nagorno-Karabakh War dominated the region's politics throughout the 1990s.[61] The border between the two rival countries remains closed up to this day, and a permanent solution for the conflict has not been reached despite the mediation provided by organisations such as the OSCE. Sony VAIO VPCM126AH/L battery Armenia is a member of more than 40 international organisations, including the United Nations; the Council of Europe; the Asian Development Bank; the Commonwealth of Independent States; the World Trade Organization; World Customs Organization; the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation; and La Francophonie. Sony VAIO VPCM126AH/P battery It is a member of the CSTO military alliance, and also participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace programme. Turkey also has a long history of poor relations with Armenia over its refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Sony VAIO VPCM126AH/W battery Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the Republic of Armenia (the 3rd republic) after its independence from the USSR in 1991. Despite this, for most of the 20th century and early 21st century, relations remain tense and there are no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries due to Turkey's refusal to establish them for numerous reasons. Sony VPCCA15FA/B battery During the Nagorno-Karabakh War and citing it as the reason, Turkey closed its land border with Armenia in 1993. It has not lifted its blockade despite pressure from the powerful Turkish business lobby interested in Armenian markets.[61] However, the Armenian airline company Armavia regularly flew between the Zvartnots International Airport at Yerevan and Atatürk International Airport at Istanbul from 2005 until its collapse in 2013. Sony VPCCA15FA/G battery On 10 October 2009, Armenia and Turkey signed protocols on normalisation of relationships, which set a timetable for restoring diplomatic ties and reopening their joint border.[62] The ratification of those had to be made in the national parliaments. In Armenia it passed through the required by legislation approval of the Constitutional Court and was sent to the parliament for the final ratification. Sony VPCCA15FA/L battery The President had made multiple public announcements, both in Armenia and abroad, that as the leader of the political majority of Armenia he assured the ratification of the protocols if Turkey also ratified them. Despite this, the process stopped, as Turkey continuously added more preconditions to its ratification and also "delayed it beyond any reasonable time-period".Sony VPCCA15FA/P battery Sony VPCCA15FA/W battery Due to its position between two unfriendly neighbours, Armenia has close security ties with Russia. At the request of the Armenian government, Russia maintains a military base in the northwestern Armenian city of Gyumri[63] as a deterrent against Turkey.Despite this, Armenia has also been looking toward Euro-Atlantic structures in recent years. Sony VPCCA15FF/B battery It maintains good relations with the United States especially through its Armenian diaspora. According to the US Census Bureau, there are 427,822 Armenians living in the country.[64] Because of the blockades by Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia continues to maintain solid relations with its southern neighbor Iran especially in the economic sector. Economic projects such a gas pipeline going from Iran to Armenia are in time being developed. Armenia is also a member of the Council of Europe, maintaining friendly relations with the European Union, especially with its member states such as France and Greece. Sony VPCCA15FF/G battery A 2005 survey reported that 64% of Armenia's population would be in favor of joining the EU.[65] Several Armenian officials have also expressed the desire for their country to eventually become an EU member state,[66] some predicting that it will make an official bid for membership in a few years. In 2004 its forces joined KFOR, a NATO-led international force in Kosovo. Sony VPCCA15FF/L battery It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Non-Aligned Movement. Human rights in Armenia are better than those in most former Soviet republics and have drawn closer to acceptable standards, especially economically. Still, there are several considerable problems. Overall, Armenia's human rights record is similar to that of Georgia's. Sony VPCCA15FF/P battery Armenia has been labeled as "partly free" byFreedom House. The Armenian Army, Air Force, Air Defence, and Border Guard comprise the four branches of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian military was formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and with the establishment of the Ministry of Defence in 1992. Sony VPCCA15FF/W battery The Commander-in-Chief of the military is the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan. The Ministryof Defence is in charge of political leadership, currently headed by Colonel-General Mikael Harutyunyan, while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff, headed by the Chief of Staff, who is currently Lieutenant-General Seyran Ohanian. Sony VPCCA15FG battery Active forces now number about 81,000 soldiers, with an additional reserve of 32,000 troops. Armenian border guards are in charge of patrolling the country's borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan, while Russian troops continue to monitor its borders with Iran and Turkey. In the case of an attack, Armenia is able to mobilise every able-bodied man between the age of 15 and 59, with military preparedness. Sony VPCCA15FG/B battery The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of military equipment, was ratified by the Armenian parliament in July 1992. In March 1993, Armenia signed the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention, which calls for the eventual elimination of chemical weapons. Sony VPCCA15FG/D battery Armenia acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state in July 1993.Armenia is member of Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) along with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PiP) program and is in a NATO organisation calledEuro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Sony VPCCA15FG/G battery Armenia has engaged in a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo as part of non-NATO KFORtroops under Greek command.[68] Armenia also had 46 members of its military peacekeeping forces as a part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq War until October 2008. Sony VPCCA15FG/P battery Armenia is divided into ten provinces (marzer, singular marz), with the city (kaghak) of Yerevan (Երևան) having special administrative status as the country's capital. The chief executive in each of the ten provinces is the marzpet (marz governor), appointed by the government of Armenia. In Yerevan, the chief executive is the mayor, appointed by the president. Sony VPCCA15FG/R battery Within each province are communities (hamaynkner, singular hamaynk). Each community is self-governing and consists of one or more settlements (bnakavayrer, singular bnakavayr). Settlements are classified as either towns (kaghakner, singular kaghak) or villages (gyugher, singular gyugh). As of 2007, Sony VPCCA15FG/W battery Armenia includes 915 communities, of which 49 are considered urban and 866 are considered rural. The capital, Yerevan, also has the status of a community.[70] Additionally, Yerevan is divided into twelve semi-autonomous districts. The economy relies heavily on investment and support from Armenians abroad.[71] Sony VPCCA15FH/B battery Before independence, Armenia's economy was largely industry-based – chemicals,electronics, machinery, processed food, synthetic rubber, and textile – and highly dependent on outside resources. The republic had developed a modernindustrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics in exchange for raw materials and energy.[31] Sony VPCCA15FH/G battery

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