Standing Up for Our Soldiers

Garen Yegparian


I was thrilled and inspired when I read that the Armenian community in Bolis, under the banner of a recently founded organization, Nor Zartonk (New Renaissance), had organized, publicized, and held a demonstration to call on Turkey’s judicial authorities to actively pursue the case of Sevag Balikji’s murder by his comrade-in-arms in the Turkish army, Kvanj Aghaoghloo.

You’ll remember that this killing had occurred on April 24, 2011, and was supposedly an accident. The case is still pending and the killer is out of jail, after only three months, on his own recognizance because the court has found he doesn’t pose a flight risk.

Of course, it is VERY heartening that the Armenian community in Turkey feels confident enough to hold a demonstration. When was the last time that happened, in the 1890s?  This speaks well both of our compatriots there and even Turkey’s reformism, too.

But, the real issue is Sevag’s murder. The case is being dragged out. The Turkish media has reported that the murderer had connections to right wing movements in the country. Remember, Hrant dink’s killer had such connections, too. And while all this may seem conspiracy-mongering, the possibility of something nefariously hidden can NOT be dismissed in a country such as Turkey where the Ergenekon case (hundreds of Turkish military folk accused of being involved in illegal activity to keep the military’s hegemony over Turkish government intact) is still wending its way through the courts.

And speaking of the Turkish media, one columnist there has observed that a mass hysteria has befallen Azerbaijan, citing as proof the treatment axe-murderer Ramil Safarov upon his repatriation as a prisoner to Azerbaijan by Hungary.

It’s Also encouraging that various voices inside Hungary are rallying to this cause. Let’s help them find a way for their government to atone for that heinous error in judgment. Perhaps, as I’ve seen suggested elsewhere, the best way to do so is for Hungary to become the first country to formally recognize Artaskh’s independence.

Of course none of this misbehavior by the usual culprits in Azerbaijan and Turkey, coupled with Hungary’s foolishness, should lead us to forget that Armenia’s own military has been plagued with a rash of non-combat deaths. While a few people have been penalized for this, the root problems still exist. Fundamental respect for soldiers is insufficiently developed in the armed forces’ internal culture. No doubt some of the culprits are thrilled to have the focus taken off them by all the attention focused on Gourgen Margaryan’s murderer’s deification by Azerbaijan’s megalomaniacal president. Let’s not let this most important group of people off the hook.

Perhaps it’s time that Armenians retired from all countries’ armed forces take up the cause of standing up for those of or compatriots serving in the military anywhere, if they are threatened by the sorts of hazing and death that has been exposed over the last few years.  Come on veterans, get busy and stand up for soldiers’ rights.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. ARA said:

    they have no atonement- simply they were bribed-in more ways than 1-Israel, the leaders that approved it and of course the dirt in baku who are happy now- wait till we spit on their faces

  2. Vasken said:

    Sevag Balikji was “Amalat Tabourue” it means work-Soldier. In turkey, work soldiers don’t carry guns, like during Armenian Genocide my (both side) grand fathers were work soldiers and dug trenches for turk soldiers, and when they finished, then dug their own graves…they never came home. Sevag Balikji’s & Gourgen Margaryan’s murderer’s were our sworn enemies: they were murdered with axe, and taken aim with gun like taget practice. these were not non-combat deads as you postulate in your picture in front of that American flag and leading yourself by equating “Armenia’s own military has been plagued with a rash of non-combat deaths”.
    allow me to say your articles have no DEBTH. perhaps you can sharpen your judgement!

  3. Daniel said:

    Many may not know it,but Armenians in Bolis are well organized and use social media effectively. Most of them adhere to national values but lack knowledge of history due to restrictions imposed by the government.
    With the publishment of Agos they have become more vocal.
    All Armenian youth of military age serve in the army, and there are no amele taboors as was used during WWII. The thing about the army is that anything may happen to you and no one can question it. The officers have the right to inflict punishment and even death and get away with it circumstances permitting, and in the case of the death of an Armenian not many consciences will be moved. However these same circumstances may be true for all conscripts, let them be Turks,Kurds,any ethnicity, any minority. Usually there have not been major problems involving Armenians, except Sevan Balikci which seems an individual case, although many Armenians may experience some sort of mistreatment.
    I love Mr.Garen’s articles because he reminds us of many issue that concern us. He can not give all the solutions to us but he urges all to take action. Instead of negatively criticizing we should all positively contribute all we can.