Community Leaders Call on Arzruni to Withdraw from Turkish Consulate Concert

Community Leaders Call on Arzruni to Withdraw from Turkish Consulate Concert

NEW YORK (A.W.)—On Sept. 16, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern U.S. Central Committee and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party Eastern District USA issued a joint statement calling on all Armenian-Americans to boycott the Oct. 7 concert in New York organized by the Turkish Consulate and featuring Turkish-Armenian pianist Sahan Arzruni, in celebration of the Akhtamar “reopening.” The two political parties referred to the concert as “an extension of the same old denialism that would undermine our rights and our Cause.”

Commenting on Arzruni’s participation in the concert, Harut Sassounian, publisher of the California Courier, told the Armenian Weekly: “Shahan Arzruni should not allow his music to be exploited by Turkey for anti-Armenian propaganda. It is bad enough that he got mixed up in the Akhtamar ‘political show,’ by giving a concert in Van a week ago. He should not repeat that same mistake in New York City.

“Mr. Arzruni should play music, and not get sucked into cheap political games!” added Sassounian.

Norair Meguerditchian, chair of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party Eastern District USA, agrees. “The Turkish government is trying to hit two birds with one stone: to project a positive image to the world and create a schism in the Armenian diaspora. They cannot penetrate the Diaspora through it’s main gates, guarded by the Armenian organizations and political parties, so they are trying to exploit kind-hearted people and create problems,” he told the Weekly.

“We praise Arzruni’s talent and service to our culture and call on him to stay away from such political issues, so that the Turkish government fails to realize its objectives,” he added.

In turn, Antranig Kasbarian, chair of the ARF Central Committee Eastern U.S., told the Weekly: “Cross-cultural collaboration is a natural activity, and we shouldn’t cringe simply because Armenians and Turks are sharing a stage, a reading, or a conversation. The problem is when state actors and state narratives insert themselves into the picture. We must view the proposed Carnegie Hall event in this light: Why is the Turkish Consulate involved in staging such an event? To what end? And why do Mr. Arzruni and colleagues use this occasion to ‘celebrate’ the Aghtamar opening, when most of our national and community leaders firmly oppose it?”

He concluded, “Sounds like someone is too eager to please official Turkey. Poor judgment, at the very least…”

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