Turkey Says ‘No’ to Burial of Aram Tigran in Diyarbekir


ANKARA (Hetq) — Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior has not allowed the body of Armenian singer Aram Tigran to be buried in Diyarbekir as he wished before dying on August 6.

His family has decided to bury him in the Armenian graveyard in Brussels.

Inhabitants of Diyarbekir have staged a symbolic funeral instead. On August 12, the ceremony at the Armenian graveyard in Diyarbakir was attended by Metropolitan Diyarbekýr mayor Osman Baydemir.
Baydemir said that they would take soil from the graveyard in Diyarbekýr to Brussels to honor the musician’s wish.

The mayor said, “They did not allow him to come back to his soil, but with your permission, in your name, we will take from this graveyard the soil which he longed for and wanted to be buried in, and, even if it is only symbolic, take it to his grave. Thus we will try to live with the peace of mind that we at least fulfilled his wish partially.”

Baydemir expressed his sadness at not being able to bury Tigran in the city. “It is not our shame, but the shame of those who made that decision.”

At the ceremony, people held signs prepared by the Democratic Society Movement and the Mesopotamia Democratic Cultural Movement that read, in Kurdish and Armenian, “The people’s nightingale has been left without a home.”

Fýrat Anlý, province chair of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) said, “If Tigran had been buried in this soil today, it would have made this place richer. Because we pulled out their roots in this soil and threw them away. Perhaps it could have been a kind of apology to Armenians and Assyrians and to all the people of the Mesopotamia area whose value we did not appreciate, and whose lives and cultures we targeted. With the person of Aram Tigran we would have had the opportunity to face the past in order to build a new future.”

DTP MP Aysel Tuðluk said, “Tigran was an artist who protested, saying that all identities, all languages and all beliefs should be free. That is why this region, this society, the Kurdish people will not forget Aram Tigran.”

Tigran, who sang many songs in Kurdish, died in Greece, where he had been living since 1995.
Last year he had expressed the wish to be buried in Diyarbekýr, and his family applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after his death.

According to Hilal Koylu from the Radikal newspaper, because there is no standard procedure for non-Turkish citizens to be buried in the country, the question was taken to the Ministry of the Interior, which gave a negative reply.