German-Turkish-Armenian Friendship Society to Be Founded


Cem Ozdemir

BERLIN — On July 1, at 7 p.m. the German-Turkish-Armenian Friendship Society will be officially established here. Among the prominent supporters of the initiative are Dietmar Bartsch (Faction leader of the Linke [Left] Party in the Bundestag), Wolfgang Gust (historian), Cem Özdemir (Chairman, Green Party) and Varujan Vosganian (author), as well as numerous Armenian, German and Turkish artists and scientists.

The founding members are convinced that the unresolved genocide against the Armenians is one of the reasons that Turkey has been politically off kilter. Step by step the opposition inside Turkey is being made victim of the same mechanisms which prepared the way for the 1915 genocide: suspicion of terrorism, dehumanization, arrests, expulsion and elimination.

To this day, the descendants of the Armenian survivors are waiting for the recognition of their victimization from the descendants of the perpetrators. And they remain for the duration alone, to come to terms with their trauma.

In Germany, in turn, the knowledge of historical responsibility for culpability in the Third Reich and complicity as Ottoman allies is slipping into oblivion, as the last eyewitnesses who lived through war and slaughter in Europe are dying.

Convinced that every generation that remains spared of war and persecution must find the means to learn and remember, in order to be able truly to value peace, liberty and democracy, the German-Turkish-Armenian Friendship Society will bring together artists on a regular basis, artists who address these themes and seek exchange with other positions and disciplines.

The leadership of the Society will be assumed by Markus Rindt, director of the Dresden Symphony, and the German-Turkish-Armenian composer and guitarist Marc Sinan. The establishment of the Society emerged following the political conflict around its EU project “aghet-agit,” a project which united musicians and composers from Armenia, Turkey and Germany in commemoration of the genocide. The Foreign Ministry had cancelled a concert planned for Istanbul in November 2016 to avoid political fractures with Turkey.

Following the formal founding act, an official concert evening “Auf dem Nichts” (“On Nothing”) will take place, in the context of the concert series “Schlachten” (“Slaughter”), supported by the HKF (Capital City Cultural Fund). As guests of the Marc Sinan Company, the Sonar Quartet will perform works by Steve Reich, Turgut Erçetin, Conrado del Rosario and Marc Sinan, which are dedicated to the victims of violence – those killed in the World Trade Center, those jailed in Turkey, political prisoners and Armenian prisoners of war from the First World War.

For more information: Josephine Heide, [email protected], www.marcsinan.com