‘Last Armenians’ of Diyarbakır tie the knot after 60 years of waiting
Although their wedding was filled with symbolism for Diyarbakır's Armenian community, Beyzar and Sarkis also surrendered themselves to the festivities. Here they give the classic pose while eating cake from each other's forks. DHA PhotoDiyarbakır’s recently restored Surp Giragos Armenian Church has been the witness of a very special wedding, the “yes, I do” of two octogenarians, pronounced after long overdue by some 60 years.
With the traditional dress, the bride Beyzar, 84-years-old, reverenced as “the last Armenian” of Diyarbakır for being the dean of what remains of the southeastern city’s once significantly large community. With the tuxedo, his three years younger groom Sarkis, from the province’s district of Silvan, also the hometown of the acting head of the Armenian patriarchate in Turkey, Aram Ateşyan.
The couple could have been celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary, instead they will content themselves to experience the excitement of newly-weds after 60 years of a reluctant concubinage.
“I did not want to die unmarried,” said Beyzar right before the ceremony, apparently moved. She then explained that most of his Armenian friends chose to leave the country, but now the city is looking after its Armenian cultural heritage – one example is the restoration of the Surp Giragos church, which had been the nexus of the community.
“I wanted this marriage so much and I feel so blessed. May God give such a happy day to everyone in their life,” she added.
Gülten Kışanak, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair who was elected Diyarbakır mayor during the March 30 elections was present to conduct the office, also homage the couple, expressed her wish that they can be an example for the youth.
“This is no ordinary marriage. We are witnessing the immortal love of two people who have not consummated their love for each other. They have succeeded in their struggle to remain standing in this land with the power of their love,” Kışanak said.
But the couple had no intention of letting long solemn talks overshadow their wedding and celebrated just like any young newly-weds. Surrendering to cheers, Beyzar stepped onto Sarkis’ foot, a gesture meant to signify who will be the head of the household. She then threw her bouquet to a crowd of unmarried women half a century her junior.
Yervant Bostancı, the famous oud master of Armenian descent who decided to return to Diyarbakır late last year after 20 years of self-imposed exile, played Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish songs, adding more symbolism to a marriage providing Armenians the feeling that Diyarbakır can become their home once again.