Invite Aznavour to celebrate his birthday in Turkey
Charles Aznavour is known to have said, “My name is bigger than Armenia.” Who can contest that? He is currently Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland as well as that country’s permanent representative at UNESCO.
He was in the Turkish news recently for claiming that the Turkish prime minister had said he hated Armenians and Greeks.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry immediately reacted, with a statement on March 30 saying Turkey strongly denies that baseless claim.
It is unfortunate that while the Turkish government has shown utmost sensitivity to Aznavour’s just one unfavorable sentence, it has remained completely indifferent to one of the world’s most famous singers’ several positive statements about the Armenian issue. What he basically said was that Armenians should not get stuck on the word “genocide,” and that immediately created displeasure among Armenian circles.
On a television program broadcasted in September 2011, Aznavour openly said the word “genocide” started to disturb him. “If Turks have the honesty to say that the thing that bothers them is the word genocide, we can find another word in exchange for opening the borders and for the Turkish government to start a dialogue with us.”
A month later he gave an interview to the magazine Nouvelles d’Armenie where he reiterated his views, adding that Armenia will never be successful (in presumably making the whole world recognize the claim of genocide) and that current policies are not making progress for Armenia. “Armenia suffers.
Every day it is becoming emptier. Whom would that benefit? Three mafia leaders? Thousands of poor people will get spread around the world. And we just focus on the word genocide, which is objected to by Turkey? Then I am addressing the question to the Turks; if this is not genocide, how do you call an annihilation of a nation? What did you call this all that time?”
After saying that if Turks could accept the term “massacres,” even that should be considered progress, Aznavour continued with his criticism of Armenia. “Armenia is under severe threat, and everybody is stuck on the word genocide. I can’t see how this is taking the country further.”
Aznavour said in 2011 that he was dreaming of going to Turkey. He made it known to Ankara that he wanted to come upon official invitation rather than for an informal occasion. While his statements came to the attention of the government, it has done nothing about it. Aznavour is known to have been disappointed about the fact that his overture has met deaf ears in Ankara.
In the interview that led to Ankara’s official reaction, he did reiterate his views on the issue, which fortunately was not left unnoticed. “We find it positive that world-renowned intellectual Charles Aznavour develops ideas and brings about proposals for the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations,” said the statement of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Turkey needs wise men from both sides who are not opinionated and are open to creative ideas and solutions.
Aznavour, who prefers to say he had a Turkish mother rather than a Turkish-Armenian, will celebrate his 89th year on May 22. Why not extend him an invitation to celebrate his birthday in Turkey? When it comes to his statement about the prime minister’s views on Armenians and Greeks, wouldn’t that be the best occasion to tell him in person that it’s not the case and give him the chance to correct his words about Turkey’s prime minister?