Master of oud of Armenian descent announces return to his hometown, Diyarbakır

Master of oud of Armenian descent announces return to his hometown, Diyarbakır

DİYARBAKIR - Doğan News Agency
Master of oud of Armenian descent announces return to his hometown, Diyarbakır

Yervant Bostancı left Turkey in 1992 and continued his musician career in the United States. Bostancı stressed that he wanted to be the first Armenian to respond to the governments call on minorities that have migrated away. DHA photo

World-renowned master of oud Yervant Bostancı, a Diyarbakır native of Armenian descent, announced March 30 that he has decided to return to his hometown following separate calls by the culture minister and Diyarbakır mayor for minorities that have emigrated to return to Turkey.

Bostancı, who has been living in California for 21 years, said he was set to move to Diyarbakır in June, being the first Armenian to respond to the calls. "Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir and other fellow countrymen wanted me to come back. I could not rip my heart from [my birthplace]. People should die where they are born. I'm coming to die," Bostancı said, adding that he did not find genuine happiness in the United States.

A recent book on his life written by Diyarbakır author Şeyhmus Diken paid tribute to the musician. He was born in the Hançepek neighborhood of Diyarbakır, which was also known as the "Gavur (Infidel) Neighborhood" of Diyarbakır and hosted most of the Armenians who had survived the events of 1915. Diyarbakır was once home to a large Armenian community years ago. The municipality has started major projects to restore Armenian vestiges such as the Surp Giragos Church.

"People constantly tell me, 'You have work in Los Angeles, how you will leave everything and return to Diyarbakır.' But why shouldn't we live where we are happy? We Armenians brought our culture with us everywhere we went. Why should we die in the city of others, feeling homesick?" Bostancı said.

He told Hürriyet Daily News in an interview last year that he had decided to leave Turkey after being insulted following a show in 1992. "I finished the program, and a man came up and asked me why I was singing in Armenian. I replied, "Because I am Armenian," and then he started to swear and curse at me. I was terrified, and I decided to leave Turkey that night," the musician explained.

Bostancı also said the Armenian diaspora in the United States reacted strongly when he continued singing in Turkish and Kurdish. "I made this struggle and never gave up," he said.