“Aghet” concert in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, which was planned to be performed in Istanbul, is canceled by German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
the statement concerning the performance of Dresden Symphony
Orchestra, which was planned to be held in German Embassy to Turkey
in Istanbul on November 13, it is stated that “The halls of the
embassy are not available on November 13.” The Ministry doesn't
make an announcement whether the concert will be held in another
time. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was invited to the
concert. According to some sources close to the ministry and the
correspondences within the ministry, German officials had been trying
to cancel the concert and making pressure to the organizing
The musical project called “Aghet”, which was started on May 1, 2015 and planned to be ended on April 30, 2017, caused a crisis among Germany, Turkey and the EU. The project is financially supported by Creative Europe Program of the EU. Turkey decided to withdraw from the program because of the support that is provided to this project. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his support to Aghet project, which causes further disturbance within Turkish government.
There was a supporting statement
Steinmeier decided to cancel the concert on October 25. Previously, he had expressed his support to the concert: “The deportation of the Armenian population occurred about one hundred years ago. Yet an oﬃcial reconciliation between the Turkish and the Armenian people regarding the events of 1915/16 is yet to be achieved. Thatʼs why impulses for a new, constructive dialogue are as important as ever. Artistic and cultural exchanges in the realm of music can provide an invaluable impetus in this regard. The con-cert project aghet ‒ ağıt, initiated by the Dresdner Sinfoniker and the guitarist and composer Marc Sinan, brings together audiences and artists from Turkey, Armenia and Germany. In exemplary fashion, this intercultural and international collaboration thereby facilitates the cooperation and solidarity between members of these erstwhile con-ﬂicting parties. Together the artists stand up for a more peaceful and just society."
According to the statement by the German ministry of foreign affairs, the concert is canceled because of the invitations sent to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister of Culture Nabi Avcı. It is stated that those invitations had been sent without informing the ministry.
Though the invitations are used as an excuse for cancellation, some sources close to the ministry and the correspondences within the ministry indicate that German officials had been trying to cancel the concert and making pressure to the organizing committee. A source stated that Minister Steinmeier wanted the concert to be canceled and security concerns might be a reason for cancellation. Ministry officials had tried to eliminate the pressure from Turkey, but the organizing committee had resisted to their attempts. Another source close to the ministry said: “It seemed like there was an agreement between Turkish and German officials meeting to discuss the concert. Turkey won't react against the concert and Germany will cancel it; that was the agreement.”
Reaction from the opposition
Dresden Symphony Orchestra stated that the concert had been planned before Bundestag was passed the resolution concerning the Armenian Genocide. Reacting against the cancellation, German opposition claims that German Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave in to the pressure of Turkey. While Green Party deputy Sahra Wagenknecht asked, “Are the policies of the Federal Government decided in Ankara?”, Green Party Foreign Policy Spokesperson Omid Nouripour said: “German government's Turkey policies failed because of fear of refugees and they chose to kneel down before Turkey.”
The crisis is not new
According to the sources close to Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the disturbance caused by Creative Europe Program and Aghet project started over a year ago. After the program declared its support to the project, the ministry started to evaluate the situation. The sources also stated the ministry had been disturbed by the concerts and the way the project is presented in the website of European Committee. Director of Dresden Symphony Orchestra Markus Rindt stated that Turkey demanded European Committee to take the financial support back. The Committee hadn't responded to this demand, which stepped up the process of withdrawal of Turkey.