Germany cancels genocide commemoration concert in Istanbul

By Asbarez | Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Dresden Symphony Orchestra performing

The Dresden Symphony Orchestra performing “Aghet,” dedicated to the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. (Photo: Markus Rind)

BERLIN (Reuters)—The German Foreign Ministry has cancelled a long-planned concert by the Dresden Sinfoniker orchestra in Istanbul on November 13 that was to commemorate the 1915 massacre of Armenians after protests by Ankara, orchestra director Markus Rindt said on Wednesday.

The ministry notified the orchestra that the German consulate in Istanbul, where the performance called “Aghet,” or “catastrophe” in English, was to have taken place, would not be available on November 13, Rindt said. The concert premiered in Berlin in November.

“It’s definitely been cancelled. They said they wanted to reschedule at a better time, but when would that be? This has been planned for years,” Rindt said.

Turkey, angered by the German parliament’s decision to brand the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide, had protested the use of European Union funding to support the performance, and earlier this month withdrew from the EU’s Creative Europe Program that was funding the project.

The Dresden Symphony performance includes musicians from Turkey, Armenia, Germany and members of the No Borders Orchestra, which is comprised of musicians from the former Yugoslavia. Additional performances are planned in Belgrade on November 5 and in Yerevan, Armenia on November 10.

Ties between Germany and Turkey remain strained over the Armenian Genocide resolution and Ankara’s frustration about what it sees as Germany’s half-hearted expressions of solidarity after the July 15 attempted military coup in Turkey.