Hasmik Poghosyan: Turkey and Armenia should pursue more cultural
Turkey and Armenia should pursue more cultural cooperation, as it would
do more to heal historic trauma than diplomacy, Armenia’s Culture
Minister Hasmik Poghosyan said in an exclusive interview with the
Turkish Daily News.
Amid warming relations between Turkey and Armenia following President
Abdullah GÃ¼l’s recent trip to Yerevan, Hasmik Poghosyan called on the
Turkish Culture Minister ErtuÄ?rul GÃ¼nay to improve relations, saying,
`Let’s start working collaboratively in the cultural realm to help new
generations overcome trauma.’
Poghosyan, referring to pain experienced in past decades, said, `We
lost our families during the genocide and were forced to leave the
lands where we were born. But it is also a fact that many conscientious
Turkish families helped us during those painful events. How can we deny
the reality and blame the whole Turkish society?’ she said.
Dialogue and collaboration in the cultural realm had more significance
than diplomatic relations, said Poghosyan, adding this could lead to a
speedy rapprochement between Turks and Armenians.
Many relics and cultural artifacts from ancient Armenian civilization
were located within the borders of modern day Turkey, said Poghosyan,
adding that Armenia’s Culture Ministry wanted to collaborate with its
Turkish counterpart to restore them
for future generations. Poghosyan
said her biggest dream was to organize a festival celebrating Turkey in
Hasmik Poghosyan said the ancient Akdamar Church on a small island in
Lake Van in eastern Turkey is important. `Renovation of such structures
is significant in terms of passing them onto younger generations. But
Turkey neglects one thing: How correct is it to call a church a
museum?’ she said.
Poghosyan said she wished to cooperate on the restoration of Armenian
cultural heritage within Turkey, adding that her ministry was ready to
give any kind of logistical support to Turkish authorities in order to
ensure restorations were made in line with the original characteristics
of the structures.
Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey was not seen as important
according to official policy, said Poghosyan. `No matter how much we
deny it, we simply cannot change history,’ she said.
She drew attention to restoration work that would start soon on the
ruins of the ancient Armenian city of Ani, located within modern day
Kars, a province in eastern Turkey. She said her ministry was ready to
collaborate with the Turkish Culture Ministry on that project.