Thursday, 20 September

Aznavour in the Crosshairs: Did Armenia’s Ambassador Actually Say Those Things in Paris?



Political Scientist Hayk A. Martirosyan: “The phenomenon of Aznavour is greater than Aznavour the diplomat, the man, or the citizen”

Did Charles Aznavour, Armenia’s Ambassador to Switzerland, give an interview to the Turkish newspaper Posta on November 2 and say the following?

“I don’t act according to the instructions of Armenia”; “Turks have a conscience”; “It’s futile to dredge up past events that took place during the Ottoman period”

Did Aznavour, in an earlier meet in Paris with Turkish producer Erkan Özerman and Turkey’s Ambassador to France Hakkı Akil, accept an award called the Golden Maple?

Well, it all seems to depend on whom you ask.

Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its Facebook page, denies that Aznavour gave Posta an interview or accepted any award. In his twitter page Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Tigran Balayan writes that Aznavour “denied having giving such an interview and that he feels insulted for being manipulated in such a manner.” Balayan also writes that the ‘award’ was actually a souvenir from the Turkish town of Izmit, where Aznavour’s mother came from.

According to civilnet.am, Özerman told the where the meeting took place (Le Petit Pergolese restaurant) and that Aznavour knew that his remarks where for press use. Özerman also alleges that Aznavour did say such things. The news editor at Posta also told civilnet.am that it was impossible to find any news in the paper not corresponding to reality.

So there you have it folks – six of one and half a dozen of the other. Needless to say, the entire affair is big news in Armenia, especially in the diplomatic corps, as is being dissected by a host of analysts of all stripes and levels of professionalism.

To make some sense of it all, Hetq spoke to Hayk A. Martirosyan,who received his PhD in Political Science at the Sorbonne. Martirosyan, who now resides in New York, spent many years in France and is an acquaintance of Aznavour’s.

When Hetq asked Martirosyan if he thought that Aznavour’s words might have been altered, he said that it’s possible to a small degree but not in the main.

“Aznavour is known as an ultra-liberal, ultra-tolerant person with ultra-French views. And he’s expressed such thoughts in the past,” Martirosyan told Hetq.

The political scientist said he couldn’t understand why an ambassador of Armenia should meet with a Turkish ambassador and make confessions of love towards Turkey and the Turks.

“Yes, it’s true that Aznavour never gave an interview to anyone in Turkey or Paris. However, I cannot rule out the possibility that they got Aznavour talking and recorded the conversation and later presented it as an interview,” Martirosyan told Hetq, adding that even the Turkish producer had hinted that this was the case.

As to whether Aznavour said that his mother was a Turk and his father, a Georgian, Martirosyan said he was convinced that Aznavour was employing the linguistic mentality now dominating in France where migrants from other nations are labeled as French after receiving citizenship. Thus, Aznavour might have said such a thing given that his mother was a citizen of the Ottoman Empire and that his father lived in Georgia.

“But Aznavour, by saying his mother was a Turk did not mean to say that she was ethnically Turkish; not at all. It’s noteworthy that when speaking about his mother’s friend, Aznavour stressed that she was Turkish. He did that to differentiate what he said about his mother,” Martirosyan said.

As to the dinner at the restaurant and the statement by Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Aznavour accepted an award, even though an Armenian media outlet has published a photo of him holding something akin to an award, Martirosyan said that the foreign ministry was not present at the dinner and that its statement denying the acceptance of any award is purely based on the assurances given by Aznavour himself.

“There is no basis for the foreign ministry not to believe Aznavour. But the problem is that Aznavour, and I’m certain of this, wasn’t aware that they were giving him an award and assumed it was just some gift. That was his serious mistake. But I have no grounds to suspect that Aznavour lied to the foreign ministry,” Martirosyan told Hetq.

As to the other statements allegedly made by Aznavour, Martirosyan said that if certain passages of the conversation are in fact true, the famous Armenian should have expressed more pro-Armenian and pro-national positions. Martirosyan added that in this case one must take into account the singer’s advanced age.

“I believe that Aznavour needs some well-deserved rest. The man is a musical and poetic genius and he must simply be kept far removed from worldly concerns and obligations,” Martirosyan said.

The political scientist concluded by arguing that Aznavour, a national hero of Armenia, must remain in his true place – on the pedestal of glory and in the annals of art.

“The great artist has nothing to do amongst the sullied back stages of international politics. The phenomenon of Aznavour is greater than Aznavour the diplomat, the man, or the citizen. That phenomenon is on another plane and level and, despite certain occurrences, it must remain inviolable,” Martirosyan said.

Top photo (from right): Erkan Özerman, Hakkı Akil, Charles Aznavour (civilnet.am)  

Second photo: Hayk Martirosyan


Home page



Comments (8)
1. Ագնեսա22:51 - 6 November, 2014
Հրաշալի մեկնաբանություն
2. Մարատ11:35 - 7 November, 2014
Եղածը եղած է :Ծանոթ լինելով թուրքին , լավ կլինի հանգիստ թողնեք մեր Ազնավուր պապիկին , ԱԳՆ-ը և այլն :Ավելի ճիշտ կլինի մերկացնեք թուրքի կեղտոտ գործելաոճը ամեն հնարավոր միջոցներով:
3. maro matosian14:55 - 7 November, 2014
This is not the first time that Aznavour made such damaging statements. I would like to know what has he done for Armenia as an ambassador? Did he accomplish anything? At this point he is more a liability than an asset. Time for change.....
4. Վարազ Սյունի (Ամստերդամ)19:36 - 7 November, 2014
Բաց դա միայն Ֆրանսիայում չէ այդպես. բոլոր (արևմտյան) երկրներում է այդպես: Ես,օրինակ, դե յուրե հոլանդացի եմ՝ հայկական ծագումով (Dutch of Armenian origin). բոլոր այլ երկրներում ինձ պաշտոնապես այդպես են նայել: Նույնը՝ Հոլանդիայում ապրող բոլոր մնացած ազգային փոքրամասնությունները. նույնիսկ այն դեպքում,երբ,օրինակ, Հոլանդիայի թուրքերի մեծ մասը նաև Թուրքիայի քաղաքացի է: Քեզ հայ ԶԳԱԼԸ ոչ-պաշտոնական կատեգորիա է:............................................ Ինչ վերաբերում է Շ.Ազնավուրին. արդեն տարբեր անգամ ասել եմ՝ ինքը լավ արվեստագետ է, բայց վատ դիվանագետ: Ազնավուրը երբեք դեսպան չպիտի դառնար՝ հատկապես ՀՀ այսպիսի՛ իշխանությունների համար: Մի մոռացեք նաև մարդու տարիքը:............................................. ՀԳ. Փաստ է,որ կան նաև լավ ու զարգացած թուրքեր. ու ոչ քիչ: Թեև թուրքական դիվանագիտությու՛նը միշտ համարյա նույն ոճի է:
5. Armen_yan20:54 - 7 November, 2014
The comments must've been taken out of context. When he said he doesn't take instructions from Armenia he may had meant they don't micromanage him. Also, he is not just an ambassador, and he doesn't have to take instructions from government of Armenia on everything is involved in. As far as that award, if it doesn't have anything to do with politics, if it has to do with arts and culture then it's OK to accept it. However, if it's political he should return it like Nelson Mandela return Ataturk Peace award.
6. Գեւորգ08:51 - 8 November, 2014
Էհ, թող ինչ ուզում են ասեն թուրքերը եւ ինչպես ուզում են ներկայացնեն, մեծ նորություն չէ ոչ մեկի համար: Շառլի արժեքն ու հարգը անկասկած են: Մարդը շատ ավելի հայասեր ու մարդասեր է հոգով եւ գործով, քան ամեն տեսակի աղմակարարները: Եւ ամենակարեւորը՝ նա ԱՍՏՎԱԾԱՇՆՈՐՀ ՀԱՅ Է, դրանով իսկ իրավունք ունի ազատ լինել ինտրիգներից ու քննարկումներից:
7. ՎԻկ ՄԱ11:07 - 12 November, 2014
Մեկնաբանությունը՝ մեկնաբանություն, բայց իմաստունները պիտի խոսեն: Մեզ՝ հայերիս համար անակնկալ, նաև հաճելի էր ադրբեջանցի գրող Աքրամ Այլիսլիի ,,Քարակերտ երազներՙՙ վեպը, վեպում հայերի մասին գրված այս տողերը.ՙՙԵթե սպանված յուրաքանչյուր հայի համար գեթ մի մոմ վառվի, այդ մոմերի ցոլքը լուսնի լույսից վառ կլինի՚՚: Նրա գրքերը վառեցին, նրա գենետիկական կոդն էին պահանջում ստուգել, բայց նա իր ժողովրդի դիմագծին ավելացրեց մի կարևոր գիծ՝ կանգ առնել , մտածել, քայլ անել դեպի հաշտություն: Ազնավուրը ավելի հեռուն է նայում, պիտի գա այսպես մտածողների ժամանակը:
8. Arto Avedissian05:40 - 9 February, 2015
Am not sure about the exact date but it was several decades ago, I used to live in London, I saw him on TV saying "Armenian? I am not I am French" Aznavour keep to entertaining stay away from politics.
Leave a comment
Thank you for your comment. Your comment must be confirmed by the administration.

Latest news

All news

Archive