read the full article here and interview with Artsvi Bakhchinyan is a Yerevan, philologist, film researcher, Dr. of Armenian language and literature.
"I have been in Istanbul for two times, but did not feel I was in Turkey. In Diyarbakir I had that feeling that I am in Turkish land, although I met only Kurdish and Zaza people there, says Armenian intellectual Artsvi Bakhchinyan after visiting Turkey."
"This was your first visit to Diyarbakir, what was your impression as a foreigner and as an Armenian?
I have been in Istanbul for two times, but did not feel I was in Turkey. In Diyarbakir I had that feeling that I am in Turkish land, although I met only Kurdish and Zaza people there. Their interest and attitude toward the Armenian guest was very warm. For me it was thrilling to see the remnants of the Armenian church. It is a unique architectural monument that can be one of the beautiful sights Diyarbakir. Unfortunately the roof doe snot exist anymore but I have heard it is going to be recovered. The Armenian monuments in Eastern and Southern Turkey have important significance for the world cultural heritage so they need a special treatment from the government.
Which films were shown in Diyarbakir? Can you tell us about the feedbacks?
Only the "Return of the Poet" was screened in Diyarbakir. Before that there was an interactive discussion not only about the cinema but also about Armenian-Kurdish relations generally. I had a project to organize an Armenian-Kurdish film festival in Diyarbakir and not only there. The very first film about the Kurds is made in Armenia in 1926, by the founder of
Armenian cinema Hamo Beknazaryan. By the way, this film, "Zare," is the second feature film production of Soviet Armenia. There are also some other films, both features and documentaries, that have been made about the Kurds in Armenia. I mean particularly Hineer Salem's films, "Vodka Lemon" of which was rather successful in international festival and was screened in Istanbul as well.
You gave some lectures in Istanbul too, on which subjects did you talk? How was the reaction in the conferences and screenings held in Istanbul?
I gave talks about the past and present of the Armenian cinema. Although the Istanbul audience had no problem with English and I also could give my talk in English, I preferred to talk Armenian and my colleague and friend Sevan Ataoğlu translated it into Turkish. I am sure that the neighbour peoples do not need intermediary languages; it is always preferable to speak in our native languages.
As I said already, because the audience of Diyarbekir was consisted of Kurds, their questions were mainly about their own connections with Armenia. Few people came to the meeting at Bilge University, but in Bosporus University the audience was very active and professional. I am especially impressed by the enthusiasm of the director of Mithat Alam Film Centre, Yamac Okur. We both are full of decisiveness to continue our cooperation. He gave me DVD-s of recent Turkish short films, which I would like to suggest including in the program of Golden Apricot 2007. The cultural cooperation is the best way for dialogues between nation, especially between Armenians and Turks, which are, as we always know, are
more than complicated. "
Artsvi Bakhchinyan, born 1971, Yerevan, philologist, film researcher, Dr. of Armenian language and literature. Contributed to periodicals of Armenia and abroad with articles on film, culture and various fields of Armenian studies. He is the vice president of Armenian branch of FIPRESCI (International Union of Film Critics and Cinema Journalists). Co-editor of "Armenian Cinema 1924-1999: a complete filmography" catalogue (Yerevan, 2001). Author of books: "Armenians by Origin" (a biographical dictionary of Armenian Diaspora: Yerevan, 1993), "Figures of Armenian Origin" (Yerevan, 2002), "Napoleon Bonaparte and the Armenians" (Yerevan, 2003), "Armenia-Scandinavia: Historical and Cultural Relations" (Yerevan, 2003), "Armenians in World Cinema" (Yerevan, 2004), "Armenia-Sweden" (in English, 2006).