Artur Avanyan: “There will come a day when Turkey will bow”

The RA Ministry of Diaspora hosts representatives of Armenian communities of the Diaspora on a regular basis. This time, the guest was president of the Armenian community of Moldova Artur Avanyan, who gave an interview to Hayern Aysor’s correspondent.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanyan, you are in Armenia at a time when people were killed and wounded in Artsakh and in certain areas on the border of Armenia as a result of the military operations unleashed by Azerbaijan. Your visit also coincided with the day marking the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Which of these two occasions brought you to Armenia?

Artur Avanyan: The military actions and the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide were both strong reasons for my visit to Armenia. True, like the Armenians in Armenia, we Diaspora Armenians also feel sorry for the deceased soldiers, are concerned about the security of the Homeland’s borders, try to provide moral and financial assistance to Artsakh, stand with the families of the wounded and deceased soldiers and lend a helping hand to the people of Artsakh whose homes were destroyed, but I decided that I definitely had to come to Armenia, have meetings, receive more information and pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th by laying flowers in memory of the innocent martyrs near the eternal flame located at Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex.

I want peace. Enough is enough! The Armenian people have suffered many casualties throughout their centuries-old history. Every casualty is an indescribable tragedy for us. Those young and courageous boys were and are our future, and we can’t ��?kill’ that future. We must not allow the murder of the fathers of the future. The Armenians of Moldova were following the events day and night. We were all shocked. I can say that we are somewhat guilty for that situation. After 25 years, we had to understand that there was going to be someone coming after that heavenly land someday and that the Azerbaijanis will always have an appetite. We need to be ready because the enemy never sleeps.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanyan, do you think the Armenians experience a new and strong awakening?

A. A.: Of course, it will because we Armenians are able to unite at crucial and catastrophic moments. In that sense, we are a wonderful nation. I can’t say the same for the Armenians in Moldova. My ultimate goal is to have the Armenians of Moldova be united as one, get to know each other, communicate with each other, support each other at difficult moments and become close with each other’s families. It is very important for Armenians to help each other abroad.

Hayern Aysor: You cherish consolidation. Isn’t there any consolidation of the Armenians of Moldova at all?

A. A.: There is, but very little. The Armenians need to be stronger and more united. There is a lot of work to do. The Armenian community organized a big event called “Contributions of Armenians to Global Development” and gave the guest representatives of different nationalities compact discs containing information about notable Armenians of the world. The guests took those compact discs and became familiar with the notable Armenians. This is one of the ways we introduce the Armenians and Armenian values. Many don’t know who the Armenians are. They sometimes ask us who we are and think we are Muslim. It’s very painful and insulting. The reason why is because the Armenians have not been presented the right way. Those people don’t know who the Armenians are and what culture they have (very few people know about us). My ultimate goal is to make Armenia and the Armenians recognized. We decided to open a travel agency and collaborate with a travel agency in Yerevan with the purpose of helping Armenians born and living in Moldova and never having seen the Homeland have the opportunity to visit Armenia. According to the agreement, those wishing to pay a 7-day visit will arrive in Armenia where they will be greeted at the airport, be accommodated at a hotel and participate in excursions to the historic and cultural monuments of Armenia and other sites worth seeing. At the end, they will be seen off at the airport. We have decided to start doing this in May.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanyan, how long have you been living in Moldova? How long have you been the leader of the Armenian community?

A. A.: I have been living in Moldova for two years. I was the Minister of Communication and Transport in Armenia for a long time. My wife is a UN Ambassador to Moldova. I left for Moldova because I was no longer a public servant in Armenia, and my achievement was that, in a short amount of time, people who didn’t know me started trusting me and chose me to become the leader of the community. There were many problems with the rules and regulations within the community, and I managed to make many changes so that the community could ��?breathe’. For instance, one of the rules was that the member of the Armenian community is a person who has Moldovan citizenship. We change that rule because there are many Armenians in Moldova who have the right to reside (that is not Moldovan citizenship), but are of Armenian descent and can be a member of the Armenian community. If a person has a family and children and is a legal resident, how is it that he or she is not considered a member of the community and why is that the case? I focus all my efforts on making our community united, progressive and exemplary. I have contacted and reached an agreement with the President of the Union of Armenians of Romania Varujan Vosganian, who is a wonderful person. On May 20, we will organize a business forum that will gather the Armenian businessmen of Moldova and Romania. They will meet, communicate, draw up plans for exchange of experiences and share their views.

Hayern Aysor: You also had a meeting with the RA Minister of Diaspora. What kinds of agreements did you reach?

A. A. I love the Ministry of Diaspora. I highly appreciate all the programs and activities that the Ministry carries out. The establishment of the RA Ministry of Diaspora was very necessary, and Thank God, it exists and will soon mark its 8th anniversary. The members of our community will definitely participate in the “Ari Tun” Program and the “Diaspora” Summer School Program. We have an Armenian Sunday school, but we would love to have our teachers visit Armenia and participate in the training courses organized by the Ministry of Diaspora.

Hayern Aysor: What kinds of relations are established between the Armenian community  of Moldova and other communities of the country, that is, the locals?

A. A.: We have very close friends who are members of the Greek, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Jewish and other communities. We are on good terms with everyone.

Hayern Aysor: What about the Azerbaijani community?

A. A.: The Azerbaijanis behaved very badly on April 7. They organized a demonstration and wrote a letter of protest against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. The Armenian community has created a new youth organization led by Arsen Sarukhanyan. I want to send him to Yerevan to visit the Ministry of Diaspora. The youth of our community are very active and patriotic.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanyan, what are your plans for the future?

A. A.: In the current era, violinist Karapet Hayrapetyan is the most famous Armenian in Moldova and has had a career in Moldova. I recently met his son, famous jazzman Vahagn Hayrapetyan and told him that I was planning on organizing an event dedicated to the memory of his father. Vahagn was very touched. I told him he had to come to Yerevan, attend the event and perform, and he gave his consent. I would also like to invite Ashot Ghazaryan, but I am having trouble gathering 300 people with knowledge of Armenian in Moldova so that they can understand the great comedian’s language. Music is universal. I can and will invite foreigners to the event dedicated to Karo Hayrapetyan. I also have a big goal that is associated with a famous Armenian by the name of Manook Bey-Mirzoyan. He has a home-museum in Moldova. I want to rent a hall there (I have been promised) and design it in the Armenian style. I have addressed famous benefactor Ruben Vardanyan, who has promised to help me, if I present a good plan. I have also decided to establish an alley of famous Armenians. I also want to start that with Manook Bey-Mirzoyan. I need to prepare his bust. I talked to Minister Hranush Hakobyan about that and asked for her help. In the future, when everything is ready, we will organize a big event and invite the Minister. I have also decided to organize a large-scale event called “Day of Armenian Cuisine”, which also serves as a way of familiarizing foreigners with the Armenians and Armenian culture. My deputy’s son participated in the Что-где-когда intellectual game and won a crystal nest. We Armenians need to be able to present talented Armenians of Armenia and the Diaspora to the world. I want to be involved with this while I am in Yerevan.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanyan, if, God forbid, Azerbaijan tries to wage another war, will the Armenians of Moldova come to defend Artsakh and the other borders of Armenia?

A. A.: Of course! I don’t even have any doubt. They will all stand up.

Hayern Aysor: Do you miss Yerevan?

A. A.: I miss it a lot! I miss Armenia, every street in Yerevan, every familiar place, but most of all, I miss my friends.

Hayern Aysor: The Armenian Genocide took place 101 years ago, but Turkey has not recognized or acknowledged it…Do you believe that day will come?

A. A.: Yes, I do! On April 24, I climbed to the peak of Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and laid flowers near the eternal flame…Turkey can’t kill nearly 2 million people and keep silent for over a century…There will come a day when Turkey will bow.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanyan, thank you for this cordial and meaningful interview and for your steadfast patriotism.

Karine Avagyan

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