Anatolian music to echo in the Armenian capital.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;}.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;}ISTANBUL - Turkey will send a message of peace and friendship to the Armenian capital of Yerevan through the common traditions of melody and dance. Armenia will welcome its first Turkish soloist in the form of violin virtuoso Cihat Aşkın

The Armenian capital of Yerevan is preparing to host a soloist from Turkey for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.

This convergence between the people of the two nations is necessary before diplomatic dialogue between governments can occur, political scientists consistently emphasize. People are trying to understand and comprehend "the other Turk" and "the other Armenian" socially and culturally.

In light of these developments, Armenian violin virtuoso Edward Tatevosian gave a recital at the Maçka Campus of Istanbul Technical University, or İTÜ, last week. Tatevosian also gave a master class to the students of İTÜ. As an answer to the visit of Tatevosian, violin virtuoso Cihat Aşkın, who has a career that features many national and international awards, will meet Armenian music lovers in Yerevan on Dec. 10 at the Opera and Ballet Hall, one of the most prestigious concert halls in the city.

Following Aşkın’s recital, Yerevan will host the band Kardeş Türküler and the 70-member chorus of Sayat Nova, formed by the Armenians of Istanbul. A message of peace and friendship between both nations will be sent from Turkey to Armenia through song during these concerts, which will begin Dec. 10 and last until Dec. 14.

There was not a demand for football; but there is a high demand for concerts
According to information provided by officials, the concerts next week are in high demand compared to the football match played between the national teams of the two countries Sept. 6.

Prior to the concert, the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review spoke with Cihan Aşkın, Fehmiye Çelik and Beyza Gümüş from Kardeş Türküler and Kayuş Çalıkman, spokesperson for Sayat Nova Chorus.

Aşkın spoke about tension between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia and said he had taken to the stage in many countries and Armenia would be no different to the others. He added, "I am an artist. I go to Armenia as I would go to any country in the world. There is nothing strange here. I have my political views but I am free of prejudice."

Aşkın, who has featured works by Azerbaijani and Armenian composers on many CD’s he has released, spoke about the concert for peace. "Art is to be practiced in an atmosphere of peace. I believe bringing artists of the three peoples together would be forcing it, when historic facts like the Hocalı slaughter and the matter of Nagorno-Karabakh still exist."

Aşkın said he has a surprise waiting for the Armenian art lovers at the recital. Aşkın avoided giving away too much, but said, "I can say that I will play two surprise Armenian songs at the recital. It is a pity that Tatevosian did not play any Turkish songs at his recital in Istanbul." Pianist Gülden Testen will accompany Aşkın at the recital. The recital will include works from Adnan Saygun, one of the famous "Turkish five," and other works from western classical composers.

The Sayat Nove chorus will give a concert with Kardeş Türküler the night after Aşkın’s recital. Kayuş Çalıkman said, "We are going to Armenia with Kardeş Türküler to follow the will of Hrant Dink. Together, we will send a message of peace and friendship through song."

As to whether the Armenians of Istanbul can act as a bridge between Turkey and Armenia within the process of dialogue, Çalıkman said, "It is a hard mission for a community of 40,000 to 50,000 people that is decreasing in number each day. Moreover, the community has its own problems. But it is not impossible."

Music and dance, a shared Anatolian tradition
Fehmiye Çelik from Kardeş Türküler said the biggest problem between Turks and Armenians was being unable to speak. "There are still hopes for every one of us, if we can speak without fear. The Anatolian geography includes not only Turkish but Armenian, Romaic and Kurdish melodies; even if you shut your ears and do not want to hear them, you will. Anatolia is a polyphonic melody." Kardeş Türküler will play 25 songs with the Sayat Nova chorus and perform other dance and music shows.

Beyza Gümüş from Kardeş Türküler said, "Music and dance are the commonality of the people living at the same place. We hope to make our people feel this commonality through our melodies and our dance."