Armenian singer Edgar Rüstemyan says the decision is a strategic mistake.
Armenia announced yesterday that it would not be competing in this May’s Eurovision song contest to be held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.
The announcement, which was published by the Eurovision’s official website, said Armenia decided not to participate in the song contest that will be held between May 22 and 26.
“Armenia decided to refuse to participate in the 2012 edition of Eurovision in Baku,” Gagik Buniatyan, the director of Armenia’s Public Television station, which would have broadcast the popular song competition, told Agence France-Presse. He declined, however, to explain the reasons behind the decision.
Azerbaijani and Armenian forces fought a war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s which left some 30,000 people dead; despite years of negotiations since a 1994 cease-fire, no final peace deal has been signed.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Edgar Rüstemyan, the founder of one of the most popular Armenian bands, Armenoidis, said Armenia had withdrawn from the contest because Baku had not guaranteed the safety of the Armenian committee.
“If Baku does not give us the right that it gives to each country in such a significant contest, we should have brought up [the matter] with the European organizations that organize Eurovision and asked for them to provide for our safety,” Rüstemyan said, adding that it was a strategic mistake by Armenia to withdraw from the contest.
“We should have showed in this contest that we have adopted Western norms. It is not important to win, but we should have gone there. It is a loss for us to not participate in Eurovision. Unfortunately, music has become the tool for politics in the world.”
Vercihan Ziflioğlu contributed to this report.
1) “Rüstemyan” should be “Rostomyan.”
2) “Armenoidis” should be “[The] Armenoids.”