Farewell to Baydzar: Diyarbakir Loses One of Its Last Armenians

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—One of Diyarbakir’s last Armenians, 87-year-old Baydzar Eken, passed away at a local hospital on June 23.

Baydzar waves to Weekly editors as they depart. (Photo by Nanore Barsoumian, The Armenian Weekly, May 23, 2014)

Baydzar’s family was saved during the Armenian Genocide by taking refuge with Alevi families in the village of Büyükkadı in Diyarbakir. Baydzar lived there until 1950, when she married Sarkis Sıtkı Eken and moved to Diyarbakir.

A scene from the funeral service (Photo by Gulisor Akkum, The Armenian Weekly)
A scene from the funeral service (Photo by Gulisor Akkum, The Armenian Weekly)

In 1984, Baydzar moved into a small apartment in the Mother Mary Assyrian Church compound in Diyarbakir, where she lived with her husband until her passing.

She is survived by her husband and 3 sisters.

Speaking at the funeral, Baydzar’s husband Sarkis said, “I had a nightmare on Sunday: My entire house was on fire. I didn’t say anything about the dream to Baydzar. I did not want to worry her.”

“Now, with the passing of Baydzar, my house has truly burnt down,” he said.

In late April, Baydzar and Sarkis had renewed their vows at a ceremony officiated by the newly-elected Diyarbakir mayor Gültan Kışanak.

Baydzar was buried at the Armenian cemetery in Diyarbakir. Overwhelmed by grief, one of Baydzar’s sisters consciousness at the funeral.

A few weeks ago, Armenian Weekly editors, joined by a small group of Armenian writers, filmmakers, and authors from across the U.S., visited with Baydzar. The Weekly will publish that interview at a later date. For a photographic tribute to Baydzar from that visit, click here.

The Armenian Weekly correspondent Gulisor Akkum filed this report from Diyarbakir.


Gulisor Akkum

Gulisor Akkum is a journalist based in Diyarbakir. She received her sociology degree in 2003 from Dicle University. She has written articles for the Armenian Weekly since 2009, and is the Weekly's correspondent in Diyarbakir since October 2012.

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