PORTLAND, Maine — Author, human rights advocate and Baku refugee, Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, spearheaded a fundraiser to plant a Memorial Forest for the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Baku atrocities. The Memorial Forest will be planted in Talin, Armenia. In the 30 years since the last massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijan, all traces of the Armenian community of Azerbaijan and its contributions to the history and culture of the region have been systematically erased by the current ruling regime of Azerbaijan. The forest will memorialize the lost and the survival of a vibrant and talented Armenian community from Azerbaijan.
This initiative is made possible by the support of donors worldwide and the expertise of the Armenia Tree Project located in Yerevan and Woburn, Mass. (www.armeniatree.org). The planting of the forest will provide a place in Armenia to mourn the killed innocents, the bulldozed-over graves of loved ones, and lost cultural sites of the Armenian community in Azerbaijan. The initiative and its presence will celebrate the survivors of these heinous crimes who fled, scattering around the world, building successful lives for themselves in all corners of the earth. Armenians who fled Azerbaijan and Armenia Tree Project look to the future, as will this project, which is an investment in the health and well-being of Armenia’s next generation.
Over 200 Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide raised $15,000 to plant this memorial forest in Talin. The idea between Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte and ATP came about in the spring of 2018 during the 30th anniversary of Sumgait massacres of Armenians. They have been working and planning of the project for one year.
The forest is being planted on two hectares of land located on the outskirts of the town. Of the 2,000 trees, 500 are fruit trees to supply food to Talin and the surrounding community. The planting site is the location of an old forest that was planted during Soviet times and cut in the 1990s during the crisis created by the energy blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
In addition to the forest planting, ATP will also expand its environmental education programs in Talin in 2019-2020. ATP’s environmental education team will visit the town for a series of lessons on reducing plastic use and why environmental protections are important.
ATP and the Talin community planted the majority of the trees in November and April. Astvatsaturian Turcotte will visit Talin on May 7 at 11:00 when the last 100 trees will be planted. A blessing of the Memorial Forest and a Khachkar at the entrance of the forest will be blessed by the Church. The community event with Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte is open to public and media. Please email the above address if you required direct telephone contact information.