BERLIN (Reuters) - The German Foreign Ministry has canceled a long-planned concert by the Dresden Sinfoniker orchestra in Istanbul on Nov. 13 that was to commemorate the 1915 massacre of Armenians after protests by Ankara, orchestra director Markus Rindt said on Wednesday.

The ministry notified the orchestra that the German consulate in Istanbul, where the performance called "aghet", or "catastrophe" in Armenian, was to have taken place, would not be available on Nov. 13, Rindt said. The piece premiered in Berlin in November.

"It's definitely been canceled. They said they wanted to reschedule at a better time, but when would that be? This has been planned for years," Rindt told Reuters.

Turkey, angered by the German parliament's decision to brand the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide, had protested the use of European Union funding to support the performance, and earlier this month withdrew from the EU cultural arms program that was funding the project.


While Turkey accepts that many Armenians died in partisan fighting beginning in 1915, it denies that up to 1.5 million were killed and that this constituted an act of genocide, a term used by many Western historians and foreign parliaments.

The Dresden Sinfoniker performance includes musicians from Turkey, Armenia, Germany and members of the No Borders Orchestra, which is comprised of musicians from the former Yugoslavia. Additional performances are planned in Belgrade on Nov. 5 and in Yerevan, Armenia on Nov. 10.

Ties between Germany and Turkey remain strained over the Armenia resolution and Ankara's frustration about what it sees as Germany's half-hearted expressions of solidarity after the July 15 attempted military coup in Turkey.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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