Azerbaijan continues its political, economic, and above all, military assaults against the indigenous Armenian people living in Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, in the South Caucuses.
On December 12, Azerbaijan blocked the crucial Lachin Corridor, which is the Republic of Artsakh’s only lifeline. It’s Artsakh’s route to the outside world. This blockade means Artsakh is currently deprived of food, medical supplies, and other vital supplies transported to the region via the Lachin Corridor. Azerbaijan also cut off the gas supply to Artsakh, creating another humanitarian crisis there. This was the third time this year the gas supply was cut. On December 16, gas supply was restored in Artsakh, but the Azerbaijani blockade continues to cut off 120,000 Armenians living in the region from the rest of the world.
This aggression had culminated during the 44-day Azeri-Turkish war against Artsakh in 2020, during which many war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed against Armenians. Summary executions, torture, inhuman treatment, extensive destruction of properties, unlawful deportation, and the taking of hostages were commonplace. During the war, the Azerbaijani armed forces intentionally targeted the civilian population, bombarding towns, and villages in Artsakh.
The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who supports Azerbaijan’s war against Armenians, have repeatedly made it clear that their goal is ethnically to cleanse the Armenian population from the region.
On January 29, 2015, for instance, Aliyev tweeted: “Armenia is not even a colony, it is not even worthy of being a servant”.
Following the signing of the ceasefire agreement on November 9, 2020 between Azerbaijan and Armenia to suspend the Azeri war against Artsakh, Aliyev addressed the Azeri nation on November 10. He said:
We put him [Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan] in his place. We taught him a lesson. We chased them [Armenians] out of our lands like dogs. I said that we would chase them, that we would chase them like dogs, and we chased them, we chased them like dogs. He [Pashinyan] is now signing this document out of fear, knowing that we will come to Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin. No-one can stop us. Everyone sees our strength; everyone knows what our iron fist represents. That is why we have driven them out and are perfectly right in doing so.
And: “We said that we would drive the enemy out of our lands! We are not interested in any negotiations.”
In April of 2021, Aliyev opened a “Military Trophies Park” in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, with displays of helmets and caricatured mannequins of Armenian soldiers to dehumanize them, publicly humiliating Armenian casualties and prisoners of war. Aliyev proudly walked through a gallery of helmets belonging to fallen Armenian soldiers at the park.
The Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia issued an Ad Hoc Public Report entitled “An Amusement Park of Killed Armenian Soldiers and Chained Prisoners of War Opened in Baku: A Museum of Human Sufferings and a Promotion of Racism.” According to the report:
“The ‘park’ is a clear manifestation of racism and related violence representing a serious immediate danger for Armenian prisoners of war.
“The Azerbaijani authorities obviously know that this sensitive display would cause mental pain and suffering to the families of the missing persons and captives, as well as to the Armenian society in general.
“There are long queues to visit the ‘park’. Moreover, a ‘park-museum’ of human sufferings is also open for children, even under 6 years old.
“The opening of such a ‘park’ clearly underlines the official hatred towards Armenians in Azerbaijan, and openly reveals the existence of a State policy of animosity and continual propaganda. This policy, confirmed by concrete evidence, has, in fact, been consistently implemented for years.”
The report gives more examples for Aliyev’s grotesque hate speech against Armenians:
At the opening of the park, Aliyev stated: “An Armenian is a barbarian who digs graves and removes gold teeth from the dead.”
And in his nationwide address, Aliyev said: “Azerbaijani soldiers expel them (Armenians) like dogs”.
He added: “We will continue to expel these (Armenians) liars. They now see who is who. They see that we have taught them a lesson they will never forget. (…) They have neither conscience nor morality. They don’t even have brains.”
“Yerevan [the capital of Armenia] is our historical land. We, the Azerbaijanis, will return to these historical lands. It is our political and strategic goal, and gradually we shall reach it.”
“Armenia as a country is of no value. It is actually a colony, an outpost run from abroad, a territory artificially created on ancient Azerbaijani lands.”
Turkey’s president Erdogan also announced the ambitions of the war against Artsakh after the signing of the ceasefire agreement.
During a “victory parade”, organized in Baku to celebrate Turkey and Azerbaijan’s joint “military victory” over Artsakh, Erdogan delivered a speech in which he praised Enver Pasha, one of the planners of Ottoman Turkey’s 1915 Armenian genocide, which cost the lives of around 1.5 million Armenians. The Ottoman military march was also played during the event.
Erdogan referred to the 1918 Islamic Army of the Caucasus created by Enver Pasha and led by the Ottoman commander, Nuri Pasha. The Islamic Army of the Caucasus was responsible for the massacres to eliminate the non-Muslim population of Baku, who were mainly Armenians. Erdogan said:
“Today is the day when the souls of Nuri Pasha, Enver Pasha and the brave soldiers of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus are blessed.”
Through their actions and statements, both Aliyev and Erdogan declare that they aim to carry out yet another assault against the Armenian people in the region.
Another potential Armenian genocide is unfolding right before our eyes. What are we doing to prevent it?