Guest Blog: Azerbaijan and Armenia in New Conflict

Stop the Azeri aggression!!

Written by Sjur Papazian

Azerbaijan and Armenia, arch-enemies in the Caucasus, have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Armenia-occupied Karabakh.Azerbaijan and Armenia, arch-enemies in the Caucasus, have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Armenia-occupied Karabakh. (TRTWorld)

Violence flared up between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Artsakh, globally most known as the Nagorno-Karabakh region, on Sunday September 27 and both the countries have accused each other of launching the attack.

The Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashiny, has said that Azerbaijan started the attack while the military of Karabakh is responding. He has now declared a state of emergency and mobilized the population. “The enemy has started an attack”, he wrote on Facebook. “This aggression was preplanned”, he said.

Azerbaijan, however, has argued that Armenia has attacked them and that it was responding to cross-border artillery shelling. Its Ministry of Defense then issued a statement saying it had begun a “counterattack” with tanks, helicopters and rocket artillery.

«Armenia, which has added a new one to its attacks on Azerbaijan, has once again proven that it is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region. The Turkish nation continues to stand by its Azerbaijani brothers and sisters with all its means, as it has always done», The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, wrote on his Twitter account.

Much of the global media write about the situation and the ongoing escalations seemingly without any knowledge about what is really going on. The blame both parts and portray the Armenians in the region is some kind of breake away seperatists.

They write that it is not clear if it was the Armenians or Azerbaijan that attacked first. However, nothing can be said to be further from the truth. The Armenians in the region is well organized, and would never have done anything like this without first telling the Armenian government. They live in peace and simply try to make the best out of a bad situation.

Armenia pursues peace and dialogue. Armenia wants to solve the situation through peace, dialogue and negotions. They know no lasting peace and security can be achieved without the consent of both the Armenians in Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia simply wants the Minsk group of the OECD to resume its work.

Armenia has signed and fully supports the appeal for global ceasefire in all corners of the world while humanity faces common enemy COVID19 that UN Secretary General António Guterres made back in March, when the pandemic was just picking up speed.

The signatories have underscored that diplomatic action and collective efforts are needed in the common fight against COVID-19 and reaffirmed the importance of “global unity and solidarity in confronting this scourge”. Azerbaijan on the other hand has not signed the call, but over and over again stated that they see war as the only solution.

We have to look at the root of the problem to understand the situation. The conflict has its roots in the decisions made by Joseph Stalin, acting Commissar of Nationalities for the Soviet Union

during the early 1920s, as the Soviet Union had far-reaching plans concerning Turkey, hoping that it would, with a little help from them, develop along Communist lines.

Needing to placate Turkey, Stalin agreed to a division under which Karabakh and Nakhchivan would be under the control of Azerbaijan. The Armenians in the region never agreed to this, but had their country occupied by foreign troops. Had Turkey not been an issue, he would likely have left the region under Armenian control.

Thomas de Waal, a well-known analyst on the South Caucasus, argues that Azerbaijan was the first to launch hostilities on the Artsakh-Azerbaijani border, as Armenia has no motive to start a war. «The Armenian side won the war in the 1990s. They have the territory they want. Their motive is to regulate the status quo», Waal said. He is blaming the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, personally Ilham Aliyev, for the escalation.

Concerning the situation Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan, has said that «We have declared several times that we don’t support war, but we are ready for it. We didn’t want war. The war was imposed on us, and it is our duty to defend our homeland and families». He is also stressing the responsibility of this latest aggression on Azeri leadership.

«Azerbaijan must immediately stop its military activities in Nagorno Karabakh. It was agreed that a solution to the conflict will be sought peacefully through negotiations. A fully fledged war between AZE and ARM must be prevented. It is the people on all sides that will suffer», wrote the German politician, Michael Gahler, who is member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the European People’s Party (EPP Group) Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, on Twitter.

The case is that the policy of destabilization and aggression on the part of Turkey is a threat to all neighboring regions, including the eastern Mediterranean, northern Africa and the Middle East. This is a serious concern not only for the region concerned, but also for the rest of the world. The global society has for a good while now been preoccupied with the politics of Turkey.

“Turkey is pursuing an unconstructive and dangerous policy. And Turkey’s actions continue to pose a threat to the security of Armenia. In this regard, Armenia will work to further strengthen its security, including through cooperation with its partners,” Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan have stated. He also said that he is ready, for his part, to continue working in the negotiation process on the Karabakh settlement.

The current war is not at least triggered by the Turkish aggression as it began attacking Russian forces along the Syrian border and in July 2020, and instigated Azerbaijan to attack the Armenian forces in the Tovuz region, which is the junction point of Azerbaijan, and Georgia, starting the Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes in July to give a message to Russia.

Just a couple of days after the conflict, diverging from covertly supporting Azerbaijan, Erdogan openly declared that Turkey shall support Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia. Turkey’s support to Azerbaijan during the clashes and Erdogan’s subsequent statements are seen by many ethnic Armenians as a demonstration of Turkey’s genocidal intentions.

Turkey has since long been extending its full-fledged support to Azerbaijan, including provided military assistance. Turkey have also refused to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and kept the Turkish-Armenian border closed.

Successive Turkish governments have unconditionally backed Azerbaijan in the conflict, reflecting close cultural and ethnic ties between the two Turkic nations. The support is fueled by the deep-rooted hatred of the Armenia. This has resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Armenian community staying in Turkey and the consequent demographic change.

Armenia on its side accused Turkey for resorting to unprecedented threats against Armenia and unilateral support to Azerbaijan during the clashes. On 31 July, during a telephone call to Erdogan President Ilham Aliyev highly appreciated the “strong support of the President of Turkey in connection with the recent events on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border”.

Turkey has been a staunch supporter of Azerbaijan in its tensions with Armenia. Numerous violations have occurred since the Russian-brokered ceasefire, the Bishkek Protocol, was signed in May 1994. Most notably are the 2016 clashes. Skirmishes have however also spilled over to the Armenian–Azerbaijani state border outside Karabakh.

Azerbaijani sniper attacks on Armenia’s Tavush region are an ongoing occurrence, leading to multiple casualties and injuries of both Armenian civilians and military personnel. The Azerbaijani military has also been using civilians as human shields, placing artillery close to the villages. Additionally, Azerbaijan has launched cyberattacks on Armenian government websites.

Turkey is now trying to export this policy of destabilization to the South Caucasus region. The projection of power, intrusion and interference in the South Caucasian region do not contribute in any way to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and to regional peace, security and stability.

Turkey is engaged in a standoff with Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. In Europe, only France has been vocal about its concerns over Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, with President Emmanuel Macron stating that the time has come to draw a red line, while Germany has been soft-peddling between the two antagonists’ camps.

This newest attack came less than a week after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev slammed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group U.S., France, and Russia Co-Chairs, calling their Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) mediation efforts «pointless» and threatening to resolve the issue militarily.

The attack also came less than two months after Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces held large-scale tactical military exercises from May 18th through 22nd. In the announcement about the exercises, the Azerbaijani army stated “massive artillery, air, and high-precision weapons will be fired at the enemy’s operational depth,” calling the exercises “offensive” in nature.

The Armenian Defense Ministry on the other hand condemned the exercises noting that they exacerbate the security environment in the region, under the conditions of a global imperative for

joint actions against the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the call for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a global ceasefire.

The escalated tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been built over the past few months and as soon as the tensions began to escalate, Turkey has been deploying terrorists from Syria and Libya to Azerbaijan to help it fight the war with Armenia. It is also supplying Azerbaijan arms and Turkish drones.

According to several media reports from last week cadres of the Hamza Division, a Syrian rebel group in northwestern Syria affiliated with the Syrian National Army (SNA), and trained and equipped by the United States and Turkey as part of the Syrian Train and Equip Program, have arrived in Azerbaijan.

The Hamza Division was formed in 2013, and cooperates with the Turkish Armed Forces in the Turkish occupation of northern Syria. According to a UN report released in the current month the Hamza Division, and the entire SNA, have been involved in war crimes in areas under their control since Turkish forces took the control of Kurdish cities Afrin and Ras al-Ayn in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

According to the report “SNA members also looted and destroyed cultural property, in violation of international humanitarian law.” Greek City Times have reported “Credible reports have emerged that Turkey is transferring its militant proxies based in northern Syria to Azerbaijan as tensions & skirmishes with Armenia rapidly increase”.

Turkish armed forces have also been conducting joint exercises with the Azeri forces and helping them in capacity building as well. It is believed that Turkey also has deployed Turkish troops along the border region to fight with the Armenian community soldiers.

The Turkey sponsored attack has at the same time worsened the human rights situation in the region, which already had a fragile human rights condition. An attack during the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the woes of the Armenian community of the region.

With Libya moving towards peace and stability, Erdogan has now shifted the terrorists of the group to Azerbaijan. If the global fraternity doesn’t come forward to stop Azerbaijan backed by Turkey, then the world could very soon see the Armenian community moving towards endangerment. Anyway, I doubt very much the rest of the world will let a war happen without doing anything to stop it

France sides with Armenia in conflict with Azerbaijan

France sides with Armenia in conflict with Azerbaijan, photo from nation.com.pk

Credible reports have emerged that Turkey is transferring its militant proxies based in northern Syria to Azerbaijan as tensions and skirmishes with Armenia rapidly increase. There are two possible reasons behind the current military-political situation in the Caucasus region, the statements made by the Turkish and Azerbaijani authorities and their recent steps:

First, Turkey and Azerbaijan have concluded that there is no alternative to the military settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict, and their preparations and statements fit into this logic. Second, the developments in Tavush, which, on the one hand, confirmed the stalemate in negotiations, and, on the other hand, the lack of their possible outcome, suggest two possible results: a return to the negotiating table, vague border provocations or hostilities.

While Turkey has declared Armenia as the biggest obstacle to peace in Caucasus and has sent 300 terrorists (future corps) from the Free Syrian Army to Azerbaijan to open a new front and start a war against Armenia, Armenia has proposed to create a new nationwide civilian militia of volunteers to supplement the country’s armed forces following the heaviest fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in years this summer.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and UN’s global ceasefire appeal, which Armenia has endorsed and Azerbaijan refused to sign, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive against Armenia starting on July 12, deploying tanks, heavy artillery, and drones against civilian and military targets alike. Armenia however defended its territory and in short time managed to prevent further upscaling and war.

During the July war on the Tavush border, Azerbaijani forces lost face; the $5 billion shiny military hardware proved to be ineffective against the less-well-armed Armenian foes. As a result of that set-back, President Aliyev lost his credibility, while it has helped Turkey to fill in the power vacuum there. First, by holding joint war games together with Azerbaijan to intimidate Armenia and then by moving its military forces into Nakhichevan, turning it into a virtual military base.

Turkey is engaged in a standoff with Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. In Europe, only France has been vocal about its concerns over Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, with President Emmanuel Macron stating that the time has come to draw a red line, while Germany has been soft-peddling between the two antagonists’ camps.

Ill. from quora.com

The attack came less than a week after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev slammed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group U.S., France, and Russia Co-Chairs, calling their Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) mediation efforts «pointless» and threatening to resolve the issue militarily. The attack also came less than two months after Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces held large-scale tactical military exercises from May 18th through 22nd.

In the announcement about the exercises, the Azerbaijani army stated “massive artillery, air, and high-precision weapons will be fired at the enemy’s operational depth,” calling the exercises “offensive” in nature.

The Armenian Defense Ministry on the other hand condemned the exercises noting that they exacerbate the security environment in the region, under the conditions of a global imperative for joint actions against the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the call for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a global ceasefire.

Armenia, who protect their territorial integrity and support Artsakh’s calls for self-determination, has condemned the Azerbaijani military exercises and expressed concern about the $100 million allocation in U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan, noting that the aid have allowed Azerbaijan to shift resources toward offensive capabilities and further threaten Armenian lives and regional stability.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijani sniper attacks on Armenia’s Tavush region are an ongoing occurrence, leading to multiple casualties and injuries of both Armenian civilians and military personnel. The Azerbaijani military has also been using civilians as human shields, placing artillery close to the villages. Additionally, Azerbaijan has launched cyberattacks on Armenian government websites.

Demonstrations have erupted in Baku with thousands of Azerbaijanis calling for war against Armenia. Protestors can be heard chanting, “End the quarantine, start the war. Order us to (go to) war. Allahu Akbar.” Turkey, which has close ethnic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan, has voiced unconditional support to Baku in the conflict, with the country’s Foreign Minister declaring, “the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people are with Azerbaijan with all our capabilities.”

The primary matter of contention is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that escalated to war between 1988 and 1994, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of the enclave in addition to areas of Azerbaijan proper connecting the enclave to Armenia.

The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass murder and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians carried out in Turkey and adjoining regions by the Ottoman government between 1914 and 1923. The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty negotiated during the Lausanne Conference of 1922–23 and signed in the Palais de Rumine, Lausanne, Switzerland, on 24 July 1923.

The Treaty of Lausanne, which made the Treaty of Sévres invalid, was the result of a second attempt at peace between the Allies of World War I and Turkey after the Treaty of Sèvres signed in 1920, which was made as a part of a series of treaties that the Central Powers signed with the Allied Powers after their defeat in World War I, was being rejected by the Turkish national movement who fought against its terms.

The Treaty of Lausanne ended the conflict, founded the Turkish and defined the borders of the modern Turkish Republic. However, the Treaty of Lausanne ignored the Armenians. There was no provision concerning Armenians in the treaty of Lausanne. The Armenian Bolshevik administration was recognised by the Soviet Government in Moscow, while the Turks meanwhile cleared their territories of Armenians.

Under the terms of the Sèvres Treaty, the US had defined the frontiers of an independent state, but Bolshevik Armenia did not conform to these boundaries. In 1923, the entire territory of Western Armenia was officially renamed “Eastern Anatolia” (literally The Eastern East). It became part of modern-day Turkey, in exchange for Turkey’s relinquishing Ottoman-era claims to the oil-rich Arab lands.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led the Turkish nationalists in the war to defeat the combined armies of the signatories of the Treaty of Sèvres. Both Soviet, who at this time had occupied Armenia, and the Allies, who didnt want to loose Turkey to Soviet, were more interested in making peace with Turkey than they were to defend justice. Armenia became the ultimate loosers.

The Bolsheviks tried to end the centuries-long rivalry between Russia and Turkey, and in 1921, Joseph Stalin, acting the Commissar of Nationalities, transferred the Armenian-populated highlands of Nagorno Karabakh to Soviet Azerbaijan. This was done to try to placate Turkey to join with Russia against the Western Powers. Had Turkey not been an issue he would probably have left the area under Armenian control.

The conflict between the Armenians living in the area and the government of the Azerbaijan SSR broke out in 1987. The fighting escalated into the Nagorno-Karabakh War by the end of 1991. Today, the area is under de facto control of the wider Armenian Republic of Artsakh. However, the republic has limited international recognition. Azerbaijan considers the former oblast to be a de jure part of that state.

Everything that had been stated in the Sevres Treaty, which was had given new hopes to the Armenians, as it provided that Armenia would be recognized as a free and independent country, was forgotten and Armenia lost its territories in the historic Armenian Highland. The Treaty of Lausanne saw the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, while removed the possibility of Armenian repatriation to that part of former Armenia.

Raphael Lemkin, who is best known for coining the word genocide and initiating the Genocide Convention, was moved specifically by the annihilation of the Armenians to define systematic and premeditated exterminations within legal parameters and to coin the word genocide in 1943.

Turkey however denies that the word genocide is an accurate term for these crimes, but in recent years has been faced with increasing calls to recognize them as such. As of 2019, governments and parliaments of 32 countries, including the United States, Russia, and Germany, have recognized the events as a genocide.

Prosecutors acting on their own initiative have used Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code prohibiting «insulting Turkishness» to silence a number of prominent Turkish intellectuals who spoke of atrocities suffered by Armenians in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

In many ways, this is like the Nazis should still be in power in Germany – denying the Holocaust, but instead treaten to make a repetition. Making churces and earlier Armenian properties into

rubble or mosques instead of satisfy the Armenians demands for compensation – for truth and justice.

Both Azerbaijan and Turkey, both Turkish nations on stolen and occupied Armenian land, are stronger than Armenia. Anyway, Armenia is not to play with. The Turkish forces lost towards the Armenians at the Battle of Sardarabad in 1918, a battle of the Caucasus campaign of World War I between the regular Armenian military units and militia on one side and the Ottoman army that had invaded Eastern Armenia on the other.

As Sardarabad is approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of the capital of Yerevan, the battle not only halted the Ottoman advance into the rest of Armenia, but also prevented the complete destruction of the Armenian nation. In the words of Christopher J. Walker, had the Armenians lost this battle, «[I]t is perfectly possible that the word Armenia would have henceforth denoted only an antique geographical term.»

Anyway, I doubt very much the rest of the world let a war against Armenia happen without doing anything to stop it. Fridtjof Nansen was involved in the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Lausanne between the Greek and Turkish governments. He later tried to help find a solution to the Armenian crisis. Today, Nansen and people supporting the Armenian cause wont stand alone.

See Also:

https://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/sjur-48—jeg-reiser-ikke-herfra-samme-hva-som-skjer/72889376?fbclid=IwAR0YNxNeUjJD7gbcdzbS5NEQc3JmEE7upwsaH4QrLS0lfV8EeoTyjo6ZKh4https://www.facebook.com/notes/armenian-cultural-association-in-norway/aserbajdsjan-startet-en-fullskala-offensiv-mot-nagorno-karabakh/10217359904055695/https://en.armradio.am/2020/09/28/its-not-azerbaijan-its-turkey-fighting-against-artsakh-president/https://en.armradio.am/2020/09/19/armenian-fm-points-to-ongoing-turkish-military-build-up-in-azerbaijan/https://zeenews.india.com/world/turkey-deploys-syrian-fighters-in-azerbaijan-to-fight-armenia-report-2312899.html

About ivarjordre

painter, activist, writer, revolutionary, human
Dette innlegget vart posta under Asia, Europa, Our global world, Politic&Society og merkt , , , , , . Bokmerk permalenkja.

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