Politics 12:57 25/02/2017 Armenia

Armenian Community exposes propaganda event of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Lithuania

Armenian Community of Lithuania screwed up another Azerbaijani propaganda event aimed at the distortion of historical facts. The information has been released by the Baltic-Armenian Alliance.
According to the statement, the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Lithuania sent invitations to diplomatic corps and Lithuanian politicians for a concert dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Aghdam events. The invitations to this event were sent in the name the Azerbaijan-Lithuania Friendship Group in Seimas, and the logo of the Lithuanian Seimas was used.

The Armenian Community sent an inquiry to the Seimas for clarification. It also contacted some Seimas members of the above mentioned group. It is noted that from the conversations it became clear that the group members had no idea that an invitation had been sent in their name. Moreover, the Seimas had not authorized the use of its logo for this event, either.

“Our concern is primarily not about Azerbaijan’s interpretation of history, but its attempt to drag Lithuanian politicians and diplomatic corps in this one-sided and totally distorted presentation of some episodes of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the authors of the statement note.

At the same time, it is emphasized that Azerbaijan officially claims as “genocide” the Aghdam events and pours a lot of money to present its own, even if invented, “genocide” to the international public. 
“There is no genocide scholar who would consider Khojali as ‘genocide’, since for such terminology the intent, scale, perpetrator and victims need to be clearly identified. Yet, this is not the case here,” the statement reads.

Throughout Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the civilian population was repeatedly exposed to armed attacks, and in some cases, to pogroms and slaughter. Among the most well-known episodes could be mentioned the following: the complete annihilation of Armenian civilian population in the village of Maragha in Nagorno-Karabakh, the ethnic purges of Armenians in Nakhijevan Autonomous Region, in the Azerbaijan SSR, the pogrom and massacre of Armenians in Sumgait (February 26-29, 1988), Kirovabad (November 21-27, 1988), and Baku (January 13-19, 1990), the killings of civilian population in Stepanakert, fired at by facilities “Grad” from Shushi and Khojaly. The 2016 April aggression by Azerbaijan in Karabakh and barbaric killing of civilians (including elderly and children), as well as decapitating of captured or killed Karabakhi Armenian soldiers are a sad attestation of the continuation of fierce mass hatred in Azerbaijan, incited and promoted on the top level.

The authors note that in the midst of Karabakh war in 1992 the blockaded Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh was daily exposed to a relentless artillery fire from the nearby Azerbaijani firing positions. One of these positions was the village of Khojaly, located next to the only airport in the region, capable of providing a link between Karabakh and the outside world. The capture of Khojaly by the Karabakh Armenian forces was the only way to break the blockade and achieve salvation from the artillery fire, cold and hunger imposed by Azerbaijan to eliminate the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Both the authorities and the population of the village had been informed about the upcoming attack and about the existence of the humanitarian corridor for the unhindered exit of the population in the direction of Aghdam controlled by the armed forces of Azerbaijan. Those residents who used this humanitarian corridor were able to reach the Azerbaijani positions. The part of the population which remained in the village did not suffer significant losses during the military operation either and got under the protection of Karabakh Armenian forces and later on was safely evacuated. The killing of civilians occurred not in the Khojaly and its immediate vicinity, but on the outskirts of Aghdam territory, which were under the control not of Karabakh, but Azerbaijani armed forces.

Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov himself questioned the validity of claims that Armenian stood behind this tragedy.

“...the corridor, by which people could escape, had nonetheless been left by the Armenians.  So, why did they have to open fire?  Especially in the area around Aghdam, where there was sufficient force at that time to get help to the people.” (Ayaz Mutalibov, then President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”, 02.04.1992)

“Khojaly residents themselves insist that they did use the corridor and that the Armenian soldiers, on the other side of the corridor, did not open fire.  Some soldiers from the Azerbaijani Popular Front evacuated some of the Khojaly residents in the direction of the village of Nakhijevanik – I have no idea why since it was under the control of the Armenian Askeran Battalion at the time.  Others were caught in artillery fire in the area around Aghdam.” (Eynulla Fatullayev, Azerbaijani Journalist, the newspaper “Realny Azerbaijan”, April 2005)

It is noted that such evidences of the representatives of Azerbaijan, as well as other countries are sufficient to conclude that the inhabitants of Khojaly had become the victims of power struggle in Baku and are being used for propaganda purposes.

“Nothing can justify the attempts to use tragedies for the propaganda purposes, especially by the side which is responsible for that,” the authors emphasize.

Summing up, the Armenian Community appeals to refrain from getting entangled in the Azerbaijani distortion of history. Invented victimization and dehumanization of Armenians, currently underway in Azerbaijan, are not means to support the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“All our efforts and resources should be directed at building sustainable peace, and not inciting hatred through propaganda,” Baltic Armenians state.

On February 26, 1992, during the Karabakhwar, around 200 to 300 people (according to Human Rights Watch, and 600 according to the version propagated by Azerbaijan) were killed in unknown circumstances near the city of Aghdam. They were deliberately withheld by the Azerbaijani authorities in the midst of the military actions. The authorities of Azerbaijan intentionally kept the population in the village for months by force and did not evacuate them in order to use them as human shields later as the village was one of the firing points for shooting at the blockaded Stepanakert (among five others).

The residents of Khojalu, coming out through the humanitarian corridor the self-defense forces of the NKR had left open, freely passed more than 10 km and reached the Aghdam city controlled by the Azerbaijani troops. Later, dead bodies of the villagers were foundnot far from the positions of Azerbaijani troops. The exact death toll remains unknown as the official Baku publishes data contradicting each other. Parliamentary Commission investigating the tragic death of the civilians at Aghdam city was dissolved by the order of Heydar Aliyev, the investigative materials are kept secret.

Source Panorama.am
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