Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the international conference on “Khojaly Genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism”
Ankara, February 22, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretariat of the Turkic Council and Ahmet Yasevi University for convening such Conference on the threshold of 25th Anniversary of Khojaly Genocide which represents a flagrant and tragic page of the Azerbaijani history.
On the night of February 25-26, the armed forces of Armenia, with participation of irregular armed bands and terrorist groups, as well as with direct participation of the infantry guards regiment No. 366 of the former USSR located in Khankendi, seized the town of Khojaly and perpetrated atrocious massacre of the civilian population of the town. In a few hours 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women, 63 children, 70 elders, moreover, 1275 inhabitants were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 persons remain unknown to this day. In the course of the massacre, more than 1000 inhabitants of Khojaly were severely maimed, including 76 children under the age. 6 families were completely wiped out, 26 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one of their parents. As an integral part of occupation policy and another ruthless example of ethnic cleansing and genocide policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan, Khojaly Genocide was followed by massive flagrant violations of norms and principles of international law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The merciless massacres of Armenia against Azerbaijanis do not confine with Khojaly Genocide. The Khojaly Genocide is a part of ethnic cleansing policy of Armenia against Azerbaijanis committed stage by stage in XIX-XX centuries in Nakhchivan, Ganja, Baku and Irevan khanate. The truth about all of these crimes committed by Armenians must be conveyed to the international community, the legal appraisal should be given as well.
The Republic of Azerbaijan purposefully and sequentially takes steps in this regard. Namely, many states, as well as international organizations in their resolutions and statements recognized the Khojaly tragedy as Genocide. The Parliaments of Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Pakistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Romania, Czech Republic, Jordan, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Sudan, Djibouti, as well as legislative bodies of 16 States of USA adopted documents recognizing and condemning the Khojaly Genocide. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is the first international organization that recognized Armenia as an aggressor and Khojaly tragedy as Genocide. By initiative of Heydar Aliyev Foundation the “Justice for Khojaly” Campaign started in more than 40 countries of the world aimed at conveying to international community a truth about the bloody tragedy of Azerbaijani people.
A special resolution adopted at the 12th session of the of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States held this January in Mali recognized Khojaly tragedy as a genocide supporting “Justice for Khojaly” campaign and called 54 member states to bring Armenian murderers to the justice.
Unfortunately, for decades Armenians by distortion of history put so-called “Armenian Genocide” issue on international agenda and tried to use it for their political purposes. Especially, I would like to emphasize the role of Armenian diaspora in this regard. The role of diaspora in putting their invented history entitled the “Armenian Genocide” on the agenda of international organizations, different conferences and meetings is undeniable. In spite of multiple suggestions of the Republic of Turkey regarding the opening archives, as well as proposals of Turkish and Armenian historians’ joint research of the issue, the Armenians and their intercessors declined them all. The reason is simple. They dread of truth.
By using this opportunity, I would like to recommend a joint action to be taken by diaspora organizations of the Turkic Council Member States against the Armenian anti-Turkic World propaganda.
The existence of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict undermines peace, security, stability and comprehensive economic development of the region. Unfortunately, as a result of Armenian aggression the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan remain violated for decades.
As a result of Armenian ethnic cleansing policy more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs. The norms and principles of international law were flagrantly violated. The position of international organizations is well known. The UN Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding immediate, full and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, none of them was implemented. Azerbaijan supports peace and willing to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. Our position remains unchanged. The conflict must be resolved on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The soonest and just resolution of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict on the basis of mentioned principles will end injustice and at the same time will contribute to peace and security in the region.
I would like to underline that the Republic of Azerbaijan makes efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region. Our country supports the efforts of international community in fight against terrorism and makes contributions to this end. Unfortunately, recent terror acts committed in brotherly Turkey lead to death and injury of dozens of innocent people. In this regard, I would like to state that as a victim of terrorism, Azerbaijan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stays side by side with Turkey.
It is regretful that in today’s world some politicians and so-called researchers blame Islam in “serving” terrorism. I would like to express our deepest concern over the increased cases of religious intolerance, in particular Islamophobia and attempts to associate religions with terrorism. It is miserable that in some countries basic rights and freedoms of Muslims are objects of violation; radicals treat Muslims as potential terrorists. In this context, I would like to proudly state that Azerbaijan is a tolerant country, where all people with different religious and confessional affiliations live and exercise their religious rites without any restrictions, discrimination or prejudice. Our people proudly hold this salient feature and live side by side with religious, confessional and national minorities. The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan also attaches great importance to this issue.
In accordance with Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan 2016 was declared in Azerbaijan as a “Year of Multiculturalism” and our country hosted 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. People of different cultures, religions and confessions visited our country and witnessed our achievements in mentioned spheres. Being a tolerant country, Azerbaijan is proud of its Muslim identity. We proudly revere Islamic culture, history and traditions for centuries.
In accordance with Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan 2017 has been declared “A Year of Islamic Solidarity”. The strengthening of cooperation with Islamic States was always a priority for Azerbaijan. Due to its geographical location Azerbaijan for centuries served as a bridge between East and West and was promoting Islamic cultural and spiritual values to the World. As a continuation of mentioned efforts, we are planning to host 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku in May 2017.
The main aim of Azerbaijan, that is a leading economic power of South Caucasus and strengthens its positions in international arena day by day, is to ensure lasting peace, stability, prosperity and good neighborhood in the region.
I believe that those who respect and support sovereignty, territorial integrity, future prosperity of their own countries, as well as supremacy of international law will support the just stand of Azerbaijan.
I thank you for your attention.