Remembering Khojaly Massacre
AKKAN SUVERİlham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, was asking the world last month in the German city of Munich “What are Armenians soldiers searching for in Azerbaijan’s cities of Agdam and Fuzuli?”
Today the world has to question again the massacre that happened 23 years ago, since it is one of the black marks of human history and is still a problem for regional stability, peace, security and prosperity.
For that we need to go back to the early 1990’s, when as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain, former republics of the Soviet Union started to declare independence that sparked territorial disputes among some of them.
Khojaly was a village – with 936 kilometer square area, 2,605 families and in total 11,356 people. It
was blockaded by Armenian forces at the end of 1991. At the end of December 1991, the capital
of Karabakh, Hankendi (Stepanakert) became the next target of Armenian forces, which also aimed to capture the only airport of the area with a strategic importance.
During the first days of January, Armenian forces cut the connection with the other cities and also cut the electricity. On Feb. 25, 1992 Armenian artillery started to fire on the defenseless Khojaly for two hours and captured it. One day after the attack, the Khojaly massacre happened, taking its place in the dark memory of recent history, never to be forgotten.
Some 613 Azerbaijani Turks, without differentiation whether they were women, children or elderly, were killed collectively and 1,275 hostages were taken by the Armenians.
The Khojaly massacre is not a war casualty. It did not happen as a result of the armed conflict. Armenians did not fight against Azerbaijani forces, they just massacred the civilians.
This makes it a tremendous tragedy.
The perpetrators of these massacres are the grandchildren of those lying about the 1915 events. This atrocity took place despite the fact that Turkey became one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Armenia. But after three months, at the first opportunity, Armenians killed Azerbaijani Turks and expelled them from their soil.
In the Armenian flag, there is a picture of Mount Ararat; know in Turkish as Ağrı. Also in the Armenian national anthem, it says “our soils are under occupation so kill for it and kill for them.”
As an enemy of Azerbaijan, Armenia in reality is the enemy of Turkishness. What is our duty in the anniversary of this massacre is to tell the whole world the realities about Armenia.
The killings in the 1970’s of ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia) and the massacre of Khojaly need to be told to the world persistently.
We also have to tell the world that the only solution for peace in South Caucasus is the liberation of Nagorno Karabakh from Armenian forces.
We are not a revengeful people. We can’t live with the hatred of the past. And we can’t speak to the next generations with hate and grudge. But in order not to forget and avoid similar massacres from taking place, we need to keep reminding the world about the ASALA killings, as well as Khojaly.
*Dr. Akkan Suver is the president of the Foundation of Marmara Group