Turkey shares pain of Khojaly massacre

Turkey shares pain of Khojaly massacre

Turkey shares pain of Khojaly massacre

Thousands of Azerbijanis flock to Baku for the commemoration and visited the Khojaly Martyrs Monument. AFP photo

Turkey commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, in which hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians were killed, as party leaders and senior officials paid tribute to the victims.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan honored the victims of the massacre, recalling the 613 Azeri civilians killed 21 years ago. “I am commemorating the loss of our Azeri brothers with blessings. Unfortunately, Nagorno-Karabakh is neither liberated, nor has anyone been called to account,” Erdoğan said earlier today in his weekly parliamentary address.

“I am conveying Turkey’s sincere messages of solidarity to Azerbaijan. We will not forget the Khojaly drama, and won’t allow it to be forgotten.”

‘Crime against humanity’

Azerbaijani civilians living in the town of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh were attacked on Feb. 26, 1992 by Armenian forces during the war between Baku and Yerevan. According to Azerbaijani officials, at least 600 people, mostly women and children, were killed.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also condemned the brutal slaying. The head of the Foreign Affairs Commission, Volkan Bozkır, said the massacre was a crime against humanity. “As Turkey, we have always felt the pain Azerbaijanis went through during this atrocity in the depths of our hearts and share our brothers’ pain and grief,” Bozkır said. EU Minister Egemen Bağış also condemned the massacre.

In Baku, thousands of Azerbaijanis flocked to the capital for the commemoration and visited the Khojaly Martyrs Monument. Visitors from Baku and other regions of Azerbaijan formed long lines before the martyrdom memorial.

During the memorial service, which was accompanied by a Quranic recitation, the Monument was adorned with red carnations.