Turkish FM says Khojaly massacre a ‘crime against humanity’ at commemoration
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe 1992 Khojaly massacre in Nagorno-Karabakh was a “crime against humanity,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated on Feb. 22.
“We have never forgotten Khojaly and we will [never] forget it,” Çavuşoğlu told the Khojaly Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and Terrorism conference in the capital Ankara.
Çavuşoğlu said Turkey and Azerbaijan would continue to explain the Khojaly massacre to the world.
“Armenia does not want to face realities, but the Khojaly massacre is real,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that it took place 25 years ago “under the eyes of the world.”
The massacre on Feb. 25-26, 1992, is regarded as one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, now occupied by Armenia.
Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures.
Çavuşoğlu said the “most important” problem for the stability of the region was that 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory was occupied by Armenia.
Addressing the conference, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said the massacre was a “ruthless” example of ethnic cleansing and a “genocide policy” by Armenia against Azerbaijan.
“The Khojaly genocide was followed by massive flagrant violations of norms and principles of international law, human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Mammadyarov added.
“The existence of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict undermines peace, security, stability and comprehensive economic development of the region,” he said.
“Azerbaijan supports peace and is 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 the inviolability of internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” Mammadyarov added.