Why ending illegal occupation is Azerbaijan’s absolute right: Op-ed
Today, the world talks about COVID-19, U.S. presidential debate, and the Armenia-Azerbaijan war. Could anybody imagine this global background two, 10 or 25 years ago. Of course, not. A small region, the backyard of great powers and many other arguments kept it out of the global attention. They even called it frozen. Of course, it was wrong, since again it was classical cynical approach to regional conflicts, rather than moral consideration of the potentially explosive tensions.
On Sept. 27, when Armenian forces, together with mercenaries and terrorists from the Middle East, started intensively shelling the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan along the frontline, as well as the villages of Qapanli of Terter district, Chiragli and Orta Garavend of Aghdam district, Alkhanli and Shukurbeyli of Fizuli district and Jojuq Merjanli of Jabrayil district, using large-caliber weapons, mortar launchers and artillery, most of the victims were Azerbaijani civilians. Contrary to its obligations under the international humanitarian law, Armenia’s forces did not hesitate to shell residential areas of Azerbaijan as a result of which 27 Azerbaijani civilians, including two children and five members of one family were killed, while 141 were wounded and hospitalized, civilian infrastructure including medical centers, school and kindergarten buildings were brutally damaged.
Azerbaijan could not leave it unanswered.
President İlham Aliyev repeatedly warned Armenian leadership before to refrain from these kinds of provocations. They happened to be deaf or rather adventurously and criminally opportunistic. The visit to Shusha by the Armenian prime minister to participate in the inauguration of the self-proclaimed regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the provocative “Karabakh is Armenia” statement made in the occupied city of Khankendi, the introduction of a “new war for new territories” concept by the occupying country, putting forward seven pre-conditions in the conflict settlement negotiations, as well as attempts to change the talks format, have dealt a blow to the conflict resolution process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Moreover, they attempted to attack in the Tovuz direction on July 12-16, engaged in sabotage and reconnaissance provocation in the Goranboy direction on Aug. 23, and continued a policy of illegal settlement in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
All these were happening while 20 percent of internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan under illegal military occupation of Armenia and up to one million Azerbaijanis either internally displaced or refugees.
Within the framework of the counter-offensive measures, Azerbaijan Armed Forces liberated some villages, strategically important high grounds and advantageous positions. We have no intention to stop. Our troops act on its sovereign soil with full compliance to international law. It is self-defense, restoration of territorial integrity and peace enforcement.
Azerbaijan demands the implementation of U.N. resolutions requiring the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from its soil.
However, what we are facing today is not just a brutal military force in front of us. We also have to tackle a very refined but brutal propaganda machine. Most of the Armenian diaspora in many parts of the world feeds the local political system and media space with forgeries, misrepresentations and dangerous narratives. They, together with the Armenian government, try to make the world believe in the clash of civilizations and Armenia’s victimhood. Not only is it completely false, but also deeply dangerous.
False in every way. While they pretend to be regional victims for their religious beliefs, they are the only mono-ethnic and mono-confessional country in the region. While they cry wolf that all neighbors hate them, they lay claims to the territories 360 degrees around.
Dangerous in a profound way. If the addresses of Armenia’s calls fall into the trap, then the region is doomed to explode with paramount consequences not only for regional security, but also for the international system.
The world order is still based on international law, mostly refined post-World War II. If major international stakeholders act contrary to that, then global disorder will follow.
Therefore, it is also crucial for the international community to have a clear picture of what is happening now in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, raise the voice of justice and avoid the global disaster.
Turkey is a country which proudly does it, proving its role as an emerging global power. The power of justice. Turkey does it in every other international issue.
It is high time for others to follow!