Azerbaijan pledges to ensure the rights of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians
One of the major propaganda tools used by the Armenian side to justify their uncompromised position on Nagorno-Karabakh and attract support from abroad, are alarmist claims about the alleged intentions of Azerbaijan and Turkey to “finish off” the “Armenian genocide” of 1915. These claims are meant to exert emotional impact on the audience unaware of the complex realities of the region and entrench an image of a victimized nation encircled by eternal enemies.
However, this narrative is plainly wrong and misleading. First of all, the current status-quo has been achieved at the cost of ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands Azerbaijanis, expelled from the regions currently under Armenian occupation as well as Armenia proper. By referring to the events that happened 100 years ago at the time when Azerbaijan was part of the Russian Empire, not Ottoman Turkey, the Armenian government and the puppet regime of “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” try to divert attention from the very real crimes committed by them during the Karabakh war. Just to remind, Article 49 of the Geneva Convention states that civilian population displaced as a result of hostilities must be immediately allowed to return to their homes upon the cessation of hostilities. In 26 years since the 1994 ceasefire, Armenia has done nothing to implement this provision.
At the same time, Baku has always made it clear that it prioritizes a constructive dialogue with the Armenian community and envisages a fair and equitable solution for the Karabakh problem what would ensure security and satisfy interests of the both ethnic groups native for Nagorno-Karabakh. In a number of peace plans proposed by mediators and endorsed by the Azerbaijani side, the Armenian community was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy, the status of official language for Armenian, as well as security guarantees, with the participation of the third states if necessary. Baku has made it clear that it does not have any targets within the territory of Armenia, and abstained from using its rights of retaliation even after a number of strikes on the Azerbaijani territory have been launched from Armenia itself.
President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly appealed to the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh that Baku has never aimed at ethnic cleansing or changing ethnic balance in the currently occupied territories. The Armenians are regarded as Azerbaijani citizens enjoying the full spectrum of rights granted by this citizenship. Last year, the newly appointed chair of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, Tural Ganjaliyev, issued a programme of reintegration of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh into Azerbaijani society. Unfortunately, the doctrine of “New war and new territories” proclaimed by Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s rejection of peace talks framework as well as the July 2020 provocation in the Tovuz direction made the military escalation inevitable. However, the ongoing military operation is waged exclusively against the Armenian army and paramilitaries deployed within the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. Humane treatment of civilians and prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention are the cornerstones of Baku’s policy towards the region.