The Occupation in Figures
Nagorno-Karabakh: 1988-1992, territory 4400 km2; Shusha: may 08, 1992, territory 289 km2; Lachin: may 18, 1992, territory 1840 km2; Kalbajar: april 2, 1993, territory 3054 km2; Aghdam: july 23, 1993, territory 1150 km2; Fizuli: august 23, 1993, territory 1390 km2; Jabrayil: august 23, 1993, territory 1050 km2; Gubadli: august 31, 1993, territory 802 km2; Zangilan: october 29, 1993, territory 707 km2.

Azerbaijani diplomats respond article by Armenian author on The Guardian

Azerbaijani diplomats respond article by Armenian author on The Guardian

03.09.2015

APA. The Guardian published an article of response by Azerbaijani diplomats to the article – published by the same newspaper –   by Simon Maghakyan, an associate Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), on the preservation of cultural heritage in conflict zones.

Tahir Taghizadeh, Ambassador of Azerbaijan in the UK, said it is ironic that Simon Maghakyan writes in defense of the importance of the preservation of cultural heritage and condemns Azerbaijan. “Over the course of the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is not Azerbaijan but Armenia that has now turned into a monoethnic country – a rare example in this part of the world – and has pursued a policy of transforming into a monoculture society by wiping out the centuries-old cultural and historical heritage of its ethnic Azerbaijani population.”

The ambassador said Armenia has continued the same policy in the occupied Azerbaijani territories of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions, in a more violent and destructive nature. “George Mitchell, the British travel writer, who visited the occupied territories in November 2014, calls Agdam, an occupied Azerbaijani town, “a ghost town” and “Hiroshima of the Caucasus” and reports on the total devastation of nature and heritage all around,” Taghizadeh said.

The ambassador went on to add that Azerbaijan has repeatedly called for a comprehensive international fact-finding mission to find out the situation regarding the preservation of cultural heritage in the occupied territories, Armenia has declined to allow this mission to carry out its work. “The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe fact-finding missions in 2005 and 2010 have reported on the destruction of cultural heritage in occupied territories of Azerbaijan. That includes looting of museums, destruction of monuments of historical, cultural and religious significance, attempts at changing the facts on the ground. The sole aim of this policy, which continues to this day, is to rewrite the history of the occupied regions on the basis of falsified sources. In Azerbaijan we take pride in our respect for the history and culture of all ethnic and religious minorities. The best example is the Armenian church that stands in the central square of Baku. However, it is unfortunate that almost all Azerbaijani monuments in Armenia itself and the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven regions have been wiped out by Armenia,” Taghizadeh noted.

Anar Karimov, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Azerbaijan to UNESCO in turn said as a nation suffering from the tragic consequences of the occupation of its territories, the protection of cultural heritage is always significant and sensitive issue for Azerbaijan. “The accusation concerning the destruction of the Julfa cemetery is another attempt to mislead the international community from the aggravated facts of “cultural cleansing” carried out in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”

Karimov said since the beginning of the 1990s, cultural and religious heritage representing the very richness of Azerbaijani culture have been savagely damaged and ruined by Armenia not only within the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the seven surrounding districts but also within the territory of Armenia itself. “The destruction of the ancient Aga-Dede mosque and cemetery in the Masis region of Armenia is one of the many examples of cultural terrorism against the Azerbaijani population.”

The government of Azerbaijan brought these issues to the attention of relevant international organizations, including UNESCO, and requested monitoring missions through relevant institutional mechanism. Despite all the efforts, due to the negative position of Armenia, which tried by all means to block this initiative, the missions were failed, the ambassador noted.  

Karimov stressed that Azerbaijan strongly supports UNESCO’s global mission and activities for promotion of dialogue and rapprochement of cultures.

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