Right To Return: Western Azerbaijanis Deserve To Get Back To Their Homeland
Western Azerbaijan is a topic that Armenia prefers to keep mum on until now. However, it is our fundamental right to be heard.
Another article by Ulviyya Zulfikar, Spokesperson for the Western Azerbaijan Community, was published by Canadian media. The truths about Western Azerbaijan were once again conveyed to the other side of the ocean.
News.Az republishes the article published by Canadian & International Jewish News (TheJ.ca).
Western Azerbaijan! No, I am not talking about the west of the modern Azerbaijan Republic. I am talking about the historical place where Azerbaijanis used to live hundreds of years, but last century were deported 4 times forcibly from there.
This is the area which is now called Armenia. Get ready for the facts which were talked about very little and our neighbors prefer to remain silent.
It is our fundamental right to be heard.
The 20th century was very painful for Azerbaijanis from the very beginning. When Armenians were moved from Eastern Anatolia and Iran to Western Azerbaijan by Tsar Russia, there immediately began slaughters again Azerbaijanis to make space for newly arrivers. 1905 was the beginning year of massacres and the Azerbaijani population of more than 200 villages were subjected to genocide by Armenian militants. Very few Azerbaijanis managed to escape. The first deportation started this way.
1918-20 slaughters were larger – scaled and massacres covered the territory of modern Azerbaijan also. Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis in Western Azerbaijan and Modern Azerbaijan territory were tortured and killed. Azerbaijanis still mark 31 March as a day of genocide of Azerbaijanis. (By the way the author – I am the heir of one of the victims (grandfather) of this deportation, whose family were killed and could escape with his sister when he was only 4 years old.)
1948-53 deportation surrounded 144 600 Azerbaijanis and 1/3 of them died during the deportation from being moved from mountainous places to plain areas.
The last one 1988-91 turned Armenia into a monoethnic country. More than 300 000 Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their houses and nearly 300 Azerbaijanis were killed during this inhuman action.
Azerbaijani cultural and historical heritage, including mosques and graveyards in nowadays Armenia, were destroyed, toponyms were changed.
Although Western Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their historical land, were slaughtered, subjected to genocide, we want to be back to our homeland in a peaceful manner and coexist there peacefully.
Based on the right to return enshrined in the international conventions the Western Azerbaijan Community aspires toward ensuring the return of Azerbaijanis expelled from nowadays Armenia to their homes. All Azerbaijanis expelled from the territory of present-day Armenia and their descendants have the right to return to their homeland.
A great injustice has been done to Western Azerbaijanis. While keeping this painful past in mind, the community recognizes that the way to ensure peace and development is through reconciliation. Western Azerbaijanis are ready for peaceful coexistence with the Armenians relocated to their homeland from other countries.
At the same time, the government of Armenia must stop its policy and practice that instills hatred and discrimination against Azerbaijanis.