Anti-Armenian sentiment in Azerbaijan

Anti-Armenian sentiment or Armenophobia is widespread in Azerbaijan,[9] mainly due to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.[10] According to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Armenians are "the most vulnerable group in Azerbaijan in the field of racism and racial discrimination."[11] According to a 2012 opinion poll, 91% of Azerbaijanis perceive Armenia as "the biggest enemy of Azerbaijan."[12] The word "Armenian" (erməni) is widely used as an insult in Azerbaijan.[13] Stereotypical opinions circulating in the mass media have their deep roots in the public consciousness."[14] According to historian Jeremy Smith, "National identity in post-Soviet Azerbaijan rests in large part, then, on the cult of the Alievs, alongside a sense of embattlement and victimisation and a virulent hatred of Armenia and Armenians".[15][16]

Throughout the 20th century, Armenians and the Muslim inhabitants of the CaucasusAzerbaijanis were called "Caucasian Tatars" before 1918— had been involved in numerous conflicts. Pogroms, massacres and wars solidified oppositional ethnic identities between the two groups, and have contributed to the development of national consciousnesses among both Armenians and Azeris.[17] From 1918 to 1920, organized killings of Armenians occurred in Azerbaijan, especially in the Armenian cultural centers in Baku and Shusha, under the Russian Empire.[18]

However, contemporary Armenophobia in Azerbaijan traces its roots to the last years of the Soviet Union, when Armenians demanded that the Moscow authorities transfer the mostly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast in the Azerbaijan SSR to the Armenian SSR.[19] In response to those Armenian demands, anti-Armenian rallies were held in various cities, where nationalist groups encouraged anti-Armenian feeling that led to pogroms in Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku. An estimated 350,000 Armenians left between 1988 and 1990 as a direct result of the violence directed towards them.[20]

Disputes over the ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh eventually escalated into a large-scale military conflict, where Armenian forces occupied of most of former NKAO and seven adjacent districts. According to HRW, systematic abuse of human rights was carried out by Karabakh Armenian forces and by the governments of Azerbaijan and Armenia.[1] A cease-fire was achieved in 1994 and still remains in effect as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is de facto independent, while de jure inside Azerbaijan's borders. The unresolved conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the presence of up to 880,000 refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan contributed significantly to aggravating the economic, social and political situation in Azerbaijan, with around 14%[21] of the country's territory occupied by Armenian forces.[19]

The Armenian side has accused the Azerbaijani government of carrying out anti-Armenian policy inside and outside the country, which includes propaganda of hate toward Armenia and Armenians and the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage.[22][23][24]

According to Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, "Armenophobia is the institutional part of the modern Azerbaijani statehood and Karabakh is in the center of it".[25] In 2011, the ECRI report on Azerbaijan stated that "the constant negative official and media discourse" against Armenia fosters "a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin, who remain vulnerable to discrimination."[26]

Early periodEdit

There have been numerous cases of anti-Armenianism in Azerbaijan throughout history. Between 1905 and 1907, the Armenian–Tatar massacres resulted in the deaths of thousands of Armenians and Azerbaijanis. According to the history professor Firuz Kazemzadeh, "it is impossible to pin the blame for the massacres on either side. It seems that in some cases the Azerbaijanis fired the first shots, in other cases the Armenians."[27]

The ruins of the Armenian quarter of Shusha after destruction by the Azerbaijani army in 1920.

A wave of anti-Armenian massacres in Azerbaijani-controlled territories started in 1918 and continued until 1920, when both Armenia and Azerbaijan joined the Soviet Union. First in September 1918, a massacre of the Armenians of Baku took place, leaving an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 ethnic Armenians dead in retaliation of the March Days .[28][29][30] The event was later called September Days. On 5–7 June 1919 another massacre of Armenians was carried out in Khaibalikend in Nagorno-Karabakh. Up to 700 Armenians were killed[31][32] in a massacre organized by Karabakh's Governor-General Khosrov bek Sultanov and led by his brother, Sultan bek Sultanov.[33][34] In March 1920 a pogrom of Shusha's Armenians occurred in retaliation of the Novruz attack committed by Armenians against the local Azerbaijanis as well as the Azerbaijani army. Estimates of casualty figures are uncertain and vary from few hundred[33] to 20,000–30,000 victims.[35][36][37] Before and during the Russian Revolution of 1917 anti-Armenianism was the basis of Azeri nationalism, and under the Soviet regime Armenians remain the scapegoats who are responsible for state, societal and economic shortcomings.[38] During the Soviet era, the Soviet government tried to foster a peaceful co-existence between the two ethnic groups, but many Azeris resented the high social status of Armenians in Azerbaijan, as many Armenians were esteemed as part of Azerbaijan's intelligentsia. When the atrocity-laden conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out, however, the public opinion in both countries about the other hardened.[39]

During the First Nagorno-Karabakh WarEdit

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict started with demonstrations in February 1988 in Yerevan, Armenia SSR, demanding the incorporation of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan SSR into the Armenian SSR. Nagorno-Karabakh's regional council voted to secede from Azerbaijan and join with the Armenian SSR.[40] These events led to the Sumgait Pogrom where between 26 February, and 1 March, the city of Sumgait was subjected to four days of violent anti-Armenian riots during which 32 people, including 26 ethnic Armenians,[a] were murdered. The pogrom was marked with a great number of atrocities – the apartments of Armenians (which were marked in advance) were attacked and the residents were indiscriminately murdered, raped, and mutilated by the Azerbaijani rioters.[42][43][44] The Azerbaijani authorities took up no measures whatsoever to stop the atrocities, the local police took no action.[45] A number of international and Soviet sources described the events as genocide of the Armenian population.[46][47]

After several days of ongoing unrest Moscow authorities occupied the city with paratroopers and tanks. Almost all the 14,000 Armenians in Sumgait fled the city after the pogrom.[48] British journalist Thomas de Waal, who in 2005 published a documentary book Black Garden on the Karabakh conflict, writes: "The first-ever mass violence of the late Soviet era"[49] was the pogrom of Armenians in Sumgait – unrest sparked on ethnic grounds in the town of Sumgait in Azerbaijan SSR in February 1988, accompanied by mass violence against the Armenian population of the town along with looting, arson, murders and destruction of property. On February 1988 at the session of Politburo of the Central Committee in Moscow it was officially acknowledged that mass pogroms and murders in Sumgait were carried out based on ethnicity.[49] It was then that the academician Ziya Bunyadov, whom Tom de Waal calls "Azerbaijan's foremost Armenophobe" in his book, became famous with his article "Why Sumgait?" in which he blamed the Armenian victims for organizing the pogrom.[50]

Sumgait pogrom was never given due assessment by the state; the perpetrators not only remained unpunished but some of them gained titles of national heroes as well as high positions in the government. This led to further escalation of the conflict, as assessed by Memorial.[51][52]

Following the Sumgait massacre, new pogroms took place in Kirovabad and later in Baku in 1990. In November 1988 the Kirovabad pogrom was put down by Soviet troops, prompting a permanent migratory trend of Armenians away from Azerbaijan.[53]

As time went by, the tension between two nations grew rapidly. In January 1990, Azeri nationalists organized a pogrom of Armenians in Baku, killing at least 90 Armenians and displacing a population of nearly 200,000 Armenians.[17][54] De Waal stated that the Popular Front of Azerbaijan (forerunner of the later Azerbaijani Popular Front Party) was responsible for the mass pogrom, as they shouted "Long live Baku without Armenians!"[55]

In July 1990 "An Open Letter to International Public Opinion on Anti-Armenian Pogroms in the Soviet Union" was signed by 130 intellectuals and scholars all over the world, which stated, [56]

The mere fact that these pogroms were repeated and the fact that they followed the same pattern lead us to think that these tragic events are no accidents or spontaneous outbursts... we are compelled to recognize that the crimes against the Armenian minority have become consistent practice – if not consistent policy – in Soviet Azerbaijan.

During the war, on 10 April 1992, Azerbaijanis carried out the Maraga Massacre, killing at least 40 Armenians.[57]

Post-1994 eraEdit

The final borders of the conflict after the 1994 ceasefire was signed. Armenian forces of Nagorno-Karabakh occupied back then some of Azerbaijan's territory outside the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.

From 1991 to 1994 the inter-ethnic conflict evolved into large-scale military actions for the occupation over Nagorno-Karabakh and some of the surrounding regions. In May 1994 a ceasefire was signed, but which did not definitively settle the territorial dispute to the satisfaction of all parties. The Armenian forces occupied a considerable territory beyond the borders of the NKR, the question of refugees is still unresolved and Azerbaijan continues to enforce an economic blockade on the breakaway territory. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) stated that the "overall negative climate" in Azerbaijan is a consequence "generated by the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh."[11]

Influence on Azerbaijani national identityEdit

The Russian historian, poet, essayist Andrei Polonski, who has researched the formation of the Azerbaijani national identity at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, pointed out that "the Karabakh crisis and growing Armenophobia contributed to the formation of the stable image of the enemy which has to a great extent influenced the nature of the new identity (primarily based on aggression and victory).[58]

Vladimir Kazimirov, the Russian Representative for Nagorno-Karabakh from 1992 to 1996, Co-Chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, has many times accused certain forces in Azerbaijan up to the level of state authorities of inciting anti-Armenian sentiment.[59] At the beginning of 2004, characterizing the decade following the conclusion of the ceasefire, Kazimirov stated:

Having found itself in the position of long-term discomfort, Baku has actually started pursuing a policy of a total 'cold war' against the Armenians. All types of economic "dampers" as well as any contacts with the Armenians (even those on the societal level) are rejected from the very start and those who maintain these contacts are prosecuted. In the enlightened Soviet state someone would be quite willing to instill such sentiments as fundamentalism, revanchism and Armenophobia, which as such only prevent the elimination of both causes and consequences of the conflict. Currently there is growing fanaticism and extremism even on the level of non-governmental organizations.[60]

In the 2009 Eurovision contest, Azerbaijani security services summoned 43 Azerbaijanis who voted for Armenia at Eurovision for questioning. One of those called into questioning recalled his story. "The Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security asked why I voted for the representatives of Armenia. I was accused of lack of patriotism", said 25 years old Rovshan Nasirov. He also added that he explained that he had sent an SMS in favor of the Armenian artists, as he liked their theme more than the one taken by the Azerbaijani duet. One of the officials of Azerbaijan's Ministry of National Security confirmed this and added that "This is normal". Rovshan Nasirli stated that "They said it was a matter of national security". "They were trying to put psychological pressure on me, saying things like, 'You have no sense of ethnic pride. How come you voted for Armenia?'". This event was widely reported by international media. [61] [62] [63]

In the mediaEdit

ECRI notes that the mainstream media of Azerbaijan "is highly critical, without drawing a clear distinction between that state and persons of Armenian origin coming under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan."[26] It further implicates certain TV channels, prominent citizens, politicians, and local and national authorities in the "fuel[ing of] negative feelings among society towards Armenians"[11] According to the commission, anti-Armenian prejudice "is so ingrained that describing someone as an Armenian in the media is considered by some people – including by certain Armenians themselves – to qualify as an insult that justifies initiating judicial proceedings against the persons making such statements."[26] There is also a wide media coverage of some statements made by Azerbaijani public figures and statesmen which demonstrate intolerance. In 2008, Allahşükür Paşazadə, the religious leader of the Caucasus Muslims made a statement that "falsehood and betrayal are in the Armenian blood."[64][65]

Indoctrination in schoolsEdit

The Azerbaijani historian Arif Yunus has stated that Azerbaijani school textbooks label Armenians with epithets such as "bandits", "aggressors", "treacherous", and "hypocritical".[66] He and his wife were jailed for allegedly spying for Armenia.[67]

Yasemin Kilit Aklar in her study titled "Nation and History in Azerbaijani School Textbooks" comes to the following conclusion:

Azerbaijani official textbooks misuse history to encourage hatred and feelings of ethnic and national superiority. The Armenians... are presented as historical enemies and derided in very strong language. [The fifth grade history textbook by] Ata Yurdu stimulates direct hostility to Armenians and Russians. Even if the efforts to establish peace in Nagorno-Karabagh are successful, how can it be expected to survive? How can a new generation live with Armenians in peaceful coexistence after being inculcated with such prejudices? As of now, the civic nationalism that Azerbaijani officials speak of appears to be a distant myth or a mere rhetorical device.[68]

Destruction of cultural heritageEdit

According to the US Department of Justice:

Despite the constitutional guarantees against religious discrimination, numerous acts of vandalism against the Armenian Apostolic Church have been reported throughout Azerbaijan. These acts are clearly connected to anti-Armenian sentiments brought to the surface by the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.[69]

Starting in 1998, Armenia began accusing Azerbaijan of embarking on a campaign of destroying a cemetery of Armenian khachkar carvings in the Armenian cemetery in Julfa.[70] Several appeals were filed by both Armenian and international organizations, condemning the Azerbaijani government and calling on it to desist from such activity. In 2006, Azerbaijan barred European Parliamentarians from investigating the claims, charging them with a "biased and hysterical approach" to the issue and stating that it would only accept a delegation if that delegation visited Armenian-occupied territory as well.[71] In the spring of 2006, a visiting journalist from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting reported that no visible traces of the Armenian cemetery remained.[72] In the same year, photographs taken from Iran showed that the cemetery site had been turned into a military firing range.[73]

As a response to Azerbaijan barring on-site investigation by outside groups, on 8 December 2010, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released an analysis of high-resolution satellite photographs of the Julfa cemetery site taken in 2003 and 2009. The AAAS concluded that the satellite imagery was consistent with the reports from observers on the ground, that "significant destruction and changes in the grade of the terrain" had occurred between 2003 and 2009, and that the cemetery area was "likely destroyed and later leveled by earth-moving equipment.[74]

In 2019, Azerbaijan's destruction of Armenian cultural heritage was described as "the worst cultural genocide of the 21st century" in Hyperallergic, exceeding the destruction of cultural heritage by ISIL. This destruction included "89 medieval churches, 5,840 intricate cross-stones, and 22,000 tombstones".[75][76]

Azerbaijani forces shelled the historical 19th century Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shusha during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. The Cathedral was completed in 1887 and is the seat of the Diocese of Artsakh of the Armenian Apostolic Church.[77][better source needed] The 2,000-year-old Hellenistic Armenian city of Tigranakert was also struck by Azerbaijani artillery during this conflict.[78]

Incidents of violence and hatredEdit

In 2004, the Azerbaijani lieutenant Ramil Safarov murdered Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Markaryan in his sleep at a Partnership for Peace NATO program. In 2006, Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary with a minimum incarceration period of 30 years. After his request under the Strasbourg convention, he was extradited[79] on 31 August 2012 to Azerbaijan where he was greeted as a hero by a huge crowd,[80][81][82] pardoned by the Azerbaijani president despite contrary assurances made to Hungary,[83] promoted to the rank of major and given an apartment and over eight years of back pay.[84] Armenia cut all diplomatic ties with Hungary after this incident.[79] On 19 September 2013, President Aliyev stated that "Azerbaijan has returned Ramil Safarov—its officer to homeland, given him freedom and restored the justice."[85]

In 2007, the leader of Azerbaijani national chess team, Teimour Radjabov, gave to a question on how he felt about playing against the Armenian team and he responded "the enemy is the enemy. We all have feelings of hate towards them."[86]

On 4 April, during the 2016 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes, it was reported that Azerbaijani forces decapitated an Armenian soldier of Yezidi origin, Karam Sloyan, with videos and pictures of his severed head posted on social networks.[87][88][89]

During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, multiple videos emerged online showing beheadings, torture and mutilations of the Armenian POWs by Azerbaijani forces.[90] A video showed two captured Armenians being executed by Azerbaijani soldiers; Artsakh authorities identified one as a civilian.[91] Bellingcat and BBC investigated the videos and confirmed that the videos were from Hadrut and were filmed some time between 9–15 October 2020.[92][93] Another video showing an Azerbaijani soldier beheading an elderly Armenian as he is begging for his life in Azerbaijani language by repeatedly says "For the sake of Allah (God)". After the Armenian was decapitated, the victim’s head was placed on the nearby carcass of a pig. The men speak in Azerbaijani, and the camera’s microphone captures them addressing the victim with comments such as, “You have no honour, this is how we take revenge for the blood of our martyrs” and, "This is how we get revenge - by cutting heads”. A video from this incident shows two men wearing uniforms consistent with the Azerbaijani military, including a clear Azerbaijani flag on one man’s right shoulder and a ‘cutaway’ helmet that is normally reserved for special operations forces. [94] [95] Human Rights Watch reported about the physical abuse and humiliation of Armenian POWs by their Azerbaijani captors, adding that the most of the captors did not fear being held accountable, as their faces were visible in the videos.[90] HRW spoke with the families of some of the POWs in the videos, who provided photographs and other documents establishing their identity, and confirmed that these relatives were serving either in the Artsakh Defence Army, or the Armenian armed forces.[90]

Denying entry to AzerbaijanEdit

Unless a visa or an official warrant is issued by Azerbaijani authorities, the government of Azerbaijan condemns any visit by foreign citizens to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh (the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), its surrounding territories and the Azerbaijani enclaves of Karki, Yuxarı Əskipara, Barxudarlı and Sofulu which are de jure part of Azerbaijan under Armenian occupation. Azerbaijan considers entering these territories through Armenia (as it is usually the case) a violation of its visa and migration policy. Foreign citizens who enter these territories will be permanently banned from entering Azerbaijan and will be included on the list of people who are personae non gratae by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.[96]

In addition to those declared personae non gratae, several other visitors have been barred from entering the country due to their ethnic Armenian identity. Diana Markosian, a journalist of American and Russian citizenship, who is also an ethnic Armenian, was prevented from entering Azerbaijan due to her ethnicity in 2011.[97][98] Zafer Zoyan, an ethnic Turkish professional arm-wrestler, was barred from entering Azerbaijan because his last name resembled that of an Armenian.[99][100][101]

In May 2016, an eight year old boy with an Armenian last name was refused entry into Azerbaijan. Luka Vardanyan, a Russian citizen, was on a school trip to Azerbaijan from Russia. While at the Heydar Aliyev airport, the boy was detained even though his classmates were allowed past customs. After being detained for several hours, the mother, who accompanied him during the trip, decided to leave Azerbaijan immediately.[102] In 2021, Nobel Arustamyan, a Russian journalist and football commentator of Armenian descent, was denied accreditation for UEFA Euro 2020 at the request of Azerbaijan.[103]

Official positionEdit

The 2nd President of Azerbaijan, Abulfaz Elchibey during a speech in June 1992, once said "If there is a single Armenian left in Karabakh by October of this year, the people of Azerbaijan can hang me in the central square of Baku".[104] He also once "threatened to occupy Armenia, wash his feet in Lake Sevan and drink tea on its shores" [105]

The 3rd President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev in his speech pronounced on October 13, 1999 in Nakhichevan said: "In times of trouble, the people of Azerbaijan saw the help of Turkey and the Turkish people and is grateful for that. Particularly, in 1918-1919, during the struggle for independence under the leadership of the great Atatürk, who cleansed his land of Armenians and other enemies, the Turkish people and Turkey offered their help to Azerbaijan, to Nakhchivan."[106]

During a 2009 hearing at the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Howard Berman said that he was "deeply concerned by the series of increasingly bellicose statements made over the past year about Nagorno-Karabakh by senior Azerbaijani officials,"[107] such as those by Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev's spokesman in 2004, who stated that "Within the next 25 years there will be no state of Armenia in the South Caucasus. These people ... have no right to live in this region. Modern Armenia was built on historical Azerbaijani lands. I think that in 25–30 years its territory will again come under Azerbaijan's jurisdiction." In 2005, the mayor of Baku, Hajibala Abutalybov during at a meeting with a municipal delegation from Bavaria, Germany stated

"Our goal is the complete elimination of Armenians. You, Nazis, already eliminated the Jews in the 1930s and 40s, right? You should be able to understand us."[107]

Victor Krivopuskov, at the time an officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR and a member of a peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh gives the following assessment of Azerbaijan's current state policy:

"The criminals are promoted to the rank of heroes, monuments are erected on their burial places, which comes to prove that the government of Azerbaijan actually continues the policy of genocide which was initiated at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries."[108]

Helmets of deceased Armenian troops and wax mannequins of captured Armenian soldiers of 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war showcased at Baku military park. President Ilham Aliyev shown in the first image during a visit to the park.

On 16 July 2020, during the 2020 Armenian–Azerbaijani skirmishes the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry threatened with missile strike on nuclear power plant in Armenia.[109]

In 2021, following the 2020 war, a military park was opened in Baku, showcasing the helmets of dead Armenian troops, as well as wax mannequins of them. Armenia strongly condemned it accusing Baku for "dishonoring the memory of victims of the war, missing persons and prisoners of war and violating the rights and dignity of their families".[110] Armenia's ombudsman called it a "clear manifestation of fascism", saying that it is a "proof of Azerbaijani genocidal policy and state supported Armenophobia".[111]Furthermore, in a resolution, European Parliament said that the park may be perceived as a glorification of violence (by Azerbaijan) and risks inciting further hostile sentiment, hate speech or even inhumane treatment of remaining POWs and other Armenian captive civilians kept by Azerbaijan in violation of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire agreement, thereby perpetuating the atmosphere of hatred and contradicting any official statements on reconciliation. The EU Parliament also added that they "deplore the opening of the so-called Trophy Park in Baku, open to the public since 14 April 2021, as it further intensifies long-lasting hostile sentiments and undermines mutual trust between Armenia and Azerbaijan; urges, therefore, that it be closed without delay"; [112]

Azerbaijani official sources also frequently publish anti-Armenian statements made by private individuals and politicians in their addresses to the President of Azerbaijan. Here are some examples

Asker Bayramov: “I am asking you to send me to battle, too… I will go to kill them rather than to die. Please do not turn down my request."[113]

Ahmed Akoji: “The despicable Armenians will see the inextinguishable power of the Turkic people. May Allah protect you. May the Almighty be by your side."[113]

Byulent Karagan: We always support you in your just struggle against the hateful Armenians" [114]

Yusif Rzayev: “Under your leadership, our army will drive off the Armenian fascists from all the occupied territories and will take our revenge.” [115]

The tone and the style of anti-Armenian statements has also been adopted by the Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov and the official statements of the Ministry as such:

“It’s pretty hard to be speaking here today. But we have to tell the truth. Armenian fascists have been committing crimes against us for hundreds of years. Had this crime not been stopped, it would be continuous.”[116]

“As the situation become tense on the frontline, citizens wishing to go to war appeal to the Defense Ministry. It arises from our people’s hatred for the enemy [Armenians] and wishes to liberate our lands."[117]

Statements by President Ilham AliyevEdit

A common refrain, repeated, for example by President Ilham Aliyev, was that the capital of Armenia Yerevan "was a gift to the Armenians in 1918. This was a great mistake. The Iravan khanate was Azerbaijani land, the Armenians were guests here."[118]

On 28 February 2012, during his closing speech at the conference on the results of the third year into the State Program on the socio-economic development of districts for 2009–2013, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated:

"...there are forces that don't like us, our detractors. They can be divided into several groups. First, our main enemies are Armenians of the world and the hypocritical and corrupt politicians under their control."[119]

Aliyev's line that "our main enemies are Armenians of the world and the hypocritical and corrupt politicians under their control" was widely reported in the international media.[120][121][122]

On 20 November 2012, President Aliyev tweeted several excerpts from his speech on 16 November at the 20th anniversary celebration of New Azerbaijan Party.[123] He in particular made statements such as:

"Armenia as a country is of no value. It is actually a colony, an outpost run from abroad, a territory artificially created on ancient Azerbaijani lands."[124]
"We will continue our efforts to isolate Armenia. This policy is working. We see its results."[125]
"The Armenian lobby is our main enemy and we are the main enemy for them."[126]
"Azerbaijan grows stronger and more powerful by the year, while Armenia weakens and declines every year."[127]
"The Armenian barbarians and vandals have razed the city of Agdam to the ground. The ruins of the city of Agdam are clearly visible from here."[128]

The speaker for Armenia's ruling Republican Party said in response: "Aliyev shows by his cynical proclamations that there are still supporters of fascism in the 21st century, and that this ideology flourishes thanks to leaders like him", adding that "[Aliyev's] remarks recall the 1930s–1940s and [those of] Hitler".[129]

On 19 September 2013 during the opening ceremony of the "Genocide Memorial Complex built in the north-eastern town of Guba to honor victims of massacres committed in the area by Armenian and Bolshevik forces in 1918", President Aliyev stated that "Azerbaijan's state flag should be waved in Shusha, Khankendi and Azerbaijanis should live in their historical lands in future. Our historical lands are Irevan khanate, Goyce and Zangazur regions. There will be times; we will live in these lands." He went on praising Ramil Safarov saying "Azerbaijan has returned Ramil Safarov—its officer to homeland, given him freedom and restored the justice."[130]

On 29 January 2015 Ilham Aliyev posted a tweet saying "Armenia is not even a colony, it is not even worthy of being a servant".[131]

Ilham Aliyev in the first quarter of 2015 during a meeting said "“If you do not want to die, then get out of Azerbaijani lands. […] We must and we do wage a more active struggle with Armenia. We have isolated it from all international and regional projects" [132]

In 2014, when Ilham Aliyev visited a military unit in Agdam, he said “If the Armenian fascist state does not give up its dirty deeds, the very existence of the Armenian state can be called into question.” [133]

On the 28th May 2021, Ilham Aliyev said that "The Armenian people cannot build their own state, they can only live as part of large countries".[134]

The general tone and mood of the anti-Armenian statements of the Azerbaijani President has also been captured and documented by the international media: Al Jazeera stated: "Since hostilities broke out, President Aliyev took to Twitter to threaten war, while calling Armenians “barbarians and vandals”. [135]

Stance on the Armenian genocideEdit

The Azerbaijani government officially denies the applicability of the word "genocide" to the 1915 Armenian genocide.[136][137]

In October 2000, the late President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev stated "In history there was never such a thing as the ‘Armenian genocide,’ and even if there had been, it would be wrong to raise the matter after 85 years."[138]

On the 4th September 2014, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev tweeted "Turkey and Azerbaijan work in a coordinated manner to dispel the myth of the "Armenian genocide" in the world."[139]

Goods and services boycotted by Azerbaijan due to their cooperation with Armenians or ArmeniaEdit

Azerbaijan's largest airline, state-owned AZAL had an Armenian woman named Mary Sargsyan who worked for the Netherlands company Kales Airline Services and sold air tickets to AZAL fired under pressure from AZAL just because she was Armenian. On the 8th of December 2008, the management of AZAL appealed to the management of the Kales company with a request that the tickets should not be sold by persons of Armenian nationality. In its appeal, AZAL noted that otherwise cooperation with Kales would be terminated and an agreement would be concluded with another company. [140]



In 2011, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly said:

Baku has turned Armenophobia into state propaganda, at a level that is far beyond dangerous. It is not only our assessment; the alarm has also been sounded by international structures specializing in combating racism and intolerance. Even more dangerously, Armenophobic ideas are spread among the young Azerbaijani generation, imperiling the future of peaceful coexistence.[141]

In May 2011, Shavarsh Kocharyan, the Armenian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, suggested a connection between the high level of anti-Armenian sentiment in Azerbaijan and the low level of democracy in that country, stating that: "Azerbaijan's leadership could find no factor to unite his people around the hereditary regime except the simple Armenophobia."[142]

On 7 October 2008, the Armenian Foreign Affairs Ministry statement for the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights claimed that "anti-Armenian propaganda is becoming more and more the essential part of Azerbaijan's official policy."[143] The statement blamed the Azerbaijani government for "developing and implementing large-scale propaganda campaign, disseminating racial hatred and prejudice against Armenians. Such behaviour of the Azerbaijani authorities creates a serious threat to regional peace and stability" and compared Azerbaijan with Nazi Germany stating "one cannot but draw parallels with the largely similar anti-Jewish hysteria in the Third Reich in the 1930s and early 1940s, where all the above-mentioned elements of explicit racial hatred were also evident."[143]

The Armenian side also claimed that the Azerbaijani government "actively uses academic circles" for "distortion and re-writing of historic facts." It also accused Azerbaijan for "vandalism against Armenian cultural monuments and cemeteries in the lands historically inhabited by Armenians, as well as against Armenian Genocide memorials throughout the world" and called the destruction of the Armenian Cemetery in Julfa "the most horrific case."[143]


On 28 November 2012, during the OSCE Review Conference, the Delegation of Azerbaijan stated that "Armenia should not overlook that the most telling refutation of its mendacious allegations of Azerbaijan in anti-Armenian propaganda and hate dissemination is undoubtedly the fact that, unlike Armenia, which has purged its territory of all Azerbaijanis and other non-Armenians and became a uniquely mono-ethnic State. Azerbaijan has worldwide recognized record of tolerance and peaceful coexistence of various ethnic and religious groups. This tradition is routed in the country's geographic location at the crossroads between East and West, which created opportunities for the Azerbaijani people to benefit from cultural and religious values of different cultures and religions."[144]

On 22 June 2011, Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso gave joint press conference during which Radio Free Europe journalist asked:

  • Q: "I have just one question to Mister Aliyev, if I may. Your Armenian counterpart just addressed today the Council of Europe and basically said that increased Armenophobia in Azerbaijan as well as questionable attitude of Azerbaijan to the Madrid principles may the problem in Kazan in two days. Could you give reaction to these comments?"
  • A: "Well, I did not hear it. I hear it from you. If it was said it is very pity because the person who personally participated in military actions against Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly talks about Armenophobia in Azerbaijan. It is very ridiculous. Azerbaijanis are victims of aggression. Our lands are under occupation. Armenia conducted the policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis and 700,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from territories beyond the administrative borders of Nagorno Karabakh."[145]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ sources other than the Prosecutor General of the USSR estimate the number killed to be in the hundreds[41]


  1. ^ a b Human Rights Watch, Playing the "Communal Card": Communal Violence and Human Rights, 1995, ISBN 9781564321527 "Less than six months later, in September 1918, the Ottoman "Army of Islam" supported by local Azeri forces recaptured Baku. This time an estimated 10,000 Armenians were slaughtered."
  2. ^ John F. R. Wright; Suzanne Goldenberg; Richard N. Schofield (1996). Transcaucasian boundaries. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 100. ISBN 9781857282351. The Tatar army entered Shushi on 4 April 1920, and sacked the Armenian part of the town, slaughtering the inhabitants.
  3. ^ Transcaucasian boundaries, 1996, p. 99 "...the Sultanov family to demonstrate its "traditional" method of showing authority: a massacre of 600 Armenians took place, which centered on the Armenian village of Khaibalikend on 5 June 1919."
  4. ^ Allen, Tim; Eade, John (1999). Divided Europeans understanding ethnicities in conflict. The Hague: Kluwer Law International. p. 64. ISBN 9789041112132. ...during the anti-Armenian pogroms' in Kirovabad and several attacks on the Armenian quarters in Baku.
  5. ^ DeRouen, Karl (2007). Civil wars of the world major conflicts since World War II. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 157. ISBN 9781851099191. January 13–15, 1990 Anti-Armenian pogroms occur in Baku
  6. ^ Juviler, Peter (1998). Freedom's ordeal: the struggle for human rights and democracy in post-Soviet states. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780812234183.
  7. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1982). "The Doom of Akulis". The Republic of Armenia, Vol. II: From Versailles to London, 1919-1920. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 207–238. ISBN 0-520-04186-0.
  8. ^ Waal 2003, p. 176.
  9. ^ "Report on Azerbaijan" (PDF). Strasbourg: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. 15 April 2003. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013. Due to the conflict, there is a widespread negative sentiment toward Armenians in Azerbaijani society today." "In general, hate-speech and derogatory public statements against Armenians take place routinely.
  10. ^ (in Russian) Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs "Первый и неразрешимый". Vzglyad. 2 August 2011. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2013. Армянофобия – институциональная часть современной азербайджанской государственности, и, конечно, Карабах в центре этого всего. "Armenophobia is the institutional part of the modern Azerbaijani statehood and Karabakh is in the center of it."
  11. ^ a b c "Second report on Azerbaijan" (PDF). Strasbourg: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. 24 May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  12. ^ "The South Caucasus Between The EU and the Eurasian Union" (PDF). Caucasus Analytical Digest #51–52. Forschungsstelle Osteuropa, Bremen and Center for Security Studies, Zürich. 17 June 2013. p. 21. ISSN 1867-9323. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  13. ^ Burtin, Shura (12 November 2013). "It is like being pregnant all your life..." Russian Reporter. The word "Armenian" is a terrible curse in Azerbaijan, akin to a "Jew" or "Nigger" in other places. As soon as you hear "you behave like an Armenian!" – "No, it's you, who is Armenian!" – that is a sure recipe for a brawl. The word "Armenian" is equivalent to "enemy" in the most deep and archaic sense of the word....
  14. ^ Yusifli, Elvin (15 September 2010). "Stereotypes in national media – a closer look". Caucasus Edition: Journal of Conflict Transformation. Archived from the original on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  15. ^ Cheterian, Vicken (2018). "The Uses and Abuses of History: Genocide and the Making of the Karabakh Conflict". Europe-Asia Studies. 70 (6): 884–903. doi:10.1080/09668136.2018.1489634. S2CID 158760921.
  16. ^ Smith, Jeremy (2013). Red Nations. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-11131-7.
  17. ^ a b Dawisha, Karen; Parrot, Bruce (1994). The International Politics of Eurasia. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. p. 242. ISBN 9781563243530.
  18. ^ Horne, edited by Robert Gerwarth, John (27 September 2012). War in peace : paramilitary violence in Europe after the Great War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199654918. {{cite book}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  19. ^ a b "Human Rights in the OSCE Region: Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2005 (Events of 2004)". International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights. Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2013. The unresolved conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh stimulated "armenophobia."
  20. ^ Human Rights Watch (1994). Azerbaijan: seven years of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. New York: Humans Rights Watch. ISBN 1-56432-142-8.
  21. ^ de Waal, Thomas (2003). Black garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war (PDF). New York: New York University Press. p. 286. ISBN 9780814719459. This means that the combined area of Azerbaijan under Armenian occupation was approximately 11,797 km2 or 4,555 square miles. Azerbaijan's total area is 86,600 km2. So the occupied zone is in fact 13.62 percent of Azerbaijan—still a large figure, but a long way short of President Aliev's repeated claim.
  22. ^ "Azerbaijan: The Status of Armenians, Russians, Jews and other minorities" (PDF). Washington, DC: Immigration and Naturalization Service. 1993. p. 10. Retrieved 25 January 2013. Despite the constitutional guarantees against religious discrimination, numerous acts of vandalism against the Armenian Apostolic Church have been reported throughout Azerbaijan. These acts are clearly connected to anti-Armenian sentiments brought to the surface by the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  23. ^ Peter G. Stone; Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly (2008). The destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. p. xi. ISBN 9781843833840.
  24. ^ Adalian, Rouben Paul (2010). Historical dictionary of Armenia. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780810860964.
  25. ^ (in Russian) Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs "Первый и неразрешимый". Vzglyad. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Армянофобия – институциональная часть современной азербайджанской государственности, и, конечно, Карабах в центре этого всего.
  26. ^ a b c "ECRI report on Azerbaijan (fourth monitoring cycle)" (PDF). Strasbourg, France: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. 31 May 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013. Alt URL
  27. ^ Kazemzadeh, Firuz (1951). The struggle for Transcaucasia, 1917–1921. Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780830500765.
  28. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1967). Armenia on the road to independence, 1918. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0520005747.
  29. ^ Human Rights Watch. Playing the "Communal Card": Communal Violence and Human Rights. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1995.
  30. ^ Andreopoulos, George (1997). Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0-8122-1616-4, p. 236.
  31. ^ Hovannisian, Richard. The Republic of Armenia: Vol. I, The First Year, 1918–1919. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971, pp. 176–177, notes 51–52.
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  34. ^ Hovannisian. Republic of Armenia, Vol. I, p. 177.
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  36. ^ Russian analysts Igor Babanov and Konstantin Voevodsky write that "On March, 1920, during the occupation of Shusha town, 30 thousand Armenians were massacred". / Игорь Бабанов, Константин Воеводский, Карабахский кризис, Санкт-Петербург, 1992
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  40. ^ Waal 2004, pp. 10–12.
  41. ^ Kenez, Peter (2006). A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 272.
  42. ^ Financial Times. 16 March 1988
  43. ^ New York Times. 22 May 1988.
  44. ^ Rodina (Motherland) magazine (# 4, 1994, pp. 82–90)
  45. ^ Shahmuratian. Sumgait Tragedy, Interview with Rima Avanesyan, pp. 233–237.
  46. ^ Glasnost: : Vol. 2, Issue 1, Center for Democracy (New York, N.Y.) – 1990, p. 62, cit. 'The massacre of Armenians in Sumgait, the heinous murders in Tbilisi—these killings are examples of genocide directed by the Soviet regime against its own people.', an announcement by USSR Journalists' Union
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  48. ^ Waal 2004, p. 40.
  49. ^ a b Waal 2004, p. 31.
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Further readingEdit

  • A. Adibekyan, A. Elibegova. "Armenophobia in Azerbaijan" (2018): 261 p. online
  • Ebrahimi, Shahrooz, and Mostafa Kheiri. "Analysis of Russian Interests in the Caucasus Region (Case Study: Karabakh Crisis)." Central Eurasia Studies 11.2 (2018): 265-282. online
  • Erdeniz, Gizem Ayşe. "Nagorno Karabakh Crisis and the BSEC’s Security Problems." (2019). online
  • Khodayari, Javad, Morteza Ebrahemi, and Mohammadreza Moolayi. "Social–Political Context Of Nation–State Building in Azerbaijan Republic After the Independence With Emphasis On Nagorno Karabakh Crisis." PhD diss., University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, 2018. online
  • Laycock, Jo, "Nagorno-Karabakh’s Myth of Ancient Hatreds." History Today (Oct 2020) online
  • Özkan, Behlül. “Who Gains from the ‘No War No Peace’ Situation? A Critical Analysis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.” Geopolitics 13#3 (2008): 572–99.
  • Paul, Amanda, and Dennis Sammut. "Nagorno-Karabakh and the arc of crises on Europe's borders. EPC Policy Brief, 3 February 2016." (2016). online
  • Valigholizadeh, Ali, and Mahdi Karimi. "Geographical explanation of the factors disputed in the Karabakh geopolitical crisis." Journal of Eurasian studies 7.2 (2016): 172-180. online
  • Waal, Thomas de (2004). Black garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war. New York: New York University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780814719459.
  • The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders: Hearing Before The Committee On Foreign Affairs House Of Representatives One Hundred Tenth Congress Second Session (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2013.