Armenia’s attacks on residential areas and civilians in Azerbaijan not only constitute a war crime, but also show continuity in recent Armenian history.
Since September 27, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and other Armenian-occupied areas has flared up again. Despite numerous UN Security Council resolutions for the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces and negotiations by the Minsk Group, Yerevan has been refusing to vacate the territories that are part of Azerbaijan under international law for almost 30 years. A solution has so far failed not only because of Armenia’s blockade attitude, but also because of the states that provide support to Armenia. Since the renewed outbreak of war, Armenia has attacked residential areas in Azerbaijan with ballistic missiles. According to media reports, more than 40 people have been killed. Armenia’s attacks on Azerbaijani cities took place despite a ceasefire initiated and agreed by Russia.
Historical continuity in attacks on civilians
The attacks against civilians not only constitute a war crime and thus violate Article 3(1) of the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, but also show a historical continuity in recent Armenian history. With the rise of European nationalism, secessionist tendencies developed among Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, from which radical organizations such as the Dashnaks and Hunchaks emerged. The peculiarity of these and other groups was that they did not shy away from terrorism and large-scale massacres in order to achieve their goals, as will be explained by examples.
The goal of the Armenian nationalists was to establish a Greater Armenian state in Anatolia-and in order to achieve this goal, numerous revolts were carried out towards the end of the 19th century and even afterwards against what was then their own state, the Ottoman Empire. What on the surface looked like a rebellion, were in reality crimes against innocent civilians, which continued before and after the First World War.
Massacre of the Muslim civilian population
In the eastern Anatolian region of Kars and Ardahan, about 30,000 Muslims were killed by Armenian militias in March 1915 and their houses burned down – with Russian support. In Aşkale (Erzurum), Tercan (Erzincan), Ilıca, Tavuskerd and Artvin all Muslim cultural assets such as mosques were completely destroyed. Since the Ottoman Empire fought at that time in World War I at the side of the Central Powers and most of the Muslim men capable of military service were at the front, many of the civilian victims of the Armenian attacks were old people, women and children. Nevertheless, eastern Anatolia was in the front line and many soldiers were killed in insidious attacks by Armenian militias.
On February 28, 1986, mass graves were opened in the village of Oba in the province Iğdır. The scientists found out that the skeletons were from the Turkish population, who had been cruelly tortured and mutilated by their Armenian torturers. Furthermore, on April 4, 1990, the opening of a mass grave revealed the mortal remains of about 3000 Turks who were brutally killed by Armenian units between 1915 and 1916. A further exhumation of the dead took place on July 7, 1993 in the village Tımarlı in Erzurum. In this case, too, the victims were unarmed civilians massacred by Armenian irregulars.
On May 15, 1915, the Russian army occupied the strategically important eastern Anatolian city of Van. In the ranks of the Russian Tsarist Army, there were about 35,000 to 40,000 Armenians from Russia on the spot. After the conquest of the city, under the command of Aram Manukyan, 10,000 Turkish inhabitants, including old people, women and children, were killed with indescribable brutality in Van alone. Further massacres took place along the road to Vastan and Etkil, killing 1200 civilians. In Gevaş, Vastan and Mukas about 3000 people fell victim to the massacres. In Şamaram, a district of Van, 200 Turkish women and children were murdered; in the two villages of Aksani and Hınıs about 500 people and at the American missionary center 8000 Muslims were mercilessly tortured, raped and killed.
Armenian militias committed massacres against the civilian population not only in Anatolia, but also in Azerbaijan. Chaired by the Bolshevik-Communist politician Stepan Shaumyan, Armenian murder squads attacked Azerbaijani civilians in the spring and summer of 1918, killing 12,000 people. On the orders of Stefan Lalayan and Tatevos Amirov, Armenian units killed 16,000 Azerbaijanis in Shamaki.
Highlighting the Armenian narrative
According to the historian Prof. Dr. İbrahim Ethem Atnur, the number of Muslims in Anatolia killed by Armenian militias amounts to more than 500,000. Since in Western countries the Armenian narrative is predominantly known through a campaign of the Armenian Diaspora that has been carried out for decades and since the suffering and losses of the Armenians during World War I have received unanimous attention, it is not surprising that there is little interest in the enormous human tragedies and losses of the Turkish population.
Terror against Turkish diplomats
For decades it seemed as if the Armenian terror belonged to the past – until in January 1973 the Armenian-born terrorist G. Yanikyan murdered the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles, Mehmet Baydar, and Consul Bahadır Demir. Thus began an unprecedented Armenian wave of terror against Turkish diplomatic institutions and personnel. In 230 armed attacks worldwide, 31 Turkish diplomats and family members and 46 civilians died. In the bloody attacks of the two Armenian terrorist organizations ASALA and JCAG, 520 people were injured, some of them seriously.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the attacks carried out by Armenia on civilians in the cities and communities of Azerbaijan constitute a war crime under the Geneva Convention. However, these serious violations are not isolated incidents and are not limited to the current conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, but were carried out by Armenian militias in Anatolia and Azerbaijan as early as the 19th and 20th centuries, as illustrated by examples. In large-scale massacres by Armenian units, more than 500,000 Turks were killed. The assassinations and attacks on Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorists in the 1970s and 1980s are further evidence of the ruthless murder of innocent civilians.
Opinion contributions reflect the views of the respective author and not those of the editorial staff. For inquiries you use yourselves please: [email protected]