Hayk Kotanjian: Political Scientists against the policy of xenophobia of the head of the Azerbaijani state

Chairman of the Political Science Association of Armenia, Doctor of Political Science Hayk Kotanjian sent an address to the Presidnet of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan regarding the proposal to examine the discovered burial site in Guba – aiming for its objective scientific identification. The full test of the address in presented below:

“Recently the Baku mass media disseminates information on building a memorial to the genocide victims on the mass burial site in Guba – a town in the North of Azerbaijan – initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The construction of the memorial started in 2010 in compliance with the order of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. This fact is becoming a point for political manipulations targeted at escalating xenophobia and cultivating anti-Armenian sentiment.

As a result of the visits at the given burial site by the President of Azerbaijan interspersed with Armenophobic comments, it is becoming a visiting site for foreign delegations in accordance with the state protocol. Meanwhile, in terms of contradictory information on the examination of the cemetery the very fact of burial and the objectivity of its identification requires international scientific review. The neighbouring country authorities’ official version actively circulating over the burial site is that the remains belong to the victims of the genocide allegedly committed in 1918 by the Armenians against the Jews dwelling in Guba.

However, as the documents of the Central State Historic Archive of Russia attest, at that time the relations between the Armenians and the Jews were marked by exceptional friendliness and mutual trust: cases were observed, when the Jews in order to avoid persecutions within the Russian Empire expressed “strong will to adopt Christianity according to the Armenian rite”, some of whom thereby under the cover of the Armenian Apostolic Church, besides protection from persecutions in Russia’s territory were given an opportunity to covertly maintain their identity as well.

Before the campaign for engaging the Jewish Diaspora organizations in the political manipulations over the discovered remains there appeared a version that the discovered remains belong to Muslims. “Anthropological studies have confirmed that these people are Muslims”, – according to an Azerbaijani source, – “Maisa Rahimova, Head of the Instituteof Archaeologyand Ethnography, NAS, Azerbaijansaid. She confirmed that the discovered burial site was one of the evidences of atrocities committed by the Armenians in Guba in 1918”.In these terms, Asker Aliyev, PhD in History, having participated in the expedition attests to the fact that “among a great number of skulls and child’s bones only 35 undamaged skeletons were found. No hair, remnants of clothes or things were found in the pits”. Namely, the Azerbaijani participant of the expedition affirms that there aren’t any archaeological facts which could be indicative of relevant religious-confessional features of the buried people. Thus, the version of Muslim victims which has no archaeological grounds is released. The given unproven hypothesis was adapted with time to the version of victims from the Jewish inhabitants of Guba. Lately information was made public about the visit at the mentioned mass burial site by the delegation of the Council of representatives of the Jewish Institutes of France which was on a visit toAzerbaijan.

Meanwhile, there are also other versions explaining the discovered burial site. In the view of the President of the NAS of Azerbaijan, the remains discovered in Guba may be the result of both a mass destruction of people and an epidemic. The authoritative “Britannica” Encyclopaedia in the article “Azerbaijan” refers to the 1918 expedition of Turkish forces of Nuri Pasha fighting their way forward with the locals to Baku which in September of the same year ended with a massacre of thousands of Baku Armenians. As follows from the Turkish sources, Khalil Pasha having participated in the seizure of Baku confesses in his memoirs that the atrocities of Nuri Pasha against the Armenians, mass executions and massacres stirred up the resentment of the German officers serving in the Turkish army who described the actions of the Turkish command as “a mass massacre of Armenians”, and unwilling to be involved in it they resigned and returned to Tiflis. The people of Guba could become victims of this military expedition during which in August of 1918 the Turkish forces seized Guba inhabited mostly by non-Turkic peoples with different faith: Lezgins, Khinaligs, Krizes, Budugs (Muslims); Armenians and Udins (Christians); Mountain Jews (Judaists); Tats (Muslims, Christians, Judaists); and Molokans.

The “Guban” impulse of xenophobia in relation to the Armenians, endeavouring to manipulatively involve the Jewish Diaspora in the process of intensifying anti-Armenian sentiment, as evidenced by the Azerbaijani sources, is set by the Head of our neighbouring state, whose order to build a Memorial of the genocide virtually canonizes the unverified version concerning the culprits of mass death of people buried in the excavated graves in the north of Azerbaijan as well as their ethnic confessional features. These days the policy of stirring up anti-Armenian sentiment among the Azerbaijani people is becoming more and more evident, especially after the cynical acquittal and awarding of the murderer of his sleeping colleague during the NATO training program, which arouse indignation and criticism of leaders of numerous states and international organizations. The policy of xenophobia in reference to the Armenian nation, widely cultivated by the Head of the Azerbaijani state publicly announcing the worldwide Armenians as the enemies of Azerbaijan, not even being squeamish about falsifying the genuine history of the relationship between the nations, including the Armenians and the Jews, is trying to draw the international community into the orbit of political manipulations.”


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