Armenia Slams Baku’s New Karabakh Flight Threats

The Stepanakert Airport

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia on Thursday condemned Azerbaijan’s renewed threats to forcibly halt planned commercial flights to Nagorno-Karabakh and warned of “adequate” retaliation against Baku.

The Azerbaijani government reiterated on Wednesday its strong opposition to the reopening of a newly reconstructed airport near the Karabakh capital Stepanakert. Defense Ministry spokesman Eldar Sabiroglu said the Armenian side’s plans to launch a regular flight service between Stepanakert and Yerevan without Baku’s permission would violate international law.

“Second, one must take into account the fact that we are in a state of war,” news agencies quoted Sabiroglu as saying. “And third, if they [the Armenians] resort to that step, they will get an adequate response. That is, the Azerbaijani army will perform its duties.”

Azerbaijani officials have repeatedly issued such warnings before. Some of them have openly stated that the Azerbaijani military would shoot down civilian aircraft entering Karabakh.

The authorities in Stepanakert and Yerevan have brushed aside such threats. General Movses Hakobian, the commander of Karabakh’s Army, warned earlier this week that his forces are capable of destroying air targets deep inside Azerbaijani territory.

“This year, for instance, the [Karabakh] Defense Army’s air-defense forces tracked 2,226 flights in Azerbaijan’s airspace,” Hakobian told journalists. “Namely, they flew within our firing range and could have been shot down.”

“I go to Yerevan very often, and in order to reassure our public I promise to fly there every time,” after the launch of Stepanakert-Yerevan flights, he said.

Artsrun Hovannisian, the Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman, cited Hakobian’s comments when asked by RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) to comment on the latest Azerbaijani threats. He also said any use of force against civilian aircraft would run counter to international law.

“We are always ready to take corresponding actions,” said Koryun Nahapetian, chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security. “That could take the form of statements or appropriate military actions. So rest assured that our authorities are doing everything in this regard, and there is no need to be concerned.”

International mediators seeking a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict said in July that they have “received renewed assurances from the sides that they will reject any threat or use of force against civil aircraft, pursue the matter through diplomatic steps, and refrain from politicizing the issue.”

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15 Comments

  1. Minas said:

    Seems like these threats are becoming a normal thing…First they threatened to shoot down civilian planes, then backed off due to international criticism, then they declared every Armenian in the world as an Enemy of the state, then backed off due to international criticism and once again they’re threatening to shoot down civilian planes and win back Artsakh with force. When will the international community realize that despite Armenia’s best efforts to solve the Artsakh issue diplomatically, Azerbaijan has taken a maxamilist approach to everything without hiding their distaste for Armenians. I’m sorry but the time has come for Armenia to call Azerbaijan’s bluff and reopen the airport. Armenia has done more than enough to prove to the world that Armenians in Artsakh can no longer live amongst Azeris, furthermore, Armenia has proven that they’re not the aggressor. The time has come for international recognition of Artsakh as an independent country, Azerbaijan’s war rhetoric, anti-Armenian propaganda and terrorist behavior has proven that they’re not willing or capable of a diplomatic resolution. Just goes to show you how powerful a country can be in the international arena when they possess natural resources such as petroleum….I seriously cant wait until they run out of fuel in the next 15-20 years…Its only a matter of time until Armenia is able to reclaim Nakhichevan and upper Artsakh.

  2. Hay said:

    State sponsored terrorism MUST be punished with adecuate action. Even threatening to shoot down a civilian airplane, is an act of terror and must be punished. Why isn’t the airport operating by now? Who are we waiting for?

  3. bigmoustache said:

    a nation state makes a serious terrorist threat and the world is silent.
    and still US troops are training azeris and arming them

  4. Heghapokhagan said:

    WHY NOT LET HILLARY TAKE THE FIRST FLIGHT TO ARTSAKH STEPANAGERD, & LET’S SEE IF AZERS WOULD SHOOT IT DOWN!

  5. ara said:

    Maybe thew azeri capital wants to to be devastated- order 1-order 2- anniihialte them all over-at random- a fire they can not put out- azeri threat makers- gamble with ur life-u lose ur coountry too- Russia and we will march in ur house and u will not know who to shoot- cowards- come on0 1 shot and 100 will hit u from all over-

  6. www.Voskanapat.info said:

    “…That is, the Azerbaijani army will perform its duties” says Sabirogly…

    We are well aware of their “duties” – to kill civilian Armenian population when possible and run from Armenian army faster than their own civilian nomads.

    One has to understand that this clown’s job is tough. He was on record at one of the press conferences not long ago explaining the mass phenomenon of rape in Azeri Turk army. It is now so widespread that Azeri Turk girls refuse to marry young Azeri Turks returning from military service. There are suicides of such “men” and also suicides of young brides forced by their families to marry them.

    Here is how Sabirogly put it, and I quote: “No, this [reported mass rapes] is not violent. Simply, due to good nutrition, the level of testosterone in these young men increase. Look, in Armenian army young soldiers are not raped. This is the first proof that they are starving.”

    Or here is one more – Sabirogly explaining the loss of about 6,000 askers in the Artsakh’s Northern mountains – “these bodies are Armenians killed by Armenians, then they circumcised the cadavers and now try to present them as Azerbaijani askers.” No comment.

  7. levon sanosyan said:

    Remember everyone that a Turk is always a Turk. Long live Armenia and independent Artsakh. The Western world is dumb to realize what a Turk represents and this is why the entire world is in this mess.
    Bravo to you all the Western leaders.. Bravo to you for your stupidity and naiveness. The Turk who is the author of the word Genocide has your support…. Bravo to you and shame on you….

  8. danoog said:

    How are Armenians supposed to conduct serious negotiations with big-eared morons like these?

  9. Jacque said:

    I think we waited to long to desstrup Azeri oil production.
    It should be target number one hit them where it hurts. If we would have dropped 10 missiles on oil bases every time they sniped one of our soldiers, Azeris would have gotten the message.
    They snipe, axe,kidnap our soldiers and we do nothing so they think we are not capable. Lets learn from Israel for every soldier it’s killed they retaliate by killing ten.
    Artsakh army should be ready to take out stratigic points in Azerbaijan specially OIL, a weapon that is being used to terrorize Armenians.

  10. AraK said:

    As long as the west is interested in Baku’s oil the Artsakh problem will never been solved. As a matter of fact they DON’T want to be solved. Aliyev is barking for the last 10 years or so but he doesn’t have the gusts to attack, the consequences will be devastating and he knows that. Unfortunately the west is closing its eyes, Russia and Turkey is against Artsakh’s independence and Armenia has the difficult task to keep her balance between the US, Russia and Iran! What a nightmare!

  11. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Go betore to waste the time to Kremlin and take a look for the Documents been signed by Stalin offering our
    Historical lands to what they called azerbejan, it is our right to Fire the planes which using our skies, shut your mouths
    and silent at all,,there no azerbejan that is ARMENIA, soon or later your people gona be Erased from Glopal .keep in
    your mind very well

  12. Fred said:

    Azerbaijan will only stop this if it’s existance depended on it stopping this kind of talk and Rhetoric. I know we do not like bloodshed and fighting, but we need to seriously think about taking control of the oil in Baku. The time has come for Stepanakert to declare itself the capital city of Azerbaijan and exhert control over the reagion. We Armenians Marched against the 3rd Rikh of Germany in the second world War. With less soldures than what we have in Artsakh and Armenia. We are already blockaded by Turky and Azerbaijan. The so called civilised world championed by Israel have anti Armenian policies already. We have nothing to loose. If Aliev thinks it is funny to talk anti Armenia and get away with it. Let us teach him and his people a lesson in Humility.

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