Scholar Presents on Azeri Destruction of Armenian Heritage to European Commission

BRUSSELS–A leading expert on the destruction of Armenian monuments in Azerbaijan presented his research to the European Commission last week, detailing the Azeri government’s systematic campaign to erase any trace of the historic Armenian presence in the country, reported the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy.

Presenting his new book, “The Invention of History,” Professor Rouben Galichian spoke the European Commission on the worsening situation in Nakhichevan, an Armenian province placed under Azeri control by Joseph Stalin. He detailed the government’s campaign to destroy more than 4000 cross stones of an Armenian cemetery in Julfa, Nakhichevan.

The operation, which in 2004, effectively destroyed the centuries-old cemetery, mimicked similar campaigns by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Galichian said.

The book, while providing a report on the destruction of Armenian monuments and churches, also details how the Azeri government has modified its maps, changing names of historic Armenian towns, cities and cites in Nakhichevan to eliminate any historic evidence of the Armenian presence in the province.

Members of the European Commission responded to Galichian’s demonstration by noting their familiarity with the issue and asking instead for him to elaborate how the Azeri government is continuing its anti-Armenian propaganda within its schools.

Also discussed were concerns by the European Commission over Azerbaijan’s repeated refusal to allow European officials access to the areas where cultural monuments have been reported destroyed.

“We are glad to note a certain knowledge from members of the European Commission about these heritage and historical misappropriations” said Hilda Tchoboian, the president of the European Armenian Federation. “The Commission seems to understand that Armenia accepts with difficulty the quarrelsome attitude of its neighbor Azerbaijan which desires war and encourages its population to hate Armenians.”

Tchoboian said that Azerbaijan needs Europe more Europe needs Azerbaijan. “The EU should be more assertive with Baku taking based on the principles of the European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership” she added.

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