Is Baku Retreating from Threats to Shoot Down Planes?

The Stepanakert airport currently under construction

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Azerbaijan appeared to have backed away on Friday from its threats shoot down planes using a new airport in Nagorno-Karabakh, which have been condemned by Armenia and mediating powers.

“Azerbaijan did not and will not use force against civil facilities, unlike Armenia, which has earned notoriety for terror and war against the civilian population,” Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told local news agencies.

Polukhov was responding to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s Thursday comments on the threats voiced by senior Azerbaijani officials recently. One of them warned of “the physical destruction of airplanes landing in that territory” without Baku’s permission.

Sarkisian said he will defy the threats by boarding the first commercial flight from Yerevan to Stepanakert in two decades, which is scheduled for May 9. The flight will be timed to coincide with the official reopening of Karabakh’s sole airport closed in 1991.

Sarkisian’s statement was condemned by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s chief foreign policy aide. “This may be a provocation on the part of Armenia,” the official, Novruz Mammadov, told “Some foreign diplomats in Baku are of the same opinion.”

“At the same time, Azerbaijan is also not sitting idly by and is closely monitoring Armenia’s actions,” he said. Baku “will never come to terms with this state of affairs,” he added without elaborating.

Mammadov also criticized the international community for its reaction to the matter, saying that it amounts to “application of double standards.” He accused “international organizations and countries forming the world order” of disregarding Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized sovereignty over Karabakh.

The United States, Russia and France have denounced the threats to shoot down Karabakh plane as “unacceptable” through their diplomats co-chairing the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Asbarez Note: While Polukhov and Mammadov made their official statements, is reporting that several Azeri political parties and public organizations are urging the government to adhere to its threats and shoot down the plane, with Armenia’s president onboard.

“The Azerbaijani side must destroy the plane to express its protest against the Yerevan-Stepanakert flight,” Umid party leader Igbal Agazadeh announced.

The leader of a group calling itself the Karabakh Liberation Organization  leader, Akif Nagi, said Azerbaijan is fully entitled to shoot down planes, which violate Azeri airspace.


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  1. Ron said:

    I am wondering what the Asbarez staff and the other online readers think about this. During negotiations with Azerbaijan, when the question comes up about returning territories to azeris, do our representatives raise the issue of occupied Artsakh territories by azeris including Martakert, Martuni, and Shahumyan. And what about Nakhichevan? Shouldn’t we demand the return of this historic Armenian land that our ancestors have called homeland for thousands of years? Is it possible to somehow include Nakhichevan in the discussions and negotiations?

    • Ando Dovlatyan said:

      NAXICHEVANE MERR NEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ARA said:

      Well said- they have half our land as does turkey- the states and people that brutally assaulted and killed many opf our people. Nakichevan will be ours again some day-they stole and look at what the dirt there did to our graves- no wonder their stone huts and outhouses have no roof. they are not civilised- most-not all of course-they will pay-hopefully in my lifetime-I was there-I saw-and will go back to help and do it

  2. facts said:

    We have to deal with officials in Azerbaijan who are of medieval and an ill mentality! Beside this Turks and Turk-Azerbaijani generally are suffering form a common paranoia and lack of national identity!

  3. ARMO said:

    More than 80% of Azerbaijani commercial air planes crossing Armenia’s air space to connect with Nakhichevan or Turkey. The question is, do Azeri leaders have balls to touch any Armenian planes to risk their connection with Nakhichevan or turkey?! – they need to smoke better stuff –

    • Z said:

      Well that’s stupid, I find Armenia shouldn’t allow azeris use Armenian airspace till we’ve set the records straight.

  4. Ando Dovlatyan said:

    Azerbayyjaan, will answer for… 1) every drop of blood they have spilled in their resent sniper campaigns an the ARCAX borders, 2) they will more openly , and GLOBALY apologize about these open threats of TERROR, 3) they must recognise the free determined will of the people of Arcax to be Independent and lastly,,, realise that ARMENIAN , is not a nationality , ARMENIAN is a tribe , and a family, all of us are willing to return to our home land and stand for our COUNTRY…ARMENIA , we are one !

  5. Ando Dovlatyan said:

    NOW, lets move forward , We should start thinking about bringing ARCAX, and its production to the International Markets , ” Visit Arcax its beutyful !!! 😉

  6. truth said:

    Armenian and NKR should not fall in Azerbaijani trap, and open the air port by ignoring Baku´s complain!

    As in one post comment was mentioned: Azerbaijani has signed with NKR a cease fire. This means. That official Baku has agreed and accepted the reality on the air and in grand, that the territories and the air space over these territories being controlled by NKR- Therefore officials in Baku are talking non sense!

    Armenia should simply send the letter of Azerbaijani -forwarded by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to Armenia- back to Baku. Simply there is no such city called “kankendi”, Baku has signed the cease fire with Stepankert and beside this Azerbaijani is the last to complain, given the fact that Turks and Azerbaijani are organizing flights to Turkish occupied North Cypress!

  7. Nubar Costantian said:

    Bravo Ron.,

    Bravo for bringing Nakhitchevan in perspective. When I was politically very active for years, i had even brought that issue even at the time of the Soviet Ubion. The name Nakhitchevan is an Armenian word. “NAKH” meaning First and “ITCHEVAN” meaning a place to inn like a hotel or motel “bantog” (like Holiday Inn”). The old people of that time had “coined” it that way, probably having in mind that, when the Ark of Noah rested upon the mountain of Ararat, Noahand his family had INNed there on that platau. Also coming back to Karabagh or Artsakh if you will, the Capital of Stepanagerd, means that Stepan BUILD it.( Prince Stepan). (KERTEL” or GERDEL”) These are my thoughts. what’s yours???


    • ARA said:

      Yah know- the turks-all of em-like the old soviets-stole intelligence for everything-cars, trucks, planes and whatever-of course they had the inteligentsia and the Russians are not the bad folks- the Sovs-in their ideology-were dirt and grime in the swamps like the turks-then and now-and 500 years ago and all thru their known history- so of course they have our land-dry like a desert cuz their ignorant in how to cultivate-Nakichevan- the name, the words and the place-ALWAYS HAS BEEN and will be ours -they stole it thanks to the man of steel-an enemy like the turk for us–remember-as a historiographer-stalin may have been needed-but he was evil-like the turks-all of em!

  8. Vahe said:

    Eventhough that commencing air corridor is very important for Armenia & Artsakh , but most important is dragging the peace negotiation for 20 years did not help us to build Artsakh and repopulate our land.
    There is a need for a MASTER PLAN to be followed by official Yerevan and Diaspora.
    We have to immediately call back the signature from “U.S. forced” turkey-Armenia normalization of relation, and authoring Official All-Armenian claim for Sevr and Wilsonian treaties , meantime announcing that all treaties forced and signed by Soviet Union instead of Armenians are null and void , that includes treaty of Kars , Igdir , Surmalu and Nakhijevan, Artsakh and territories annexed to Georgia.
    We have to believe on ourselves and come on strongly and continue our struggle non-stop.
    As Kristapor Mikaelian said’ – Payqar , payqar andadar , Pyqar angam yete partvel mi krvum minchev vor azatutyan aghavnin chakhri.