Baku’s Threats to Shoot Down Planes Still in Force

The Stepanakert Airport

BAKU, STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)—Official Baku on Wednesday renewed its threat to down civilian planes from Stepanakert, saying that its earlier policy was still in force.

Speaking at a press conference, the director of Azerbaijan’s State Civil Aviation Administration Arif Mammadov in reiterating earlier statements on downing planes said “This is the right of the Azerbaijani side, according to the law on aviation. Whether this right will be implemented or not — the government will decide,” reported the APA News Agency.

Mammadov also announced that the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee would not grant an approval certificate to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to operate the Stepanakert airport.

Mammadov asserted that the chairman of the Interstate Aviation Committee made such a promise during his visit to Baku in May.

“The chairman promised that the Interstate Aviation Committee will not perform any work without the consent of the Azerbaijani side,” said Mammadov. “IAC will not provide Stepanakert a certificate, and if any states operate flights to Karabakh, economic sanctions will be imposed on them.”

“Even if Armenia applies, the certificate will not be granted,” added Mamedov.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Civil Aviation Administration director, Dmitry Atbashyan, was quick to respond citing that Ercan airport situated in unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has an international airport status despite it being an unrecognized entity.

“It is not clear if the TRNC airport has a certificate for operating flights,” he said. “If Ercan airport has a certificate, the International Aviation community would apply double standards by not providing a similar certificate to Stepanakert airport.”

Atbashyan also explained that a certificate was necessary only for airports that have an international status.

“We do not strive to achieve a status international airport status thus far,” said Atbashyan, who warned Mammadov to not speak on behalf of the IAC.

When Stepanakert announced in February its intention to open the airport, Azerbaijan swiftly responded by a threat to down civilian planed. In March, President Sarkisian said that he would be the first passenger of a Stepanakert-Yerevan flight and said that such Azeri threats were “more characteristic of terrorists and not states.”


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  1. Zareh said:

    The delay in opening Artsakh airport gives room for speculations.

    – Why announce a date for opening (May) when they are not ready.
    – Cancelling the opening especially after crude reaction from the Azeri side, stating that they would shoot down even civilian planes, makes one wonder if Armenian side a) indeed is afraid they would carry out such a plan, b) they are not capable of defending the air space over Artsakh.
    – The Armenian side is not ready to carry out a punishing response, (which would be an inevitable consequence after such an atrocity) even risk an all out war, despite assurances that they are capable of facing the Azeri army.

    No wonder the Azeri side would repeat the threat of shooting down airplanes. So far the actions from the Armenian side look uncertain and uninspiring concerning the securing of the population.

    • bigmoustache said:

      first off, you should know this could be like a ‘gulf of tonkin’ thing where they use it as an excuse, “we thought a military plane was coming for our arispace’ to shoot a plane down. naturally we would respond in kind, hopefully on a 5:1 ration in comparison, to teach them a good lesson. and thats how the war would start.
      armenia isnt doing enough to get 1) recognition of karapagh, 2)protection guarantee from US.

      we have so much to ‘twist their arm with’. year after year they fail to formally recognize our genocide, even though their own history is intertwined with the efforts to save the armenians and our lands. and after karapagh, a majority people under the axe again gains its own freedom, and is still under the threat of genocide…the AMERICANS OWE US SOMETHING!
      when clinton went to armenia and turkey to sign the protocols, everyone had a diplomatic gain. turkey as we now know manipulated and lied, of course we could see that coming. the US tried pulling off a diplomatic stunt to better their image by ‘joining ancient enemies’ (still no recognition of WHY, and also no word of turkeys act of destroying the armenian-turkish monument in kars). and sarkissyan, fresh off protests and crackdowns in the city, not to mention critisism coming from the US and EU, uses this opportunity to ‘legitimize’ his presidency.

      instead armenia should leave the negotiaions to karapagh, and focus on the US. get recognition of karpagh if theyre going to keep failing to honor the genocide, protection guarantees. thats it

  2. Edik said:

    What about the civilian planes from or to Baku? Are they free to fly?

  3. Ishkhan said:

    Անմիջապես ավելի սուր կերպով պետքէ Խոսքով խոսքին
    Գործով գործին եւ–Զենքով զենքին շուտ պատասխանել
    եթէ ոչ տարված ենք

  4. Anahid K. said:

    Another threat by Baku that goes unchallenged by the Armenian government.

    Is the government there asleep or just too busy stuffing their wallets?

  5. Stepan said:

    I saw this airport under construction a few weeks ago and I am convinced it will happen because of the people of Artsakh have focus. What would the world have said several years if Serbia had made a comparable threat to Kosovo? The uncivilized and thug mentality of the Azeris is tolerated only because of their perceived geo-political oil capital. As painful as this is for Armenians to experience…. keep one thing in mind. As Aliyev bellows rhetoric , the Armenians build…..schools, roads, an economy, defense systems and most importantly HOPE.