In his latest unhinged statements, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan demanded that Armenia publicly announce that “Karabakh is Azerbaijan.”
Recalling Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s now infamous announcement in Stepanakert that “Artsakh is Armenia,” the Azerbaijani leader said in an interview published on the president’s website on Tuesday that the time has come for Armenia to acknowledge Karabakh as Azerbaijan.
“Armenia, which used to say that ‘Karabakh is Armenia. Period’ must now repeat our words that “Karabakh is Azerbaijan and exclamation point,’” Aliyev told Azerbaijani State Television during an interview.
“Having shown its readiness for a peace treaty based on the Alma-Ata Declaration, Armenia should now officially declare that Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” reiterated Aliyev, referring to an agreement between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan reached last year in Prague, where they pledged to recognize each other’s territorial integrity based on a 1991 declaration that defined the borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“We have repeatedly stated that we will not discuss our domestic affairs with any country and Karabakh is our domestic affair. Armenians living in Karabakh should either accept Azerbaijani citizenship or find another place to live,” threatened Aliyev.
He went on to assert that Azerbaijan “owns” the territory of Artsakh and continues to emphasize this point by using derogatory terms against Artsakh Armenian, whom he called “separatists,” including the former leaders of Armenia.
“The separatists should also understand that they have two options: either they will live under the Azerbaijani flag or they will leave. We have chased Serzhik Sarkisian, Robert Kocharian and Seyran Ohanyan, the main figures of the separatists, out of Karabakh like dogs and brought them to their knees. They came to Karabakh during the Second Karabakh War supposedly to fight against us. All three ran away from our lands like rabbits. None of them can poke their nose into Khankendi [Stepanakert] or any other place now,” said Aliyev.
He also called the current leadership in Artsakh “clowns.”
“The separatists, who are currently inventing some fictitious names for themselves – one calls himself a president, another calls himself a minister, another one calls himself a speaker of some parliament – this group of clowns must finally understand that they cannot test our patience,” Aliyev added. “We have tried to explain to them many times in different ways that they will either follow our word or they will be ejected from there.”
He called the residents of Artsakh “hostages” to the Artsakh and Armenian leadership, whom he called “leeches.”
“I am sure that the majority of the Armenian population currently living in Karabakh is ready to accept Azerbaijani citizenship. Simply put, these leeches, these predatory animals won’t let them do that. They won’t let these people live comfortably, having kept them as hostages for 30 years,” declared Aliyev.
“Everyone should hear this – both the Armenian leaders and the forces standing behind them today. No-one can influence our will. We have proven it – both during and after the war. If necessary, we will prove it again in any way or form,” said Aliyev.