On July 15, 2020, the Armenian Rights Watch Committee (ARWC) of the Armenian Bar Association sent an official letter directly to OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs demanding direct and unequivocal condemnation of Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia, and Turkey’s support thereof, as a patent obstacle to security and stability in the region.
Below is the complete text of the letter
Honorable Co-Chairs and Ambassador Kasprzyk:
Azerbaijan’s unilateral 12-13 July 2020 attacks on the Tavush region of the Republic of Armenia must be vociferously condemned—and unequivocally. Azerbaijan’s military adventurism, and Turkey’s unabashed and callous support of the same, marks a precarious affront to security and stability in the region. The OSCE’s recent statement addressing the attacks is not sufficient. Clear condemnation of Azerbaijan’s aggression, without reservation, is imperative.
By its military volleys, Azerbaijan not only openly violated international law but also brashly ignored the U.N. Secretary-General’s call to a cessation of all hostilities during the global pandemic. As the world sought a peaceful pause to address a common humanitarian threat, Azerbaijan saw a window for violent opportunism.
The belligerent mouthing of the Turkish foreign ministry in support of Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian campaign should likewise be condemned outright. Its statements are unbecoming of a member of the OSCE, and Turkey’s role in actively stoking tension must be curbed. With its incendiary statements in support of military aggression, Turkey cannot be a partner of peace to any state in the region. Its place in the OSCE is counterproductive; its role in the Minsk Group, manifestly senseless.
The OSCE cannot ignore historical context. Turkey’s statements reveal that its appetite to achieve a final solution to the Armenian question—a hunger that flared voraciously in its perpetration of the Armenian Genocide a century ago—has waned little, if at all. In Azerbaijan, Turkey indeed has found brotherhood and, perilously, a comrade in a common cause.
From the anti-Armenian pogroms that ripped through Baku and Sumgait 30 years ago to Azerbaijan’s recent glorification of its military officer for axe murdering an Armenian counterpart during a NATO “Peace Program” training in Hungary (in the dead of night and while he lay asleep, no less), Azerbaijan has proven itself a key partner in Turkey’s anti-Armenian agenda. In fact, when it comes to Armenia and Armenians, the two states share quite an insatiable penchant for the philistine. Simply put, peace in the region suffers because of Azerbaijan and Turkey’s shared inability to digest a secure, democratic, and prosperous Armenian state existing between them.
Turkey’s statements in support of Azerbaijan’s most recent military strikes against Armenia must be considered in this context. Even recently, Turkey’s relentless stoking of hatred against the Armenians of Lebanon and its incessant pilfering of the Armenian communities in Syria dovetails dangerously with its support of Azerbaijan’s war-footing. Turkey must be kept as distant as possible from any peace efforts involving Armenians in the region, especially the Minsk Group’s work regarding Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan’s actions, and the anti-Armenian rhetoric that fuels it, must be curtailed without equivocation. The OSCE must take further steps condemning Azerbaijan’s unilateral aggression, condemning Turkey’s belligerent support thereof and insisting that both Azerbaijan and Turkey take actual, affirmative and monitored steps to cease fueling anti-Armenian sentiment within their own populations and abroad.
With its latest attacks, Azerbaijan is responsible for two serious transgressions. Azerbaijan’s reckless disregard for international law is patently obvious and flatly imprudent. The anti-Armenian hatred that fuels Azerbaijan’s military campaigns is more disconcerting still—indeed, it is unpalatable in this particular geopolitical and historical context.
The OSCE must say more. Allowing both transgressions by Azerbaijan to stand—without direct, cutting condemnation—not only undermines the important mission of the OSCE, but it perpetuates the very anti-Armenian agendas of Azerbaijan and Turkey that stand in the way of peace and progress in the region.