BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
Several Azeri websites claimed that Armenians in Azerbaijan last October, in the midst of the Artsakh War, sent an appeal to “Catholicos Karekin II, Armenians of the world, and Armenians in Karabakh.”
One of the Azeri websites (Report News Agency) alleged that the “appeal was signed by a group of tens of thousands of Armenians” in Azerbaijan. Just from this one sentence alone, one can tell that this information is a complete lie as there are no “tens of thousands of Armenians” in Baku. After the brutal massacres of Armenians in Sumgait and Baku and elsewhere in Azerbaijan in 1988 and 1990 by Azeri mobs, almost all Armenians fled that country to save their lives. The few Armenians remaining in Azerbaijan are those who were married to Azeris. Living in constant fear, they use Azeri names to disguise their true identities.
I made two attempts to verify if this letter was authentic or fake. First, I checked with one of the Azeri websites that had referenced the letter. I asked for a photocopy of the letter. I wanted to see how many signers there were and their names. The Azeri website, most probably funded by the Azeri government, responded that they are unable “to conduct painstaking investigation!” The only place where the entire text of the fake letter appeared was in an Azeri website (Armenia.az) that regularly posts hundreds of anti-Armenian articles in Armenian and Russian. These articles are written by Azeris who formerly lived in Armenia and know fluent Armenian.
My next attempt to verify the letter was with the Information Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia, the alleged recipient. The Catholicosate was not aware of receiving such a letter and stated that it was most probably an example of Baku’s routine fabrication.
For the amusement of the readers here are excerpts from the English translation of the fake Armenian letter posted on October 9, 2020 on the Azeri website, Armenia.az.
“Today, tens of thousands of Armenians live in Azerbaijan. In this country, all people, regardless of religion or race, are treated equally. Everyone in this country enjoys the same rights granted to its citizens by the Constitution of Azerbaijan.” In this first two sentences of the letter, there are two obvious lies: “tens of thousands of Armenians live in Azerbaijan” and they “are treated equally” like all other citizens of Azerbaijan.
The alleged Armenian letter-writers appealed to Catholicos Karekin II to use his “authority and power… to end Armenia’s policy of occupation against Azerbaijan, return the occupied Azerbaijani lands to their owners, and help prevent unjust bloodshed.” No true Armenian would make such a statement, unless his or her life was threatened.
The letter then appealed “to Armenians of the world and various Armenian lobbies so people can live in peace,” claiming that an Armenian woman by the name of Karina Grigoryan in Ganja, Azerbaijan (Gandzak in Armenian), was seriously injured during the Armenian shelling. It is highly unlikely that such an Armenian woman lives in Gandzak. One thing is certain; no Armenian in Azerbaijan would be carrying such an obvious Armenian name. Those with Armenian names who lived in Azerbaijan were either killed or fled the country over 30 years ago.
The letter went on to claim that Azerbaijan “conducts anti-terrorist operations only in its territories, wishing to liberate its historical lands from occupation.” It is the height of hypocrisy for Azerbaijan to claim that it is fighting terrorism after bringing several thousand Syrian Islamist terrorists to fight against Artsakh in last year’s war.
The letter then appealed to “Armenians living in Karabagh” (Artsakh), falsely alleging that “30 years ago, you were happy in the lands of Azerbaijan, where you live now. Your material well-being was high, and all your human rights were protected, because Azerbaijan has always treated us as its citizens. And now the mafia leadership of Armenia has turned you into a victim of its own games. We are very sorry about this. You also have the right and the opportunity to live like a human being, but Armenia has deprived you of this. Wake up, it’s not too late and refuse to be a tool in this game. Azerbaijan will protect all your rights, including your safety. We are a clear example of this.” The content of the letter reads more like a comedy than a credible appeal. Those who concocted this letter are so delusional that they think Armenians will believe such obvious lies.
The letter finally appealed to Armenian mothers: “Do not close your eyes to the death of your children in the lands of Azerbaijan, because you did not bring them into the world to become victims of the game of certain forces.” It is very touching that the Azeri Government, masquerading as Armenians in Baku, would care so much about the well-being of Armenian mothers and their children!
The only good thing about this appeal is that the government of Azerbaijan is wasting a lot of money to pay Azeris, who would otherwise be unemployed, to prepare such useless letters and websites. No Armenian is going to believe a word of such fake news appearing in the website of Armenia.az (az stands for Azerbaijan). I suggest that the government of Azerbaijan also establish a TV and radio station to broadcast programs in Armenian in order to waste more of the money that their leaders have not yet stolen!
I do not think this was a real appeal issued by Baku Armenians. However, even if there is a shred of truth in the claimed letter, it means that Azerbaijan has adopted the Turkish policy of forcing its Armenian and other minorities to issue false propaganda statements in order to cover up its grave violation of human rights.