By Naila Huseyli
First Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Sayyad Salahli has protested against the falsification of the historical essence of the Yukhari Govhar Agha mosque located in the occupied Shusha by the Armenian authorities.
He said that for about 30 years, the victims of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijani people were not only the people, but also historical, religious and cultural monuments, as well as sacred halls and temples, dating back to thousands of years.
“Yukhari Govhar Agha mosque located in Shusha is one of the historical and religious monuments of Islamic culture which was subjected Armenian aggression. During the occupation of Shusha, the mosque was shot and the minarets were destroyed. The mosque is in ruins since May 8, 1992. However, Armenians argue that this mosque was related to Persians. Unfortunately, those who support the Armenian falsifications are also found in neighboring Iran,” he said.
First deputy chairman mentioned that Yukhari Govhar Agha mosque was built by architects Karbalayi Sefikhan Sultanhuseyn oglu Garabagi in 1883-1884 in accordance with the instruction of Govhar Agha, daughter of Ibrahimkhalil khan.
Salahli emphasized that the mosque has been included in UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. The plaque on the Yukhari Govhar Agha mosque which was written in the Azerbaijani language has been destroyed by the Armenians, instead, a plaque depicting the words "Ancient Historical Monument, Yukhari Mosque (Upper Mosque), 1883, Protected by the State" was hung in Armenian language.
The words "Govher Agha", mentioned on the previous board in Azerbaijani language, are not purposefully marked on a new board. Thus, the Armenian authorities are trying to change the essence of historical monuments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and to create fake Armenian history.
“At present, it is impossible to determine the total number of historical and religious-cultural monuments that are the victims of Armenian aggression,” Salahli said.
The representative of the Committee said that the number of historical and religious monuments identified by Azerbaijan in the occupied lands is 403, and 67 of them are mosques, 144 temples, and 192 sanctuary.
He also stated that fraud and criminal acts against monuments are contrary to the requirements of the Convention "On the protection of cultural values when armed conflict occurs", 1954 Hague Convention, 1992 European Convention for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage, and 1972 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Salahli concluded with the statement that it is impossible for the international community to remain indifferent to this issue.
“The conflict continues for 30 years, 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory is under occupation, and more than 1 million Azerbaijani citizens are refugees and internally displaced persons in their own country. In this situation, we believe that the international community will demonstrate a fair position in preventing the aggression of the Armenian government on falsifying the history. We demand immediate cessation of writing and replacing boards on the Yukhari Govhar Agha mosque. Also, we require ending vandalism against historical monuments in Shusha and other parts of Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said.
During the Nagorno-Karabakh war in early 1990s, the Armenians seized 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory, and all the monuments in those lands are now under Armenian occupation.
Many cemeteries, mausoleums, monuments, mosques, temples, burial mounds and other samples of Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan regions are being destroyed.
Overall, since the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and occupation of Azerbaijani territories, Armenian aggressors ruined 1,200 historical and architectural monuments, looted 27 museums and exported to Armenia over 100,000 items. Moreover, the Armenian occupiers destroyed 152 religious monuments and 62 mosques, as well as 4.6 million books in 927 libraries.
The destruction and damaging of historical and cultural monuments of Azerbaijan by the Armenian invaders contradict the 1954 Hague convention on preservation of cultural values during armed conflicts, the 1992 European convention on preservation of archeological heritage, and the 1972 UNESCO convention on preservation of world cultural and natural heritage. In 2005 and 2010, the OSCE fact-finding missions confirmed Armenia’s vandalism against Azerbaijan’s Islamic heritage in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
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