By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia carried out vicious cultural cleansing against Azerbaijani heritage in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, Head of the Azerbaijani Community of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region Tural Ganjaliyev said while meeting with the leadership and members of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Los Angeles on November 15.
Ganjaliyev also spoke about the grave humanitarian consequences of the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent regions in the war in early 1990s.
Delegation members Gulmammad Mammadov and Khojaly Massacre survivor Durdane Aghayeva talked about the ordeals they and their family members went through as a result of atrocities committed by Armenians against civilians on February 26, 1992, that saw 613 civilians be massacred at the hands of Armenians over the night.
"We were deeply moved by the courage of the survivors in sharing their stories," Regional Director of AJC-Los Angeles Richard Hirschhaut said.
At the same time, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev informed the audience about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He mentioned that as a result of the illegal military occupation and ethnic cleansing of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory by Armenia, over 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians were expelled from their ancestral lands in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.
On the same day, the delegation of the Azerbaijani Community of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region met with Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, one of the most influential synagogues in the U.S.
At the meeting, the delegation members informed the Sinai Temple leadership about devastating results of the occupation, displacement of Azerbaijani civilians from their ancestral lands, as well as about the destruction of Azerbaijani historical, religious and cultural monuments by Armenia in the occupied territories.
The delegation members also expressed hope that upon return to their lands it will be possible to revive the peaceful coexistence between Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Following the meeting in Los Angeles, Azerbaijani community members left for Ankara, Turkey.
"Together with chairman of the Center of Analysis of International Relations Farid Shafiyev, we held the first meeting at one of the well-known think tanks in Turkey. There are interesting meetings and events ahead. We will continue to spread the realities about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Ganjaliyev said on November 18.
Azerbaijani delegation further took part in an event organized for foreign ambassadors in Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Ankara on November 20 where Ganjaliyev informed the participants about Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan and the community itself.
Baku seeks to ensure equal access to negotiations of the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in the region.
Karabakh’s Azerbaijani community which was subjected to ethnic cleansing and expulsion from their lands, has the legal right to participate in determining the future legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s breakaway region which along with seven surrounding regions came under occupation of Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. So far, Armenia has failed to implement four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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