By Akbar Mammadov
Head of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan Tural Ganjaliyev has addressed the region’s Armenian community, urging peace and co-existence between the two nations.
In a video addressed made in the Armenian language and posted on his Facebook page on June 14, Ganjaliyev reminded that the two communities can peacefully co-exists just like they did before the war.
“I appeal to you, our Armenian representatives living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, as your elected representative. This message is a message of peace! It is time and even time to achieve a just and lasting final peace!”, Ganjaliyev said.
Ganjaliyev reminded that Nagorno-Karabakh had been one of the most developed regions of the country for many years.
“We, the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, have lived and will live together peacefully there for many years”, he added.
Then, noting that he grew up in Shusha, Ganjaliyev said: “I remember very well that when I lived in Shusha, Armenian and Azerbaijani children spent time together and played in our neighbourhood. I had Armenian classmates in the class I studied. An Armenian woman lived on the street next to us. Her son and I went to Shusha chess school. At that time, I was so passionate about chess that I dreamed of becoming a world chess champion in the future”.
“When I was studying in the tar class at the Shusha music school, I knew Armenian students who took music lessons with us. Our life was very happy and interesting. Unfortunately, our beautiful life was later destroyed by the occupation”, Ganjaliyev said.
Speaking about his childhood recollections about his friendship with Armenians, Ganjaliyev said that there was no representative of the middle and old generation in the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh who did not have a close Azerbaijani friend in the past. The same thing can be said about Nagorno-Karbakh's Azerbaijani community.
“Unfortunately, for almost 30 years, the young generation of the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is growing up unaware of each other as a result of the occupation. Even they are sometimes unaware of the coexistence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the recent past”, said Ganjaliyev.
“We also understand the suffering of the Armenian residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As the Nagorno-Karabakh regionis currently under Armenian occupation, the Armenian residents of the region have been forced to live under the Armenian occupation regime. I would like to bring to the attention of each of you that Azerbaijan, of which you are a citizen, is the strongest state in our region, both economically, militarily and politically. This state is the only guarantor of our happy future”, he noted.
“On behalf of the Azerbaijani residents of the region, I convey this message to every resident of Armenian origin of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan that we must be ready to live together in peace”.
“I believe that the Armenian residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan also understand that there is an absolute need for dialogue with the Azerbaijani residents of the region. We must think about living together in peace and achieve this. Azerbaijanis expelled from their homes must return to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. We have not been able to visit the graves of our ancestors for many years, and this situation must be eliminated”.
Ganjaliyev spoke about negative stereotypes of Azerbaijanis and the the "enemy" image created among the Armenian residents of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
“None of this has any basis. Armenian and Azerbaijani residents of the region can live as an autonomous entity within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. There are many models of this in the world, and I believe that Azerbaijani and Armenian residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan can together create the most successful form of autonomy in the world!”, he said.
”We, Armenian and Azerbaijani residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, can and will turn our Nagorno-Karabakh region whose name is currently associated with the war and IDPs, into one of the most important tourist regions of Azerbaijan and even the world”, added Ganjaliyev.
In his appeal, the head of the community Tural Ganjaliyev stressed that the Nagorno-Karabakh can and will be distinguished by the high development of culture, economy and human capital.
”We, the Armenian and Azerbaijani residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, will live within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, with the high status of self-government, and will determine our destiny in accordance with the Constitution of Azerbaijan! There is no alternative to this!”, he noted.
Ganjaliyev reiterated President Ilham Aliyev's comments that all liberated lands of Azerbaijan will be restored, infrastructure will be rebuilt, and the highest opportunities for the development of tourism, economy and other areas will be created in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
Tural Ganjaliyev is also an elected MP from Khankendi district of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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