The harsh pressure on Azerbaijanis who lived in Armenia commenced not in 1988 but much earlier and it signified the beginning of the implementation of Armenia's plans to deport the Azerbaijanis, refugee from Armenia Hidayat Bayramov told Trend.
According to Bayramov, who was born and grew up in the village of Dashkand in Vardenis [former Goycha] district of Armenia, he clearly saw the processes taking place in Armenia even before the events in 1988, witnessing the harsh oppression of Azerbaijanis.
The refugee noted that former Azerbaijani residents of Armenia were threatened with death, and their houses were attacked. Because of all this, he was forced to leave his native village in 1988 and flee to Azerbaijan.
“Armenians deliberately prevented us from food supply. All exits and entrances to our village were closed so that we could not receive help from anyone,” he reminded. “Armenians constantly insulted Azerbaijanis. Due to the attacks, harassment and insults, I had to leave my native village with my family. Unimpeded departure was impossible, but we still managed to secretly leave at night.”
Bayramov, who currently lives in Baku, said that after the events which took place in Sumgayit [in February 1988], the life of Azerbaijanis in Armenia became absolutely unbearable.
“Under the pretext of the Sumgayit events, the Armenians began to exert even more severe pressure on the Azerbaijanis living in Armenia. The settlement of Armenians, who came from Sumgayit, in the villages of Armenia with Azerbaijani residents contributed to the artificial incitement of the conflict,” he pointed out. “Since the Armenians from Sumgayit blamed the Azerbaijanis for the events, clashes often occurred between the Azerbaijanis who lived in Armenia and the Armenians from Sumgayit.”
Although Armenia is interested in presenting the deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia as a process that took place after the events in Sumgayit, the deportation began even before that. Since the beginning of 1988, Azerbaijani refugees from various districts of Armenia began to arrive in Azerbaijan. More than 4,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia even before the Sumgayit events.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
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