Azerbaijan faced information, hybrid, psychological wars over 30 years
By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan has faced information, hybrid and psychological wars from the first days of its independence, Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmat Hajiyev has said.
He made the remarks at the opening of the International Strategic Communication Summit (Stratcom Summit’ 21) held in Istanbul.
"Azerbaijan faced this at a time when the world didn’t yet realize, didn’t understand meaning of disinformation. At that time, we weren’t ready for this war, and therefore, while Armenia occupied our lands every day, the world condemned Azerbaijan, and the killing our people by Armenian armed forces was misrepresented to the world as the killing Armenians by Azerbaijanis. This propaganda was carried out under the name of a fictitious 'Armenian genocide'," Hajiyev said.
Efforts to convey truth to world
He noted that against the background of all this, Azerbaijan waged its just struggle and sought to convey the truth to the world.
"However, we realized that this wasn’t enough. There was a huge need for even more activity to convey the truth to the world, and to present it in the format of strategic communication. As a result, we decided to strategically combine our military, diplomatic and information policies, implementing it against Armenia and the Armenian lobby pursuing a policy against Azerbaijan around the world. All this happened amid the silence of the rest of the world, which didn’t want to hear about what was happening," added the presidential aide.
He stressed that Armenia presented itself as a country suffering from conflict, while innocent people of Azerbaijan were killed in Karabakh, Khojaly.
"Having faced such problems from the first days of the Karabakh conflict against the background of this fake presentation, we began a long struggle. Therefore, having formed a 30-year strategic communication during this struggle, we started to implement it. Our main goal was a coordinated delivery of all politics and messages of Azerbaijan," Hajiyev noted.
Azerbaijan was able to convey the truth to the world despite the difficult war late last year.
"As it’s known, on September 27 last year, Armenia unleashed a new war against Azerbaijan, our civilians, and the Azerbaijani people began their just struggle. The proper formation and conduct of strategic communication here was one of our most important goals, as Armenia continued its provocations based on hybrid and psychological war," Hajiyev noted.
He underlined that "many doors in the world media continued to remain closed for Azerbaijan. The information monopoly in the world media posed obstacles which we had to overcome. In this context, the struggle that was waged by President Ilham Aliyev through establishing direct contacts with the world media should be emphasized".
Hajiyev recalled Aliyev's almost daily long-hour inetrviews to over 30 leading, most authoritative international TV channels, media agencies for 44 days of the second Karabakh war.
Speaking about the situation in Azerbaijan's liberated lands liberated, Hajiyev described it as horrifying.
"The situation in Aghdam is comparable to Hiroshima, perhaps even worse.Impression is that Armenians used nuclear weapons in the previously occupied Azerbaijani territories. We faced the destruction of our culture. These realities terrify people. Armenians kept pigs in destroyed mosques in Karabakh. This is unacceptable. The world witnessed nothing like this before," Hajiyev noted.
He added that the restoration of Karabakh, its turning into a paradise again is one of Azerbaijan's main goals.
Armenia's aggression and illegal occupation caused irreparable damages to Azerbaijan's cultural heritage, which includes thousands of cultural values, including monuments of the world and national importance, mosques, temples, mausoleums, museums, art galleries, sites of archaeological excavations, libraries and rare manuscripts.
Sixty-four of 67 mosques and Islamic religious sites were destroyed, greatly damaged, and desecrated.
More than 900 cemeteries were destroyed and vandalized. The evidence of illegal "archaeological excavations" and so-called "restoration work" was found on the liberated Azerbaijani territories, confirming previous reports of Armenia's attempts to hide and falsify cultural, historical and scientific evidence.
A modern workshop for the production of "ancient" khachkars - Armenian cross-stones, which was discovered in liberated Kalbajar, were oxidized and vinegar was used in the process of artificial aging and then they were buried as "indisputable evidence" of "centuries-old Armenian roots" in this region.
Hundreds of cultural institutions, 927 libraries with a book fund of 4.6 million, 22 museums and museum branches with more than 100,000 exhibits, 4 art galleries, 8 culture, and recreation parks, as well as one of the oldest settlements in the world in Fuzuli region - Azykh (Azikh) Cave, the Shusha State Historical and Architectural Reserve had become victims of the Armenian vandalism.
Occupied by Armenian forces in 1993, Aghdam is known as the Hiroshima of the Caucasus for the level of destruction.
In 2020, 100 Azerbaijani civilians, including 12 children were killed and over 400 were wounded in Armenia's targeted missile attacks on Azerbaijani cities outside the war zone (Ganja, Barda, Tartar, and others). International human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also verified the use of banned cluster bombs and rockets by Armenia in its attacks against Azerbaijani cities.
Armenia extensively damaged the ecosystem, wildlife and natural resources in and around occupied Karabakh.