Baku awaits UNESCO mission's assessment of Armenian-devastated Azerbaijani heritage

    POLITICS  04 July 2022 - 14:45

    Culture Minister Anar Karimov has said that Armenia, contrary to the norms and principles of international law, has destroyed the Azerbaijani people's material and cultural heritage.

    He stressed that Armenia is responsible for the destruction of Azerbaijani historical and cultural monuments, Trend reports.

    "At a video format meeting held on February 4, 2022, with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the Council of the European Union Charles Michel and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, an agreement was reached on sending a UNESCO mission not only to Azerbaijan but also to Armenia. However, due to the unconstructive position of the Armenian side, the visit of this mission has not yet taken place. I would like to note the inaction of UNESCO and the position taken by this organization. Despite the deliberate destruction of our historical and cultural monuments as a result of the long-term occupation of Azerbaijani lands and the fact that we presented numerous photographic facts about this to UNESCO, this organization actually turned a blind eye to these visual proofs. No pressure was exerted on the occupier. Unfortunately, this indicates the politicization of this organization," Karimov said.

    The minister noted that Azerbaijan has repeatedly raised this issue at the UNESCO level.

    "In addition, Azerbaijani civil society and numerous NGOs have submitted to the UNESCO Committee numerous materials related to the destruction of Azerbaijan's cultural heritage on the territory of present-day Armenia. We hope that UNESCO will not be silent about these numerous facts and will send a technical mission. In this matter, Azerbaijan, our society, NGOs bear a great responsibility," Karimov said.

    According to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, hundreds of cultural institutions, 927 libraries with a book fund of 4.6 million, 22 museums and museum branches with over 100,000 exhibits, 4 art galleries, 8 culture and recreation parks, and one of the world's oldest settlements in the Fuzuli region - Azykh Cave, the Shusha State Historical and Architectural Reserve - have all been vandalised by Armenians.

    Aghdam, which was occupied by Armenian forces in 1993, is known as the Hiroshima of the Caucasus due to the extent of destruction during the three decades of occupation.

    In 2020, 100 Azerbaijani civilians, including 12 children, were killed and over 400 were injured as a result of Armenia's targeted missile attacks on Azerbaijani cities outside the war zone (Ganja, Barda, Tartar, and others). Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also confirmed that Armenia used prohibited cluster bombs and rockets in its attacks on Azerbaijani cities.

    Armenia has severely harmed the environment, wildlife, and natural resources in and around occupied Karabakh.

    Moreover, as a result of the mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from their ancestral regions in the early 20th century, there were no Azerbaijanis left in Armenia. As a result of the final deportation in 1988 alone, over 250,000 Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes and become refugees.

    Armenia has purposefully erased all traces of Azerbaijanis, the historical and ancient residents of these territories, plundered, destroyed, embezzled, and distorted the Azerbaijani people's cultural legacy by pursuing a policy of both ethnic and cultural genocide. At the same time, old place names in these areas were replaced with Armenian names.

    In their appeal to UNESCO in early 2022, a group of Azerbaijani NGOs stated that the Blue Mosque, the Gala Mosque, the Shah Abbas Mosque, the Tapabashi Mosque, the Zal Khan Mosque, the Sartib Khan Mosque, the Haji Novruzali Bay Mosque, the Damirbulagh Mosque, the Haji Jafar Bay Mosque, the Rajab Pasha Mosque, the Mohammad Sartib Khan Mosque, the Haji Inam Mosque and more than 300 other mosques located in Armenia were deliberately destroyed, misappropriated or used for other purposes in the early 20th century. Only the Damirbulagh Mosque functioned as intended until 1988, but it has now been completely demolished and replaced by a high-rise building.

    Over 500 Azerbaijani cemeteries in Armenia, such as Aghadada, Ashaghi Shorja, Gullubulagh, and Saral have been destroyed. The tomb of great Azerbaijani poet Ashig Alasgar, whose tombstone was erected in his native village in the ancient Goycha district, was also destroyed.

    Caliber.Az

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