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Armenian Church leaders ‘deeply concerned’ about Azerbaijani aggression

Many saw the recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia as a revival of the dark days of the Armenian Genocide of the early twentieth century, when the Ottoman government pursued the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey, as well as over 1,000,000 Greek Orthodox Christians. The similarity between the Armenian Genocide and recent events was also evidenced in Azerbaijan’s targeting of churches

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Azerbaijan and the areas it controls, see here.

“Armenian Church leaders ‘deeply concerned’ about Azerbaijani aggression,” Barnabas Fund, November 22, 2021:

The leadership of the Armenian Apostolic Church has raised concerns regarding the recent outbreak of hostilities between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.

In a statement church leaders said that they were “deeply concerned about the hostilities unleashed by Azerbaijan on the eastern border of the Republic of Armenia, which threatens to escalate into a full-scale war.”

The statement cotninued [sic], “Azerbaijan, ignoring the terms of the 9 November 2020 trilateral statement [the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia that ended fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh], claims new ambitions for the sovereign territories of the state of Armenia.”

The church called upon “the international community” and other churches “to raise their voices by all possible means, to stop the next encroachments of the Azerbaijani side for the salvation of human lives, protection of fundamental rights, and prevention of a new tragedy”….

Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland, said that “the situation is worse than is presented in the media and official channels”, adding that Azerbaijan’s intention is to take control of Armenian territory in order to create a land corridor to the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan and Turkey.

Benyamin Poghosyan, an Armenian political analyst, also said that Azerbaijan plans to take control of Armenia’s Syunik province – the area between Nakhichevan and mainland Azerbaijan – explaining, “President Aliyev of Azerbaijan has stated many times publicly that Syunik province artificially separates the Turkic world spanning from Istanbul to Kazakhstan.”

Bishop Manukyan continued, “This perilous situation will remain as long as Azerbaijan and especially President Aliyev continue to act with impunity and in disregard of international law and order.

“President Aliyev makes plain that he regards Armenians as less than human, referring to us variously as ‘rats’ and ‘savages’. Armenians fear that he may have genocidal intentions.”…

Azerbaijan has been accused of committing war crimes against military and civilian prisoners of war, as well as cultural vandalism, during and after the 2020 conflict.

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