Yerevan, Armenia – The defeat in the Nagorno-Karabakh War can no longer be hidden, Armenia’s confessions are on the world agenda. Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan announced that another colonel had been killed, and images from the front line showed that there were even hotel employees among the Armenian troops.
On the eighteenth day of the battle, clashes broke out throughout the night on the front line in Nagorno-Karabakh, and news comes that the Armenian army is retreating again.
The Azerbaijani army has killed hundreds of Armenian soldiers, and after successive defeats, there is disorder on the front line on the Armenian side.
Footage released by Armenian local media shows hotel workers from Yerevan among those fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The footage, taken in Nagorno-Karabakh, also shows trenches being dug to stop the advance of Azerbaijani troops.
Increasingly cornered, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that Colonel Vahan Asatryan had been killed by Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that Armenian troops once again attacked the cities of Goranboy, Terter, Aghdam and Aghjabedi with artillery shots.
Local media reports that two civilians were injured. Azerbaijan news agency APA shared images of a house targeted in the Baharli District of Aghdam.
After the Azerbaijani army liberated the village of Karadagli, the distance of the bird flight with khankendi, the capital of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, fell to 18 kilometers.
Military experts note that great progress has also been made with the Azerbaijani army’s recapture of the village of Merdinli, near the town of Hadrut.
According to experts, a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh, currently occupied by Azerbaijan, has been cleared from the Armenian army.
The Baku administration announced that a total of 45 enclaves, along with eight villages, had been liberated from occupation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia, on the other hand, confirmed that the Azerbaijani army controlled some areas in Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, territorial losses by Armenia were confirmed for the first time.
Araik Arutyunyan, the leader of the occupying administration, which declared independence in Nagorno-Karabakh but was not recognized by any country, including Armenia, admitted that Azerbaijan had managed to advance the conflict front deep into the region.
Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh had previously denied Azerbaijan’s statements about territorial gains in the region.
The Armenian diaspora, which organized demonstrations in many countries from the United States to Greece, Poland to Chile, was once again on the street in Brussels, the capital of the European Union and Belgium yesterday.
The group gathered in front of the European Parliament, wearing face masks inscribed ‘Europe’ and carrying banners with the Turkish flag defaced.
Demonstrators carrying Azerbaijani and Turkish flags stood in front of the White House in Washington, the US capital.
Demonstrators protesting attacks on civilians chanted slogans in favor of Azerbaijan and asked the United States to put pressure on Armenia.
In Azerbaijan, 43 civilians have been killed so far when cities tens of kilometers from the border were hit by the Armenian army.
Saturday October 10, Russia declared a ceasefire that began at 12: 00 pm to stop the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, but Armenian troops broke the ceasefire within minutes. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that Russian military troops could be deployed to observe the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to Lavrov, Azerbaijan and Armenia will make this decision.
Sunday (September 27th) clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh began in the morning with Armenia violating the ceasefire. Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan by the United Nations (UN) and the international community. However, some areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, which accounts for about 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, have been under Armenian occupation since the early 1990s.
The region was declared a ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’ in 1991. But no country, including Armenia, has recognized this place internationally.
Nagorno-Karabakh (Upper Karabakh), which covers an area of 4,400 square kilometers in the South Caucasus, has been waiting for a solution for many years as the biggest problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
So, what is the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, both countries of the former Soviet Union? The word origin of the’ Nagorno-Karabakh ‘ region consists of a mixture of several different languages. Even a few languages found in its name show how the region has been exposed to the transition between different cultures throughout history.
Nagorny (or Nagorno) in English is Karabakh. The word’ Nagorny ‘means’ mountainous ‘ (нагорный), in Russian. In Azerbaijani, just like in Turkish, it is referred to by the words ‘dağliq’ or ‘yuxarı’, which means ‘mountainous’. Karabakh, on the other hand, is a common word in Turkish and Persian, meaning ‘black garden’.
When Azerbaijan and Armenia joined the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922, Nagorno-Karabakh developed into a structure that seemed accepted, but was not adopted by Armenians. In Nagorno-Karabakh, which was granted autonomous region status under the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1923, the status quo was maintained until the end of the 1980s, when the Soviet system came to a standstill, although ethnic Armenians living in the region raised their discomfort with the Azerbaijani administration from time to time.
Along with the process of openness (glasnost) and reconstruction (perestroika), which Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, initiated in 1985 to pave the way for a blocked system, Nagorno-Karabakh, like all the problem areas of the Caucasus, came to light. Evaluating the ever-weakening authority of the Soviet administration, the Autonomous Administration of Nagorno-Karabakh demanded annexation to the Republic of Armenia in 1988. While this demand was not reciprocated, after Azerbaijan and Armenia declared their independence in 1991, the secession attempts of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh also intensified.
During this period, the Azerbaijani population in Karabakh had fallen by up to 20 percent due to forced migrations. In a referendum held on December 10, 1991, which was boycotted by Azerbaijanis remaining in the region, Armenians voted to leave Azerbaijan. After the referendum, the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh was declared, but this initiative did not find a response in the international community. Tensions between the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, supported by the Armenian army, and the Azerbaijanis living in the region increased with the declaration of independence. In 1992, the conflict turned into a hot war between the Armenian army and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani army.
At the end of the war, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh took control of the entire region, as well as occupied seven neighboring regions (Rayons). Thus, the direct contact points of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan were quite limited. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been described in academic circles as a ‘frozen conflict’ for years. Despite the ongoing settlement negotiations at intervals, violations of the mutual ceasefire are frequently repeated both on the Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijan contact line and on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. August 2014 saw the bloodiest clashes in 20 years. Two days of fighting on the Nagorno-Karabakh border left 13 Azerbaijani soldiers dead. The Armenian Defense Ministry also announced that 20 soldiers were killed.
Half a million refugees took refuge in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and about a million people were forced to relocate. Some towns and villages that existed before the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were completely abandoned and destroyed. More than 14 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is still under occupation. Azerbaijanis claim that the region has historically been under their control and therefore belongs to them, while Armenians claim that Armenians have always lived in the region and that Azerbaijani rule is illegitimate.
Other states were reluctant to intervene because it was seen as a domestic issue. Since 1992, the conflict has become interstate due to the fact that it took place between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Defense spending in Azerbaijan has increased by about 50 percent every year since 2003. In 2012, defense spending accounted for a fifth of Azerbaijan’s total public spending. Armenia also expanded its arsenal with the help of Russia.
Although the exact numbers are not known, it is believed that the population of Lachin and Kelbajar with small settlements totaled about 14 thousand people. According to the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, there has been no significant increase in the population since 2005. Ethnic Armenians settled in the region have limited access to infrastructure, economic activities and public services. Many of them are also missing identity documents.
The weakest part of the problem is the contact line, which is 175 kilometers long. This line, filled with minefields, resembles the trenches of the first World War. 30 thousand soldiers have been deployed to the contact line by the Armenian side and slightly more than this number by Azerbaijan. The negotiations, conducted through the OSCE Minsk Group, have been difficult, as leaders are approaching a compromise, but are backing down out of concern that their country may not meet the demands of the public.
Azerbaijanis and Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot influence the process. Armenian and Azerbaijani public opinion has more influence on the process than the locals of the region.
The Minsk Group Co-Chairs have no spokespersons or media secretaries. For this reason, the talks have little media coverage. Russia, having previously taken a position close to Armenia, now prefers to stand at an equal distance from Azerbaijan and Armenia. This strategy strengthened after the war with Georgia in August 2008. The strategic priority has become the isolation of Georgia. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is less important to the United States than the conflicts in the Middle East. The Armenian Lobby in Congress, the energy security of the Caspian Sea Basin, the ‘fight against terrorism’ and the ability to use Azerbaijani airspace on flights to Afghanistan are priority issues for the United States.