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Opinion article sent in by H.E. Ambassador of Armenia to the Netherlands, Mr. Tigran Balayan.

It is deplorable to see how a country which launched an aggression against Nagorno Karabakh just a couple of months ago accompanied with heinous war crimes, engagement of thousands of jihadist-mrecenaries from the Middle East, inflicting devastating humanitarian crisis and destruction of the cultural and religious heritage in the region, trying to deceive the deaf and blind “civilized world” astutely attempting to showcase its fake “tolerance and contribution to the world of Christianity”.

The aforementioned article, where Azerbaijan refers to Armenia only once as a neighbouring country, itself shows the country’s hypocrisy, which claims the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh to be its citizens when it comes to politics and international law, meanwhile neglecting millenas old cultural and religious heritage of the first Christian nation in the world, subjecting them to destruction or alteration.

Since a truce has been established in the region on November 10 till now Azerbaijan is opposing a fact-finding mission of UNESCO  in order to  “draw a preliminary inventory of significant cultural properties as a first step towards the effective safeguarding of the region’s heritage”.

The most influential periodicals in the world – the Art Magazine, the Smithsonian Magazine, voiced their alarm on the imminent threat to the Armenian heritage in the Azerbaijan-occupied areas.

ICOMOS and its partner organisations, and the Europa Nostra also issued special statements calling for immediate action to protect endangered sites. 

In a stark contrast to a move expected by the international community, the Azerbaijani Minister of Culture in an interview to the Turkish Television expressed Baku’s disappointment over the “attitude and concerns raised by the Western media and cultural personalities, regarding the Chritsian heritage in Karabakh”. The Minister also denies the Christian heritage is Armenian, but instead insists that it is an Albanian heritage.

Recently the Office of Artsakh Ombudsman published a comprehensive report on 1,456 overwhelmingly Armenian historical and cultural immovable prominent monuments that have been fallen under Azerbaijani control, and naturally, are endangered now, as the Aliyev regime blocks any independent expert to evaluate their state. 

Not only in war, but also in its attitudes towards cultural heritage the Aliyev regime applies the methods, widely used by the terrorists. 

Several years after destruction of Buddha statues in the Bamian valley in Afghanistan, in 2005 under the watchful eyes of the international community and UNESCO in particular Azerbaijan vandalised and destroyed a medieval Armenian cemetery in Nakhijevan– dismantling and throwing into the river thousands of priceless historical monuments.  

After a thorough examination of above mentioned inevitable facts and passing parallels with Azerbaijan’s financial contributions to restoration of the worldwide renown Christian sanctuaries it becomes obvious the policy of the “Land of Fire” imitating tolerance  is nothing but aimed at creating smokescreen, distracting its attention or deterring possible actions by the international community towards barbarism being conducted against the Armenian cultural/religious sites on the Azerbaijani territory or currently under its occupation. Otherwise “multi-confessional and tolerant” Azerbaijan wouldn’t have partially dismantled the Holy Virgin Armenian Apostolic church in the capital city of Baku and turned the rest of the church into a restaurant.

Tigran Balayan

The article and photos @ Armenian Embassy in the Hague