Azerbaijan developing aggressive plans not only against NKR but also Armenia and Syunik,
first of all Interview with Director of the History Institute, National Academy of Science,
Doctor, Professor Ashot Melkonyan
By David Stepanyan, November 29, 2010, ArmInfo.
Q-Mr. Melkonyan, alongside with militarist statements addressed to NKR Baku has recently begun making aggressive statements directly addressing Armenia. What is the reason of such geographic extension?
A-Here we deal with pure politics where there is even no sign of science. The point is that the Azerbaijani historians were actively engaged in falsification yet in the soviet time. However, then we lived in a common state, they had no opportunity to spread lies about Soviet Armenia, therefore, they were limited to lies about Nagorno Karabakh and Nakhijevan. However, even then they called the Armenian khachkars khachdashes and claimed that churches and Christian monuments of culture in Artsakh and Nakhiejevan are Albanian, and Azerbaijanis formed as a result of an ethnogenesis of the Albanian and Turk peoples. Quite a paradoxical situation developed today, when Azerbaijanis claim that they are Turks in order not to lose the ties with the Turk world. On the other hand, they began to "study" the history of Armenians and the North-Caucasus peoples, the Lezgins, first of all.
They do not forget about the history of Iranian-language peoples residing in the territory of Atropatena i.e. Iran. In fact, todays Azerbaijan has nothing in common with the historical Azerbaijan-Atrpatakan situated on the right bank of Araks, in the northwest of Iran.
Q-What about the statements that Armenia is situated in the territories of mythical Western Azerbaijan?
A-Aliyev's statements that Armenia is situated in the territory of mythical "Western Azerbaijan" and "Azerbaijani lands" show the aggressive policy and plans of the Azerbaijani authorities because those statements are not backed by a single historical fact and have nothing in common with science," he said. They in Azerbaijan are well aware that any informed man who will see the map of the region will not understand how can Nakhijevan be part of Azerbaijan at the same time being separated by Armenia and having no common border with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan cherishes plans to seize Karabakh and Zangezur in order Nakhijevan no longer remains an enclave. Azerbaijan also wants to deprive Armenia of its border with Iran and leave it in a full blockade.
Q-Did they start such policy in early 20s when Turkey exchanged its territories with Iran and expanded the border with Nakhijevan?
A-Actually, there is an 11-km section of the border in the region of Ararat called "Wolf's Gate" where the borders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey "run together." Having border with Nakhijevan already in 1921 Turkey fought for unification of Sadarak settlement with the Nakhijevani ASSR to expand that border. As regards the territories exchanged with Iran, it was done in the area of Small Ararat with the object of enhancing direct economic and strategic ties between Turkey and Nakhijevan.
Q-Does it mean that besides Armenians, the indigenous inhabitants in the territory of
present Azerbaijan before the invasion of Turkic tribes were only Lezgins, Talishes, Avars and Tats?
A-This is so, indeed. For many years historians have been arguing about where Albanians could disappear in XIII-XIV centuries. Up to now Lezgins, partly Avars and Dargins are the direct carriers of both Albanian culture and history. During various scientific conferences, the North Caucasus historians have repeatedly stressed that the whole Lezgin culture is presented as Azerbaijani culture today. And the northern part of Azerbaijan bordering on Dagestan is actually the historical Albanian, i.e. mainly Lezgin territory.
As a result of centuries-old ethnic shifts, original ethno-religious groups emerged in the territory of present Azerbaijan: Arabs in VII-VIII centuries, Seljuks in XI century, Koyunlu Turkic tribes in XIV century, later - Tamerlan, and Sefevids of Iran. "Thus, the name "Azerbaijanis" was finally found on the basis of these ethno-religious intercommunication only in the 30s of XX century. This name has no ethnic meaning, it is just a geographical name. This name appeared over Stalin's term in office, as the USSR was going to occupy Atrpatakan and create a Soviet Republic of Iran at the north of Iran. That's what it is.
Q-In other words, when creating its own "history", Azerbaijan "borrowed" the whole Indo-European culture, first of all, the Armenian, Iranian and the local Caucasian one, i.e. the Albanian and Lezgin culture
A-Yes, the ancestors of present Azeris came from Middle Asia, and before VI century lived in Altay.
Q-Aliyev keeps on reiterating one and the same phrase about the ancient Azeri territory of Nakhichevan. Why does he do that? Is he afraid of losing Nakhichevan?
A-He does it because he is afraid to lose Nakhichevan as part of the local Azeris are in fact
representatives of Iranian-speaking peoples living in the north of Iran. Those people have been forced to become Turkic but anthropologically they are still Iranians. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev is afraid that Nakhichevan may separate from Azerbaijan. No more than 150,000 people live in Nakhichevan today against 250,000-300,000 in the past. Most of the Nakhichevanis have emigrated to Turkey and Iran while the remaining ones live at Turkey`s expense.
What does Turkey strive for speculating on the Armenian-Turkish normalization? For instance, the recent mess around the Armenian Surb Khach Church in Akhtamar and the comedy with erection of the cross on its dome, arrival of Turkish politicians to Armenia amid Turkey's continuing refusal of ratification of the protocols
I am sure the Armenian-Turkish protocols signed in Zurich are in favor of Turkey, first of all.
It is in favor of Ankara because Armenia expressed its agreement to the border Akhuryan-Araks between our countries. This has never been discussed before. However, because of contradictory nature of Turkey's small brother Azerbaijan, Ankara was reluctant to refuse ratification of the protocols in prejudice of its interests. The world community seeks to find other ways for ratification of the protocols and calm down the public in Azerbaijan.
By David Stepanyan, November 29, 2010, ArmInfo.