Armenia destroys Azerbaijan's cultural and historical heritage in occupied territories

Armenia destroys Azerbaijan's cultural and historical heritage in occupied territories

For more than two decades Baku has been sounding the alarm over the destruction of historical and cultural heritage in Azerbaijan's territories occupied by Armenia. The reports about the continuing aggression against cultural objects were submitted to UNESCO, UN, the Council of Europe, the OIC, ISESCO and other international organizations.

However, as spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Tigran Balayan said this week, "if the Azerbaijani authorities are interested in the preservation of the cultural heritage, they have to address the  the Nagorno- Karabakh Republic".

Commenting on this statement, spokesperson of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hikmat Hajiyev expressed the opinion that the representative of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs implicitly recognizes the fact of pursuing a policy of committing acts of vandalism, destruction, plundering, desecration and embezzlement of cultural heritage and religious monuments, including non-Muslim ones. Hajiyev considers it an atrocity not only against the people of Azerbaijan, but also against all humanity. According to him, 738 historical monuments, 28 museums with more than 83,500 exhibits, 4 art galleries, 14 memorial complexes and 1891 material and cultural resources, including 1107 cultural facilities, were destroyed in the territories occupied by Armenia.

Thus, the 17th century mosque complex in the Jabrayil district, the Yukhari and Ashagi Govhar Agha mosques, the 18th century Saatly mosque in Shusha, the 19th century mosque in the Agdam district were turned into stables.

Such archaeological monuments as Vagif Mausoleum, Natavan’s house, Karavansaray in Shusha were plundered and destroyed, the property of Albanian Christian churches located in the occupied Khodjaly, Kalbajary (Ganjasar and Khudaveng), Lachin, Khojavand and other Azerbaijani regions was appropriated. The architectural features of these churches have been changed, and now they are represented as Armenian monuments. Illegal archaeological excavations have been conducted in the Azykh Cave and around Aghdam district since 2003.

In addition to the historical and cultural monuments located in the occupied Azerbaijani territory, the same situation is with the objects located on the territory of Armenia. The Demirbulag Mosque in Yerevan was wiped out, the Blue Mosque was "reconstructed" to distort its origin. The Haji Novruzali Bey Mosque, built in the second half of the 18th century, Sardar Palace or Khan’s Palace were also destroyed. The Sardar Mosque in Yerevan also suffered a systematic destruction and was completely destroyed in 2014.

Such actions are a gross violation of the obligations undertaken by Armenia under the 1954 Hague Convention and the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, adopted in 1999.

The fact that Armenia bears direct international legal responsibility for vandalism in the occupied territories is recognized in the world. As a result of Armenia's aggression, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation regularly adopts resolutions condemning the destruction and desecration of the historical and cultural heritage and temples belonging to the Islamic religion.

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