Polad Bulbul oglu on origins of Karabakh conflict
Recently, there were allegations in the Russian media outlets that the first Karabakh war allegedly began with the events in Sumgait, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to Moscow Polad Bulbul oglu said, speaking at an event dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy held at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.
According to the diplomat, the first blood was shed not in Sumgait, it happened much earlier: "Back in February 1988, two young Azerbaijanis were killed in the Askeran region. The large Azerbaijani population was increasingly being squeezed out of Armenia. Azerbaijani schools were closed, massive layoffs of Azerbaijanis took place. They were not accepted in hospitals, they were terrorised on the streets and in public places."
Polad Bulbul oglu also said that in April 1983, Armenian extremists, who were celebrating the "day of genocide", attacked the wedding of the Azerbaijani Gafarovs family in the Zangibasar (Masis) region, killing four and wounding dozens of Azerbaijanis. But despite numerous complaints and appeals, the local police and administration never responded to them. Even after the federal authorities were approached, criminal cases were never opened.
In October 1987, after Heydar Aliyev resigned from the post of First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia began. At anti-Azerbaijani rallies in Yerevan, calls to cleanse Armenia of the Turks were voiced. Terrible events took place in Armenia's Gugark District (the Lori Province). On November 27, 1988, it was attacked by Armenian militants, 13 Azerbaijanis were burned alive and more than 70 people were brutally killed. Atrocities against Azerbaijanis took place in Gyumri. Of the 21,000 people living in Amasia region, 18,000 were Azerbaijanis, who were also expelled from their lands where ethnic cleansing took place.
"The leadership of the Soviet Union, led by Gorbachev, acted like nothing was happening. All complaints of Azerbaijanis to the union center remained unanswered or pro forma replies were made. In January 1988, thousands of wounded, exhausted and frightened Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia began to arrive in Baku. In total, more than 250,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia," the Azerbaijani diplomat recalled.