Post-War Coverage Of The Karabakh Conflict: April

Anahit Danielyan


The most discussed topics in the Armenian media in April were the opening of a military park in Baku dedicated to the Second Artsakh War and the use of the term genocide in US President Joe Biden’s April 24 speech.

Reactions to the opening of the park

On April 12, with the participation of the President of Azerbaijan, a park dedicated to the Artsakh war was opened in Baku, where images of Armenian soldiers, personal belongings of soldiers, etc. are displayed with Armenian military equipment.

Official Yerevan condemned the incident, emphasizing that in Baku, Azerbaijan shows that this action is aimed at publicly degrading the memory of the victims of the war, the missing and the captives, violating the rights and dignity of their families.

In one of its news releases, Public TV presented the opinions of the members of the Los Angeles City Council. According to city council member Mitch O’Farrell, Baku Park is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, “it is disgusting and dangerous.”

“I think they will not stop in Artsakh, where the bloodshed ended with the occupation of the lands of the Armenian ancestors and many deaths. We must vocalize about this unanimously,” he said.

In the opinion of NA deputy Hayk Konjoryan, “it is difficult to describe what happened in Azerbaijan other than a mental deviation, a complete loss of adequacy.”

“The world and history have seen many crazy dictators who have become a plague not only for their peoples but also for the region and neighboring countries,” said Konjoryan, adding that the Armenian people must use all possible resources to respond properly and to neutralize it.

And NA deputy Andranik Kocharyan is of the opinion that “with this park, Aliyev started a process, as a result of which he will quickly waste his victories and give us an opportunity to be psychologically prepared for our further victories.”

Channel 5 “Baku’s Bloody Museu: Aliyev in the cruelest dream in the world” news coverage of the international reactions to the park:  “Disneyland of Hate, a monument to barbarism. The international press, the political elite, the international community, in general, criticize the park opened by Aliyev in Baku with the harshest words.”

During the program, quoting Nikol Pashinyan’s words that “the more we consider an enemy, the more they consider us an enemy,” the host notes that there is no such park in Yerevan or Stepanakert. “․․․ The Armenian society was astonished by the inhumanity of the Azerbaijanis. People who’ve had phosphorus bombs thrown on them from above, who have been beheaded, killed with an ax, who as captives have been tortured in front of the cameras can still be surprised by the brutality of the Turks.”

While covering the opening of the park, some media outlets criticized not only Aliyev but also Pashinyan.

“Nikol Pashinyan’s new performance about everything and nothing received the passionate applause of his own people at the moment when Aliyev opened an expo of hostility in Baku, pouring salt on our open wound with his special impudence. An open wound that the local peace activists do not allow to close after the war, with their calls to hurry peaceful relations with the enemy. Aliyev unveiled a monument of hatred at a time when Armenia had not yet kept silent about the authorities’ statements about establishing relations with the victorious side and a unique chance to end hostilities.”

“The park opened in Baku is actually the museum of the 2018 revolution,” said Narek Samsonyan, President of the Civic Consciousness NGO.

“It is the museum of Ararat Mirzoyan, the museum of Tigran Avinyan, the museum of Lilit Makunts, the museum of Nikol Pashinyan and his whole family. I hope that one day they will be placed there as a living centerpiece.”

According to Armine Adibekyan, an expert on Azerbaijan, if this continues, the park will be in Yerevan. According to her, Nikol Pashinyan “in the case of being judged by his gang, one can talk about rebirth.”

“There is a traitor in the country, and that is Pashinyan,” she said.

“Following the ‘example’ of their own dictator, mothers and children in Baku visit the infamous ‘Military Loot Park’ and make fun of us, but also of them,” wrote scholar on Iran Vardan Voskanyan.

“Why them too? Because the artificial formation called Azerbaijan does not have a “Victory Park,” does not have heroes of a victorious war, does not have any brilliant military operations in the same war, but has a sick government and society that poison their mothers and children with scarecrows and skulls of our soldiers.”

According to him, the one who promotes lasting peace or peaceful neighborliness with this sick formation is sick himself, the regime that has brought us to this shameful state, which still considers itself in power in Armenia and is not leaving, is sick.

Singer Anna Mailyan thinks that “it is absurd to talk about peace today. “The park opened in Baku for civilized people is ridiculous. If the world supports these two fascist states, it will face a much bigger problem.”

The topic was also raised at the April 19 sitting of the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

In his speech, Edmon Marukyan noted, “With this action, Aliyev joined the list of dictators such as Hitler and Saddam Hussein. …All this happened not in an unknown country, but in one of the member states of the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan. In one of the photos, an Azerbaijani child is playing with a racist wax sculpture of an Armenian soldier who was probably tortured in an Azerbaijani prison. These pictures show that there is systemic racial hatred towards Armenians and Armenia in Azerbaijan.”

The creation of the park was also condemned by the Greek member of the European Parliament Nikos Androulakis, calling it barbarism insulting the memory of Armenian soldiers.

National Interest magazine columnist Michael Rubin compared Ilham Aliyev to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and the “park-museum” opened in Baku to Baghdad’s “Kadisia Swords” triumphal arch.

In a letter to the President of Azerbaijan, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic, called for extreme caution so as not to escalate and deepen the deep-rooted grievances between the communities affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“The ‘trophy park’ opened in Baku confirms the incurable complex of inferiority with which the barbarians suffer. Aliyev, walking on corpses, the worthy son of his ancestors, is accustomed to destruction. The ‘civilized world’ did not respond to that parade of barbarism and only frowned with disgust.”

According to Ara Ghazaryan, a lawyer specializing in international law, “it is an expression of intolerance and encouragement of hostility. The problem is not the exhibition itself, but how it is presented. ․․.In legal proceedings, Azerbaijan will lose in the context of racism, because all red lines have been crossed.”

The German “Bild” newspaper published an article about the opening of the “park,” sharply criticizing the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

“Now dictator Ilham Aliyev, who has been President of Azerbaijan since 2003, is opening a Strategist Park exhibition to boast of his victory. “In fact, this ‘garden’ has only one tasteless purpose – to ridicule the Armenian victims of the war.”

“The existence of a strategist ‘park’ in Baku, where Armenians are mocked and humiliated in a primitive way, is a great danger for Azerbaijan,” said German historian, Doctor of Philosophy Professor Tessa Hoffmann.

Genocide Recognition: What are the prospects?

In his speech on April 24, US President Joe Biden used the term genocide, which was described as genocide recognition. Along with the words of gratitude from Armenia, accusations and insults were voiced from Ankara against Biden.

The opinions of the US Congressmen were presented by the Armenian media that the recognition was a very important moment when Azerbaijan and Turkey started a war against the Armenian people again. “The president’s will to speak the truth confirms that the United States supports its allies and does not stand by autocratic dictators who kill their neighbors.”

“Azerbaijan’s attack on Artsakh showed that there are still people who want to uproot the Armenian people. We must support the struggle of Armenians for the right to self-determination. Unfortunately, we can not cancel the past, but we can be honest, recognizing the genocide and insuring them that nothing will happen again.”

The international press also touched upon Biden’s statement and its consequences. “Lragir.am” wrote that “Turkish-Armenian relations are pursued both by the past and the present. With these words, the editorial of the British ‘Economist’ periodical referred to the relations between the two countries, stating that “Turkey and Armenia show no signs of reconciliation.”

The Guardian wrote that Turkey’s status as a NATO member and regional ally has long kept US presidents from recognizing it. But relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated significantly in recent years.

The New York Times goes on to say that President Biden has recognized the mass killings of Armenians as genocide, expressing readiness to test deteriorating relations with Turkey, a longtime NATO ally in the region. Recognition of the genocide is the Biden administration’s commitment to human rights, one of the cornerstones of its foreign policy.

Deutsche Welle writes that Biden’s statement is a fulfillment of a pre-election promise, but it could cause problems in US-Turkish relations.

According to Al Jazeera, Biden’s statement came amid strained relations between the United States and Turkey, which had previously said that bilateral relations would suffer more if the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century were recognized as genocide.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is refraining from further escalating tensions with the United States, which means that the Turkish leader is afraid of undermining his country’s fragile finances,” Bloomberg reported.

“The US decision to finally recognize the Armenian Genocide came after decades of threats by Turkish lobbyists in Washington,” Seth Franzman wrote in an article in the Jerusalem Post.

“The Biden administration has exposed Turkey’s bluff. The idea that recognizing the genocide 106 years ago would somehow push Turkey to close US bases and start cooperating quickly with Russia, Iran and China seems strange, given that Ankara must also think “geopolitically.” The argument has always been that the West needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the United States and the West.

This seems to have turned “geopolitics” upside down. “If geopolitics demands calm and always asks the country to beg, rather than a two-way street based on respect and power, then it is unclear what the United States has achieved in recent decades by appeasing Turkey.”

There were also many claims that Biden’s statement would also affect the recent developments around Artsakh.

In an article titled “Biden” closed “Putin in Artsakh,” the author noted that after Biden’s statement, a completely different situation has been created, both politically and propagandistically.

“After Biden’s recognition, the Kremlin’s pitiful reaction shows Moscow’s confusion. Biden’s decision deprives Moscow of an important ‘argument’ in connection with the ‘conspiracy’ of the West. And the Russian political attempt to remove Turkey from the ‘West’ becomes doubly ridiculous in this case. It turns out that Russia could have cooperated directly with the West. At least the Minsk Group was the only international platform where Moscow was on an equal footing with the United States and France but preferred Turkish loyalty.”

According to the author, Biden’s decision “traps” Putin in Artsakh, leaving all the responsibility on Moscow, which failed as a result of its anti-Armenian policy in the South Caucasus.

“What can be expected in Artsakh? In the article titled “Joe Biden’s First Message to the Congress” Hakob Badalyan pointed out that so far, unfortunately, we have not only witnessed the opposite effect of the American-Russian confrontation, but we have experienced the effects first-hand by the loss of thousands of our compatriots, in the form of a war that led to the loss of territories.

“If there is a willingness of American-Russian joint work on Artsakh and the Caucasus, it can be a good regime for Armenia. ․․․How can Armenia get out of this deadlock by finding something to do to reconcile American-Russian interests in the Artsakh issue? France can be an intermediate link here, in the direction of which the diplomatic-political work should be significantly intensified.”

“What are France and Russia preparing for the Artsakh issue, given the new situation after Biden’s decision?” refers to the April 26 telephone conversation between French President Emanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Information has been circulating in unofficial information streams that Macron and Putin have agreed to make a statement on a joint initiative on the Artsakh issue in the near future.”

“Does France really aspire to take the lead in the process of international recognition of Artsakh?”

According to Gurgen Grigoryan, a lawyer and chairman of the Legal Progress Legal Club NGO, “If we were not demanding, Biden could recognize the genocide or Merkel, or I don’t know who, and it would not give us anything.”

“The last war in Artsakh also showed that all this is a lie, Armenians should only rely on themselves and defend their land with their weapons. It is only possible to live in peace with the Turks with weapons in hand because the genocide will always continue in the same way.”

In addition to the above-mentioned key topics, the media also touched upon border incidents, the continuous destruction of Armenian historical and cultural values by the Azerbaijanis and the return of prisoners.

Anahit Danielyan

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