Seeing Khojaly I couldn’t conceal my consternation. Having been destroyed to the ground, this Azerbaijani settlement is completely restored, and transformed into a town Ivanovka in honor of Armenian general having taken an active part in the occupation of Khojaly.
The Khojaly tragedy, the deep wounds in our souls inflicted by Armenian expansionism on this long-suffering Azerbaijani land, run all through my meetings in Askeran.
How is that? Isn’t there anything humane left in these people?
However, for the sake of justice I admit that several years ago I met some Khojaly refugees who temporarily lived in Nafatalan and who openly confessed that the day before the large scale attack of Russian-Armenian contingent army on Khojaly, the town was encircled. And several days before the attack, Armenians gave the inhabitants warnings by loudspeakers about the planned operation and suggested that the population abandon the settlement and break out the encirclement by the humanitarian corridor, along the bank of the river Kar-Kar. According to Khojaly inhabitants, they made use of that corridor, and the Armenian soldiers being at this corridor, in fact, didn’t open fire at them. Several soldiers from the NFA battalion, for some reason, helped part of the Khojaly inhabitants out to the village Nakhijevanik which at that time was under control of Askeran battalion of Armenians. The rest of the population was straddled by artillery fire at the foot of Aghdam region.
Being in Askeran, I listened to the assistant chief of the Askeran local authorities Slavik Arushanyan and compared his recollections with the words of Khojali inhabitants who were under fire from the Azerbaijani side.
I asked S. Arushanyan to help me to show the corridor through which the Khojaly inhabitants went out. Getting to know the geographical surroundings, I can state with a full conviction that conjectures about the absence of Armenian corridor are groundless. The corridor indeed existed. Otherwise the Khojali inhabitants, completely surrounded and isolated from the outer world, could never have breached the rings and get out of the encirclement. However, getting over the area at the river Kar-Kar, the line of the refugees divided into groups and nobody knows why one part of the Khojali people made their way to the direction of Nakhijevanik. It seems that battalions of NFA strived not for the liberation of Khojaly inhabitants, but longed for much blood on the way of A. Mutalibov’s overthrow.
As S. Arushanyan says: “Several days before the attack, your then president A. Mutalibov gave a telephone call to Stepanakert and made a request to Mkrtchyan, our former president. He requested to provide conditions for the people to leave the blockade Khojaly. In reply Mkrtchyan asked A. Mutalibov - why aren’t you interested in your people’s destiny? The helicopters sent from Baku are loaded by the cattle and not by people.”
Yes, they managed to evacuate the cattle, but not the people. Such are the sad recollections about the first Karabakh war.
I asked the Askeran inhabitants: “I was told in Karabakh that Azerbaijani live here. Is it true?”
“We can visit them right now”, answered S. Arushanyan to my surprise. Indeed, in the very centre of Askeran, lives an Azerbaijani by name Tofik Aliev. And the most interesting thing is that learning that I am from Baku, he wasn’t embarrassed at all.
- I have lived here since 1960. We moved here from Ujar region. After the beginning of the mass disturbances I moved to Azerbaijan and again returned to Ujar. I couldn’t survive there.
- When did you return to Askeran?
- In 1991. True, at some moment they wanted to kill me.
Here S. Arushanyan interrupted our conversation: “I told the guys then- why to kill him? What is he guilty of? Today there is no difference for us what nationality Tofik is”.
Well, this story shocked me so much that, returning to Karabakh, I was eager to share my impressions with readers. And how astonished I was when the so-called minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mamedyarov disproved my impressions and estimated them by a beloved word “provocation”.
Eynulla Fatulaev (Baku)
Source: newspaper “Realniy Azerbaijan”