Events are being held in many countries on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide but the ones in Turkey are explicitly vibrant and active. What is the reason for this?
Turkey is a friendly and brotherly country for us. Our opinions coincide when it comes to friends and foes. Turkey and Azerbaijan have gone through historical experience. Just like Azerbaijanis were with Turkey and became martyrs in Chanakkale battle, Ottoman Turks headed by Nuru Pasha helped Azerbaijan to gain freedoms and liberate Baku. And today, Turkey and Azerbaijan respond to new challenges in a global scale. Azerbaijan was always near Turkey when it faced fabricated Armenian claims. And Turkey was always near Azerbaijan when it faced territorial claims by Armenia. Today’s some politicians should try to solve today’s problems instead of living with events that allegedly happened 100 years ago, which should be researched by historians.
Khojaly is today’s issue. The Khojaly massacre which meets the genocide criterion of the United Nations was committed just 20 years ago by Armenian and Russian military troops. Witnesses of this genocide are still alive. Today Zarifa Aliyeva who was three months in her mother’s womb on the day of the genocide is now 20. She today travels the world and seeks justice for her relatives killed that night on 26 February 1992 and ruined Khojaly city.
The whole world awaits with great interest the response to the letter that she sent to Armenian and French presidents about her wish to return to her motherland. Every honest man should seek justice for 613 killed, missed and crippled persons as a result of the genocide. To seek this justice and raise awareness about it, people sharing this pain in Turkey has launched action.
Which action draws more attention?
For now, one of the main issues on Turkish agenda is the Khojaly rally to be held in Istanbul’s Taksim square on 26 February 2012 at 14.00 and a public statement in this regard. For many days, Turkish TV channels, information agencies and newspapers have been featuring exhibitions, conferences about the Khojaly genocide, remarks of its witnesses, as well as articles of MPs and experts in this regard. Over 500 billboards about the Khojaly genocide were set in Istanbul alone. Posters about the genocide and rally were set in main underground and bus stations. High rated radios broadcast the audio spot about the genocide sounded by Ibrahim Sadri. Leading newspapers publish full-page information about the event daily.
Our students distribute posters and booklets about the genocide in universities and central squares. ‘Hepimiz Hocalili’ (We are all from Khojaly) groups opened in Facebook and Twitter by the ASAIF, as well as www.hepimizhocalili.com page are of a big interest. In recent days, thousands of people have visited the Khojaly exhibition in Taksim underground. Living witnesses of the Khojaly genocide, coming to Istanbul to share their memories with the Turkish society, are invited to leading TV channels.
Different groups from 35 cities of Turkey have expressed their willingness to join the Khojaly rally in Taksim. We expect ten thousands of people to join the rally. I think that this will be one of the biggest actions in the Azerbaijani history that were held abroad about our national interests. This will be an important call of Karabakh and Khojaly to the world.
What organizations support the rally?
“Volunteers commemorating Khojaly victims” group consisting of Turkish citizens was formed to organize the rally. Leading political parties regardless of position, MPs, social figures, societies, youth and student organizations, trade unions, media structures, famous artists and sportsmen have expressed their wish to join the rally.
What is the attitude of the Turkish government and political circles to this issue?
By saying ‘Turkish and Azerbaijani parliamentarians should introduce Khojaly to the world’, Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in reality demonstrated the sensible position of the Turkish government in this issue. The recognition of the Khojaly Genocide at the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference’s Parliament Union held in Indonesia was, of course, reached also by the support of the Turkish parliamentarians.
Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs Mehmet Gormez said in his meeting with us that on 24 February, all mosques in Turkish major countries will commemorate Khojaly victims and make prayers for their souls in Friday sermons. All of this proves that both Turkish rulers and oppositions share our grief of Khojaly. Azerbaijani and Turkish people will be always committed to saying of our Leader Heydar Aliyev ‘Azerbaijan and Turkey are two states, one nation’, and Mustafa Kamal Ataturk ‘Azerbaijan’s joy is our joy, grief is our grief’.
What “Volunteers commemorating Khojaly victims” will take into consideration while forming thinking out slogans?
Despite the fact that both Turkey and Azerbaijan were historically good to their neighbours and ethnic minorities, we ourselves sometimes faced treason by our neighbours or ethnic groups instructed by them. When we look at our ethnic groups today, it can be clearly seen that we don’t have problems with ethnic minorities. But the question is if today tens of nations live conveniently in Turkey and Azerbaijan, why cannot any nation live in Armenia expect Armenians? Therefore, while carrying human values, we should not forget the treasons that we faced either.
We should not forget that while the whole world condemns genocides and crimes against humanity, Armenia has brought terror to the level of state policy. The Armenian government instead of regretting for the Khojaly genocide which is recognized by many countries, its president said “We got Karabakh, our succeeding generations should get Agri”, which is an open threat to Azerbaijan and Turkey. Therefore, the slogans are about not forgetting or causing to forget things that happened to us. But at the same time, we keep the Khojaly genocide on agenda and strive so that no citizens of other countries faced such events. And we call on the world people to support our voice.
Are the slogans of the rally defined?
The messages are of national and international character. So, we will utter messages such as “Let not genocide happen again”, “One nation, two states – Justice for Karabakh”, “Khojaly in our hearts – We are all from Khojaly”, “World, recognize it – don’t forget Khojaly”, “We are all from Khojaly”, “Justice for Khojaly”, “Let children not be killed”, “Let mother not cry”, “Don’t be silent to Armenian lie”, “End to Armenian lie”, “Right to live is divine” and other messages. Our messages are for the whole world. And therefore, we will probably hear slogans in Turkish and English languages. Our messages will be clear and voice – louder, because this will be the voice of just Azerbaijan, just Turkey and the voice of all honest world citizens who recognize the right of people to live.