Mkhitaryan`s Case: While Sport is Politicized



Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a player. And it seems not only football player. He arises as a political manipulator at the hands of those people or circles which use any opportunity to blackmail Azerbaijan – a host country, which is hosting Europa League Final on May 29, 2019.

What is going? Why the world media is paying such a great attention to the personality of Mkhitaryan and his decision to come or not to Baku for the Final? Is he really just that player without whom the well-known English soccer team Arsenal would fail?

Or is really Arsenal so weak as a soccer team having missing just midsize player like Mkhitaryan can`t play a good game?

Probably, sport journalists have very clear answers to these very simple questions. But I believe that not all of them would know answers to the question why Mkhitaryan is so manipulating around this very peaceful and friendly football game…

We know answer. This very football player is using his Armenian origin as a tool to attack Azerbaijan.

Let`s see step by step development of the issue.

In 2017 UEFA reviews applications by Seville of Spain, Istanbul of Turkey and Baku of Azerbaijan. All three cities were competing for Europa League Final 2019 and Baku has won.

In those days no one, including UEFA officials and this very Mkhitaryan, who played with Manchester United did not and could not know which teams are going to get through to the final destination.

And Azerbaijan while competing to host the Final agreed and took obligations to host any team and its members instead of their nationality.

This means that Azerbaijan and UEFA both knew if any team will come with Armenian players the doors will be open with no any obstacle.

Now Great Britain`s Arsenal is one of the Final players and has one player of Armenian origin. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is a member of Armenian National Team and plays for Arsenal, claims that his security will be under question if he arrives to Azerbaijan to play. As we have enough detailed information, we are more than sure, that no threat for the player of Armenian origin is presence.

According to football and state officials of Azerbaijan while Arsenal raised an issue of security for its player of Armenian origin, the host country guaranteed in written form that Mkhitaryan will not suffer any kind of discrimination, intimidation and so on…

But instead of continues assurances from Azerbaijan side, Mkhitaryan campaigners launched very wide campaign to blame Azerbaijan for “racism”, which is very surprising for the most tolerant and multicultural Muslim country of the world.

Azerbaijan, if compare with Mkhitaryan`s Armenia, is multicultural and multinational country with dozens of national-ethnic minorities. In contrary, Armenia is mono-ethnic country of the world with 98% of the total population being of Armenian origin. If think a bit deeper Armenia is a country, which does not like to tolerate nationalities other than Armenians on its soil. The last ethnic cleansing in Armenia happened at the end of 1980s while around 250 thousands Muslim Azerbaijanis were forcefully expelled from the country.

Now someone – named Henrikh Mkhitaryan – a soccer player from Armenia, who was born on 1989 – while his ancestors were killing and forcing out Azerbaijanis from his country – claims, that Azerbaijan is not secure place for him to come.

Is that real? Is that really dangerous for Armenians to come to Azerbaijan? If to remember previous international events, including sporty ones, we see contrary. Even we remember The 1st European Games held in Azerbaijan in the summer of 2015, while an Armenian sportsman was among winners, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev himself presented his medallion and the sportsman was very happy. BTW he was representing not any other country than Armenia. He came directly from Armenia to represent Armenia which is still keeping under occupation a part of Azerbaijan killing more than 20 thousands and expelling around 1 million Azerbaijanis.

Armenian campaigners and their supporters are accusing Azerbaijan for being “racist”. One must be surprised to hear this as there can`t be a sign of racism in regard to Mkhitaryan – an Armenian. Because Mkhitaryan and Armenians are not of other race. They are the same white Caucasians like the people of host country – Azerbaijan. But Armenian propaganda machine still is accusing Azerbaijan for being “racist” in regard to an Armenian…

Just in order to be more clear we`d like to add some quotes from the UEFA Europa League final Organizing Committee statement in regard to the issue.

“Whilst we recognize the right to make a personal decision not to travel, we would like to reiterate that as the host country Azerbaijan has provided all the necessary guarantees required by UEFA to ensure the personal safety of Mr. Mkhitaryan. There is no reason whatsoever to put in question the seriousness of these guarantees provided by Azerbaijan.”

The statement further says: “Over the past decade a large number of Armenian athletes have taken part in various international sports events in Azerbaijan without any issues”.

We believe that there is no need for further comment. Everything is quite clear. Azerbaijan is not blocking Mkhitaryan`s voyage, in contrary, the host country is assuring safety and full of joy sporty event. But still some people are trying to politicize the sport in order to achieve dirty goals which are not in line with peaceful and friendly contest…

Azer Hasret tarafından

Gazeteci yazar, Azerbaycan Basın Konseyi Yönetim Kurulu üyesi ve Dış İlişkiler Komisyonu başkanı. Uluslararası Basın Enstitüsü (Viyana) uyesi. Kamu TV ve Radyo Yayınları Kamu Yayın Kurulu üyesi. 03 Ağustos 1968`de Azerbaycan`ın Haçmaz ilçesine bağlı Dedeli ( köyünde doğdu. Bakü Devlet Üniversitesi mezunudur (1997). Türkçe`nin (Türkiye ve Azerbaycan) yanısıra İngiliz ve Rusça yazar, siyasi yorumcudur.

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