The Azerbaijani state was created by the Turks in the image and likeness of the Ottoman Empire. Its aggressive expansionist policy towards the Armenians is a direct consequence and manifestation of the nature of this state created by alien conquerors from Asia.
The policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing carried out in the Ottoman Empire in relation to almost all the enslaved peoples with particular force and in the most complete and cruel form was carried out against the Armenians.
This is due to the fact that the Ottoman Empire, which once covered vast areas of Asia, Africa, and Europe, had by this time lost many of its possessions, including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Balkan countries. Armenians were the last nation before the Kurds to raise the question of their liberation from the Turkish yoke.
Under these historical conditions, aggressive Turkish nationalism in the form of Turkism and Pan-Turkism promoted by the Zionists arose in the Ottoman Empire.
The first and fundamental goal of the political program of Pan-Turkism was the creation of a new Turkish state in the territory of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan, as well as in the eastern part of the South Caucasus subordinate to Russia where alien nomadic and semi-nomadic Turkic-speaking tribes, officially called “Caucasian Tatars” in Russia, had settled.
To achieve this Pan-Turkic goal, the Ottoman Empire entered into a world war against Russia on the side of Germany.
The Armenians who inhabited the eastern vilayets of the Ottoman Empire itself (Western Armenia), as well as those living in Eastern Armenia (which was under the control of the Russian Empire) were obstacles on the way to achieving this goal.
The elimination of this barrier was the main political motive of the monstrous crime which was the complete and widespread extermination of the Armenian population of the so-called “Turkish” Armenia in 1915–1923. With the same purpose, the Turks extended the policy of the Armenian Genocide to the South Caucasus.
Taking advantage of the collapse of the Russian Empire and the treachery of the Bolsheviks who had concluded the disgraceful Brest-Litovsk Treaty with Germany and its allies, the Turks occupied part of the South Caucasus, together with the “Caucasian Tatars” exterminating the Armenian population of the occupied territories.
Violating the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, the Turks moved towards Baku to help the Caucasian Turks who had declared “independence”. Having occupied Nakhichevan and other regions of Northern Armenia which had never belonged to them, they began to Turkefy them.
One of the objects of territorial claims of Azerbaijan was Karabakh. For many centuries, the territory of Karabakh has been part of the Armenian state as one of its provinces, and after the fall of the Armenian Kingdom, this territory has been ruled by the Persian Shah and by semi-dependent Armenian meliks for several centuries.
Under the Gulistan Treaty of 1813 which would be subsequently replaced by the Turkmenchay Treaty of 1828, the Karabakh Khanate passed under the authority of Russia. The independent Republic of Armenia, defending the territorial integrity of its people, naturally based its policy on the fact that Armenians who constituted 95 percent of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh were seeking reunification within their national state on the basis of the inalienable right of peoples to free self-determination.
Because the Azerbaijani state emerged in 1918, it did not have a primary international legal title. What seemed and still appears as the state territory of Azerbaijan was nothing more than a province of the Persian and then the Russian state, and with that, neither the Persian khanates nor the Russian provinces were built on the principle of nationality.
Even in the Elisabethpol Governorate formed in 1866 from the former Persian khanates of Ganja, Karabakh, Sheki, and some minor areas, the Turks constituted only half of the population – 55.96%, while Armenians were 35.43%.
The fact that referring to the borders of the former Russian provinces is groundless is also confirmed by the fact that Azerbaijan itself made claims to all the provinces of Transcaucasia, including Tiflis and Erivan. The latter, together with the Nakhichevan Khanate, was officially annexed to Russia as part of ancient Armenia and had the legal status of the Armenian Region in Russia.
Declaring claims on Karabakh, the Azerbaijan Republic was never able to subjugate Karabakh to its power even with the help of the regular Turkish army.
The circumstances of the creation of the genocidal Azerbaijani state by the Turks and its policy towards the Armenians are mentioned in particular by the “Collection” document, which presents the views of B. Baykov, a participant of these events and the leader of the Russian National Council in Baku in 1918-1919.
“The Azerbaijani government least of all knew what to do in regard to the management of occupied Baku and those areas to which it extended the sovereignty of its ‘newly-established’ republic. Only two tasks were apparently clear to it – deepening the struggle with the Armenians and planting its own nationalism.
In order to clearly imagine who was the author of the origin of the idea of this new state and what goals were pursued, it is necessary to understand clearly what this new republic represented in the light of history. Both of these provinces [Baku and Elisabethbol] have never constituted a single political body. They have never borne any common name, let alone the name ‘Azerbaijan.’”
As the author notes, “the appropriation by this new state of a geographical term referring to a part of another state and to a completely different territory”, to the right bank of the Araks River, was “one of the main reasons why Persia didn’t want to recognize this new republic and enter into any kind of diplomatic intercourse with it for a long time.”
Since it would have been impossible to “seek historical justification for a newly-born state, and since there was even less ground for christening it a name that does not belong to it”, the author indicates what political conditions made the emergence of this new state possible in the territory of “Russia that was weakened after the war and was being collapsed by the Bolsheviks”.
He writes: “The tasks of the purely military states of Germany and Turkey coincided with the growth of Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turanism… Turkey, which was in the orbit of Germany’s omnipotence, was seen as one huge power consisting of pre-war Turkey, the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, the Lower Volga, Trans-Caspia, Turkestan (with Khiva and Bukhara), Persia, etc.
The Turkic nationalists, mostly political adventurers like Enver Pasha or home-grown politicians like Topchibashev, the late Khan Khoisky, and others, were awaited by the tempting prospects of playing political and state figures of varying scale.”
The author mentions the ideology of the Armenian phobia which was manifested at an official level: “The Armenians were definitely declared a war. They did not hide at all that no Armenian initiative or competition in any field of activity would be tolerated.
Some chauvinists, such as Dr. Khosrov bey Sultanov (Minister of Agriculture and State Property) and others, openly said that there either would be no Armenians in Azerbaijan or they would be in the position of Turkish rayahs (i.e. people without rights). ‘Armenians have nothing to do with us, let them go to their homes,’ said gentlemen from among ardent nationalists.”
In practice, this state ideology was expressed “in the plunder of not only Armenian national (charitable institutions, etc.) property but also private property”. Not only apartments were requisitioned by purely Bolshevik methods but trade and industrial enterprises belonging to Armenians as well.
“Mass beatings of Armenians committed by unrestrained mob resumed… One by one, prominent Armenians disappeared without a trace… The passage of Armenians along the railway was not safe – Armenians were taken off trains, pulled out of the cars, and shot. Many Armenians were taken from Baku to other areas of Azerbaijan, imprisoned, or sent to forced labor camps in unhealthy areas.”
An excerpt from the book of Yu. Barsegov “Nagorno-Karabakh in international law and world politics”