“Fake Historiography of Azerbaijan” by Javid Agha

The website www.azadliq.org has published material by Javid Agha titled “Fake Historiography of Azerbaijan,” in which the author analyzes the origins of the falsifications and mythologizing of Azerbaijani history.

Below is the unedited article. The styling and author’s emphasis in bold and italic are retained.

There is a well-known motto: “We must write our own history ourselves”—this motto is leading our youth into a great abyss. Some of us have swerved away at the last moment, while others continue to search for something to hold onto.

Some countries have simply invented their historical theses. This was the case in Turkey and the USSR. Our current history is based on what are called “heftabedjar” theses (here meaning a “mishmash” or “mix”). Based on these historical theses, we, the “Azerbaijanis,” are descendants of Atropates, Javanshir, Babek, and at the same time descendants of Oghuz Khan, Shah Ismail, and Mahmud of Ghazni.

The prevailing opinion about the basic thesis of Soviet Azerbaijan is that it was a tool in Stalin’s hands against Iran. However, our historians have taken the issue to such an absurd level that everything has become mixed up. Looking back, we can see that this tradition is not at all a legacy of the USSR.

The sole, categorical aim of our history is to “prove” that Armenians, as a nation, never existed in history.

Let’s start with Ziya Bunyadov. Ziya Bunyadov’s contribution to our academic history is indisputable. He was a great orientalist. However, his biggest mistake—what exactly was behind it, I really don’t know, whether it was his nationalist thoughts or his desire to create an alternative history—is his deliberate “Albanianization” of our history.

The most striking, eye-catching, and completely incomprehensible fact is that all these claims by a worthy intellectual are based on the writings of a notorious wanderer named Vasily Velichko, who lived from 1860 to 1903.

What did these writings actually represent? In the 1850s, the rising Armenian national consciousness clashed with Russia’s assimilation policy.

So much so that the military governor, Prince Grigory Golitsyn, even declared: “The last Armenian in Tbilisi will be exhibited as a stuffed animal in the Tbilisi Museum!” At a time when the anti-Armenian wave in Russia moved into the phase of large-scale propaganda, V. Velichko became the editor of the Russian newspaper “Kavkaz” published in Tbilisi.

He began to claim that Armenians were a foreign element, dangerous to Russia’s interests, while Georgians and Azerbaijanis were Russia’s main allies.

Velichko believed that, unlike Armenians, Azerbaijanis could not be separatists: “They are supporters of cross-border power, strong patriarchal traditions, and therefore automatically embrace the idea of monarchy and statehood.”

Criticizing Armenian nationalism and liberalism, he also mixed in his own anti-Semitic views: “Armenians and Jews, unlike Azerbaijanis, oppose any state due to their racial uniqueness.”

Russian scholar Viktor Shnirelman wrote about Ziya Bunyadov’s attempts to present these entirely subjective thoughts as scientific fact in his work “The Albanian Myth.”

Thus, the falsification of history, starting from this Russian Armenophobe and Ziya Bunyadov, has continued to this day.

The situation worsened when, continuing this unfortunate tradition, Farida Mamedova “Albanianized” all Armenian churches, and by the time of the collapse of the USSR, new “Turkic historians” had emerged.

The main problem for Turkic historians was, and remains, to ground the “Albanian thesis” in some root.

Instead of providing a dignified and modern modernist response to the primitive and nationalist Armenian thesis from the times of the occupation of Karabakh, that “Turks are invaders, these lands have always been ours,” our historians began to work on falsifying history.

Thus was created the “History of Azerbaijan,” a brief description of which is as follows:

“Albanians and Atropatenes were Turks, before them were Turkic tribes of Lullubeans, Turukkaeans, Kutians, and even earlier were the Sumerians, who were also Turks. Then they dispersed, went to Central Asia, where they became Oghuz Turks and returned here again.”

Of course, the aforementioned claims of Azerbaijani historians are not taken seriously by any academic scholars outside of Azerbaijan.

The statements of Professor Geybullaev: “The bearers of the ethnic name ‘Alban’ have Turkic origins, and there are confirming facts for this. Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Turkmens had tribes named ‘Alban’ until the end of the last century” … elicit nothing but ironic smiles. Following this logic, one could just as well claim that the Scots have Turkic origins (since, in the Celtic language, a Scot is called ‘Alban’).

This is how our understanding of Azerbaijani history is shaped from childhood.

The influence from Turkey is also significant. Feudal conflicts among the Huns were successfully portrayed as a Turkic national movement. The jealousy of the Emperor “Kürşad” (a name given to him by Turkish historian H.N. Atsız, his real name being Ashina Jiesheshuai) towards his increasingly influential brother is presented as the uprising of patriotic Turks against Chinese rule. There’s also a fabricated story about the Turks voluntarily accepting Islam, and historical figures like Javanshir, Babek, and the Shirvanshahs have been “Turkicized” wholesale.

The movement in this direction continues, and the paranoia knows no end. Now even Prophet Adam has been declared a Turk. And the latest “bomb” was “detonated” by Ramiz Mehtiev:

“The persona and deeds of Shah Ismail, who took the helm of the state in times of political chaos and disunity, are very much in tune with those of Heydar Aliyev, who was called by the people to head the state in an era of collapsing world orders. It is thanks to the intelligence and talents of such statesmen that the nation gains its independence and sovereign worldview. Is this not a manifestation of political genius and the triumph of true patriots?”

Ramiz Mehtiev’s attempts to draw a successful analogy between Heydar Aliyev and Shah Ismail I failed. In the 1500s, there was no formed Azerbaijani nation, and talk of a national sovereign worldview was out of the question.

Just like in Europe, the Safavid state at that time was based on primitive feudal relations, and there could be no talk of the concepts of nation-state.

Note that in European countries—in England, France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and Russia—no matter how many rulers and dynasties changed, the names of the countries remained the same.

Now, look at the Muslim East: Ghaznavids, Safavids, Qajars, Ottomans, Sallarids, Samanids… in short, whoever came to power turned the state into a “family fiefdom.” Under such circumstances, what talk can there be of a nation, patriotism, or love for the homeland?

But let’s admit, Ramiz Mehtiev was not mistaken in his analogy of Shah Ismail with Heydar Aliyev in one aspect. It concerns the moment where he quotes the words of a Venetian merchant in 1518…

“…he is revered and exalted as a God by his subjects, especially the soldiers.”

Concluding the article, I would like to say that history should not be falsified to justify the primitive principle of “who arrived first.” After all, no international structure, considering that the Armenians appeared and lived in Karabakh much earlier than us, tries to justify the Khojaly tragedy.

No international structure, after many years, will expel a people from a territory just because they are newcomers. Think about it: if we admit that the Turks came here from Central Asia, will they immediately send us back to Mongolia, to Kazakhstan? What sound mind could think this way?

As Ramiz Mehtiev says, “I think it’s not surprising because this is the fate of those suffering from a syndrome—a complex of non-acceptance that brings them to a state where clinical intervention is required to relieve them of constant hallucinations.”

The Ministry of Education should raise the citizens of our country not as innate fascists, but as people with sound minds capable of understanding historical realities.

Fascists are doomed to eternal defeat in the modern world.

Javid Aga. December 3, 2012, www.azadliq.org

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