One of the most important points in the panel discussions between President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at the Munich Security Conference on 15 February was the Armenian side’s comments on the Khojaly genocide.
Nikol Pashinyan made an unsuccessful attempt to cite Ayaz Mutallibov’s statement about the “presence of the Azerbaijanis” in this genocide, and of course, he got the response. It would be possible to conclude the topic immediately by adding the official statement of the first President of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutallibov however…
The point is that Ayaz Mutallibov’s position that the Khojaly massacre was committed by Azerbaijanis has not occurred recently. Ayaz Mutallibov said that the Khojaly tragedy had been used to overthrow the government. At that time, during the announcement that caused the scandal, the ADR charged him with interfering with or preventing the massacre.
It was a simple statement: a tragedy, a massacre had occurred and the head of state was accusing the opposition of obstructing it, paralyzing the war-torn republic, accusing the ADR of all its failures, and the ADR, on the contrary, was blaming Ayaz Mutallibov for being incompetent.
As a result, Ayaz Mutallibov resigned a week after the massacre.
On the eve of the tragedy, mutual accusations should be considered normal, and certainly not about committing the murder, but of preventing it, from the serious mistakes of those who have been involved in the internal struggle, without killing children, old men and women.
And this interview was not made by an Armenian or Russian journalist – the famous English journalist, political scientist, program director of the Carnegie Foundation Thomas de Waal.
The interview was made on December 15, 2000, when Serzh Sargsyan was the Minister of Defense of Armenia. De Waal included this interview in a book published in 2003 in English in New York and Russian in 2005 in St. Petersburg, “Karabakh is a Black Garden”.
It should be added immediately that the book and the points out there are not necessarily the points of Azerbaijanis and Azerbaijanis. On many occasions, Thomas de Waal also demonstrates Christian fanaticism. For example, he depicts Prince of Albania Hasan Jalal as an Armenian, considers Gandsazar temple as an Armenian temple, not an Albanian historical monument, and is the “historic shelter of Armenian princes and bishops, the last pioneer of Christian civilization in the Muslim-Turkish world”.
In fact, the book which Armenian leaders spoke of, became an expression of Azerbaijani realities not because of Thomas de Waal’s earlier promise of “neutrality,” but because of what Sargsyan had said in his interview.
De Waal then published the full text of the interview with Sargsyan and officially declared that there was no error or distortion.
By presenting the same part of De Waal’s interview with Sargsyan to the readers, let’s remind: At least, today, those who have spread the lies regarding the participation of Azerbaijanis in the Khojaly massacre and thus become the “source” of the Armenian media should say that there is no lies in history – more facts should be given to our grandchildren when confronted by Armenians for.
Thus, the quotation from Thomas de Waal’s interview with Sargsyan:
Thomas de Waal: … As far as I know, the 366th regiment helped you, you had support in Khojaly, and in September 1992 the Russians helped to prevent the Azerbaijani attack.
Serzh Sargsyan: I do not deny the presence of some officers of the 366th regiment, but firstly, this regiment helped them not only because Azerbaijanis were attacking not only on us but also on the 366th Regiment with “Grads”. So let them think about their actions.
Secondly, there were many Armenian officers in the 366th regiment who could help us without being aware of the command. And so they did. The current commander of the Karabakh army, Lieutenant-General Seyran Ohanyan, was a battalion commander there. How couldn`t he help us? But if a few officers helped us, it had nothing to do with the 366th regiment.
Thomas de Waal: Speaking of the professionalism of the army, I also wanted to ask questions about Khojaly. No one denies that many Azerbaijanis were killed when they fled Khojaly and that it was the act of some Karabakh gangs near Asgaran. But why do you say this was done by angry people, not by professional Karabakh soldiers?
Serzh Sargsyan: You know, they don’t talk about such things openly. They say whatever is possible to say. I will do the same. First, the former head of Azerbaijan said that it was not the Armenians but the Azerbaijanis themselves. But I say that the truth may be different. Khojaly once tired all Karabakh, because there was an airport there, and our only connection with Armenia was by air transport because OMON was there, they were investigating and arresting people.
In addition, the residents of Khojaly opened fire near the Stepanakert (meaning Khankendi red). But I think the main issue is something else. Before Khojaly, Azerbaijanis thought they were just joking with us. The Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were not able to touch the civilian population. All these thoughts had to change. And so it was.
It should be noted that among these young people are those who flee Baku and Sumgait. Although, in my opinion, a lot has been exaggerated. The Azerbaijanis needed an excuse to identify any place with Sumgait. But they cannot be compared in any way. Yes, there was a really peaceful population in Khojaly as well. But there were soldiers along with civilians. And a civilian does not differ from a soldier while flying bullets, he has no eyes. Although it is a great opportunity to travel, if civilians remain there, it means that they are also involved in combat …
Thomas de Waal: It seems to me that you usually build up a corridor to…
Serzh Sargsyan: It was mainly after Khojaly. Because, in fact, our war was a bit different. We thought there was some ethnic cleansing going on. It could not be otherwise…