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In the News

ATAA Calls for Action to Remember the 1992 Khojaly Massacre

February 13, 2013

The Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) remembers the victims of the 1992 Khojaly Massacre, the largest mass killing of civilians during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. On the night of February 25-26, 1992, Armenian armed forces supported by Russia’s 366th Motor-Rifle Regiment attacked and destroyed Khojaly – once a town of 7,000 inhabitants – in the Mountainous Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Fleeing residents were subjected to one of the most brutal acts of ethnic cleansing known in recent times. Occupying Armenian forces killed 613 civilian Azerbaijani Turks, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elders, up to 1,000 people were reported missing. Over 1,000 people received permanent health damage, 1,275 people were taken hostage, and 8 families were fully destroyed. Over 150 children lost one or both parents.

The brutality of Armenian forces during the occupation of Khojaly was documented by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, “Memorial” Society, the New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, Agence France Presse and other human rights and media organizations. Newsweek reported that “many civilians were killed at a close range, some had their faces mutilated, others – were scalped”. The leader of the Armenian Secretary Army for Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorist group, Monte (Avo) Melkonian, described the killing fields with bodies of civilian men, women and children, which he witnessed near Khojaly a day after the massacre. His diary later published in Markar Melkonian’s “My Brother’s Road” blamed Arabo and Aramo groups, the Armenian mercenaries from Syria and Lebanon, for the grizzly massacre of Azerbaijani civilians.

Another Armenian field commander, now President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, shared his view of the Khojaly Massacre for the Thomas De Waal’s 2004 book “The Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War”:

“Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were people who would not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype].”

Despite the magnitude of evidence, Armenia’s leadership continues to deny any responsibility and, in some cases, alleges that the Khojaly Massacre did not take place or that it was committed by Azerbaijanis against their own people. In response to such reprehensible position of the Armenian authorities, Human Rights Watch noted:

“We place direct responsibility for the civilian deaths with Armenian forces. Indeed, neither our report nor that of Memorial includes any evidence to support the Armenian argument that Azerbaijani forces obstructed the flight of, or fired on Azeri civilians.”

To date, Armenia obstructs any investigation of this war crime by the ongoing occupation of Azerbaijani territories and the recent attempts to launch an airport in Khojaly.

Over the past few years, the legislatures in the U.S. States of Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia, New Mexico and Arkansas as well as the parliaments in Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Pakistan and Turkey adopted resolutions commemorating the Khojaly Massacre. Ahead of the 21st anniversary of the horrific crime against humanity committed by Armenian forces in Khojaly, ATAA appeals to Turkish, Turkic and other communities across the United States to join the action campaign by the Pax Turcica Institute calling for recognition of the 1992 Khojaly Massacre.

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