“There was the Khanate of Karabakh, which became part of the Russian Empire in 1805. The Treaty of Gulistan was signed, with the Karabakh Khan from the Azerbaijani side, his title was the Khan of Karabakh and Shusha, Ibrahim Khalil, and from the Russian side, it was signed by the Imperial General Tsitsianov. The text of the Treaty of Gulistan is available on the internet, and anyone can familiarize themselves with it. There is no mention of the Armenian population or any special rights of the Armenian population in it. So, this clearly emphasizes, as historians well know, that Karabakh is an ancient land populated by Azerbaijanis who have lived on their territory for centuries, for millennia. After the Treaty of Gulistan, there were two more treaties between Azerbaijani khanates and Russia – the Treaty of Gyulistan in 1813 and the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828 – in which other Azerbaijani khanates, including the Iravan Khanate, became part of Russia. In these documents, of course, the talk was about Azerbaijani lands. After the Sovietization of the South Caucasus, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was created. Why was it created? Because after the documents of the 19th century, there was massive migration of the Armenian population to the territory of Azerbaijan from Persia and Eastern Anatolia. And by the time of Sovietization, the ethnic composition of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan was no longer the same as it was before the beginning of the 19th century. Based on this, there may have been some other reasons, and by that time, the Soviet authorities, the Soviet Union, had already formed the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, not even a republic, but a region within the Azerbaijani SSR. This was exactly one hundred years ago. By the time centrifugal tendencies began to manifest themselves in the Soviet Union, Armenian separatism and aggressive extremism had risen, and by the end of the 1980s, informal extremist organizations had been created, unfortunately, this did not receive proper assessment from the central Soviet leadership and in many cases was even encouraged by them,” the president said.
According to Aliyev, we all remember who was leading the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, and naturally, it was impossible to expect anything different.
“All of this led to the disruption of traditional relations of peace, friendship, and harmony between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples. A harmful ideology of national exclusivity and superiority was introduced, and attempts were made to justify claims to Azerbaijani Karabakh land. These tendencies transformed into open aggression after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the occupation of Azerbaijani lands. As a result, about 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory – both the Karabakh region and the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, as well as seven districts that had no relation to that autonomous entity, were occupied. Ethnic cleansing was carried out, more than a million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their ancestral lands, and the situation remained unchanged until the autumn of 2020. Azerbaijan made every effort to resolve the issue peacefully. We were participants in a long and fruitless negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE. And, by the way, the fact that this conflict was not resolved speaks to the need for a major transformation in the OSCE. Also, in the face of this conflict, we see the inability of the United Nations to use its authority and leverage, because despite the adoption of four resolutions by the UN Security Council calling for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territory, they were not implemented in practice. We waited for a long time, we had hopes. I have been involved in negotiations since 2004 at various stages, but unfortunately, all hopes were dashed in 2019. The Prime Minister of Armenia declared that ‘Karabakh is Armenia, and that’s it.’ This put an end to all negotiations and made them completely meaningless. Not to mention that it was an open territorial claim against sovereign Azerbaijan, as no country in the world, including Armenia, recognized the so-called ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.’ So, this provocative, ill-considered, I would say suicidal, as it turned out, step by the Armenian leadership and other provocative actions, including military actions, led to the start of the Second Karabakh War in September 2020, which lasted for 44 days and ended with the complete defeat of the Armenian army and the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. With the mediation of the Russian Federation and personally President Vladimir Putin, a trilateral statement was signed on the night of November 9-10, 2020, under which the territories of the districts adjacent to the former Nagorno-Karabakh region, which were still under occupation, were also returned to Azerbaijan, and Russian peacekeeping forces were deployed to the region,” emphasized Ilham Aliyev.