Can Karpat, AIA Turkish section
The president of the Karabakh Liberation Organisation, Akif Nagi claims that International institutions prefer procrastinating the conflict, rather than to find a real solution for it. Although there are resolutions, which qualified Armenia as the “occupying state”, those gave no concrete results so far, he notes, trying to show that Turkey and Azerbaijan has common interests for pressuring Armenia. Using the word occupation numerously, he also calls for military actions against Yerevan.
AIA brings translation of the interview with Akif Nagi from Turkish weekly Strateji Dergisi, taken by Araz Aslanli from the Turkish National Security Strategies Research Centre (TUSAM), Caucasus Research Department.
According to the president of the Karabakh Liberation Organisation Nagi, Armenia that holds Karabakh region of Azerbaijan has also territorial demands from Turkey. Consequently problems of Azerbaijan and Turkey are common. Since the conflict cannot be resolved by diplomatic means, solution should be sought in the right of legitimate defending of Azerbaijan.
Aslani: – Could you please introduce us your organisation?
Nagi: – The Karabakh Liberation Organisation (KLO) had been established in January 2000. However its history actually begun during the first half of the 1990s. When Armenian armies had occupied Azerbaijan territories, as a group of patriots, we had established the Karabakh Freedom Movement to save our territories from the occupation. At first, I was a member of the board of directors, then the co-president. The establishment of that movement annoyed the Azerbaijani administration at that time. After a long pursuit, our organisation was proclaimed illegal in 1996 and its activities stopped. Efforts to revive the movement had failed. Therefore we had founded the Karabakh Coordination Council in 1998. Thereafter as the prolongation of that Council, we had established the KLO.
Our organisation included those, who emigrated from the occupied territories during the first Karabakh wars and academicians. Amongst our members, there are the former Prime Minister, the former Minister of Defence and the former Minister of Interior. The main mission of the KLO is to remind the whole world as well as the Azerbaijani public opinion of the fact that Azerbaijani territories should be liberated from the Armenian occupation. Thanks to the KLO’s efforts, Armenia could not institutionalise the territories that it occupied in Azerbaijan on international platform, any peace treaty that would harm Azerbaijani territorial integrity could not be signed and Armenian efforts in order to make the international community to forget that occupation failed. For that reason, the KLO became a centre, of which opinion about the occupied territories compels the attention of international institutions, the Azerbaijani government and opposition. The KLO has agencies everywhere in Azerbaijan as well as in Turkey, Russia, Switzerland and Estonia among many other countries. The KLO should strengthen its activities especially in Turkey, in our kin State.
A:- How do you evaluate the current situation of the Karabakh occupation?
N:- From the day where our territories had been occupied until so far, Azerbaijani administrations did not engage in any serious élan to save our territories. Neither Armenia is willing to abandon by diplomatic means the territories that it occupied, nor the Azerbaijani administration to abandon peace negotiations, which will not turn the situation in favour of Azerbaijan anyway. Efforts to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means actually serve Armenia, not Azerbaijan.
A:- Is the role of international institutions in order to resolve the conflict sufficient and objective?
N:- We, as the KLO, do find the role of international institutions in order to resolve the conflict neither sufficient nor objective. If the role of those institutions had been sufficient and objective, Armenian armies would not have stood on Azerbaijani territories today. Those institutions actually prefer procrastinating diplomatic negotiations. And this fact, as I have said before, serves Armenia’s interests. Negotiations may continue after Armenia has been recognised as the “occupying state” on international platform and in peace negotiations. As to the resolutions adopted by the United Nations European Council and the European Union Parliaments in order to compel Armenia to move from Azerbaijani territories, they had no concrete positive effect on the issue so far. Those institutions did not impose any sanction whatsoever on Armenia, the occupier State so far. And this is the sign of the international injustice displayed towards Azerbaijani State and people.
A:- How do you evaluate Turkey’s role in the solution process of the conflict?
N- At the beginning of the 1992, Turkey had participated in the solution of the conflict as a State party. However, today, the solution of the issue is incumbent upon the Minsk Group in the framework of the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe). And this weakens Turkey’s role. We consider the fact that Turkey does not establish diplomatic relations with Armenia positively. Furthermore we really appreciate restrictions that Turkey applies on its economic and cultural relations with Armenia. We do not forget what difficulties the Turkish foreign policy has to endure in this process, and we know that Turkey succeeds in what is the hardiest in that way. However we invite Turkish State and people to be more sensible on that issue. We are very disappointed with the recent news about the eventual opening of the Turkish-Armenian frontiers. Against it, we also arranged a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy in Baku. We expect more efforts from the Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan about this conflict.
Regarding the relations with Armenia, interests of Azerbaijan and Turkey coincide. Armenia occupies Azerbaijan’s territories while having so-called genocide and territorial demands from Turkey. These facts oblige Azerbaijan and Turkey to act together against Armenia.
A:- What do you expect from bilateral negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia about the conflict?
N:- Azerbaijan’s territories are under occupation. And Armenia will not abandon our territories by diplomatic negotiations. Consequently no positive result to save Azerbaijan’s territories from the occupation will follow from these negotiations. Therefore these initiatives mean nothing to us. Our territories are de facto under the Armenian occupation.
A:- What is the solution if it was up to you?
N:- I have already told that neither justice nor Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity can be restored by diplomatic means. So I can answer your question as follows: the solution of that conflict is possible only by means of war. Azerbaijan should fight in order to save its territories. Once the territories liberated, Azerbaijani State will take care of problems of its citizens living in these territories. Those, who had suffered from the occupation and who had been driven away from their lands, are not Armenians but one million Azerbaijanis.
A:- Do Azerbaijani armies have enough power to save these territories from the occupation?
N:- When Mustafa Kemal had started the War of Liberation in 1919, he had had neither weapons nor armies enough. However Atatürk had not evaluated the situation from that point of view. We too, Turks of Azerbaijan, should adopt Atatürk’s logic in order to liberate our territories from foreign occupation. First of all, our people and our army have to believe that our territories has to be saved, and can be saved.
Moreover international law grants the right of legitimate defence to Azerbaijani State in order to liberate its territories from foreign occupation. Azerbaijan has army, population, economy and allies to use its right of legitimate defence. Azerbaijani State and people have no other choice than to save these occupied territories. This issue, which has a great effect on Azerbaijani foreign and internal politics, is a matter of life or death for Azerbaijan.