Azeri Foreign Ministry statement on the alleged military use of monuments of Islamic architecture located on the territory of Nagorno Karabakh does not correspond to reality, Karabakh Foreign Ministry said Monday, May 30.
“Azerbaijan, with its experience of using religious monuments for military purposes – proved by the transformation of the Kazanchetsots church in Shushi into a military warehouse in 1992 – is once again trying to attribute its own practices to Karabakh,” the Ministry said, characterizing the statement as another allegation in a series of Baku’s false accusations.
“A body of compelling evidence suggests systematic and deliberate destruction of Armenian cultural heritage sites by the Azerbaijani authorities on the whole territory of Azerbaijan, as well as in Karabakh’s occupied region of Shahumyan.”
“The most blatant act of vandalism is the destruction of the medieval Armenian khachkar cemetery near the town of Jugha (Julfa) in Nakhichevan and turning the site into a military range in 2005. Despite numerous international appeals, the Azerbaijani side, seeking to avoid responsibility, does not allow international experts to visit the area,” the Ministry added.
According to the Karabakh foreign policy agency, if the Azerbaijani authorities are genuinely interested in the implementation of the fact-finding mission to assess the situation with the historical and cultural monuments, and do not pursue merely political or propaganda-related goals, Karabakh can expect that the work of the mission will start from visiting Shahumyan region and Nakhichevan.
“At the same time, we consider it necessary to note that all the monuments located in the territory of Karabakh, irrespective of their origin, are included in the State Registry of the Historical and Cultural Immobile Monuments and are under state protection,” the Ministry said.
“The Nagorno Karabakh Republic has been and remains open to international cooperation for the protection and preservation of cultural and historical heritage, and expects a similar openness from Azerbaijan.”