Episode 232 | Recorded: February 28, 2023
Yesterday and today mark the 35th anniversary of the pogroms in Sumgait. Between February 27-29, 1988, the calls of Armenians in Karabakh for reunification with Armenia, which occurred earlier that month were met with brutal murder, violence, and plunder in Sumgait. More than 200 Armenians were killed, and Sumgait was eventually cleansed of its Armenian population. The organizers have not been punished and the real number of victims is unknown due to cover-up by Baku. This was the beginning of the complete annihilation of Armenian communities throughout Azerbaijan. Today a community estimated at over 250,000 Armenians in the Baku and Sumgait areas is gone, wiped out. Who remembers the Armenians of Azerbaijan?
Three weeks ago, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria. The death toll in Turkey is around 45,000 people while in Syria it’s around 6,000. There are many Armenians among the casualties.
Armenia also dispatched rescuers to both Syria and Turkey, and the border with Turkey was opened twice to let through convoys of trucks carrying Armenian aid to the distressed areas.
We’ve already discussed the debate that ensued within Armenian politics regarding this aid and its aims. Today let’s to focus more on Turkey’s situation and how that affects us.
Prior to the Earthquake, Erdogan was busy ensuring his reelection in the May Presidential elections.
In the current phase of Turkish-Armenian so-called “Normalization”:
A few days ago marked the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine. It started as a “special operation” which should have lasted a couple of weeks, but here we are a year later. The special operation has become a Russia vs the West proxy war on the territory of Ukraine, and it could easily explode into a wider, multi-front global disaster.
Just before this anniversary Putin gave a “state of the country” address. In general it seems like Putin kept the west surprised.
Last weekend Pashinyan attended the Annual Munich Security Conference. There was a public panel full of embarrassing scenes of Aliyev calling Pashinyan and Armenians “occupiers” and “capitulants”, of course with no response.
Since then the west has upped the intensity, pushing Armenia to sign Aliyev’s “peace treaty”. Some elements of this were leaked by Ashotyan, who showed a document that claimed he is 100% sure is genuine, which reconfirms that what is being negotiated is some form of guarantees of Armenians of Artsakh within the borders of Azerbaijan. Anthony Blinken has said that there will be a meeting in Brussels in the coming days.
In his recent interview just before the weekend, Security Council chair Armen Grigoryan repeated Nikol’s claim that EU monitors are here to keep watch on Russians, and denied that they “negotiated” with the Ashotyan document, referring to the document disclosed by Ashotyan.
Aliyev visited Turkey last week. After the disastrous earthquake there, given the closeness of the countries, an official visit from Aliyev was expected to happen quickly and delays in the visit raised questions. Official reports about the meeting were sparse, however, there were reports that Armenian-Azerbaijani relations were also a topic of discussion.
Lavrov visited Baku today. Media reported that “special attention will be paid to the implementation of trilateral agreements between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia”.
The meeting comes right after the fact that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is no longer carrying any Russian oil due to Western sanctions.
In an announcement, Lavrov mentioned that having a passport control checkpoint on the Lachin/Berdzor corridor was not envisaged by the November 9/10 declaration, however, at the same time he said that military cargo was also not envisaged. Lavrov spoke about using technology to address this problem.
Last week the ICJ partially ruled in favor of Armenia in response to Armenia’s request. Armenia had made 3 requests in its appeal:
UN Secretary General Guterrez calls the ICJ ruling “binding”, and the EU notes this as well. But Azerbaijan has yet to make any changes in its m.o. regarding the Artskah Blockade.
Through all this of course the Artsakh Blockade has continued, this was day 79. Of course we are aware that on Thursday Artsakh president Arayik Harutyunyan sacked state minister Ruben Vardanyan. Both Aliyev and Pashinyan had been calling for his ouster.
Alright, let’s wrap up our topics here. I’d like to ask each of you if there’s been something on your mind this past week that you want to talk about.
We hope you found our Week in Review helpful. We invite your feedback and your suggestions, you can find us on most social media and podcast platforms. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts.
Dr. Arthur Khachikyan, an International Relations expert from Stanford University, specializing in intervention. He currently teaches at the Russian Armenian University in Yerevan.
Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.
Asbed is founder of Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.