Why Is Nagorno-Karabakh Vital For Armenia? – OpEd

When looking on the existing conflicts one should never underestimate the importance of the historical background of the particular conflict. Thus, by having a quick glance at the Armenian and Azerbaijani history it would be easier to have some insights over one of the most complex disputes of the post-Soviet region.

For Armenia keeping Nagorno-Karabakh is very sensitive issue. If looking back into the history of Armenian nation one would see that this nation has lost so many territories over the decades, particularly the most painful lost was the territory of Western Armenia, which also resulted in Armenian Genocide (1.5 millions of Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks). Thus, for the Christian nation, which constantly considered itself as a victim of historical injustice and unfortunate destiny the military victory in 1994 was a turning point.

Thus, although the land of Nagorno-Karbakh is not full of natural resources such as gas or oil, and there is no sea access, which would also be essential for the country like Armenia, but it means much more than merely a land with beautiful landscape and pleasing views for Armenian nation. It engenders hope for the whole nation, which changes the psychology of being a victim to the being a victorious nation.

For Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karbakh has different importance. In 1918, the regions of Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh, where Armenian population has been historically living, were heavily contested between the newly formed and short-lived states of the Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR).

At that time, Soviet Union had far-reaching plans concerning Turkey, which had no actual border with its “brother-nation” Azerbaijan. Therefore, already in 1920 the Soviet Union agreed to a division under which Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhchivan would fall under the control of Azerbaijan. Needless to mention how frustrated and disappointed were Armenians by losing this diplomatic battle. But for Azerbaijan, having Nakhchivan, which linked them to Turkey was of outmost importance. Therefore, during the whole existence of the Soviet era Azerbaijan with the significant assistance of Turkey was gradually enhancing its stance in Nakhchivan, which resulted in a dramatic decrease of the number of Armenians in that area.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s, as a result of anti-Armenian pogroms hundreds of thousands of Armenians fled Azerbaijan and when there was a real fear of the new genocide Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh expressed their willingness to be reunited with Armenia and to get out of the Azerbaijani control.

This situation resulted in escalation of full-scale military operations and although Armenians succeeded to win that war in 1994, on the diplomatic grounds Armenia’s capabilities were limited. With the engagement of the third parties the negotiation process became even more complicated keeping the region in the tense situation.

Thus, nowadays under the low-intensity war condition, and under the continuous external pressure by Azerbaijan on the international platforms the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic actively undertakes state-building activities. And although it has not been recognized by the UN member states yet, it has been recognized by seven US (California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Maine, Hawaii, Georgia) and one Australian state (New South Wales). The recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by the sub-state entities of the federal states is new phenomenon for the international community. Although these recognition is providing wide scope of cooperation with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and in some cases that cooperation does exist (twin-cities, bilateral visits, investments in Nagorno-Karabakh), its implications need to be contextualized yet.


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Edita Ghazaryan

Edita Ghazaryan*

Edita Ghazaryan has comprehensive background in research on international affairs and political science, reinforced by an extensive academic training and a multifaceted skill set, including program monitoring and evaluation, editing, and trilingual fluency (Armenian/English/Russian). Proficiency in conducting policy and market research. Currently works at Breavis Research and Communications Company as Data Collection Officer. Has a number of published articles in international journals.

8 thoughts on “Why Is Nagorno-Karabakh Vital For Armenia? – OpEd

  • August 18, 2017 at 10:30 am
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    This OpEd represents the Armenian position. But it leaves out the key factor: stratigraphy. The map of Nagorno [“High”] Karabakh is pretty much the 1200 metre contour lines. The Armenians live above it, in the mountains; the Azeris, below it, in the plains.

    That separation is exactly comparable with that of the Swiss, the Ethiopians, the Kurds, the Chechens, Ingush and Dagestanis, the Hill Tribes [Chin, Karen, Kachin, Shan, Karenni, Mon etc.] of Burma, Hmong of Laos, Nepalis, Tibetans, Bhutanese and others.

    With few exceptions, the world has been slow to recognise what a real cultural separation this is. It is abut time the UN woke up to this.

    Reply
    • August 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm
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      Why even bother writing such a comment? It makes zero sense.

      Don’t tell me, you people couldn’t get around the historical argument against Armenia, so now it’s time to “scientifically” analyze geography using big words like “stratigraphy” and then involve the UN? lol…

      Reply
    • August 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm
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      Try to find any Azerbaijan on any map before 1918. It didn’t exist. Also Turks belong in Asia not the Caucuses. They are occupiers and invaders squatting on others lands.

      Reply
  • August 18, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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    Looks like a typo in the article where it says ” particularly the most painful lost was the territory of Eastern Armenia” — should be “Western Armenia” I think, although large parts of Eastern Armenia was also lost thanks to the Soviet-Turk ‘friendship’ during and after the Genocide.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm
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    Lets go even further back: Turks are NOT from the caucus or Anatolia at all. They are invaders, Mongol descendants from the Asian foothills. They currently occupy other’s historical properties, namely the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. The Ottomans were occupiers and oppressors of others and by WW1 most had rid the Turkish burden. The Armenians weren’t so lucky as their ancient homeland was in Anatolia itself. So in 1915 the Zionist, (yes they were) CUP young Turk Regime decided upon genocide and carried it out. The whols purpose was theft. Artsakh, (Karabakh) was also ancient Armenian lands GIVEN Away by the USSR’s Joseph Stalin to a newly created Muslim Turkish oil country called Azerbaijan, invented itself in 1918, in the Illegal Treaty of Kars in 1921, also called treaty of friendship, and remained frozen until the end of the USSR. Once that ended so did all things USSR but Azerbaijan decided upon war and ethnic cleansing yet LOST THAT WAR. Armenian liberated their lands. Now with oil funds Azerbaijan’s dictator for life Aliyev, threatens Armenians daily and shoots at the Karabakh border daily. Azerbaijan will lose a second war. It will be bloody for both sides but they will lose.

    Reply
  • August 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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    Coca Cola and even American Dental Association are older than azerbaijan .

    Reply
  • August 24, 2017 at 10:19 am
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    Four UN Security Council resolutions have been passed against the illegal Armenian invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions. Please do not forget this.

    Reply
    • August 25, 2017 at 12:39 pm
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      The un is not under threat of a second genocide from east and west. They speak from place of comfort. They can go to hell with their resolutions. If they were so concerned, why not send international peace keepers to keep the dogs at bay? And why didnt un bring charges against azerbaijan for the sumgait pogroms for crimes against humanity in 88? Un is an almost useless entity.

      Reply

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