YEREVAN, September 12. /ARKA/. On Wednesday, Armenian Parliament Vice-speaker Eduard Sharmazanov, commenting on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement on Karabakh problem, accused Ankara of encouraging racism and Armeno-phobia.
At his joint news conference with Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliev, Erdogan supported Baku’s stance on Karabakh problem saying that Armenia-Turkey border will not be opened until Karabakh conflict is settled.
“OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries – Russia, the United States and France – as well as many prominent international organizations have condemned Azerbaijan’s inhuman and immoral step (pardoning Lt. Ramil Safarov, an army officer convicted of the brutal murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest, where both attended the NATO-sponsored language course), while the Turkish prime minister is banking Azerbaijan and states publicly about this,” Sharmazanov said.
In February 2004, Ramil Safarov hacked Margaryan to death with an axe when the latter was sleeping. Safarov was given a life sentence in 2006 by a Hungarian court after he confessed to killing Lt. Margarian. However, in recent days, he was extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was pardoned by Azerbaijani president Ilkham Aliev.
Reacting to this step, Yerevan suspended its diplomatic relations with Hungary.
“I think Ankara and Baku haven’t forgotten that despite the considerable assistance Turkey has provided to Azerbaijan in Karabakh war, Artsakh Armenians won the war, proving their determination to live in a free and independent state and to be masters of their fate,” Sharmazanov said.
Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.
On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it.
Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations.
Since 1992, talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France. -0-