The great return of Azerbaijanis to Karabakh and Western Azerbaijan


The people of Azerbaijan are celebrating the 3rd anniversary of their victory together with the Azerbaijanis of the world and millions of their supporters who wish for justice. President Ilham Aliyev in his address to the people after the victory on November 8, 2020, said: “We are writing a new glorious history of our people and our country. This is the history of Victory!”

In 1991, when Azerbaijan broke away from the Soviet Union and declared its independence, one-third of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh was under occupation, and in 1994, 20% of Azerbaijan’s lands were already occupied by Armenia, and up to 1 million Azerbaijanis became refugees and forcibly displaced from their homeland. Up to 250,000 of them were expelled from Armenia. With the 44-day war of 2020, Azerbaijani Army freed most of the lands from occupation. On October 15, 2023, national integrity of Azerbaijan was ensured by raising the victory flag in Khankendi, the center of separatism. This is the completion of the first mission, while the upcoming mission is the realization of the second dream of the great leader Heydar Aliyev – ensuring the return of Azerbaijanis to their historical homeland in today`s Armenia, to the districts of Goycha, Zangezur, Yerevan. We believe that this mission will also be realized. But in a peaceful way, without weapons and by winning peace.

As part of the series of festivals, symposia, marches, contests and social-scientific events dedicated to the Victory Day, within the framework of the “Great Return” state program, the Social Research Center (SRC) presented the second volume of the book “Our material-cultural heritage in Western Azerbaijan” by the valuable researcher Afgan Valiyev on November 6, 2023 to the community. The work conveys to the new generation the memory, beliefs and stories carried by the monuments created by the Western Azerbaijanis, that is, our compatriots who were expelled from Armenia, over hundreds of years, their spiritual and physical identity. There is information about 144 material (tangible) cultural monuments. The first volume of this book is called “Our material-cultural heritage in the historical lands of Azerbaijan” and was presented to the Azerbaijani public by the SRC at an event held on July 4, 2022. The first volume contains information about 244 material (tangible) cultural monuments created by Azerbaijanis in the past in the territory of current Armenia. It should be noted that in 1897, 37.7% of the people living in the former Iravan governorate (present-day Armenia) of Tsarist Russia were Azerbaijanis. According to this census, the number of Azerbaijanis exceeded the number of Armenians in the city of Yerevan. Let’s also take into account that the mass resettlement of Armenians to the present territory of Armenia and Karabakh in Azerbaijan took place during the Russian-Safavid (Iran) wars of 1813-1828 and the Russian-Ottoman wars of 1828-1829. In the subsequent period, Azerbaijanis who historically lived in the territory of Armenia were forcibly deported at appropriate time intervals (1905-1920, 1948-1953, 1987-1991). Although the Azerbaijanis who were forced to leave Armenia played an important role in the establishment, development, and management of the independent Azerbaijan state, their return to Western Azerbaijan/Armenia, the cleansing of the South Caucasus from the ideology of eternal enmity, and realization of the great construction there – peace building, infrastructure and transport construction, economic construction, and bringing global ideas to the local space – all these are included in our perspectives and future horizons.

In the 32nd year of the restoration of independence, Azerbaijan has been able to gather around the ideal of the Great Return. This does not mean that “we have historical lands left in the territories of Russia, Iran, Georgia or Armenia, and let`s attack neighboring countries and make territorial claims”, but it is a message that conveys to future generations that the heart and political geography of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis is larger than 86.6 thousand square kilometers, and keeps the historical memory alive. It is a peaceful strategic program, Azerbaijan does not make territorial claims to any state.

Unlike the 30-year long road to the victory, returning to Armenia, i.e. Yerevan, Goycha, Zangezur may be possible in a short time. The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev does not call for military capture of Goycha and Zangezur. Liberation of the South Caucasus from eternal enmity, opening of communications, construction of infrastructure, restoration of economic relations, mutually beneficial trade and building of a joint future will pave a way to Armenian-Azerbaijani peace and regional prosperity. Today, 500,000 Armenians in the USA, 600,000 in France, 200,000 in Iran, 150,000 in Lebanon, 100,000 in Syria, and 2.5 million in Russia have integrated into their societies, so Armenians can live with Azerbaijanis in security, peace and prosperity.

Is Nikol Pashinyan, Armenian Prime Minister who wants the official request of the Azerbaijani state for the return of the Armenian population recently resettled from Khankendi (Stepanakert), ready to call the Western Azerbaijanis to return to Yerevan, Goycha and Zangezur? Unfortunately, there are foreign forces trying to rekindle hostility and incite conflict in the South Caucasus. UNESCO, which is obliged to protect cultural heritage, has now become a foreign policy weapon of Elysee. France shows a one-sided (pro-Armenian) attitude, which does not at all investigate the material cultural heritage created by Azerbaijanis in Armenia. The Minister of Culture of France declares that they have identified 5200 objects belonging to Armenians in Karabakh. However, in the last two hundred years, at least 7 times, our individual and national wealth has been looted by Armenians. Now we have a new slogan: “Goycha is Shusha of Western Azerbaijan”. The Karabakh conflict started in Yerevan, and it will find and end there. As the Berlin Wall collapsed, the cultural, spiritual, economic and trade ties of Baku and Yerevan will be restored, and the barrier to brains will be removed.

Finally, in the end, the new regional geopolitical reality established by Azerbaijan against the background of world order, or rather global chaos, guarantees peace in the region. The fact that the UN, OSCE, European Union and the European Parliament are watching the live broadcast of the Gaza war, and the indecisive meetings show the failure of the international security system. For the first time in history, Azerbaijan decides its own destiny. We will return to Goycha from Karabakh. Roads to Yerevan are free from occupation. Now every Azerbaijani says:

We will not be displaced again!

We will not become refugees again!

We will not be subject to occupation and loss of land again!

Our victory will be lasting and eternal!

Author:Zahid Oruj
Member of Parliament,
Chairman of the Social Research Center,Azerbahijan