Chapter 13. Exporting armenophobia
Any ideology, however perfect it may seem to be, cannot be considered full-fledged, if
it does not enjoy the support and approval of the outside world. It is especially so, if we
consider certain peculiarities of the character calling for a constant praise, admiration and
Thus, the victory over the common sense and civilization in Azerbaijan cannot be deemed
complete inasmuch as the ideology of armenophobia does not seem to enjoy much of
a support from anybody else in the outside world. From the perspective of Azerbaijani
figures, the outside world underestimates and misjudges "the true essence of Armenians",
with Azerbaijan taking up the mission of "exposing the truth to the world".
After forming a perfectly armenophobic top-down hierarchy going all the way from the
authorities to the lowest social strata, Azerbaijan has embarked upon its mission of
disseminating its philosophy of "tolerance with preconditions" across the globe. During
international meetings, conferences, workshops and conventions, apart from sharing their
experience in reinforcing tolerance with their foreign colleagues, Azerbaijani figures rub in
the "truth about Armenians" with a missionary zeal.
The onus for exporting armenophobia is placed on every patriot of Azerbaijan, from
representatives of the authorities to plain citizens, irrespective of their sex, age, social
status and intellectual capacity.
Several forms of taking a "civic stand" and exposing the truth about Armenians can be
identified from the press.
Pointed refusals to take part in events, if they involve or relate to Armenians
In Austria, the ballet Gаyаne was staged in dedication to the Armenian artist Gayane Khachaturyan
and planned to feature Mehman and Nariman Mardanovs, dancers from Azerbaijan, who in their
time were admitted to Europaballett St.Pölten at the personal request of the Azerbaijan's Minister
of Culture. However, Azerbaijanis refused to take part in the project under the pretext that the artist
Gayane Khachaturyan was Armenian. Shortly after, the Austrian Minister of Culture stepped in
to investigate the scandal and requested the Azerbaijani dancers to leave the country. Mardanov
brothers have already sent back to Baku.
An Azerbaijani refused to introduce an Armenian singer at an international contest. < …> Azerbaijan
was presented at the contest by 16-year-old Emin Eminzadeh, a student of the music school № 35
of Baku under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, who was a prize winner of the last year's contest
and was invited by the organizing committee as an honorary guest to act as a host person. < …>
Emin presented the Armenian delegation only very briefly refraining from the announcement of the
Armenian singer on stage and pronouncing words of praise about Armenia in violation of the rules of
the contest. He did not change his position even after the intervention of the organizing committee
13. Exporting armenophobia declaring his readiness to hand down the functions of the host person. This created some tension, and
ultimately, the Armenian singer was presented by the host person from Lithuania, Ruta Lukoseviciute.
<…> Emin also declined the invitation of the Armenian delegation to take part in an international
contest to be held in Yerevan this October. < …> Emin Eminzadeh attended the Opus-2013 contest
together with his teacher, Fidan Gasimova, People's Artist of the USSR, and his father, Khazar Emin, a
board member of the World Azerbaijanis Congress.
Abuse in respect of Armenians and persons who are related to them or have expressed a positive opinion
Azerbaijani director: "Had there been a boy instead of a little girl, I would bang his head against the
wall for asking me if I was Armenian".
Publika.az published a story by Shamil Sadig entitled "Armenian Child", with its plot
most probably unfolding in Russia during a rehearsal dedicated to Aghdam events of
1992. Under the guidance of an Azerbaijani director nicknamed Lamakan, children learn
poems about Khojaly and the anthem of Azerbaijan. However, things advance slowly,
because according to the director, "children do not feel the essence of the tragedy".
After another session at the arts and leisure center, as the director is about to leave, a group of
primary school pupils enters the room accompanied by their teacher of Russian. A blond girl comes
up to the director and asks: "Mister, are you Armenian?"
The director describes his indignation and outrage over the question, but tells of patting the girl's
head and answering that he was not Armenian, but Azerbaijani. To his friends, who witnessed this
incident, he said that had there been a boy instead of a little girl, he would have banged his head
against the wall to show what it meant to be an Armenian.
As the story unfolds, after a while, the same girl approaches him and supposedly says: "Do you know
that you are our enemies? Your grandfathers killed our grandfathers and grandmothers. My mom
says that I should have no friends form among Turks, that they are our eternal enemies. The story
further describes how a grown-up man enters a debate with a young child and sets out to prove to
her that Armenians are to blame for the events of Khojaly. The teacher of Russian steps in and takes
the child away from the Azerbaijanis.
On July 30, 2013, in the military unit № 48315 of the city of Znamensk, Astrakhan Oblast, Emil
Abdullayev, an old-timer conscript of Azerbaijani origin (who had served 8 months) attacked an
Armenian, Jean Meroyan, who had just taken his oath of allegiance. The incident took place in the
toilet, with the Azerbaijani first shouldering the Armenian aside and then in reply to his question of
why he had done so, all of a sudden charged at the Armenian hitting him and breaking his jaw.
Demands to isolate ethnic Armenians from public venues
The Azerbaijani football club Simurg demanded from the management of the Limаk Atlаntis hotel in
Antalya to evict players and the staff of the Armenian club Gandzasar who stayed at the same hotel.
"It is not clear how could the management of the hotel in their right mind host at the same hotel
teams from Azerbaijan and Armenia", stated a representative of Simurg. "Either we will check out
without paying, or the management will evict the Armenian team", stated the representatives of the
Ramiz Mamedov, the coach of the Kazakh Atyrau team, aired his position about the Armenian forward,
Tigran Gharabaghtsyan, who had a contract with the club. "As far as I know, Gharabaghtsyan is no
longer a player of Atyrau. But if it is not so, I'm in for a conversation with the club's management. If I
work with Atyrau, there will be no Armenians around", stated Mamedov.
Accusations against business entities for parallel business projects with both Armenia and Azerbaijan
This results in exhorting their business partners to cease economic contacts with ethnic
Armenians or companies owned by Armenians or with Armenian staff members.
An Iranian company running buses between Tabriz and Yerevan rents an office in Baku International
Bus Terminal. "A reader of our information resource was concerned over this fact. As reported by
AZE.az, the Iranian company which runs buses between Tabriz and Yerevan rents an office in Baku
International Bus Terminal. This information was communicated by our reader, Samira Aliyeva, who
had lately arrived from Tabriz. As can be seen from the ticket enclosed, Aram Safar Company provides
passenger transportation to Istanbul, Yerevan, Ankara, Syria, Van and Baku. By the way, the capital of
Azerbaijan is mentioned last for some reason.
Azerbaijan demanded explanation from the official Ankara over operating
flights between Van and Yerevan. The opening of this flight does not comply with
Turkey's position on the occupation of the Azerbaijani lands", stated Ali Ahmedov,
Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the ruling party Yeni Azerbaijan.
<... > As long as Azerbaijani lands are not liberated from the occupation, we don't want any easing in
the relationship between Turkey and Armenia".
Organization of armenophobic events involving the residents of the countries where they are held
Habib Abdullayev (Muntazir), an Azerbaijani who lives in Germany, was fined by a court verdict to pay
a sum of 900 euros for disparaging comments about the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. Habib
Abdullayev was detained on June 22, 2010 as he was shouting anti-Armenian slogans during the visit
of the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to Berlin.
Indiscriminate use of international platforms for armenophobic propaganda
Another anti-Armenian provocation attempt was thwarted at 18th International Book Fair held in
Minsk in 2011. Armenia and Azerbaijan presented their stands at the fair; however, the Azerbaijani
delegation preferred to cram their stand with anti-Armenian propaganda materials rather than
any interesting literature. The Armenian delegation immediately drew the organizers' attention to
this inadmissible fact by noting that Armenia featured at the fair mostly literature on culture, while
Azerbaijan presented literature containing unabashed anti-Armenian falsifications and xenophobic
propaganda. As a result, the Azerbaijani stand was closed down, and the Azerbaijani delegation was
forced to leave the fair and discontinue its participation.
Zarifa Salahova, owner of the museum and collection of miniature books: In 2004, I visited the
United States as a part of an Azerbaijani delegation of art historians and museum workers, <... >.
Imagine the situation; when I took the floor, all members of the delegation except Alla Bayramova,
director of the Museum of Culture, tried to dissuade me from this undertaking as "we didn't come
for that". I sharply retorted that I knew better and told the Americans of our pain.
Later, we were
accommodated in host American families. There again, I spent two and a half hours telling them the story of Karabakh on the very first evening. I gave them printed materials and a CD in English.
Every evening, my host family received different guests who listened to my story of the tragedy of
Karabakh with interest. I was invited to visit other Americans and I always started my conversation
with Karabakh. Once, my hosts asked for my permission to introduce me to an American Armenian
whose ancestors had moved to the United States in late 19th century. He told me of Armenia's difficult
situation in late 2004 and considered that if Armenians did not give us back Karabakh, their lot would
be even harsher.
Public scandals and intimidation of representatives of international and foreign organizations and structures
At the international conference "Music for Democracy" held in Baku, an argument erupted between
Chingiz Ganizadeh, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament, and Volker Beck, a deputy of Germany's
Bundestag. In his address to those attending the conference, the Azerbaijani deputy aired his
indignation over the fact that "a person who did not acknowledge the occupation of Azerbaijan's
territories was invited to attend the conference Music for Democracy, something that elicits feelings
of regret and surprise".
After the Rabochaya Gazeta Ukrainian newspaper published in its issue of February 23 an article
entitled "Imperishable celebration of loyalty, bravery and fortitude", the staff of the Azerbaijani Vesti.
az information agency started terrorizing the editorial staff of the Rabochaya Gazeta Ukrainian
newspaper and the author of the article. The article told the story of Hamayak Arshakovich
Safaryan, a panel member of the Kiev War Veteran's Organization noting that "he was born in the
ancient Armenian land of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the village of Kemrakuch of Hadrut region". The
Azerbaijani information agency demanded an acknowledgment stating that Nagorno-Karabakh
was an Azerbaijani land. After receiving a polite rebuff, Vesti.az voices its indignation: "That's it! No
apologies, no assurances that tomorrow the newspaper will publish a clarification on this matter in
its next issue. < …> How can Tolokin, who lives in the remote city of Kiev, know about Armenian guile
Public scandals and intimidation foreign citizens accompanied by verbal abuse
The Azerbaijani website Vesti.az: The news that the famous Turkish singer Sezen Aksu will sing the
song Sari Gelin in Armenian and will include it into her new album, became an unpleasant surprise to
me. This is another occasion for Armenians to pass the Azerbaijani song Sari Gelin as an 'anthem of
love' of the Armenian Ashot and his 'chick' Haykanush. I think that you will agree that this occasion is
meaningful as it is a Turkish woman who sings this song in Armenian. Although after what happened,
I doubt that this singer really has Turkish blood running through her veins.
Akif Islamzadeh, singer: As far as Sezen Aksu is concerned, I can understand her: she has lost her
voice and she needs money. Her hoarse-voiced singing will do for Armenians; for them, she will be like
Montserrat Caballe. And my advice to her would be not to politicize this song and pay more attention
to her reputation.
Unsolicited junk mail with armenophobic contents and calls against people who are viewed as holding a
Akif Nagi, the chairman of the Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO), addressed a letter to the
Pope Benedict XVI in protest against the canonization of the late Pope John Paul II because he did not
support the Azerbaijani position in the Karabakh conflict. "During his visit to Yerevan in September
2003, he paid tribute to the tombs of Armenians killed in the Karabakh war" and therefore, may not be canonized.
Involvement of foreigners to give weight to their position
"Armenia is a cancerous tumor on the body of the Southern Caucasus and must be removed", stated
the historian Guram Marhuliya (decorated with Tereggi medal and bestowed an honorable doctorate
from the History Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan of his merit in developing
scientific ties between Georgia and Azerbaijan) who had been dismissed from the Sukhumi State
University on charges of armenophobia, in an interview to the Azerbaijani Vesti.Az information
Publications in foreign press containing abusive headings or insulting epithets
The authors of such articles are mainly representatives of the diplomatic corps of Azerbaijan
or simply Azerbaijanis who live there. As a rule, xenophobic articles are purported to
represent the opinion of the editorial staff, the journalist or the public at large.
A Mexican newspaper published an article entitled Armenian Duplicity: The Mexican Milenio
newspaper published an article entitled Armenian Duplicity by Ilgar Mukhtarov, Azerbaijan's
ambassador to the country.
The Azerbaijani website 1news.соm.tr: The Azerbaijani popular song Sari Gelin passed for an
Armenian song and performed in the presence of the Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Davutoglu
raised uproar in the Azerbaijani mass media.
The Azerbaijani website Anspress: The artistic director of the ATV (Azad Azərbaycan) channel and
a famous anchorperson Elchin Alibeyli has been dismissed from the TV channel. E. Alibeyli has been
removed from office after performing the song Sari Gelin in Armenian. <…> Getting his spirits high at
a party, Elchin Alibeyli started singing in Armenian a part from Sari Gelin. Many representatives of
the show business and mass media attending the party became witnesses to this "gift" of the famous
anchorperson. < ... > According to the sources of Lent.az at the channel, Elchin was dismissed from
his office starting from yesterday precisely for performing the Azerbaijani popular song Sari Gelin in
The Russian Informational Agency Regnum: : On his Facebook page, Elsever Salmanov, the staff
member of the Azerbaijani embassy in Ankara, voiced strident criticism against the Turkish newspaper
Radikal. The cause for resentment was the fact that the newspaper in its highlight of a musical festival
in Ankara, mentioned the Armenian song Sari Gelin. In this connection, the Azerbaijani diplomat
said that either the Turkish newspaper had Armenians in its staff who had betrayed their editorial
principles and were guided by national feelings, or the journalists served Armenians at the call of
Incidentally, he exhorted all like-minded persons to raise their voice of protest against Radikal and
Armenians, respectively. This brought a sharp reaction from the editorial staff. <... > "Yeni Musavat
newspaper observes that Rаdikаl has been previously noted for its "anti-Azerbaijani position", while
the website Teref.infо considers that indicating Sari Gelin as an Armenian song became a result of
a conflict and lack of coordination between the newspaper and Azerbaijan's diplomatic mission in
It must be noted that the song Sari Gelin is one of the bitter pills in virtually unclouded
relationships between brotherly Turkey and Azerbaijan. In Armenia and Turkey, this song
is considered Armenian. In particular, G. Karanfil, a Turkish scholar, considers that the song
Sari Gelin has its roots in a nameless Armenian song that has become a part of the Turkish
culture over the centuries. This opinion is shared by many Turkish scholars and musicians,
which ignites a firestorm in official and cultural milieu of Azerbaijan claiming the authorship
of the song as its own. Any publication containing a mention of the word Armenian with
reference to this song provokes a huge social and diplomatic uproar in Azerbaijan. The
matter may go as far as to cause the country's diplomatic missions to step in.
All these activities are meaningful and significant for those who live in Azerbaijan. This
creates a false perception of the omnipotence and infallibility of Azerbaijan's positions in
their unequal fight in the face of the enemy personified by Armenians. Frequently, the citizens
of the country permeated with armenophobia find themselves outside its boundaries to
face a different and unknown reality: It turns out that there are Armenians there, and they
coexist perfectly well with Azerbaijanis who "flout honor and faith" by interacting, having
common business, falling in love, marrying or even spending their leisure with Armenians.
Such discovery can cause a psychological trauma to any person for whom "patriotism" and
armenophobia are synonymous.
We came to a famous restaurant named Lights of the Orient. It was an Azerbaijani restaurant, and
once I set foot in the place, I felt the scent of my motherland. All the personnel and waiters were
Azerbaijanis. We took a table with my friends and after taking a few bits, I turned my attention to the
singer. Somehow he didn't look like one of us.
Oh Allah, ... it couldn't be true! The singer was Armenian. I almost choked on my food and couldn't
swallow, so I took out the bit and put it on my plate. Of course, my friends knew about my patriotism;
therefore, they quickly figured out everything and started appeasing me. By that time, I was struck
speechless. < ... > I sensed that Intigam was ashamed of something and felt uneasy. I inquired about
the singer's nationality and was given the answer: Armenian. I felt as if my head were scalded with
boiling water. <...> Let Armenians come to our restaurant, get a poisoning and return to where they
< ... > We are a very hospitable people, which is the reason of all our woes and tribulations that
plagued us. However, the fact that an Armenian singer worked in our restaurant was unbearable.
However, the most unbearable was yet to come!
< ... > The Armenians started singing, and the folks at the next table - elderly women, young girls
and children - stood up and started dancing. There were about 10 of them, and they dominated the
place. It turned out that the dancing people too were Armenians. I was dumbfounded with shock and
indignation. I felt as though somebody were publicly throwing the vilest abuse and obscenities at me.
< ... > "Be damned, Armenian", cursed I in my mind and asked him to sing Tut Agaci. <...> Oh, Allah, to
this day, I have never been more humiliated and insulted. It seemed that up to that moment, I hadn't
known my true character. I never knew that I was so inpatient, sensible and patriotic.
< …> As a true Turk and a son of Turk, I made up my mind to cry in solitude. My soul was ablaze, a firestorm was raging inside, but my crying was not that of helplessness and defeat. No, these were
tears that allowed me to vent my hatred and cold determination that I was seizing with. < ... > Indeed,
those who in one way or another work with Armenians and deal with them for business don't even
deserve to be called 'traitors of their country".[a]
Those who realize that there is a divergent reality inside and outside Azerbaijan and break
the taboo by opting for a closer contact with Armenians are targeted for attacks by the
authorities. The ultimate destiny of these people and their family members is unenviable.
The daughter of a high-ranking official in the Azerbaijani government who pursues her studies in
London became romantically involved with an Armenian; in official circles of Azerbaijan, the news was
received with shock. Learning of this affair, other Azerbaijanis who studied in London raised a wave of
outcry under the leadership of Tale Heydarov, chairman of the European Azerbaijan Society and the
son of Kamaladdin Heydarov, the Minister of Emergency Situations of Azerbaijan. They demanded
from the authorities to make the girl's father take measures and "put an end to that disgrace". The
country's leadership demanded to return the girl to Azerbaijan without delay.
The double defeat of Teimour Radjabov by Levon Aronyan on the chess tournament held in London
was pegged as 'shameful' in Azerbaijan as the tournament was sponsored by the State Oil Company
of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) which spent 2 million euros on its organization.<…> Radjabov already became
impudent back at the time of Heydar Aliyev. < …> It appears that after his marriage or more precisely
after he started leading a lavish lifestyle, Radjabov has lost his form". "On a tournament financed by
Azerbaijan, a representative of our country has lost to an Armenian. The point is that no Azerbaijani
chess player has a potential to win at this tournament. Spending millions of dollars to finance a
tournament in London with participation of an Armenian in full awareness of this fact is a disgrace.
How are our officials any different from the Arab sheikhs, who have a reputation of prodigal spenders,
if they squander away over 2 million euros for Radjabov's participation in the London tournament?".
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[a] "Forgotten their identity, or adventures of Ahmed in Moscow." See