Baku: Armenia responsible for vandalism against Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage
Armenia bears international legal responsibility for the acts of vandalism committed against material and cultural monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, told APA.
Hajiyev was commenting on the statement made by a representative of Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.
As part of the occupation policy against Azerbaijan, Armenia is pursuing a policy of systematic vandalism, such as destruction, looting and appropriation of cultural and religious monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani territories as well as distorting the origin and purpose of these monuments, the spokesman noted.
“The destruction of the cultural heritage in the occupied Azerbaijani territories and in the Armenian territory, which is the historical Azerbaijani lands, is an atrocity not only against the people of Azerbaijan, but also against all humanity. A representative of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, in a statement to the press, indirectly confessed that as an occupying state Armenia is trying to evade from international responsibility,” he said.
Hajiyev pointed out that precise numbers have been determined of the amount of Azerbaijani cultural monuments vandalized by Armenia.
He emphasized that a total of 1,891 material and cultural monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani territories have been looted and vandalized by Armenia, including 738 historical monuments, 28 museums with 83,500 exhibits, 4 photo galleries, 14 memorial complexes, and 1,107 cultural facilities.
“A mosque complex in Jabrayil dating back to the 17th century, the Upper and Lower Govharagha and Saatli mosques in the city of Shusha dating back to the 18th century and the Aghdam mosque dating back to the 19th century have been not only destroyed and plundered, but also turned into a stable for pigs and cattle and an object of insults,” Hajiyev said. “Archaeological monuments such as Vagif Mausoleum, Natavan's House and caravanserai have been destroyed and plundered in Shusha. The property of the Albanian Christian churches located in Khojaly, Kalbajar, Lachin, Khojavand and other districts, which have nothing to do with the Armenian Church, have been appropriated and their architectural features have been changed to be presented as Armenian monuments. The Ganjasar and Kudavang Alban churches in Kalbajar, dating back to the Middle Ages, are noteworthy in this regard.”
According to the spokesman, illegal archaeological excavations have been conducted in the Azykh Cave and around the Aghdam district since 2003.
He noted that the cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people in the occupied territories also shares the same destiny.
“The Demirbulag Mosque in Yerevan was wiped out, the Blue Mosque was “reconstructed” to distort its origin. The Haji Novruzali Bey Mosque, built by Gara Seyid in the second half of the 18th century, Sardar Palace or Khan’s Palace were also destroyed. The Sardar Mosque in Yerevan also suffered a systematic destruction and was completely destroyed in 2014,” the spokesman said.
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, has prepared and already submitted to UNESCO, UN, the Council of Europe, the OIC, ISESCO and other international organizations reports "about destruction of historical and cultural heritage belonging to the Islamic religion in Azerbaijan's territories occupied by Armenia” and "the destruction of historical and cultural heritage in Azerbaijan's territories occupied by Armenia,” Hajiyev emphasized.
“As a result of these activities, the OIC regularly adopts resolutions condemning the destruction and desecration of the historical and cultural heritage and temples belonging to the Islamic religion in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories,” he added.
The spokesman stressed that such acts of Armenia are a gross violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict adopted and the Convention’s II Protocol adopted in 1999.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will continue to inform the entire world community about Armenia’s vandalism against the historical and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people in the occupied Azerbaijani lands and in the territory of Armenia.
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