STEPANAKERT (Karabakh Foreign Ministry)–The official Azeri propaganda campaign to depict Armenians as perpetrators of a so-called massacre in Khojaly in 1992 is in full swing, as some Azeri Websites have begun to circulate photos of atrocities in the Kosovo war as images of dead Azeris at the hand of Armenians.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minsitry press service recently unveiled several Websites that utilized forged documents and photos to advance the Azeri version of the Khodjalu events in an effort to sway Azeri and world public opinion.
The photograph in question, which has appeared in Khojaly.org and Azerbaijan.az, depicts a slew of ravaged corpses in a populated area, to reinforce its claims that Armenian massacred Azeris in that area.
Studies of the color-version of the photograph in question have concluded that the same photograph was used by Serbian and Albanoan Websites, as well as the New York Times and other newspapers in the US.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Ministry, in a statement, reminded that on February 25 and 26, 1992 the Karabakh Defense Army launched a military operation to liberate the only airport in the republic that was under Azeri control, and from where, since 1991, systematic attacks were being launched by Azeris on populated areas of Karabakh
The liberation of the airport and neutralizing of Azeri armed units in Khojaly were of vital strategic importance for ensuring the security and safety of the Karabakh population.
“Sub units of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army granted a corridor (evacuation routs: eds) for the safe passage of the Khojaly population days before the operation, about which the Azeri side was notified,” said the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Ministry.
“It is a well-know fact that the Karabakh authorities informed Azeri side of the plan to neutralize Azeri weapons caches two months prior to the operations,” added the foreign ministry, saying that confirmation of the information was received by then Azeri President Ayaz Mutalibov.
The Karbakh Foreign Minister explained that despite the warnings by the Karabakh Defense Army, the Azeri government did not undertake any effort to evacuate the civilian population of Khojaly. Furthermore, a group of civilians on route to Aghdam was massacred around the same time.
The Karabakh foreign ministry revealed that at the time, Mutalibov linked the massacres to his opposition, who were attempting to topple him from power.
The foreign ministry also detailed that area, where Azeri filmed and photographed corpses was in fact three kilometers away from Aghdam and 11 kilometers away from Khojaly, adding that until the liberation of Aghdam in 1993, that area was exclusively under Azeri control and all access by Karabakh Defense forces was blocked and prohibited.
The foreign ministry also said that details of the Khojaly events remain “shrouded in mystery” by official Baku, and efforts to depict Armenians as perpetrators have, for years, been part of an official anti-Armenian campaign to fuel hatred toward Armenians in Azebaijan.
One of the most hard-fought battles of the Karabakh liberation struggle, the 1992 battle of Khojaly has been used by Azeris to allege mass killings by Armenians, in an effort to veil Azeri-initiated pogroms against Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Shahumian and Baku in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as to create obstacles in the peace process.