Philip Ekozyants: I consider Baku's demands to the Armenian side to be absolutely legitimate – INTERVIEW
Baku, February 24, AZERTAC
The decisions on what should will be happening in Karabakh should be taken by the Azerbaijani government. The checkpoint and business on the territory of Azerbaijan should be conducted with the permission of the Azerbaijani authorities. I consider Baku's demands to the Armenian side to be absolutely legitimate, scientist and historian of Armenian origin Philip Ekozyants has said in an exclusive interview with AZERTAC.
- President Ilham Aliyev recently met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Munich. During the meeting, the President of Azerbaijan put forward a number of demands to the Armenian side. What do you read into that?
- I have become acquainted with the demands of the Azerbaijani side and consider them absolutely legitimate. Since Karabakh is the land of Azerbaijan, the decisions about what will be happening on it should be taken by the Azerbaijani government. The checkpoint should be organized in such a way that the Azerbaijani side could exercise control over what is brought into its territory through the Lachin corridor. And business in the territory of Azerbaijan should be conducted with the permission of the Azerbaijani authorities.
- Yerevan has been convince as many people as possible that the Karabakh issue is allegedly an existential issue for all Armenians. What are the origins of this thesis?
- This is propaganda nonsense. Let those circulating this thesis do at least something for the Armenians not to leave Armenia itself and specifically Yerevan. The exodus of the Armenian population from the Republic of Armenia is an existential problem. The Armenians should first become full-fledged masters of Armenia and learn how to manage it (which I sincerely wish them without being sarcastic at all) and then offer Azerbaijan or Turkey assistance in managing their territories.
- You have been studying the history of the peoples of the Caucasus for a long time and are the author of a number of books and dozens of videos on this topic. What od you think is the main problem of the Armenian people who, due to their falsified historical beliefs, have found themselves between a rock and a hard place?
- There have been different troubles at different times: there were some troubles yesterday and there are others today. The question is what connects them or, in other words, what causes are repeated from century to century. One of the main ones I think is the criminal political initiative of an influential minority. Every time before the people calling themselves Armenian plunged into a whirlpool of unfortunate events, a handful of Armenians appeared on the historical stage who spoke on behalf of the entire nation without having any authority to do so. We have seen meliks, priests and politicians in this role, who have made decisions that were detrimental to the people and did not take into account the desires of ordinary people. In fact, they didn’t even bother to ask their opinion. I appreciate that not all of them wanted to harm their people, but it turned out as it turned out.
In my opinion, the Armenian people need a mechanism that will allow them the opportunity to make fateful decisions in a collective manner, so to speak, taking into account the opinion of the absolute majority. Because the Armenians have been unlucky with the minority. I am talking about the Armenian people in the third person because I have already been part of the diaspora in the third generation. And the diaspora does not experience the problems the inhabitants of modern Armenia do. And the diaspora, in my opinion, is a completely different Armenian people, or, if you like, another Armenian people who have completely different troubles. But this is a subject for a separate conversation.
- How can one change the thinking of the people? Do you have a concept? Where should one begin with?
- Of course, one needs to start with history, and definitely with the history that is accurate. The accurate history will bring the Armenians the understanding that all the peoples living next to them are their immediate relatives. The kinship of Armenians, Turks and Azerbaijanis are woven into centuries-old knots, which could only be untangled with the help of nationalist propaganda. And this propaganda has always been at the service of politicians or religious figures who have turned themselves into politicians.
Over the past 100-150 years, propaganda has done its job, and many neighboring peoples have moved away from each other. But propaganda, hard as it may try, cannot and will not cancel out the fact that we have a common past and common roots. We need to return to these roots mentally, we need to realize them through accurate history. After all, we are people who share the same human concerns, needs, joys and sorrows. And it is much more beneficial to share something with each other than to separate. But all this is from the realm of dreams and hopes.
In the current situation, if the Armenians and Azerbaijanis want to restore good neighborly relations, they should very carefully weigh even the most insignificant decisions, think over every step and every word. And it is necessary to be guided in your decisions not by ambitions or grievances, but by the most common urgent needs of the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. You still have to live side by side. We can't get away from each other. And we could, at least for the sake of experiment, try to reflect not only on our problems and desires. We need to try to perceive the neighbor's problems as our own. Then something good might happen in the foreseeable future.
It seems to me that President Ilham Aliyev is already thinking in a new way in this sense and demonstrating quite a reasonable attitude towards Azerbaijani Armenians. And it is obvious to me that he intends to ensure the security of the Armenians living in Azerbaijan, both in Karabakh and elsewhere, because this is actually necessary not only for the Armenians, but also for Azerbaijan itself as a multinational and tolerant state it positions itself to be. And the fact that all Armenians living in Azerbaijan must have Azerbaijani citizenship is a natural and logical requirement. In fact, there is nothing to discuss here.
- How do you assess the idea of Armenians and Azerbaijanis living together in Karabakh?
- The idea of Armenians and Azerbaijanis living together is logical and correct from the point of view of accurate history. And we have experience of that. This experience, except for a few short periods, has been positive.
Text contains orthographic mistake
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