Following the siege of ethnically Armenian Artsakh, a.k.a. Nagorno-Karabakh, by Azerbaijani forces, over half of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh has already fled to Armenia, with more on the way. In response, Azerbaijan made a global show and urged Armenians to stay and “benefit from planned rebuilding and infrastructure projects.” Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Britain, also stated that Azerbaijan “had not yet had a chance to prove what he said was its genuine commitment to provide secure and better living conditions for those ethnic Armenians who choose to stay.”
Armenia is 98% Christian, while Azerbaijan is approximately 97% Muslim. Armenians have learned from their persecution historically. Islam has a long tradition of taqiyya, and Armenians have a deep, justifiable distrust of Azerbaijani authorities; they fear persecution, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide.
Following Azerbaijan’s meteoric offensive and occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19, Armenian Artsakh “separatist authorities announced that the ethnic Armenian enclave would dissolve on January 1, 2024.”
After the incursion, Azerbaijan arrested Ruben Vardanyan, former head of Nagorno-Karabakh’s government, as he tried to cross over the border into Armenia, along with tens of thousands of other refugees. Vardanyan was taken to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, and now faces an unknown future.
Armenians have a bitter history with Islam. In 1915, over two million Armenians were murdered via mass executions and deliberate starvation by the Turks, which Turkey still denies to this day. Hundreds of thousands became “homeless and stateless refugees. By 1923 virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey had disappeared.”
Turkey supports Azerbaijan, and although it denies having any role in the latest Nagorno-Karabakh offensive, Turkey provided military training to Azerbaijan. It is also noteworthy that arms sales from Turkey to Azerbaijan surged before Nagorno-Karabakh fighting broke out in 2020.
Also, on September 27, at least 125 were killed in a bomb blast, according to Armenia’s health minister, Anahit Avanesyan. The victims were fleeing to Armenia, and their bodies have been transported there.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that “what was happening was the ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian population.”
Since the hope of a home in Nagorno-Karabakh is now gone, Armenians are wise to flee persecution, despite the lie from Azerbaijan that Armenians will gain by staying put.
Already, about 70,500 out of an estimated population of 120,000 Armenians have already crossed from Artsakh into Armenia.
The Nagorno-Karabakh offensive, supported by Turkey, is another win for Islamic expansion, and even with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh government, there is still no guarantee that Azerbaijan won’t continue its encroachment upon Armenia. Fear is already circulating that Azerbaijan will attempt to conquer even more land.