Clashes Between Azerbaijan and Armenia Remind the World About the Armenian Genocide

  • The Armenian Genocide occurred at the end of World War I.
  • Armenia is a Christian republic; Azerbaijan Islamic.
  • When the nations became independent in 1991 there remains a border conflict.

Genocide is defined as mass destruction of racial and national groups. The motive of Genocide can be national, religious or both. The motive of national genocide is to destroy another nation which threatens their future existence or stands in the way of their future survival.

Today there is a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  At the end of World War I which was the end of the Ottoman Empire, there was the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass murder and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians. The starting date is conventionally on April 24, 1915, the day that the Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested a group of Armenian intellectuals living in Constantinople which is today Istanbul, Turkey.

Map pinpoints the place of border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The ancient culture of Armenia dates back to the beginnings of Christianity. The Kingdom of Armenia was the first state to accept Christianity as its official religion in the late 3rd or 4th century. It later became part of the Byzantine Empire.

When the Byzantine Empire fell in 1415, Armenia was conquered by the Turks. It became ruled by the Ottoman and Iranian empires until World War I when the Ottoman Empire fell. The Armenian Genocide occurred during the transition between the downfall of the Ottoman Empire whose capital was in Constantinople and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

The Republic of Turkey denies to have been involved in the Armenian Genocide. Armenia was ruled by the Russian empire until 1918 following the Russian revolution when the Russian Empire ceased to exist and all non-Russian nations declared independence leading to the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia. Also at that time the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence. Azerbaijan became the first secular democratic Muslim majority state.

The picture is of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

In 1920 both Armenia and Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, both nations declared their independence. Armenia is a Christian democratic republic. Azerbaijan is a Muslim secular democratic republic. The history of the Armenian Genocide still hovers over these two nations which recently had military conflicts. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is called the Nagorna – Karabakr conflict. It is an ethnic territorial conflict over a disputed region and seven surrounding districts. A ceasefire was signed in 1994 which lasted until 2016. Since then the possibility of future hostilities have increased.

On July 14, seven Azeri soldiers and a civilian together with four Armenian soldiers were killed in the third day of border clashes between the two countries. France condemned the two sides with the international community that they should abide by the ceasefire and resume their dialogue to avoid escalation. Israel has peaceful relations with both sides. In the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem there remains an Armenian community left over from the Byzantine Empire. Drones sold by Israel to Azerbaijan have been used in these conflicts several of which the Armenians claim that they have shot down.

The memory of the Armenian Genocide hovers over today’s conflict between these two nations with distinct religious identities Christian and Islam.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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