Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has talked to German BILD about the situation on the Karabakh-Azerbaijani border and the hostilities unleashed by Azerbaijan.
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The Prime Minister looks tense as he hosts BILD’s staff on Saturday evening in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan hardly sleeps as he keeps receiving regular updates about the frontline situation and the victims.
While the number of victims is not yet clear as there is no independent information, but it seems to be obvious that this time the death toll is far above the one recorded during the previous escalations. The hostilities have been raging for a week now over Nagorno-Karabakh, which saw several standoffs and clashes for the past three decades.
Since 1992, the UN and the OSCE have been trying to broker a settlement of the conflict. Now the situation has become absolutely tense, as with the support of Turkish President Erdogan, Azerbaijan wants to take territories.
“I just had a phone conversation with the Chancellor,” Pashinyan says greeting the BILD staff. Armenia looks underway to getting more support and clearer statements from Europe.
BILD – Mr. Prime Minister, instead of talking about Armenia, the world is talking about Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 test. Does that make you sad?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I think that the developments going on in our region are being paid enough attention from the international community, perhaps because mercenaries-terrorists from Syria have appeared in the Karabakh conflict zone.
BILD – How did you learn about that?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – They were recruited and transferred by Turkey to fight against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. I think that this situation is no longer just a local security issue; it is an integral part of the global agenda, because, in fact, what is happening now is important internationally for 3 reasons.
First, because terrorists from Syria were recruited by Turkey and moved to fight against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Second, Turkish troops are involved in this process, which is the expression of Turkey’s imperial policy. These are operations to restore the Turkish Empire, which follow up a series of demarches undertaken by Turkey in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Libya. And third, I think that Turkey returned to the South Caucasus after an interval of 100 years to continue the Armenian Genocide that took place in 1915 in Ottoman Turkey.
BILD – You had a telephone conversation with a representative of the Trump administration regarding the tense situation.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I had a telephone conversation with President Trump’s National Security Adviser Mr. O’Brien. That very evening we heard the news of Mr. Trump being infected with the coronavirus. But in any case, we keep in close touch with our American partners, because the United States is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which deals with the settlement of the Karabakh issue.
BILD – The international attitude is as follows. “According to international law, Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, and according to the UN…”
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know, in fact it is a strange statement. If we look at history, we will see that the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region became part of Soviet Azerbaijan during the formation of the Soviet Union, moreover, as a result of Stalin’s arbitrary decision made while the Soviet Union was being formed.
And if we go back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, we will see that just as Azerbaijan, being part of the Soviet Union, gained independence from the Soviet Union, so the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, again being part of the Soviet Union, gained independence from Azerbaijan, benefiting from the right enshrined in the laws and the Constitution of the Soviet Union.
And, consequently, why, for example, could Azerbaijan become independent from the Soviet Union and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region not become independent from the Soviet Union? Many may say, but the Soviet Union no longer exists or did not exist. At the same time, Soviet Azerbaijan did not exist when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region gained independence. And, consequently, when we say that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, then we should assume that Azerbaijan itself belongs to the Soviet Union.
BILD – Why does Erdogan support Azerbaijan?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I have already said that this is a consequence of Turkey’s imperialist policy pursued by Erdogan. And I think that most likely the task is set to get rid of independent state of Azerbaijan, which will be absorbed by Turkey.
Thus, when I talk about the policy of genocide against Armenians, I want to emphasize that it is not just an expression of historical hatred towards Armenians. The problem is that the Armenians in the South Caucasus are the last impediment on imperialistic Turkey’s way to north, south-east an east. Because Turkey’s imperialist policy goes much further than the South Caucasus. Let us look at Turkey’s activity in the Mediterranean, Libya, the Middle East, Iraq and Syria.
I want to emphasize that in my opinion, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia are at the forefront of civilization today. If the international community fails to consider the situation accurately, Europe will have to see Turkey in to Vienna.
BILD – Does Germany stay apart by showing restraint as it is afraid of Erdogan’s reaction?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know, it is not my task to comment on the positions of German politicians. I just want to take this opportunity to provide the necessary information that German politicians may need to respond appropriately.
BILD – What should Germany do?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I think that the European nations should be outspoken in condemning violence and the launch of hostilities on the part of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and terrorists on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
BILD – Can Chancellor Merkel support?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I do believe that the say of such leaders can weigh on the situation. You know, I can say that French President Emmanuel Macron has clearly stated that Azerbaijan was the mastermind of the offensive. He clearly stated that Turkey encouraged Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. He clearly stated that there were mercenaries from Syria who had been transferred by Turkey to the conflict zone to fight against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
In fact, the same was very clearly stated by Russia concerning the Turkey-backed mercenaries, although not so directly. The Islamic Republic of Iran, too, decried the fact of involving mercenaries in the conflict. This is very important.
BILD – Germany is critical of Russia’s being your ally. Besides, Putin is waging war in Syria and Ukraine.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know, I will leave the assessments of your question without comment, because different events are seen differently from different sides, from different countries, from different angles.
BILD – Is it possible for Russian troops to help you?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – The Russian 102nd military base is located in Armenia – we have a joint air defense system; there is an agreement which clearly states in which cases they can be used to ensure Armenia’s security.
BILD – In which case can it happen?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – These are specific cases envisaged by the agreement, I am sure that if these cases occur, Russia will fulfill its contractual obligations.
BILD – Do you consider peace talks with Erdogan possible?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I consider what happened a terrorist attack. And when a terrorist attack takes place, naturally, the first thing for any country is to take actions aimed at protecting its own security. We are busy with that now.
BILD – Do you have the opportunity to resist against the state-of-the-art weaponry used by Azerbaijan?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – I think Armenia and the Armenian people are firmly determined to defend themselves. We, too, have high-tech products of our own make, which may not be that much performing, but we intend to develop technologies to protect ourselves.
BILD – What can Germany do now?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – You know, I already say that I expect clear positions. And I said that if the international community does not accurately assess the geopolitical significance of this situation, then Europe should wait for Turkey near Vienna.
BILD – In other words, should the German government, like Emmanuel Macron, clearly state who started this war?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Yes. And it must assess the involvement of Turkish mercenaries in the region, in the conflict that have been hired in Syria.
BILD – Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.