March 19, 2021 – 12:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has described Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s attack on Armenian heritage as ethnic-religious hatred at the highest level of government, which is evidence of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). “What is this, if not fascism?” Tatoyan said.
Aliyev visited the 12th century Surb Astvatsatsin Armenian Church in the village of Tsakuri, in the Hadrut region of Artsakh and said: “This is an Albanian church. The Armenians tried to Armenianize this church, they wrote inscriptions in Armenian here, but they did not succeed. This is our ancient temple, the temple of our Udi brothers, they too will come here. Just as our mosques were desecrated, so were the ancient Albanian temples desecrated by the Armenians. But we will restore, all these writings are false. These are the posts added later. They have created a false story for themselves. Meanwhile, they did not succeed. (…) Is a Turkish mosque. They falsified everything and turned it into a garbage dump. “Look at what they’ve done to the place, and then they say it is Armenian.”
The 12th century Surb Astvatsatsin church in Tsakuri village is part of the former monastic complex of the village, Tsaghkavank, and the church to have reached our days. According to the khachkars, it dates back to 1198. The church is a masterpiece of medieval architecture and culture of Artsakh.
A few days ago, it was confirmed that the church of St. John the Baptist, popularly known as “Green Hour” in the occupied city of Shushi, had been destroyed. Moreover, the church was destroyed not during the war, not during the armed attacks, but afterwards.
Tatoyan said the his office will send the records of these facts to relevant international bodies.
“But we especially note that for years in Azerbaijan hatred and enmity towards Armenians has been sown in this way at the highest state level, and it is not only hatred based on ethnicity, but it is also religious hatred,” Tatoyan said.
“The facts published by this statement clearly prove that in during the September-November war in Artsakh, the Azerbaijani authorities carried out ethnic cleansing and a policy of genocide; and, that policy continues today. These same speeches and words of the President of Azerbaijan inspired the Azerbaijani soldiers to torture and behead, dismember bodies and commit other atrocities against Armenian servicemen and civilians in the April 2016 April and during the September-November 2020 war.”