Turkey Flaunts Human Rights Violations During Baku Visit

Joint Turkish-Azeri Military Victory Parade Foreshadows More Atrocities Against Armenians

12/10/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on December 10, 2020, approximately 3,000 Turkish soldiers participated in a military victory parade located in Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku. The parade was attended by Turkish President Erdogan and celebrated the countries’ joint military victory over Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh). The date of the parade corresponds with the internationally recognized Human Rights Day. The military victory celebrated by the parade involved perpetrating the following human rights abuses against Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian Christian residents:

  • Multiple pieces of video footage showing Azeri military members and their partners taunting, harassing, and executing captured Armenian soldiers and citizens.
  • Multiple pieces of video footage showing Azeri military members and their partners mutilating, maiming, and dismembering captured Armenian soldiers and citizens.
  • Azerbaijan’s use of white phosphorus and cluster munitions against Nagorno-Karabakh civilians, in violation of international law.
  • Turkey’s supply to Azerbaijan of Syrian mercenaries with known affiliations to Islamic extremist groups, including the Islamic State, recruited from areas which saw a significant drop in religious diversity because of targeted genocide.

As Armenian Christians, their presence in Nagorno-Karabakh is viewed as barrier preventing a Turkic Islamic corridor between Azerbaijan and Turkey. This policy is often referred to by both countries as “one nation, two states.”

Turkish state media, the Anadolu Agency, published an article yesterday explaining the religious significance of Azerbaijan-Turkish military cooperation, stating, “Azerbaijan’s military victory parade will turn into a festival with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attendance… Sharq Newspaper’s Editor in Chief Akif Asirli said that after the arrival of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus 102 years ago, military cooperation between the two countries in the 44-day war is another example in the modern history of Turkey and Azerbaijan. He emphasized that with the victory, an important step was taken for the unity of the Turkic world.”

The report entitled Turkey: Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020 further explains, “Turkey’s recent military activities in the surrounding region have impacted the security of its Christian communities through tensions arising from nationalistic rhetoric and provocative actions… The state aims to control the history and cultural heritage of religious minorities, leading to exploitation of assets or their eventual destruction.”

Turkey is a NATO ally and has an obligation under both national and international law to uphold the freedom of religion or belief. Yet, the country is recommended by the US Commission for International Religious Freedom for a Special Watch List.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “We are incredibly disturbed by the increasing amount of evidence which points toward brutal war crimes committed by Turkey and Azerbaijan toward the Armenian Christian community. That these two countries would jointly celebrate their military victory on Human Rights Day is incredibly distasteful and shows a flaunting disregard for these values. The international community must speak out about these violations and hold perpetrators accountable.”

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