This is an Existential Struggle for Armenians
The response of international institutions to the Azeri-Turkish attack on the Republic of Artsakh on September 27 was rather stingy. “We call on the parties”, “We are deeply concerned”, “We are anxious”. The efforts of the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries to establish a ceasefire have not yielded results yet.

Heavy fighting with heavy losses is pursuing right now.

How do international experts perceive the problem? To what extent is this war perceived not as a case outside the historical context but as a continuation of historical realities, such as the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the Sumgait and Baku massacres, as an existential struggle of the Armenian people?

Dr. Laurence Broers, research associate, Caucasus program director at London-based peacebuilding organization Conciliation Resources

“This conflict is perceived as an existential one for many people in Armenia, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh itself. This raises the issue of unresolved legacies of massive violations of human rights in the past. This also underlines the need for an independent international investigation of everything that happened during these three weeks in terms of serious violations of human rights and war crimes if proved. These issues need to be foregrounded and raised to a certain stage. I think that the existential nature of this conflict, its roots, is perceived by the international community. This boosts the logical course for a ceasefire, especially given the terrible modern nature of this war. If President Putin’s estimate about the number of people killed is accurate - 5,000, that is roughly 20% of the number of the people that were killed over the six years of conflict from 1988-1994. It shows the scale of the killing which once again underlines the urgent need to stop the fighting.”

Dennis Sammut, Director of LINKS and Managing Editor of

 “I think what the world absolutely does not want to see is the population of Nagorno Karabakh. Nagorno Karabakh has experienced some kind of ethnic cleansing already once and it certainly must not experience it twice. How to protect the civilian population in this complex situation is a challenge and it must be put on the agenda as the situation evolves.  If the objective of Azerbaijan is to occupy Stepanakert or other places in Nagorno Karabakh that immediately is going to raise a number of questions that will take this conversation to a different level. At the core, not the side story, of that conversation has to be the protection of the civilian population in any situation. It is the issue that now should be discussed by the international community. Everybody needs to keep in mind that there are international legal obligations of international law that protects civilians. This issue must be in the front center of all discussions.”  

Boris Navasardyan, President of the Yerevan Press Club.  

“It is very important that the international community recognizes the changes that took place in the world since the 1990s. I perfectly remember that even in the late 90s when somebody would say that Turkey is a threat to Armenia, most of the experts would take it as a joke. They said it was not possible, Turkey is a member of NATO, Turkey has certain obligations towards its partners in NATO, it will never allow itself any offensive towards Armenia. Another important statement that I remember is the statement of our first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who used to say from time to time that since the establishment of the United Nations, no state disappeared from the map. Only new states were appearing as members of the international community.  However, if we assess the reality that we have now and if we assess the resources of the security policy of the international community, we can say that it is very much possible that some states may disappear from the map under the current circumstances. We cannot exclude offensive actions against Armenia. This changes everything. From that point of you, I think when we are formulating tasks, agendas, and models of reconciliation, we have to exclude the possibility of an apparent lie from any discussions. While we are still listening to such lies at least from the Azerbaijani side. It is still perceived by the international community as something that has certain grounds. However, there must be a very clear reaction to the statements from Baku. For instance, there is a statement that there is an Armenian community in Azerbaijan which counts to 30, 000 people which is an apparent lie for everyone. If even there are some people who have Armenian roots and live in Azerbaijan, these are people who lost their identity and do not even want to remember their identity because it will threaten their lives. So, I think such kind of statements should be immediately reacted to by everyone so that they are not included among the arguments that are discussed from any side. Or another statement is that Armenians themselves bombed the cathedral in Shushi. When one of the sides of the negotiation process is allowing themselves such statements we could never achieve any constructive solution. So I think a more principal position against any manipulation should be as a principal controlled by the mediators in a process of any kind of dialogue, any kind of interaction or negotiation. Until this kind of lies will be still sounded, it will be very difficult to find any solutions and to be sure that existential threats to Armenians are more or less excluded in this context.”

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