In Vitriol-Filled Speech, Aliyev Vows to Punish Artsakh Leaders
Weeks after ethnically cleansing Artsakh of its Armenian population, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan traveled to capital Stepanakert on Sunday and raised the Azerbaijani flag, after which, in a vitriol-filled speech again threatened military action against Armenia.
“The Flag I raised today will fly here forever, and we will live here forever. Karabakh is ours, Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” declared Aliyev.
After the flag raising ceremony, Aliyev entered the government building. Azerbaijani media outlets posted videos of Aliyev stepping on an Artsakh flag, which was strategically placed on the ground for him to walk over.
“Unfortunately, the words I said 20 years ago and repeated many times did not register with them. They thought those were just words. No, I do what I say; everyone knows it, including Armenia, and they should not forget it either,” Aliyev ranted.
“Don’t forget the Patriotic War [2020 war]! Don’t forget the counterterrorism operation [the large-scale attack on Artsakh in September]! If some forces in Armenia ever think about revenge, let them take a good look at these images,” Aliyev said pointing to the newly raised Azerbaijani flag in front of what once served as an Artsakh government building.
“We have achieved what we wanted and fulfilled the decades-long wishes of the Azerbaijani people. We have restored the dignity of the Azerbaijani people. We have returned to our lands, we have restored our territorial integrity, and at the same time, we have restored our dignity,” declared Aliyev.
“The three clowns who used to sit here and call themselves ‘president’ await their deserved punishment today,” Aliyev added, referring to Artsakh’s leaders. “I wonder if the man who used to sit in one of these buildings and call himself a ‘prime minister’ will ever dare to threaten us again. His tea is being served in the detention facility as we speak.”
“A separatist who called himself a ‘foreign minister’ once sarcastically said that Azerbaijan should open an embassy in our country if it wanted to raise its flag in Khankendi [Stepanakert]. Now, his tea is also served there in the detention facility. Our flag is flying high here. This should be a lesson to them,” added Aliyev, referring to Artsakh’s former foreign minister, Davit Babayan.
Before going to Stepanakert, Aliyev visited all of the regions of Artsakh, including the Sarsang Reservoir, which he claimed was built under the leadership of his father, Haydar, who served as Communist Party head of Azerbaijani SSR for decades.
Aliyev explained that his visit coincided with the 20th anniversary of his “election” as president and the 100th anniversary of his father’s birth.
He blamed the “anti-nationalist” forces who ousted his father from power in 1987 for the loss of Karabakh in the 1990s and explained that when he assumed power he would return Azerbaijan “to its glory.”
“Unfortunately, the then-Azerbaijani leadership let the situation spiral out of control and showed cowardice, helplessness, and indecision,” Aliyev said.
“Nationalists occupied this place, so many rallies with anti-Azerbaijani slogans were held in this square, and all this encouraged the nationalists even more. Armenian nationalists, Dashnaks, and bloodthirsty international terrorists were constantly coming here from Armenia. It was here that the policy of ethnic cleansing against our people began,” claimed the Azerbaijani leader, again pointing to the government building, he declared that “those sitting in this building in those years were the cause of the tragedies of Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples.”
He hailed Heydar Aliyev as the “National Leader and the Savior” of Azerbaijan and credited him for the “vision” to “reclaim Azerbaijan’s history.”