The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau released a statement Wednesday saying that the Azeri army’s barbaric destruction of ancient cross stones (khatchkars) in Nakhichevan had nothing to do with religion–but was aimed at eliminating evidence of Armenian presence in Nakhichevan. The historic Julfa cemetery–located in southern Nakhichevan–has by now been completely destroyed by the Azeri army.
In the statement–the ARF declared that–"The act was in itself an anti-Armenian step like those which Azerbaijan carried out during the 88 years of its existence against the Armenia’s of Armenia and Artsakh and the Armenian monumen’s in general."
In order to protest against Azerbaijan’s criminal policy of cultural destruction and elimination–and to demand action from the whole world–the ARF Bureau has declared February 28–the anniversary of the massacres of Sumgait Armenia’s by Azeris–"Day of Protest against the Criminal Policy of Azerbaijan."
On February 28–in various cities throughout the world–protests–demonstrations–and other events will be organized in front of Azeri diplomatic organizations and corresponding international organizations. Armenia’s and non-Armenia’s alike are urged to participate in calling the world’s attention to Azerbaijan’s nearly century-long policy of destroying Armenian culture and heritage.
The historic Armenian cemetery in Julfa includes cross stones dating as far back as the 7th century and is revered as an architectural treasure. International concerns were raised in 2002–when hundreds of the cross stones were destroyed in a similar manner by Azerbaijan.
Nakhichevan is a historic part of the Armenian homeland and was an integral part of the first Armenian Republic of 1918-1920. It was arbitrarily severed from Armenia and placed under Azeri rule as part of the Soviet Union’s accommodation with Kemalist Turkey and Moscow’s "divide and conquer" gerrymandering of borders to facilitate its control of the region.
During the Soviet era–the indigenous Armenian population was driven out of Nakhichevan due to discrimination–economic pressure–and other policies advanced by the Soviet Azeri authorities.
On February 28–2006–let us join together to fight Azerbaijan’s criminal policies.