BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
In the local, Artsakh dialect “okhtuh” means seven. Of course khach is a cross. Okhtuh Khach is the name of a peak in the Hadrout district of Artsakh, if memory serves me. But lately, it seems that we have seven crosses to bear in the form of the unnecessary ambiguousness created by President Serzh Sarkisian’s comments about the seven districts surrounding the Nagorno Karabakh Republic that were liberated and are formally part of Artsakh’s declared borders.
These lands should provide Armenians with nothing but a sense of security, pride, and hope. They serve as a buffer against Azerbaijan’s incessant aggression. They were secured through much sacrifice in battles against a larger aggressor. Some areas have been reinhabited and are being farmed by Armenians for the first time in decades. They are an indication that Western, Turkish occupied, Armenia will someday be freed from Ankara.
Yet lately, due to Sarkisian’s remark about ceding these lands to Azerbaijan, then the attempt to back off that foolhardy remark, the seven territories have become a nationwide source of anxiety.
Not only is ceding those lands very damaging to the security of the Republic of Armenia (RoA) & the NKR, not only has a cry of fervent opposition risen from the people of Artsakh , and not only is that policy in direct contravention of the ARF’s World Congress resolutions, but it also seems to have emboldened the megalomaniac of Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev’s chest thumping assertions about retaking those territories has now grown to include all of the RoA! In case you didn’t realize it, it seems that Yerevan and its environs are Azeri lands, at least according to Aliyev. As a side note to the main issue of this article, these ridiculous pronouncements should draw the world’s attention to the persistence of Pan-Turkism in the policies of Azerbaijan and Turkey (recall Erdoğan’s recent claims on Iraq, invasion of Syria, and continued occupation of Cyprus).
Remember, we seek historic justice. Not only are there issues of reparations for and recognition of the Genocide, but also restoration of Armenian territories. The seven territories were also Armenian inhabited, until ethnically cleansed over the course of seven decades of Soviet-Azeri misrule. What’s next? Contending that the Western Armenian provinces of Van, Moush, Gareen, etc. are negotiable and renouncing claims to them for some minor, temporary, benefit?
Call on Sarkissian to unequivocally state that these lands are not being “negotiated” away. Do this by contacting the RoA’s representatives in consulates and embassies all over the world.