By opening a “trophy park” in Baku, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has made himself on par with dictators like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein, said lawmaker Edmon Marukyan, member of Armenia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Marukyan, who is the leader of the parliamentary opposition Bright Armenia Party, made the statement in remarks presented at the PACE meeting.
“On April 12, 2021 Azerbaijani state television dedicated an hour to report on the opening of the museum opened in Baku about the 44-day war in Nagorno Karabakh. In this terrorist-style exhibition Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev dressed in military uniform was proudly touring and showing the Armenian military equipment and the life-size wax mannequins mocking the Armenian soldiers. The central part of the so-called ‘trophy park’ was a long path filled with helmets of Armenian servicemen who had been killed or taken hostage,” Marukyan said, emphasizing that this has taken place in a country that is a member to the Council of Europe.
“Let me remind that Azerbaijan is a country that continues to illegally keep over 200 Armenian POWs and civilian hostages,’’ added Marukyan who displayed a number of photos taken from the “trophy park.” He added that all those photos demonstrate the racial hatred in Azerbaijan against Armenia and Armenians.
“There are long queues to visit this park, which is disgusting and simply unacceptable. With this act Aliyev has joined the pantheon of such dictators as Hitler and Saddam Hussein,” added Marukyan who cited the creation of a similar park by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein who displayed the helmets of some 5,000 Iranian soldiers in what he called the “Victory Arch.”
“I see also another similarity between the two dictators – like Hussein, Aliyev does not want to return war prisoners,’’ Marukyan said, adding that the Baku park clearly shows the aggressive nature of the Azerbaijani authorities and their true colors.
“They [the Azerbaijanis] promote racial hatred and believe that deploying ill-treatment and torture to the future generations and the entire world is a normal phenomenon. History has proven that if timely measures are not taken to stop dictators, it stops being local and spreads throughout the world. I urge you to pay attention to these developments and hope that necessary and immediate measures will be taken to condemn the activities of Azerbaijan. The so-called ‘trophy park’ must be closed,” Marukyan said.
During the inauguration of the “Military Trophy Park” last week, Aliyev declared that “everyone who visits the park of military trophies will see the strength of our army, will see our willpower, and how hard it was to achieve victory.”
A similar comparison between Aliyev and Saddam Hussein was made by Michael Rubin, in an op-ed published in the National Interest on Sunday.
“Enumerating the similarities between Hussein and Aliyev is not just an intellectual exercise, but rather a warning. While the State Department debates its strategies toward other countries, seldom does it recognize that dictators have their own strategies to distract and deceive the United States with charm, charisma, caviar and cocktails. They believe Americans naïve for allowing themselves to be distracted by a paper-thin patina while they pursue other agendas,” Rubin argued.
In response to a question from a lawmaker on Monday, the foreign minister of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, called the images emanating from Baku of the “Trophy Park,” “unpleasant.”
‘’Those were very unpleasant images. Regarding this conflict, I have announced earlier that I call on the sides to reach a settlement in the sidelines of the OSCE Misnk Group through negotiations and refrain from behavior that will make the final solution impossible,” Blok said.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mher Margaryan, has addressed a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regarding the inauguration of the so-called “military trophy park” in Baku.
“The celebration of human death and suffering at the highest political level in Baku through the propagation of denigrating, dehumanizing imagery of ethnic Armenians is yet another manifestation of the state-led policies of inciting anti-Armenian hatred and is an overt demonstration of a genocidal intent,” Ambassador Margaryan said in the letter.