WASHINGTON—Within 24 hours of making a nationally broadcast hate speech, publicly laying claim to all of Armenia and Artsakh as Azerbaijani land, President Ilham Aliyev’s armed forces launched a cross-border attack from Nakhichevan on Armenia that took the life of Armenian soldier Arman Mayisi Yepremian.
“The facts here are crystal clear, as is the pattern of destructive behavior that the Obama Administration is enabling by refusing to confront President Aliyev’s aggression,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “On June 25, Aliyev openly telegraphed his cross-border attack into Nakhichevan with a nationally broadcast speech claiming all of Armenia as Azerbaijani land. A day later, having heard only silence from the international community, he acted out his threat, killing Arman Yepremian. Today, he [Aliyev] stands emboldened—even encouraged—by the failure of the U.S. and our OSCE partners to forcefully push back against his escalating aggression.”
In a nationally televised June 25 speech marking the opening of a new naval command center, Aliyev laid claim on all of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, stating, “Nagorno-Karabagh is native Azerbaijani land. The Azerbaijani people have lived on this land for centuries, and have created there. The historical monuments in the land once again show, it is our historical and ancestral land. Not only Nagorno-Karabagh is ours, even the present-day Armenia was established on historical Azerbaijani lands. We all know that very well. The world already knows it. Erivan Khanate, Sevan, Zangezur are our historical lands, and we go back to those lands and the return of Azerbaijanis.”
The full text of Aliyev’s speech is available on his website at http://www.president.az/articles/15689.
The U.S. government has yet to criticize Aliyev’s remarks or condemn the killing of Yepremian. Aliyev’s attack, consistent with his speech, targeted the territory of the Republic of Armenia. This brazen move came at the tail end of the Baku2015 games, a multi-billion dollar enterprise that sparked global criticism of Azerbaijan’s increasingly aggressive crackdown on dissenters, international NGOs, human rights groups, and the media.