Turkish Generals led war on Artsakh. This was a Turkish, not Azeri, victory.

Victory parade in Baku, December 10, 2020 (Photo: Twitter/TR Ministry of National Defense)

Exiled Turkish journalist Cevheri Guven recently disclosed in a video report the names and activities of three Turkish Generals who had a decisive role in leading Azerbaijan’s war on Artsakh, starting on Sept. 27 2020. It is already known that modern drones and missiles purchased by Azerbaijan from Israel, Turkey and Russia had a devastating effect on Armenia and Artsakh. It is also known that 200 Turkish military advisors and several thousand Syrian mercenaries participated in the war on behalf of Azerbaijan. However, this is the first time that a detailed report is made public about the presence of these Turkish Generals in Azerbaijan during the war.

The Turkish military leaders are Lieutenant General Sheref Ongay, Major General Bahtiyar Ersay and Major General Goksel Kahya. The presence of these Turkish Generals in Baku is linked to the dismissal before the Artsakh War of Colonel General Nejmeddin Sadikov, Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of General Staff who had been at his post for 27 years. He was accused of treason and cooperation with the Russian military intelligence, according to Russian and dissident Azeri sources. Sadikov was reportedly arrested after his dismissal which was denied by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense. However, he has not been seen in public since his dismissal. Sadikov was reportedly born in Derbent, Dagestan, and is of Lezgin origin. He has a poor knowledge of the Azerbaijani language. It is also alleged that his cousin is serving in the Russian Army in Gyumri. Sadikov was educated in Russia. It is important to note that a large number of Azeri soldiers were sent to Turkey to get their military education. Sadikov did not allow those returning from Turkey to serve in critical military positions. He was opposed to Turkish dominance in the leadership of the Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces. As a result, Turkey asked for Sadikov’s dismissal after which those trained in Turkey were given leading posts.

Returning to the three Turkish Generals, Sheref Ongay is the Commander of the Turkish Third Army, deployed in Erzingan. He was in control of the Artsakh War. Ongay graduated from the military academy in Ankara in 1982 and served in various units of the ground forces. In 2014, he was appointed Commander of the 9th Army Corps. For a while, he was the head of the infantry school in Tuzla.

Major General Bahtiyar Ersay was earlier jailed for being involved in a scandal (Operation Sledgehammer). However, he was pardoned and released, possibly because he made a plea bargain with the authorities, disclosing the names of the other participants in the conspiracy. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Brigadier General becoming in charge of the 2nd Commando Brigade which fought with great brutality against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in Eastern Turkey. He is now the Chief of Operations at the Command of Turkish Land Forces. He stayed in Baku throughout the Artsakh War and personally managed the operations. Before the start of the war, two satellite communication centers were built in Baku and at the military airport of Gabala to contact the soldiers on the ground and the headquarters in Turkey. Both centers were managed exclusively by the Turkish Army. The Azerbaijani military was ordered to obey all commands of the Turkish superiors and not argue with or contradict them. Ersay was in charge of the Syrian mercenaries who had earlier fought in Syria and Libya on behalf of Turkey. Furthermore, Ersay managed the highly technical military equipment provided by Turkey to Azerbaijan.

The third Turkish military man is Major General Goksel Kahya who was in Azerbaijan since July of this year. He is close to the Defense Minister of Turkey. Previously, he was Deputy Undersecretary in the Ministry of Defense. While taking part in the war in Libya on behalf of Turkey, he was captured by the opposition Libyan forces and then released. Kahya was in charge of the Turkish drones operating in Libya which gave him valuable experience in managing the drone war against Artsakh.

Since the end of the Artsakh War, the Azeri public has expressed its unhappiness that Russian peacekeepers are located on the territory of Karabakh. Some analysts have described the Russian presence in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia as a defeat for Turkey and the United States and a victory for Russia, having located its forces “under the nose of NATO member Turkey.” As Russian online newspaper Vzglyad concluded: Artsakh War’s “plan was Turkish, the Generals were Turkish, and the drones were made in Turkey…Baku can celebrate victory, but in terms of command and control, Turkish Generals can celebrate victory.”

Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Azerbaijani Army Oleg Guliyev, now living in Moscow, told the Vzglyad newspaper: “Azerbaijan must fully reclaim Karabakh. This is correct and fair. But we must reclaim Karabakh ourselves. If we reclaim it on a Turkish leash, then we will reclaim only Karabakh, and we will lose the rest of our country.”


In last week’s article, I referred to a letter purportedly written by Catholicos Khrimian Hayrig. After my article’s publication, I discovered that the letter was actually written more recently by historian Hayk Konjoryan imitating Khrimian’s writing style and nationalistic views. I regret any confusion that this may have caused.

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. Ah yes, the Turkish generals lead the war on Artsakh. Too bad the “Armenian” generals along with the “Armenian” ” government” did the same thing!!!!

    Did Artsakh have a chance?

    Forget Turks and Azeris for a minute. The so-called “Armenian” “government” is the entity that needs to be charged with war crimes! Oh wait “we need unity more than ever” – with Soviet Beggar Thieves who are now War Criminals?

    No thanks, no unity and no support from me, until heads roll in Armenia first.

    • #1- These people you call “Soviet beggar thieves” won us the war in 1994, not the diaspora. Only Jirair Sefilian and Monte Melkonian were from the diaspora.
      #2- You need to take it easy with that rhetoric. While I’m also annoyed with the Armenian government, hoping for chaos is the dumbest thing to do.

    • “These people you call “Soviet beggar thieves” won us the war in 1994”


      In fact, quite the contrary. The Soviet Beggar Thief was the one that kept the diaspora out and proceeded to loot the country instead of working to keep liberated Artsakh, which was won by patriotic Armenians and NOT the ones who ever held power in Armenia for the past 30 years. The first Soviet Beggar Thief was actually working AGAINST the forces of Artsakh. The second and third from Artsakh played dumb as long as they could so they can proceed with the looting from their own perspective. The fourth and final Soviet Beggar Thief is the one in power today who merely completed the task of his mentor, the first parasite Soviet Beggar Thief of Armenia.

      The entirety of the so-called “government” of Armenia is BUILT on the corrupt Soviet Bolshevik system of corruption and thievery. That is the reason these parasites kept any diaspora Armenians from participating in the building of the nation after 1990. And you also do not know who fought in Artsakh to liberate it in 1994, the majority were Artsakhtsis defending their homeland, and these people were NEVER part of ‘Armenia’ in the 20th century, and there were volunteers from both Armenia and the diaspora, and they certainly were not “a couple from the diaspora” like you are trying to suggest. Those you mentioned were the commanders, not the volunteers. And unfortunately, their bravery and sacrifice got wasted by the same parasites today as back then: The Soviet Beggar Thief!

  2. It is very interesting to know, although it was obvious from the very beginning that Turkey was the main perpetrator in Armenia Azerbaijan war for Artsakh.
    Armenian diaspora should be very united and do everything to help Armenia.
    Turkey must be expelled from NATO.

  3. Exactly. Armenia could defeat the Azeris. Instead they fought the Turks. What is worse is that Russia is clearly useless and didn’t help at all. They are now there pretending. If this doesn’t convince Russian boot licks in Armenia that Russia cant be trusted as an ally Im not sure what does. Also Pashinyan is no war leader. He is clueless and managed this disaster horribly. Even Macron was criticizing Pashinyans actions during the war. It seems hes a loser all the way around as most have no confidence.

  4. A cheetah will behavior like a cheetah, a predator will prey. If we expected different behavior, then shame on us. Fair or unfair is immaterial as well as who gets the credit for defeating us. It seems to me that being a mix of Azeri and Turkish resources is no salve and no excuse for our shortcomings. The part of the equation we (Armenians collectively) control was a failure.

    We placed too few troops with obsolete equipment and tactics in front of a predator who was vastly better prepared. More troops, appropriate weaponry, and effective tactics. A predator we knew was coming. We must assume that we will always have less troops, placing the emphasis on weaponry, tactics, and superior training.

    If we find excuses for ourselves and expend our efforts pointing fingers to other Armenians then we cannot expect better in the future. Acknowledge Armenia was poorly positioned and set about the demanding work over years, maybe decades, to correct. Some Armenians exonerating themselves by blaming others is not helpful. Does not move us closer to achieving a better defensive capability.

    I hope this 6-week war isn’t just a warning shot-a preliminary bout. They have already told us that they are coming for Yerevan. We must assume that the past battle is nothing more than a foreshadow of what is to come. We did not learn from 2016–a mistake we should not make again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.