TRANSCAUCASIA (South Caucasus)
Armenia, Azerbaijan (includes Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh), Georgia.
In his ground-breaking work, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, (Harvard University Press, 2014), Historian Stefan Ihrig writes, “Turanism – the vision of a union of all Turkic peoples between from the Aegean to north-western China under Turkish leadership – had once motivated Enver Pasha [the Ottoman Minister of War] and had led to the catastrophe at Sarıkamış.” [In January 1915, during WWI, Ottoman forces were routed by the Soviet Red Army in the Battle of Sarıkamış (55km south-west of Kars, in eastern Anatolia). Enver Pasha blamed the Ottoman defeat on the Armenians and routinely sighted this “stab in the back” as justification for the Armenian Genocide (launched 24 April 2015)].
Researcher Yeghia Tashjian further explains how in 1918, Enver Pasha ordered the formation of an “Islamic Army of the Caucasus” with the aim of driving out the Armenians once and for all and establishing a pan-Turkic empire extending from Anatolia to the oil fields of Baku.
Erdogan’s Enver Pasha Dream: The Revival of the “Army of Islam”
By Yeghia Tashjian, Armenian Weekly, 16 October 2020
Today, the Turkish neo-Ottoman and Turanist dream is being revived by Turkey’s neo-Ottoman President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In March 2021, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), published a report entitled: The Erdoğan Revolution in the Turkish Curriculum Textbooks.
After analysing twenty-eight textbooks, IMPACT-se assessed that the curriculum’s stance overall is anti-American and anti-Armenian, while sympathising with the motivations of Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and glorifying Islamic jihad and martyrdom.
An excerpt from page 32 reads: “As part of Turkey’s political vision, pan-Turkism is taught to students in various fundamental modules: “Turkish World Domination”; “Ideal of the World Order”; and the “Red Apple” [Kızıl Elma i.e., the desired goal, which is for Turkey, as a recognised world power, to exercise hegemony over a restored Ottoman Empire]. There is an emphasis on the unity of the Central Asian Turkic nations; the descriptions of Turkey’s special bond with Azerbaijan includes very anti-Armenian narratives.”
Turkey’s Chase for the ‘Red Apple’
Over the last five years, Turkish President Erdoğan and his allies have repeatedly used the image of the Red Apple (Kızıl Elma) as a symbol of their ambitions for Turkey.
By Stuart Williams (a Paris-based international correspondent with Agence France-Presse), 13 January 2021.
Excerpt: “Above all, the Red Apple is a symbol of a vision and quest for modern Turkey — to wield influence and hegemony well beyond its borders into Muslim-majority lands formerly ruled by the Ottomans in the Balkans, Middle East, and the Caucasus.”
Turkey’s partner in its new Caucasus campaign is the increasingly Islamist and equally as Armenophobic, President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
The pair’s Islamic and anti-Armenian credentials were on clearly on display in the September-November 2020 war over Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh when Turkey facilitated the delivery into Azerbaijan of thousands of Syrian jihadis whose orders often were as simple as, “all Armenians should be slaughtered and killed” and “each person who beheads an Armenian [will] receive $US100 for each beheading”.
Continuing Impunity: Azerbaijani-Turkish offensives against Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh
By Baroness Cox. Published by Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) UK. 24 April 2021
Note: Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), founded by Baroness Caroline Cox, has a long history of engagement in Nagorno-Karabakh and provides regular news and analysis on the region.
To legitimise its claims to Armenian homelands, Azerbaijan is in the process of erasing all Armenian heritage in what many are calling cultural genocide.
Why Armenian Cultural Heritage Threatens Azerbaijan’s Claims to Nagorno-Karabakh
by Yelena Ambartsumian, published in Hypoallergic (a New York based journal specialising in art and culture), 28 February 2021
Most critically, the toxic Armenophobic rhetoric emanating from Baku is seriously dangerous. Between them, Baku and Ankara are turning the South Caucasus into a tinderbox . . . a Christian crisis in the making.
Armenophobia in Azerbaijan: Organized Hate Speech & Animosity Towards Armenians
The Office of Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh, September 2018
In April 2021, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom added Turkey and Azerbaijan to its Special Watch List (SWL) for “engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom”.
Forum 18 https://www.forum18.org
(Based in Oslo, Norway, Forum 18 monitors and analysis religious freedom in Central Asia, Russia, the South Caucasus, Belarus, and occasionally Turkey.)
Morning Star News, https://morningstarnews.org
Christian Solidarity Worldwide https://www.csw.org.uk
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin http://rlprayerbulletin.blogspot.com/
Mountainous and forested, Nagorno-Karabakh (N-K) is an Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan. Thousands of churches adorn N-K’s peaks, many dating back to the 10th Century. DNA samples from excavated bones indicate that Armenians have been settled in the region for at least 4,000 years.
When Russia annexed the region from the Persian Empire in 1805, the population of N-K was 94 percent ethnic Armenian, as it was in 1923 when the Soviet Union’s Communist dictator Joseph Stalin mischievously and fatefully made Orthodox Armenian N-K an autonomous region (or oblast) of the Turkic Muslim Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, thereby setting the stage for future conflict.
In December 1991, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the residents of N-K held a referendum on independence in which 99.98 percent voted to secede from Azerbaijan. N-K’s Azeri minority boycotted the vote and Azerbaijan responded with war. Ultimately the Armenians prevailed. Since then, the region has existed as a democratic self-ruled Armenian province inside Azerbaijan.
In February 2017, N-K’s residents voted to change the region’s name from Nagorno-Karabakh (a Russian-Azerbaijani hybrid) to Artsakh, the name by which it was known from the early 11th Century when it was a province of Armenia.
All About Nagorno-Karabakh’s 2017 Name Change
Political Geography Now, 30 January 2018
Inexplicably, the United Nations dismisses as irrelevant the expressed will of the residents – as determined by referendum – to their right to self-determination, while accepting as inviolable Joseph Stalin’s mischievous dictate.
Today, N-K’s remnant Armenians would be amongst the most existentially imperilled people on earth.