Azerbaijani and Turkish demonstrators protest in Berlin against the “Armenian aggression”. Armenians protest against this.
Mischa Badasyan is a loner. He protests in front of the building of the Turkish embassy in Berlin. He is wearing a dress with a long train. It looks like a wedding dress. The color is red. Red like the Turkish flag, red like blood. His robe is close to his body, arms and legs seem fixed to the body, like a straitjacket. A long turtleneck covers his face up to his eyes. “Stop wars” is on a poster. With his protest performance, the Armenian-born Berlin artist appeals to Turkey, which is militarily intervening in the war in the South Caucasus.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani and Turkish protesters gather not far from the Badasyan protest on Saturday afternoon. They want to march from Alexanderplatz across Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg Gate. This is the same route where the Armenian community demonstrated against the “Turkish-Azerbaijan attacks” last Saturday and called for an “end to the expansion of authoritarian regimes”.
On this Saturday afternoon, people from the opposing camp are protesting under the motto: “Stop the Armenian aggression” and “Do not believe in the Armenian lie”.
For three weeks hundreds of soldiers have been killed in the newly escalated Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It’s the toughest fights in decades.
The territorial conflict over the Armenian-inhabited Nagorno-Karabakh region, which was added to the republic of Soviet Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalin during the Soviet era, has been smoldering for over 30 years. A war in the early 1990s, in which, according to various estimates, between 25,000 and 50,000 people were killed and over 1.1 million displaced, culminated in a ceasefire in 1994, which was repeatedly broken.
Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence in 1991
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Baku lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh-Armenians. In 1991 Nagorno-Karabakh – like Azerbaijan and Armenia – declared its independence as a republic, which to this day is not recognized by any state in the world or by the protective power of Armenia.
Azerbaijan speaks of an occupation of its territory, which continues to belong to Azerbaijan under international law. The regime of President Ilham Alejew is trying to bring the region back under Azerbaijani control by military means. The demonstrators are protesting at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin today.
“Although our bodies are abroad regardless of their political views and positions, the heart of each of us beats for our army, for the Azerbaijani soldiers”, is the motto under which the “Alliance of Azerbaijanis in Germany” is Azerbaijani community nationwide had asked to join the march.
“Armenia is bombing our cities, killing women and children,” says Nina. The Azerbaijani does not want to give her last name. She is concerned and would like the German government to sanction Armenia. “Armenia has occupied 20 percent of our country,” she says. “And“ the Armenian troops want to march on ”. “Pashinyan is a terrorist,” shouted men. This is Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Strong police force and ultra-nationalists
Heydar Huseynov (34) came to Berlin with his wife from Heilbronn to “demonstrate against Armenian aggression and for a just peace”. “We want 800,000 Azerbaijanis who fled Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas during the war in the 1990s to be able to return to their homes,” says Huseynov. And he wishes that “Armenians and Azerbaijanis will live together in peace, as they did before”.
The demonstration is accompanied by a strong police presence. Again and again, the participants are asked to wear masks and keep their distance. It’s getting louder and louder. “Keep shooting Azerbaijani soldiers!” “Go ahead,” shouted people. “Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan. If you don’t want that, you should go blind, ”they shout. Military-patriotic songs are played and many sing along.
One week after the agreed ceasefire, the fighting in the conflict region Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus continues. Azerbaijan reported heavy attacks by the Armenian side on Saturday night on Ganja, the country’s second largest city. At least 13 people were killed in a rocket attack, said the civil protection ministry in the capital Baku. The bodies were found, for example, under the rubble of destroyed houses. In addition, there were more than 50 injured.
Images distributed from Azerbaijan showed rescue workers looking for survivors in destroyed houses. Search dogs were also used. The authorities spoke of considerable damage.
The demonstrators also carry Turkish flags under the motto: “One nation, two states”. This is how the then President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, described the relations between the two Turkish-speaking countries. Today his son Ilham Aliyev uses this slogan, who came to power after his father’s death in 2003, to emphasize his state’s ties to Turkey.
Under this motto, the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Edgogans is also supporting Azerbaijan in the war against Armenia. “Azerbaijan’s suffering is our suffering, his joy is our joy” tweeted the former German national soccer player Mesut Özil about the conflict and wrote: “One nation, two states”. This ideology also unites a lot of demostrants.
Ultranationalists are also there. You are calling for a Turanism association of the Turkish-speaking peoples. Some young people show the symbol of the Gray Wolves – the largest right-wing extremist Turkish organization in Germany. And they hold up a poster that says: “We have every right to Karabakh”.
Since September 27, 633 soldiers have been killed on the Armenian side. Azerbaijan has so far not provided any information about the victims. Thousands are on the run. Both countries continue to mobilize among the able-bodied residents, an end to the armed conflict is not in sight – despite an agreed ceasefire.