Appeal for Artsakh – English version

Do we want to let the Armenians of Karabakh be exterminated ?

Since 27 September 2020, Azerbaijan, at the instigation and with the very active support of Turkey, has launched a large-scale military offensive against the Republic of Upper Karabakh. The clearly stated objective is to recover by force not only the land conquered by the Armenians in 1993-94, but the whole of Upper Karabakh. The Azeri leadership, along with its Turkish protector, and associate has never made any secret about this.

To achieve this result, Azerbaijan has deployed all its military power, aided, advised and armed by Turkey. The aim is to achieve the Pan-Turkist project of connecting Turkey and Azerbaijan, which requires crushing the Armenians. Thus, Armenians today face not only a war of aggression, but also an attempt to eliminate them. This is not some distant ghost of the 1915 genocide, but its present avatar: the project of exterminating the Armenians of Karabakh. This is happening in broad daylight – in front of our very eyes. The only big difference with 1915 is that Upper Karabakh and Armenia have two efficient and well-trained armies, which are for the moment able to resist the aggression.

Is it reasonable to leave a people of barely three million, landlocked, and under fire from two foreign powers that are several times more powerful to its fate? Is it reasonable to leave a few thousand young men in charge of stopping Turkish-Azeri fascist imperialism? It is astonishing that the communities and persons who stand for equality and human rights – against racism and fascism – express so little support for these Armenians. Far from being an episode in a planetary conflict between Muslims and Christians, this is the reactivation of the Pan-Turkist project inaugurated with the Young Turks, the founders of modern Turkey, in 1915. It is an ambition currently used by Erdogan to mobilise his public opinion and to hire mercenaries.

What is at stake today is stopping such Pan-Turkist imperialism, which is a grave danger to international peace and security. The Pan-Turkist ideology developed during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and is now at work in Erdogan's policies. Armenians from Eastern Anatolia were eliminated for the sake of this ideology, since this vision was actually to join the lands of the Turks of Asia Minor with those of Azerbaijan, and beyond, in Central Asia. This ideological continuity is obvious, especially when Turkish or Azeri officials claim that the war will end when the Armenians have abandoned Karabakh.

The time has come finally to free our thinking about the Armenians from the prism of international alliances: Turkey, a member of NATO and as such in the Western camp; Armenia, a member of the CSTO, and so in the Russian camp. This schema is no longer valid. What we are dealing with here is a country building its democracy and collectively developing its sovereignty over its lands, which is being attacked by a close alliance of two countries (according to the now famous formula: "one nation, two states") that deny it its right to exist.

Armenians are a free people who are building their collective and democratic destiny every day. These examples deserve better than an embarrassed silence; they deserve active support rather than bowing before “the territorial integrity“ of the states involved. If Aliyev and Erdogan win their bet, it will be too late to weep.

We, the signatories of this appeal, are confident that awareness will spread, but that we must accelerate it. How many more destroyed churches will be needed after the bombing of Sushi Cathedral on Wednesday 7 October? How many bombed hospitals? How many cluster bombs dropped on civilian infrastructures? Public opinion in France and in the rest of Europe will, we are convinced, push governments to recognize the right to self-determination of the Armenians of Upper Karabakh, because it will have understood that this is a necessity for security and peace in Europe and the Middle East.

We denounce the war crimes committed by the Azeri-Turkish forces, the use of jihadist militias against Armenians and we call on the Western countries, Israel, Russia and the USA to stop all arms sales to Azerbaijan. We demand an end to the imperialist drive of neo-Ottoman Turkey. Finally, we demand that the states of the international community do everything in their power to assert the right of peoples to self-determination, for the Armenians of Karabakh as well.