Azerbaijan escalates punctuation war with Armenia. Eurasianet
Two months after Armenia’s prime minister controversially declared that “Karabakh is Armenia – period,” Azerbaijan’s president has finally delivered his emphatic retort, wrote a freelance american journalist Joshua Kucera.
Nikol Pashinyan's categorical statement caused a stir as it went beyond what previous Armenian leaders had said about the territory.
Two months later, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has finally delivered his retort, which he unveiled at Russia’s high-level Valdai conference before an audience including Russian President Vladimir Putin:
“Karabakh is Azerbaijan – exclamation point!”
Azerbaijan’s obsequious press has covered Aliyev’s quip as if it was the next coming of Winston Churchill. “Azerbaijani President’s speech will remain in the history of Valdai Club,” claimed news site ona.az. The news agency Trend reported that Pashinyan’s “provocative and insane statement … was blown to smithereens” by Aliyev’s devastating rebuttal. Even the independent news agency Turan seemed carried away, noting that while Aliyev was speaking “it is clearly visible how intensely Vladimir Putin listens to him.”
The Defense Ministry reported that Aliyev’s statement “was perceived with a high spirit in the Azerbaijan Army.” Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Youth and Sports announced that they would be launching an “International Youth Campaign” inspired by Aliyev’s statement, including the hashtag #KarabakhIsAzerbaijan.
Beyond the war of words between Aliyev and Pashinyan, the war on the ground has been slowly heating up as well. After a long period of relatively little violence on the front lines, there has again been an uptick of deaths on both sides.
The hopes engendered by a revival of peace talks earlier this year and a mutual promise to “prepare the populations for peace” are quickly receding.