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Turkish state news agency distorts the facts: ECHR called the Khojaly events into question

05.03.2020   22:53

Turkish state news agency “Anadolu” distorted the provisions of the verdict related to the Khojaly events. Along with the fake propaganda thesis by Azerbaijan, the article published on February 26 illuminated the official verdict of “Fatullayev vs Azerbaijan” case completely out of the context and obviously distorted.

According to their claims, ECHR stated that “what happened in Khojaly amounts to a war crime or a crime against humanity”. These false claims were later on spread by an Arabic website – Albosala.com.

Fatullayev VS Azerbaijan

In 2007 Azerbaijan’s law enforcement organs opened a criminal case against the editor-in-chief of the “Real Azerbaijan” journal Eynula Fatullayev accusing him of “statements of defamations” related to the Khojaly events. Taken as the basis to launch a criminal case were Fatullayev’s critical articles about the state officials published on the pages of “Real Azerbaijan” as well as the articles containing evidence contradicting the official thesis about the events in Khojaly (ECHR verdict, 1st paragraph). In February 2005, the editor of the journal started his thread of articles under “Karabakh diary” name, summing up his thoughts after his 10-day visit to the Republic of Artsakh.

“I have visited this town [Naftalan] where I have spoken to hundreds (I repeat, hundreds) of refugees who insisted that there had been a corridor and that they had remained alive owing to this corridor … [They were killed] not by [some] mysterious [shooters], but by provocateurs from the NFA battalions … [The corpses] had been mutilated by our own …”(1,2,3).

He was sentenced to a prison term by the Azerbaijani court and appealed the decision of the court in ECHR where the verdict of the court was assessed as an act of violation of Fatullayev’s rights in a number of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, ordering the immediate release of the journalist from the Azerbaijani authorities.

ECHR verdict and the Khojaly events

On the 87th paragraph of the official verdict of the ECHR on Khojaly states, “Moreover, the Court notes that it is an integral part of freedom of expression to seek historical truth. At the same time, it is not the Court’s role to arbitrate the underlying historical issues which are part of a continuing debate between historians that shapes opinion as to the events which took place and their interpretation. Court accordingly considers that it is not its task to settle the differences in opinions about the historical facts relating to the Khojaly events”. This being said, the Court has never made such a decision in connection with the contradictory views or facts and has never included the statement published by Anadolu in his verdict.

Another statement of the verdict reads, “However, apart from this aspect, there appears to be a lack of either clarity or unanimity in respect of certain other aspects and details relating to the Khojaly events. For example, there are conflicting views as to whether a safe escape corridor was provided to the civilians fleeing their town. Likewise, there exist various opinions about the role and responsibility of the Azerbaijani authorities and military forces in these events, with some reports suggesting they could have done more to protect the civilians or that their actions could have somehow contributed to the gravity of the situation. Questions have arisen whether the proper defence of the town had been organized and, if not, whether this was the result of a domestic political struggle in Azerbaijan.

In view of the above Court considers the various matters related to the Khojaly events “to be open to ongoing debate among historians” and “as such should be a matter of general interest in modern Azerbaijani society.

In this regard, the Court noted that a democratic society should tolerate discussion of topics that may be perceived in this society as a war crime or a crime against humanity.

Anadolu agency distorted the content of the decision rendered in the case, tearing out part of the said sentence of the 87th paragraph from the context and presenting it as a “conclusion of the court”. In fact, the Court actually found that the contradictory information related to the Khojaly events did not allow to make a final conclusion and, at the same time, clarified that as an arbiter the solution of such case does not fall into its responsibilities.

ECHR called into question the theses about Khojaly that were spread by Azerbaijan and underlined the uncertainty of the parts that need to be studied, stating: “Rather, the applicant [Fatullayev] was supporting one of the conflicting opinions in the debate concerning the existence of an escape corridor for the refugees and, based on that, expressing the view that some Azerbaijani fighters might have also borne a share of the responsibility for the massacre”. Besides this, the Court also stated that “the role and responsibility of the Azerbaijani authorities in either failing to prevent or contributing to the Khojaly events is the subject of ongoing debate”.

Fatullayev was released on a presidential pardon in 2011 and established Azerbaijan’s Haqqin.az (Azerbaijani version – Virtualaz.org) website which currently serves as a propaganda platform for Aliyev. Fatuallayev’s case is a vivid example of how everyone who speaks or acts against the authorities is treated unless they don’t act the way the Azerbaijani authorities command.

When it comes to the media that carry out anti-Armenian propaganda on behalf of the Azerbaijani authorities – they have constantly faced justified arguments from the Armenian side, and regardless of whether the Turkish or other media sources become another tool for Azerbaijani propaganda, the reality remains the same. In 2012 Ilham Aliyev declared that “Armenians spread all over the world are our main enemies”, approving that anti-Armenian propaganda has become the main policy of present-day Azerbaijan.

Turkish state news agency distorts the facts: ECHR called the Khojaly events into question

Turkish state news agency “Anadolu” distorted the provisions of the verdict related to the Khojaly events. Along with the fake propaganda thesis by Azerbaijan, the article published on February 26 illuminated the official verdict of “Fatullayev vs Azerbaijan” case completely out of the context and obviously distorted.

According to their claims, ECHR stated that “what happened in Khojaly amounts to a war crime or a crime against humanity”. These false claims were later on spread by an Arabic website – Albosala.com.

Fatullayev VS Azerbaijan

In 2007 Azerbaijan’s law enforcement organs opened a criminal case against the editor-in-chief of the “Real Azerbaijan” journal Eynula Fatullayev accusing him of “statements of defamations” related to the Khojaly events. Taken as the basis to launch a criminal case were Fatullayev’s critical articles about the state officials published on the pages of “Real Azerbaijan” as well as the articles containing evidence contradicting the official thesis about the events in Khojaly (ECHR verdict, 1st paragraph). In February 2005, the editor of the journal started his thread of articles under “Karabakh diary” name, summing up his thoughts after his 10-day visit to the Republic of Artsakh.

“I have visited this town [Naftalan] where I have spoken to hundreds (I repeat, hundreds) of refugees who insisted that there had been a corridor and that they had remained alive owing to this corridor … [They were killed] not by [some] mysterious [shooters], but by provocateurs from the NFA battalions … [The corpses] had been mutilated by our own …”(1,2,3).

He was sentenced to a prison term by the Azerbaijani court and appealed the decision of the court in ECHR where the verdict of the court was assessed as an act of violation of Fatullayev’s rights in a number of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, ordering the immediate release of the journalist from the Azerbaijani authorities.

ECHR verdict and the Khojaly events

On the 87th paragraph of the official verdict of the ECHR on Khojaly states, “Moreover, the Court notes that it is an integral part of freedom of expression to seek historical truth. At the same time, it is not the Court’s role to arbitrate the underlying historical issues which are part of a continuing debate between historians that shapes opinion as to the events which took place and their interpretation. Court accordingly considers that it is not its task to settle the differences in opinions about the historical facts relating to the Khojaly events”. This being said, the Court has never made such a decision in connection with the contradictory views or facts and has never included the statement published by Anadolu in his verdict.

Another statement of the verdict reads, “However, apart from this aspect, there appears to be a lack of either clarity or unanimity in respect of certain other aspects and details relating to the Khojaly events. For example, there are conflicting views as to whether a safe escape corridor was provided to the civilians fleeing their town. Likewise, there exist various opinions about the role and responsibility of the Azerbaijani authorities and military forces in these events, with some reports suggesting they could have done more to protect the civilians or that their actions could have somehow contributed to the gravity of the situation. Questions have arisen whether the proper defence of the town had been organized and, if not, whether this was the result of a domestic political struggle in Azerbaijan.

In view of the above Court considers the various matters related to the Khojaly events “to be open to ongoing debate among historians” and “as such should be a matter of general interest in modern Azerbaijani society.

In this regard, the Court noted that a democratic society should tolerate discussion of topics that may be perceived in this society as a war crime or a crime against humanity.

Anadolu agency distorted the content of the decision rendered in the case, tearing out part of the said sentence of the 87th paragraph from the context and presenting it as a “conclusion of the court”. In fact, the Court actually found that the contradictory information related to the Khojaly events did not allow to make a final conclusion and, at the same time, clarified that as an arbiter the solution of such case does not fall into its responsibilities.

ECHR called into question the theses about Khojaly that were spread by Azerbaijan and underlined the uncertainty of the parts that need to be studied, stating: “Rather, the applicant [Fatullayev] was supporting one of the conflicting opinions in the debate concerning the existence of an escape corridor for the refugees and, based on that, expressing the view that some Azerbaijani fighters might have also borne a share of the responsibility for the massacre”. Besides this, the Court also stated that “the role and responsibility of the Azerbaijani authorities in either failing to prevent or contributing to the Khojaly events is the subject of ongoing debate”.

Fatullayev was released on a presidential pardon in 2011 and established Azerbaijan’s Haqqin.az (Azerbaijani version – Virtualaz.org) website which currently serves as a propaganda platform for Aliyev. Fatuallayev’s case is a vivid example of how everyone who speaks or acts against the authorities is treated unless they don’t act the way the Azerbaijani authorities command.

When it comes to the media that carry out anti-Armenian propaganda on behalf of the Azerbaijani authorities – they have constantly faced justified arguments from the Armenian side, and regardless of whether the Turkish or other media sources become another tool for Azerbaijani propaganda, the reality remains the same. In 2012 Ilham Aliyev declared that “Armenians spread all over the world are our main enemies”, approving that anti-Armenian propaganda has become the main policy of present-day Azerbaijan.

Vanuhi Karapetyan

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