Baku, February 28 (AzerTAc). Head of the Department for Coordination of Law Enforcement Agencies at the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Fuad Alasgarov was interviewed by AzerTAc.
Q: The 24th anniversary of the Sumgayit events has come. Last year Adam Sсhiff, a US Congressman, tried to raise this issue at the Congress. This year a bill on “Armenian genocide” in Sumgayit was put forward at the legislative body of the state of California. In your opinion, is there a threat to face, eventually, another fictitious “Armenian genocide” project?
A: For a long time the Armenian side has been referring to the Sumgayit events to justify its separatist and occupational policy, the genocide in Khojaly and other crimes they have committed in the territory of Azerbaijan.
Armenia, which has occupied 20 percent of the territories of our country and conducted the ethnic cleansing policy, has been presenting the Sumgayit events as a purposeful act organized by Azerbaijan. This propaganda, which started back in 1988, was designed to persuade the world community of cruelty of Azerbaijanis towards Armenians and impossibility of coexistence of Azerbaijanis and Armenians within one state. In order to present their lies as the truth, the Armenian side without hesitation has been making recourse to distortion of facts, fabrication of documents and other dirty methods they have applied throughout the history. Such fabricated information is massively posted on the Internet, and special websites are created for their dissemination.
This work was previously limited to propaganda; however, at present an activity is launched to find “legal grounds” for the fictitious “Armenian genocide” in Sumgayit. The policy of the Armenian diaspora conducted in a sustained way to achieve recognition of the fictitious “Armenian genocide of 1915”, to make Turkey liable for that and even to criminalize its denial, as in France, has been manifesting itself during the recent years in the presentation of the Sumgayit events as well.
Armenia often voices the idea that the Sumgayit events were a genocide committed by Azerbaijanis against Armenians, and they address to various international organizations with such declarations while the Armenian diaspora tries to raise this issue at the parliaments of foreign countries.
Azerbaijan follows attentively the disinformation activity of the Armenian side and takes the necessary measures to prevent that activity. At present the relevant work is being done to ensure just legal and political assessment of the Sumgayit events, as well as expose fabricated Armenian version in the presentation of those events.
First of all, I would like to underline the importance of the presentation of www.sumqait.org website launched by the Administration of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in three languages. The main objective of the website is to show the real reasons of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict, to deliver the real truth on the Sumgayit events to the wide public by exposing the fictitious Sumgayit “genocide” fabricated by the Armenian`s propaganda machinery, destroy the negative image of Azerbaijan and its people in the world public opinion, which the Armenians have been trying to form for 20 years. All materials proving that the Sumgayit events were an Armenian provocation organized beforehand have been posted on the website.
Our activity is not limited only to launching the website. Movies are produced, articles and books are written and translated into foreign languages, and large efforts are being made at the international level in order to expose the Armenians.
Bringing to the attention of the international community the information on the Sumgayit events, as well as the Khojaly genocide and, in general, on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, its reasons and harsh consequences for our people is one of the preconditions for just solution of the conflict. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev has noted repeatedly that Azerbaijan is in favour of a peaceful resolution of the problem on the basis of the principles of international law and within the territorial integrity of our country. However, the peace process will give its fruits if the deeds and decisions of the participants of the process are based on the true information. Therefore, the fabrications and groundless claims disseminated by the Armenian side only put obstacles to the peace process and cast serious doubts on its efficiency.
This true information has to be constantly disseminated on all international platforms using modern information technologies, so that objective position with respect to the said issues is formed in the world public opinion. In order not to face in the future the problems that Turkey is experiencing now, we have to escape situational tactics in the information warfare and opt for preventive strategy. In other words, we should not follow the events, just the opposite, we have to be ahead of the events, always hold pre-emptive position. Only systematic political and legal measures and consistent, continuous and effective campaign in response to these challenges can ensure that fictitious Armenian projects will fail to hit their target in the future.
Q: But haven`t Sumgayit events been legally assessed in 1988-90?
A: It has been proven long ago that Gorbachov, who was influenced by the ideas of Shakhnazarov, Aganbekyan, Kaputikyan, Balayan, the ideologists of the Armenian chauvinism, supported the Armenian nationalists and separatists while pursuing his own political interests. It was the meeting of Mikhail Gorbachov with Silva Kaputikyan and Zori Balayan, which inspired all Armenian nationalists. They needed only an “official reason” for their fight to separate Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan. The disorders in Sumgayit served as this “official reason”.
Unfortunately, the investigation and court trials conducted in 1988-90 in connection with the mass disorders organized in Sumgayit did not lead to just legal assessment of those events. The true masterminds and organizers of those events were not revealed and brought to responsibility. On the contrary, upon instructions of Mikhail Gorbachov the investigative group of the USSR Public Prosecutor`s Office insisted on the version that the crime had been committed by hooligan elements and did their utmost to make that version official.
Armenian separatists, who took advantage of the fact that the Sumgayit events had not received objective political and legal assessment, started the process of forcible separation of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan. Immediately after the Sumgayit events the information campaign against Azerbaijan started in Armenia, in the Soviet press and on international level. This campaign has been continuously going on for already 24 years.
After Heydar Aliyev, the national leader of the Azerbaijani people came to power, all possible means available at that time were used to prevent the activity of the Armenian`s propaganda machinery against Azerbaijan, as well as bring to the attention of the international community the fact that the Sumgayit events had been an Armenian provocation. Thus, we succeeded to destroy the negative image about Azerbaijan formed by the Armenians.
Upon the instruction of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General reopened the criminal investigation of the Sumgayit mass disorders with the purpose to establish legal grounds for addressing the relevant international institutions in order to bring the true organizers of the crime to criminal responsibility. The investigative group led by the First Deputy Public Prosecutor General was set up to ensure that the investigation is conducted thoroughly.
The investigative group obtained testimonies of a number of witnesses of the Sumgayit events, other persons who had information on the events, including some members of the investigative group of the USSR Office of the Public Prosecutor General, sent inquires to foreign countries, disclosed archive documents, analyzed information in the mass media, and implemented other necessary investigative measures.
Q: Which new facts were revealed as a result of investigation being conducted?
A: The information that the Sumgayit events were organized by the USSR secret services was obtained yet during the investigation conducted back in 1989-90. However, the investigative group of the USSR Office of the Public Prosecutor General failed to examine that information. On the contrary, the information which could reveal the organizers of the mass disorders was withheld. The investigation limited itself only to bringing to responsibility the participants of the disorders of Azerbaijani origin, except for Eduard Grigoryan. In other words, other saboteurs of Armenian origin taking direct part in the disorders escaped responsibility.
Armenia and Moscow responded in an abstract way to the inquiries by the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan, those responses did not contain any information. The conduction of operational measures to investigate the ties of E.Grigoryan with Armenian nationalists was not allowed. Under such circumstances the main questions, i.e. who were the organisers of the pogroms and who were behind the Sumgayit provocation, remained unanswered.
The newly revealed facts indicate that preparations for the disorders had been started well in advance. A lot of suspicious persons of Armenian origin had arrived in the cities of Sumgayit and Baku from Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh on the eve of the Sumgayit events; they were settled compactly in hotels and apartments of local Armenians.
Those persons held meetings with Armenians living in Sumgayit, instructed them and disappeared immediately after the mass disorders. According to the disclosed archive materials of KGB, Sarkisyan and Osipov, who were the envoys of separatists from Nagorno Karabakh and in the meanwhile agents of the USSR KGB, took an active part in the Sumgayit events and immediately after the events they were sent to the Central Asian Republics. The traces of those agents` activity were then found during the events which took place in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. This fact confirms unequivocally that the diversions in Sumgayit, Fargana, Osh and other places of the former USSR were organized and conducted from the single centre.
The scenario of the mass disorders in Sumgayit was realized by E.Grigoryan, his two brothers, Armenian envoys from Nagorno Karabakh, who had special instructions, and KGB agents. Thus, as it follows from the archives of KGB, Pkhakadze, an activist of the separatist “Karabakh” Committee, and others activists of “Karabakh” and “Krunk” were involved in sabotage activity in Sumgayit. It was also not by chance that Livon Saturyan, who later actively intervened in the court proceedings and gave instructions to E.Grigoryan, was an agent of KBG`s Department for Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.
The information about the identity of saboteurs who contacted E.Grigoryan on the eve and the day of disorders, which was obtained during the investigation, later mysteriously disappeared from the case-files. Moreover, the investigative group of the USSR Office of Public Prosecutor General received the information about a sabotage group of 20-25 persons, who presented themselves as “Azerbaijanis driven out of Gafan” (a place in Armenia where Azerbaijanis resided compactly) and spread rumours that Azerbaijanis had been brutally killed by Armenians in Armenia; however, the investigative group failed, for unknown reasons, to examine that information. Furthermore, the testimonies of victims confirming that Armenians from Nagorno Karabakh were also among the persons who broke into the victim`s apartments were not taken into account and this fact was not investigated.
The envoys provided E.Grigoryan with the lists and exact home addresses of Armenian residents of Sumgayit, who did not want to become a member of “Karabakh” and “Krunk”, the separatist organizations, and refused to pay membership fees. This fact is also confirmed by the Armenians living in a mixed marriage who currently reside in Sumgayit. As follows from declassified archive materials of KGB, 47 Armenian nationalists, whose names and addresses were established at that period, did not suffer during the disorders.
The Armenian envoys also provided E.Grigoryan with psychoactive drugs and alcohol to distribute them among participants of the disorders in order to increase their aggressiveness. In the meantime, Grigoryan, together with his brothers, distributed cold arms to the participants of the disorders.
Here is another prove indicating that the disorders in Sumgayit were prepared beforehand: a great number of Armenians left the city before the events, in the meanwhile, in January-February 1988 Armenians massively withdrew money from saving banks in Sumgait. The Armenians leaving the city vacated their apartments and committed arsons in order to extend artificially the scale of the crimes against Armenians in Sumgayit and claim that they were committed by Azerbaijanis.
Unknown persons located on the route of movement of the pillagers conducted video shooting of all actions and immediately sent the materials to television channels in the Western countries. Without any doubt, the persons conducting shooting had information beforehand about the plans of the pillagers.
As you know 6 persons out of 32 killed during the events were Azerbaijanis. Unfortunately the criminal case with regard to the killing of Azerbaijanis was dismissed on 30 December 1988. At present the reopened investigation established that Valeri Markaryan, a resident of Baku of Armenian origin, after bringing the Soviet soldiers to the city of Sumgayit by a bus, drove the bus towards 4 Azerbaijanis standing in street, and killed them. Now the necessary measures are being taken to ensure legal assessment of this fact and solve the issue of responsibility.
Witness testimonies have also been falsified in order to create an appearance of the Sumgayit events being committed by Azerbaijanis. Thus, although the majority of the Azerbaijanis who made speeches during demonstrations in fact called on the participants to refrain from provocations, they were presented in the course of the investigation as “extremists”. Whereas, during the investigation, the Armenian residents of Sumgayit repeatedly reported that it were Azerbaijanis, who rescued them.
At the end I would like note that the reopened investigation continues, active work is being conducted, which, I am convinced, will reveal all those responsible for the Sumgayit events.