May 8 marks the 25th anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan's ancient town of Shusha by Armenian invaders. Shusha has always been one of unique cultural centers of Azerbaijan, distinguished for its natural and man-made beauty.
The city played an important role both from economic- political and cultural point of view in the history of Azerbaijan. This town, which went down in history thanks to such prominent figures as Khurshidbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajbayli, Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev, Yusif Vazir Chemenzeminli, Firidun bey Kocharli, and other eminent personalities, is known worldwide as the cradle of the Azerbaijani national folk music mugham. For centuries, people lived in peace and harmony in Shusha, but the situation radically changed in 1992. On May 8, the heart of Karabakh- Shusha was seized by Armenian invaders.
“The dream of all of us - the Azerbaijani people, our soldiers, the commander-in-chief of the Azerbaijani Army - to return to our native lands. And I hope that under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Azerbaijani Army this will happen soon. In connection with the 25th anniversary of the occupation of Shusha, we are communicating with the international community, the OSCE Minsk Group, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, whose resolutions are not being respected. With respect to Libya, resolutions were adopted, and they were immediately fulfilled, but it did not happen in the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at all international venues emphasizes that the occupied areas must be returned, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan cannot be the subject of discussions and that the tricolor flag of Azerbaijan will be hoisted over all the occupied areas,” Bayram Safarov, Head of Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh said.
As a result of the occupation, more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from their places of permanent residence and thus ethnic cleansing was completed in Nagorno-Karabakh, where no Azerbaijani remained. People of Shusha fought for their native land with all their might, fought for their city. In the battles for the defense of Shusha more than 200 people died, hundreds were injured, and almost as many were captured. Not only ethnic Azerbaijanis fought for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Today, flowers were also laid on the monument of Albert Agarunov, a mountain Jew by birth, a tanker who fought heroically for Shusha and died on May 8, 1992. During his service in the National Army of Azerbaijan, Albert Agharunov showed himself to be a courageous and brave soldier. Albert always loved Azerbaijan and dreamed of peace and harmony here.
“Albert's merits are honored here in Azerbaijan very well. People always remember the day of his birth and death. Today is the day of his death and everybody came here to remember him. I am grateful to the Azerbaijani people that they never forget our brother,” Rantik Agarunov brother of Albert Agarunov said.
The invaders took to Armenia valuable exhibits of Shusha museums, rare Karabakh carpets, samples of folk and fine arts, archaeological finds, documents and many other things. Today, these treasures of Azerbaijani culture and history are being presented to the world as samples of the “Armenian culture.” The occupation of Shusha and of Azerbaijan’s region of Nagorno-Karabakh in general resulted in killings of 20,000 Azerbaijanis and displacement of over 1 million people from their homes. Residents of Shusha, as the people of the whole of Azerbaijan, expect and believe that justice will triumph, Shusha and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan will be liberated from the Armenian occupation and they will return to their native lands soon.