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Karabakh

April 24, 1993

In response to "Embattled Azerbaijan Struggles to Muster a Sense of Urgency," by Hugh Pope (April 16), and the letter by the consul general of Turkey, Oguz Celikkol (April 17):

With regard to Pope's assertion that the United Nations and the United States have "condemned Armenia for its latest incursion," there are no such condemnations against Armenia, because there are no forces from the Republic of Armenia in Karabakh or in Azerbaijan. The fighting has always been done by local Armenians in the Karabakh enclave, and has always been in response to Azerbaijani shelling of innocent civilians and merciless aggression against a peaceful population that believes in self-determination, and wishes to correct the historical tragedy inflicted upon it by Stalin, who forcibly took Karabakh from Armenia and placed it under Azerbaijani jurisdiction. In fact, the president of Armenia sent a letter to the commander of the self-defense force in Karabakh prior to the latest fighting, strongly urging him to refrain from taking military action outside the boundaries of the enclave. The only country that is violating another's territorial integrity is Azerbaijan, which is shelling and bombing not only Karabakh but also Armenia proper, a state that has consistently shown its determination not to be drawn into a war with Azerbaijan.

The statement by Celikkol that "allegations that Turkey has imposed an economic embargo on Armenia are totally unfounded . . . rail lines between the two countries are open and Armenian nationals are free to enter Turkey" is no longer true. Since the latest defeat of Azerbaijani regulars by local Armenian self-defense forces in Karabakh, Turkey has closed the rail lines between itself and Armenia and even confiscated French and American humanitarian aid that legally is the property of the Republic of Armenia. In addition, the fate of hundreds of Armenian nationals in eastern Turkey remains unknown. These acts hardly constitute a positive Turkish role in "providing humanitarian assistance to Armenia and its (Turkey's) endeavors for a political solution to the Karabakh conflict." Indeed, these hostile acts by Turkey serve only to mar the policy of rapprochement adopted by Armenia and act as obstacles to any peace process.

KARNIG OHANNESSIAN

CEO, Galian Foundation for the Study

of Armenian and Multi-Cultural Issues

Whittier

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