Azeri Families Live in Stepanakert and Askeran

AZG Armenian Daily #034, 25/02/2005

Nagorno Karabakh


Journalist Eynula Fatulaev Tells Azeri Press About His Impressions in NKR

Eynula Fatulaev, journalist of Monitor Azeri newspaper, visited NKR and
Aghdam on February 11-20. Returning to Baku, Fatulaev told about his
impressions in interviews to Zerkalo and Ekho. The article published in
Zerkalo in entitled was “Childish Naivety or Treason?”

“I arrived in Yerevan on February 10 and began working in Karabakh the next
day. In general, I should emphasize that the “NKR” authorities implemented
all their commitments. All the conditions were created for my activities
without any limitation. I came across the only prohibition in Aghdam. They
didn’t allow me to take any photo there. I was quite free in my activities
in all the places I visited,” Fatulaev told Ekho.

In response to the question what was the most surprising thing for him,
Fatulaev said: “The development of the civic and democratic institutions
surprised me most of all. They say that such institutes are more developed
in here, than in Yerevan. “NKR President” Arkady Ghukasian said that “the
world would never forgive NKR authoritarian and anti-democratic regime, and
that is why we should develop the civic institutions.”

“I visited the occupied territories 5 years ago, and, to tell the truth,
there have been great changes there. The military-political regime changed
into a semi-democratic one. In general, one can’t call “NKR” a democratic
state, notwithstanding the fact that democratic elections have already been
hold in “NKR.” The opposition representative won the elections of 2004.
Eduard Aghabekian, main opponent of Ghukasian became a mayor. Besides, there
is independent mass media in Karabakh. I got acquainted with the journalists
of the oppositional press. They are rather strictly criticizing “NKR”
authorities and that gets on one’s nerves, but they are tolerant,” Fatulaev

Fatulaev got the impression after the meetings with Arkady Ghukasian, NKR
President, Arman Melikian, NKR foreign minister, as well as with other
officials and political figures that the Armenian side will never return
Lachin and Qelbajar. “That is why they are inhabiting these regions,” he

“Lachin, the regional center, is inhabited for almost 80%. Schools, medical
centers, hospitals have been constructed, in one word, all the substructures
of the region are restored. The composition of Lachin’s residents is rather
interesting. Armenians from Iraq, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Lebanon are
dwelling there. There are many Armenians from Spitak who lost their homes as
a result of the earthquake,” Fatulaev said and added that in the course of
the 11 days he spent in Karabakh the electricity was never switched off. The
whole population of Karabakh has natural gas.”

Azeri journalist met his compatriots, as well. “Azeri families live in
Stepanakert and Askeran, moreover, they live quite a normal life. There are
10-15 families in Stepanakert and 10 families in Askeran. I took interviews
from them for Monitor magazine. For example, Tofik Rasulov invited me to his
home. He is from Ujar region. He moved to Askeran with his family in the
60s. In 1989-90 he returned to Ujar because of the well-known events. But he
failed to live there and returned. He and his family members live a serene
and natural life in Askeran,” Fatulaev said.

In particular, Zerkalo got annoyed at the fact that Fatulaev used the name
Stepanakert instead of Khanqendi, as well as at the approach the journalist
applied when representing his impressions that were fair and passionless.

Fatulaev came to think that Arkady Ghukasian and Arman Melikian are “open
people,” as a result of the meetings with these officials. “Ghukasian
mentioned in the conversation with me that he doesn’t call for the
authorities of Azerbaijan to speak Armenian with them, just like Saakashvili
spoke with the Ossetians and the Abkhazians their native language. It was
emphasized that if Azerbaijan considers the Armenians of Karabakh its
citizens, why does it speak to them from the positions of a power.
Principally, I got the impression that they are ready for a dialogue. As a
high-ranking NKR official told me, today they do not exclude the possibility
of establishing horizontal relations with the official Baku within the
framework of one state,” he said.

“At present, a generation grows up in Karabakh that has got accustomed to
the idea that Karabakh is a separate administrative unit and isn’t in the
structure of Azerbaijan. In few years, this generation will come to the
policy, business and find its place among the society of Karabakh. It will
be much more difficult to agree with those people, than with the today’s
ruling group. In this connection, the Karabakh authorities emphasize that
they are ready to hold negotiations with the representatives of Azerbaijan,
even on the level of the ministers,” Fatulaev said.

By Tatoul Hakobian