April 5, 2021
In its annual “Country Report” State Dept. also highlights rise in hate speech against Armenians in Turkey
In its 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the State Department confirmed that Turkey played a role in last fall’s Karabakh war and highlighted that Azerbaijan committed what amount to be war crimes during its aggressive attacks against Artsakh.
Among the war crimes highlighted in the report were examples of Azerbaijan’s military strikes against civilian targets and the torture and abuse of Armenian prisoners.
The report states that Azerbaijan’s invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh was conducted “with Turkish support”.
The State Department acknowledged “significant human rights issues” perpetrated by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, including “unlawful killings, civilian casualties, and inhuman treatment.”
“For example, on October 3 and December 11, Human Rights Watch criticized Azerbaijan’s armed forces for repeatedly using weapons on residential areas in Nagorno-Karabakh,” says the 2020 Country Report.
“On October 5, Amnesty International crisis response experts corroborated the authenticity of video footage–consistent with the use of cluster munitions–from the city of Stepanakert that was published in early October and identified Israeli-made cluster munitions that appeared to have been fired by Azerbaijani armed forces. The Hazardous Area Life-support Organization (HALO) Trust, an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in Nagorno-Karabakh to clear unexploded ordnance, confirmed the use of cluster munitions in operations striking civilian infrastructure in Nagorno-Karabakh during intensive fighting in the fall,” the report said.
In its 2020 Turkey Country Report, the State Department also highlighted that Armenian minority groups in Turkey reported a rise in hate speech and coded language directed against the Armenian community, including from high-level government officials, noting that the word “Armenian” still is considered to be slur in Turkey.
“After the outbreak of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan on September 27, members of the Armenian minority reported increased anti-Armenian rhetoric, including in traditional and social media. Supporters of Azerbaijan staged car convoys featuring Azerbaijani flags in Istanbul near the Armenian Patriarchate and in districts with large Armenian populations,” the report said.
“The Hrant Dink Foundation recorded a threefold increase in hate speech targeting Armenians in the week of September 27-October 5, citing more than 1,000 news reports and commentary featuring anti-Armenian language meeting the organization’s criteria for hate speech. On October 5, HDP MP and ethnic Armenian Turk Garo Paylan stated he had been threatened and noted that a pro-government think tank had placed newspaper ads calling him a spy for supporting Armenia,” added the report.
“Hate speech and calls for violence against Armenians surged to an unprecedented level in Azerbaijan too, especially during Baku’s aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh. Turks and Azeris living abroad were filmed threatening Armenians and attacking them during peaceful gatherings and rallies across the world,” noted the report.