CHAPTER 13 KARABAKH UNDER SIEGE (1917-1920)

The population of five villages of Berdadzor migrated with the retreating army. The Manager of Military Affairs of Karabakh Harutiun Tumanian wrote, “The history cannot forget the event when Zangezur seized the arms and armoury obtained and transferred to Goris for Karabakh, leaving it to fight a regular military army and the numerous hordes of Bek’s with bare hands”.20

The result of the loss of Berdadzor was extremely grave for Karabakh, as the corridor between Zangezur and Karabakh became larger.

Aware of the German defeat and the victory of the Entente, the National Council of Karabakh decided to cease acting and wait till the withdrowl of the German ally of Turkey. The government succeeded in its readiness to compromise popular nationalism and tolerance and willingness to use their military and political power to achieve a relatively stable peace in the region. In situations like this the nation should rely not on its party leaders, but strong military power, who were more sensitive to the social dynamics within the revolutionary crises and more ready to use military power if needed.

Meanwhile the Turks were robbing Azerbaijan. As the famous Armenian writer H. Tumanian wrote;

“The soldiers of Ottoman army practiced all kinds of violent acts in Tatar villages, depriving the population of supplies. However the Musavat leaders turned a blind eye to all those actions for the sake of the pan-Turkic, pan-Islamic absurd and made up nationalist ideology, which should lead to the establishment of “Great Azerbaijan”, settling their accounts with Armenian, Georgian and Iranian territories with the help of “fraternal forces” of Turkey”.

The Turkish forces, retreating from Transcaucasia, decided to solve the Karabakh problem on the way. An Armenian delegation was sent to the Turkish headquarters, based at Aghdam, to protest against the Turkish violences. The commander of that division Jamil-Jayid Bek demanded that they disarm and submit to Azerbaijan authorities. They treacherously mudered Luftali Bek Behbudov, who had arrived with the Armenian delegation to promote peace. Two days later in Aghdam the Turks presented a 24-hour ultimatum, demanding to permit the Turkish forces to march on Shushi.22

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