CHAPTER 13 KARABAKH UNDER SIEGE (1917-1920)

During the critical period of over two years the Armenians struggled for their independence without any support. The British politicians made beautiful speaches in the Parliament about their duties to Armenia. On December 20, 1917, the British Prime Minister Lloyd George made a speech in the Parliament, describing Armenia as a land soaked in the blood of innocents “and declaring that it would never be restored to the “blasting tyranny” of the Turk. Later he again declared that Britain would not forget its responsibilities to the Armenians. The French leaders made similar promises.37 The Armenian President Woodrow Wilson, deeply sympathizing for the Armenian cause, the Twelfth of his Fourteen Points, which formed his plan for a postwar improvement, stated;

“The other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted Security of life and anabsolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development.”38

Relying on this promises the Armenian leaders conducted a policy of establishing an independent state patronized by America.

The Tatar troops had already settled in the Askeran fortress and the Khankend. Discussing the British report with the commanders of all the regions the Karabakh National Council concluded that; “Karabakh is unable to accept such terms, as its independence on Azerbaijan, whatever the form of it, is unacceptable to the Armenian population of the region. Karabakh has shown the whole world that it has never recognized and will never recognize the presence of Azerbaijani authority inside its frontiers, as confirmed in the Congress of the Karabakh Armenians.

Considering that the Armenian Karabakh is recognized by the British command as a territory, which hasn’t submitted to any power, consequently the Azerbaijani either, and awaiting the results of the Paris Peace conference, the National Council of Karabakh declares that the only ruling body, accepted by the region would be the position of an English Governor-General and requests the British High Command undertake the appointment through the intermediary of the British Mission.”39

The request was refused, as the British had chosen to settle the problem of Karabakh in their own way. They did their best to strengthen the newly established Azerbaijan state against the advance of Russian power, which was unacceptable.

Soon the National Council made another suggestion; to form an “Autonomy of Armenian Karabakh” with representatives of both Armenian and Muslim sides under the British control, till the publication of the results of the Peace Conference about the fate of Karabakh.

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