CHAPTER 24 THE FATE OF ISLAMIC ETHNIC MINORITIES IN AZERBAIJAN

The Turkish authorities began to spread news of Iran, Iraq and Armenia helping the Kurdish Workers Party, trying to find grounds on which to realize the suggested fact. The Armenian side succeeded in proving the opposite to the international community. Probably the dream of the Kurds to open a way to the East through Armenia and Karabakh was seriously hindered by the activizing Kurdish liberation movement.

The political situation in the region was analysed by the CIA commander Grahan Full, who considered that;

“Azerbaijan made it possible for Turkey to study and use the “Pan-Turkic” theory. Iran might be the most cencerned about this, considering the presence of Azaris within it.Their activation might do harm to Iran”.

Full assured that the Turkey had adopted a new project of spreading to the territories from Central Asia to Caucasus and Northern Iraq. In case Turkey failed to win the favour of the Kurds, which is unlikely then the Iranian Kurds are sure to rise. The American analyst noted that the consolidation of the Iranian Azaris and Kurds under Pan-Turkic slogans, would jeopardize the Iranian people and so Iran should be inclined to forming an anti-Turkish project in case the consolidation took place. The tension between Iran and Turkey might lead to a military confrontation. G. Full didn’t consider the existence of such a serious factor as the Islam, which was quickly gaining grounds in Turkey.

As a response to G. Fulls analysis the Turkish Foreign Ministry wrote that;

“Rafsanjani’s and Vitaieti’s goernments are unable to control the stability in the country, as the extremists are successful in pressuring the state organs in some regions, forcing them to support their policy”.

The Kurdish Workers Party is patronized by these circles.The political analyst added that;

“In case Iran failed to suppress all of them, especially their terrorism, Turkey is sure to realize military interfernce within the borders of Iran”.28

Encouraged by its mighty ally of NATO, Turkey is trying to adopt the “police duties of a gendarme” in the region. However, the internal situation in Turkey is not stable, even a weak blow can lead it to destruction. Diplomatic declarations like the above ones pursue the aim of propagandist misleading of masses.

Surely the Turks were not asleep before the recent events. They had always tried to assimilate the Kurds into themselves, but these attempts had been unsuccessful, and now they seem quite impossible, due to fierce confrontation between the Turks and the Kurds. Probably the Kurdish problem has connections also with the Caspian Oil, on which the economical and political interests of the super powers are based.

Anti-Kurdish measures were taken by Azerbaijan since 1930-ies, when as a result of the formation of a new administrative unit, the decree of August 9, 1923 on the establishment of the Kurdish autonomous region “Red Kurdistan” was annulled. Red Kurdistan included the Kelbajar, Lachin, Ghubatli and Zangelan regions. The autonomous region was at first turned to an “okrug”, with the center Lachin, then this tiny administrative unit was abolished too. The above regions were preponderantly Kurdish. (70%- Kurds, 30% – Armenians and Azerbaijans). The Kurds had settled there during the times of Khan Ibrahim of Shushi, who was increasing the Kurdish element, forcing the Armenians of the regions to migrate.

According to the census of 1921, there lived 32.780 Kurds in Azerbaijan. In 1926 their number was 44.193. The birth rate was very high among them. However in 1936 their official number was 6 thousand and in 1958 -1500. The 1979 census gave evidence that there was not one Kurd left who could call Azerbaijan his Motherland. This is a sort of “white massacre”. The Kurds were not able to resist the Azerbaijani assimilation policy. But they appeared not to be “Azerbaijanized” but “Turkicized”, as the “Azerbaijanis” were proclaimed to be “Turks”.

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