U.S. senator calls on Azerbaijan to immediately stop threats towards Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh
Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk in his statement dedicated to the 26th anniversary of Sumgait pogroms strongly condemned the continuing threat posed by Azerbaijan towards Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the newspaper Asbarez reports referring to the American Committee of “Hay Dat” (ANCA).
Chairman of ANCA Ken Khachikian said that the Armenians of the U.S. are grateful to the senator for his principled and powerful stand for peace.
Mark Kirk in his statement drew attention to the hate crimes against Armenians in Sumgait and noted that he respects the memory of the victims of those events.
“Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured during three days of horrific violence. The entire Armenian population of Sumgait fled as a result. The perpetrators of these heinous acts have never been brought to justice,” the senator emphasized.
Then he touched upon Azerbaijani aggression towards Armenia and Artsakh calling on the Azerbaijani government “to immediately halt its campaign of incitement and hatred against Armenia that threatens to de-stabilize the region.”
“I strongly condemn repeated statements from Azerbaijani officials that threaten violence against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Kirk added.
The senator as well condemned the pardon and glorification of Ramil Safarov, who killed Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan.
On 26-29 February 1988 in terms of actual complicity of local authorities and inaction of the USSR government mass pogroms of civilians were organized in Sumgait city of Azerbaijani SSR, accompanied with unprecedented brutal murders, violence and pillaging against the Armenian population of the city. Armenian pogroms in Sumgait were carefully organized. At the meetings, which began on February 26 in the central square, city leaders openly called for violence against the Armenians.
On February 27 protests which were attended by hundreds of rioters turned into violence. Armed with axes, knives, specially sharpened rebar, rocks and cans of gasoline and with the pre-compiled lists of apartments where Armenians lived the rioters broke into the houses, turning everything upside down there and killing the owners. In the same time, people were often taken out to the streets or to the courtyard for jeering at them publicly. After painful humiliations and torture the victims were doused with gasoline and burnt alive. On February 29 army troops entered Sumgait but without an order to intervene. Only in the evening, when the mad crowd began to attack the soldiers the military units took up decisive steps.
The exact number of victims of Sumgait pogroms is still unknown. According to official data, 27 Armenians were killed; however there is ample evidence that several hundred Armenians have been killed in the city in three days. There is also evidence that the riots were coordinated by the Azerbaijani KGB. Executioners of Sumgait were subsequently declared as national heroes of Azerbaijan.
Documentary “Ordinary Genocide: Sumgait 1988.”