BY DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ANKARA NOV 11, 2022 – 10:23 AM GMT+3
Around 40 million Azerbaijanis living outside the country do not have access to education in their mother tongue, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said Friday.
Speaking at the meeting of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) leaders in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Aliyev said: “The Turkic world does not consist only of independent Turkic states. Its geographical boundaries are wider. I believe that the time has come to constantly keep in mind within the organization issues such as protecting the rights, security, national identity, as well as the assimilation of our compatriots living outside the countries, members of the Organization of Turkic States.”
He urged that the young generation in the Turkic world “should have the opportunity to study in their mother tongue in schools in the countries where they live.”
“Azerbaijan attaches high importance to ensuring the rights, freedoms and security of Azerbaijanis living abroad.”
He said that although the 30-year-long Armenian occupation in Karabakh has ended, its consequences were continuing.
“Azerbaijan’s nine cities and hundreds of villages were wiped off. Once a great city, Aghdam, was destroyed in such a way that it is called the ‘Hiroshima of Caucasia,'” Aliyev said.
He added that 65 out of 67 mosques were destroyed during the Armenian occupation while the two remaining were heavily damaged and used as pig stalls.
“This is an insult to the Islamic world. Islamophobia and Turkophobia form the basis of Armenia’s official ideology,” Aliyev said.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military illegally occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian Army attacking civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and around 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.
The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020, which was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.
However, the cease-fire has been broken several times since then.
After the conflict ended, Azerbaijan launched a massive reconstruction initiative in the liberated Karabakh region.