Appeal of Heydar Aliyev, Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous ‎Republic to the population of the autonomous republic on television - May 22, 1992‎

Distinguished sisters and brothers!

The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic has been in a state of war for five days. On May 18 the Armenian party launched a military aggression to the district of Sadarak of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic; fightings are under way for five days. The population of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is protecting its lands from the aggression.

The aggression was started with fires from artillery and other kinds of weapons. As soon as it began, we discussed the situation in the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and carried out prompt measures, including organization of defence of Nakhchivan, preventing the fire. From the first minutes of the fire against us we organized defence and counter-fire; we also contacted the authorities of the Armenian Republic and proposed them to cease the fire. Feeling seriousness of the threats and having learned about location of big military forces of Armenia nearby, we did our best to organize defence of our borders.

For five days all the forces of Nakhchivan, including all the staff and officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the voluntary defence forces headed by the Popular Front have been involved to defence of Nakhchivan. Unfortunately, there have been bloody battles which caused losses, destructions in Sadarak, there are wounded people and destroyed houses also in other villages as a result of the fires of the Armenian party. It must be accepted as a military aggression against the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Of our brave compatriots about 120 people perished, some are lost and nearly 90 people are wounded. On behalf of the Supreme Assembly and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic I want to express our deep condolences to the families of those who perished for our homeland. May all they rest at peace.

Our activities had also political characted consisted of measures to protect the territory of the republic. Since May 18 we have appealed the authorities of the Armenian Republic several times, but in vain. As soon as the aggression started, we addressed the world community, as well as Turkey. In the same day Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demiral, Foreign Minister Hikmet Chetin, First deputy Prime Minister Erdal Inonu contacted me, learned the situation and expressed their attititude. They told that the Turkish party does all what is necessary. As soon as Suleyman Demiral returned to Ankara in the same evening, he called for a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers at night, almost at 23.30; a statement was adopted there and declared to the world. Later every day up to now the officials of Turkey - Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and other high-ranking officials telephone me, receive information, carry out political, diplomatic measures, greatly help Nakhchivan. The Turkish President Turgut Ozal, who is in hospital in the USA now, made a speech and a statement and called Turkey for help to Nakhchivan.

As a result of all the political measures, the world community was informed of the situation immediately after May 18, the mass media spread information about the aggression against Nakhchivan, aiding us morally and having an impact on the authorities of Armenia in our hard times.

At the same time, we tried to contact the authorities of Armenia; on May 18 and later I talked to the Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan on telephone, made strict demands, proposed an immediate ceasefire and that the bloody event must be ended. Every time they told that they want to cease fire themselves, too. However, we could not have achieved it yet. We have had negotiations also with other Armenian officials, such as Defence Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan, Advisor of President Ashot Manucharyan other high-ranking officials. On May 19 and 20 the representatives of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Armenia met on the frontier, negotiated on cease-fire. Unfortunately, the meetings had no results. During our talk on phone on May 20, Levon Ter-Petrosyan informed about the context of the official statement. The statement says that the Armenian authorities have decided to negotiate and sign a treaty in order to stabilize the situation on the frontier. When I was told about it, I said to the Armenian President that we had such a proposal, but in order to realize the proposed initiatives, the fire must be ceased at first. Yesterday the fire was intensified in the afternoon; the Armenian party used artillery. It was affirmed by the Russian observers who are there. Since this morning it has been relatively calm, despite some shootings.

Unfortunately, we have some losses, there are destructions in Sadarak and other villages, even the center of Sharur was shot. It threatened the people of Sharur and border villages. Yes, we have grounds to worry, but there is no need to panic, since we do our best to defend our lands. As a result of the first day military attack, several hills in our territory were occupied by the Armenians; soldiers of our militia and the forces of the State Defence Committee were stationed on those hills. Most of those hills were won back later except one. We hope that after the negotiations we`ll return all the occupied territories, cease the fire and stop the war. It has been our position since the very first day. We declared the Armenian authorities and the world community that we don't want a war. For more than eight months the situation on the borders of Nakhchivan and Armenia has been stable, with no conflict. We want to continue this situation. However, a military situation emerged as a result of the Armenian attack on May 18; but our position is to cease the fire and ensure security of the population of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

I must emphasize the strict position, statements, diplomatic efforts and other measures of the Turkish government have greatly influenced other countries. The statement adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkey on May 18 is of great importance; it accuses the Armenian government of aggression. The statement reflects the status of Turkey as guarantor of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan according to the Treaty of Kars of 1921; the world community was informed about it, also nowadays the mass media, including the Russian TV channels and newspapers inform about the Treaty of Kars, its context and importance for the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Moreover, a lot of foreign reporters visited Nakhchivan on May 18. Nowadays over fifty reporters from Turkey, the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and other countries, as well as from Moscow, Russia have visited Nakhchivan and received information from the Supreme Assembly. I met some of them several times a day and informed them about the current situation. The reporters inform the world community about the military aggression of Armenia against Nakhchivan and Azerbaijan. It is reflected in news of the mass media and in high-level statements in many countries. Of course, the Armenian government tried to prove as if the aggression had been launched by Nakhchivan, but failed. The world community accepts that the military aggression started by the Armenian party against Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan.

Important statements were made by officials of the superpowers, including the US Secretaty of State Baker, the Foreign Minister of France. Up to now 57 states have officially condemned and protested the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against Nakhchivan. Of course, it is a big assistance for us during hard and difficult situation in the Republic and help us to take political and other measures. Thus, I want to emphasize the activity of the mass media and the heads of the states.

Unfortunately, our neighbor, a Muslim country like the Islamic Republic of Iran has not stated its official position on this issue. I have talked to the Iranian ambassador to Baku several times; he has briefly informed me about the statements made by the Iranian government. It is also a pity that there is no single reporter from Iran among the foreign reporters in Nakhchivan. Today two representatives visited me; I told them my discontent and asked them to inform Iran about it. Today in my speech on TV I want to tell our brothers in Iran, as well as the Iranian government that their indifference to the war in neighbouring Nakhchivan surprise us. I hope that our brothers in Iran will hear my words and soon reply.