G. K. Levon Grantovich, in your interview to the "Hayots Ashkhar” you said that one of the brain trust of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is located in Azerbaijan Republic. Why Azerbaijan needs it?
L. M. - Sh. Any state always tries to create/to get some influence leverage over the other, most often, over neighboring state. Even if between them were established very friendly relations. The presence of such leverage doesn’t indicate its indispensable application. This necessary determent factor insures country from possible undesirable moves of ally in its foreign policy predilections. That leverage also could impact on foreign and internal policy of the "controlled” state. That is why some called superpowers for their influence on policies of the majority countries of the world. Azerbaijan today indeed has (not big) opportunities to influence the policy of Turkey and Georgia, and constantly attempts to build them up.
In this case Azerbaijan’s policy towards the current Turkey’s government, despite Baku politicians’ words is really hostile. Kurds are not the only problem, although one of the main. The problem has also religious denominational reason. The unbridled anti-clerical policy of Azerbaijan, when almost every month demolished and closed mosques, led to serious contradiction with the ruling in Turkey ideology of the islamist Justice and Development party. This is one more additional incentive for convergence between Azerbaijan and Republican People’s Party the main opposition in Turkey, which continues the traditions of Mustafa Ataturk, an ardent opponent of Islam. At the same time, let’s pay attention to the fact that Azerbaijan closely operates with Turkey’s religious movement jaafari and among them there is a lot of ethic Azeri Turks.
Toward the Kurds Baku exploits the ethnicity of Azerbaijani majority leaders, the Kurds nationality. Azerbaijani Kurds feed the ethnicity with money infusions so it would look more convincing.
G. K. What about Turkey? How does it relate to this kind of behavior similar of the part "Bir millyat” (one nation)?
L.M. - Sh. The ethnic experience of Turks became accustomed to this kind of behavior even half brothers, without mentioning the dissenters, who fell away from the main mass of Turkish nomads? Azeri and Anatolian Turks not once fought with each other. Azeri Turks, are mostly Shias by centuries resisted Anatolian Turks confessing Sunni. "Bir millyat” appeared only at the end of XIXth and beginning XXth centuries, it was the wave of new Pan-Turkism ideology. Until that time delicate and sleek Istanbul beys (Bey is a Turkish title for "chieftain) disdained Caucasian Turks. However, today this ratio didn’t change a lot. Anatolian Turks have same attitude toward Central-Asian Turks, Turks of Volga region, Siberian Turks and so on.
All of the mentioned Turks never entrusted each other. They didn’t trust even themselves. Let me remind you well-known fact: as soon as Ottoman Turkey’s Crown Prince would become Sultan, first thing he would do destroy his brothers. They couldn’t let survive anyone who could tomorrow relying on the "right of blood” claim to the throne. Now, between Turkey and Azerbaijan, in fact, is the same process: we observe mutual attempts on political will destruction of opponent. Baku and Ankara are brothers, attempting to achieve superiority over each other. All Turks relate to each other the same way: Uzbeks in constant dispute with Kyrgyz, Turkmens are in tense relations with Azerbaijan…
G. K. Does Turkey undertake any actions against Azerbaijan?
L.M. - Sh. It would be wrong to say that Ankara is only defending itself. This is not so. Small plots, like the incident with trashcans filled with Azerbaijani national flags before the football match with Armenia, in the Turkish Bursa is only the visible tip of iceberg. The direct abuse of women members of Milli-Mejlis of Azerbaijan, when the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, in fact, called them prostitutes, also one of the obvious but unimportant, aspects of confrontation. The way more serious are troops of Turkish radical Islamic movements in Azerbaijan. Typically, they all consist of the radical Sunni movements’ followers. In fact Turkey not only radicalizes Azerbaijani society, but also splits it to Sunnism – Shia Islam We see how serous and contradictory these two Islamic movements are on the Iraq’s example, where for many years the followers of these movements senseless and cruel kill each other.
The most destructive in this regard are nursists, or nurchi, as they called in Azerbaijan. It’s interesting that in Turkey they officially banned, but in Azerbaijan they function quite openly. The same as Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Azerbaijan doesn’t recognize this movement as terrorist. Despite the fact that PKK recognized as terrorist organization in Turkey, USA, and many Europe countries. The fact that Azerbaijan is free for nursists preaches and for function of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) cells indicates the deep contradictions between Baku and Ankara. But if Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK is badly disguised weapon of Azerbaijan against Turkey, then nursists represent if not the threat, but concern for Azerbaijan itself.
G. K. Then, why Baku is not trying to get rid of them?
L. M. - Sh. At first glance it would be logical. However, not everything is so clear and simple. First, Baku sure that will be able to keep under control representatives of this movement. Second, Azerbaijan hopes that, if there would be need, it will be able "to return” the ideological bomb of nursizm back. Furthermore, it’s actually difficult to extend nursists influence in Shiite Azerbaijan: the only region, where they find "understanding”, is the northern part of Azerbaijan, predominantly populated by Sunnis. On the other hand, Baku obtains rights to "justify” repressions among Dagestan aboriginal people of Azerbaijan by the presence among them of radical Islamists.
G. K. Dirty trick, I should say.
L. M. - Sh. I agree with you. But, tell me when in its short history, Azerbaijan tried to solve national problems in civilized ways?
G. K. In Azerbaijan, there should be intelligentsia. Indeed intelligentsia represents moral standard of any society. In Azerbaijan should be academicians, poets, artists, creative workers…
L. M. - Sh. You repeat common mistake. Intellectual person not always belong to the intelligentsia. The theme is interesting, and I would like to develop it.
My deep conviction that intellectual – a man living in harmony with its spiritual, moral, material values of his nation. I want to emphasize: his nation. An intellectual can’t be cosmopolitan. Since, what is accepted in one nation, not necessarily greeted by another one. This applies both for the apparent trifles, in private life and for serious circumstances. For example, guests in Armenian family won’t take off shoes; this is disrespect to the hostess. At the same time guests in Central Asia or, for example, Japan, should take their shoes off, and if they won’t it would cause a deep insult. This is understandable. In Central Asia they used to eat on Dastarkhān - special carpet used on the floor. Walk into the house shoes on akin to climb the table in Europe.
One could be very intellectual, to know living and dead languages as, for example, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, but at the same time do not belong to the intelligentsia. On the other hand, for example, living in the village Armenian wine-grower, who didn’t read a dozen books is often the true standard of intelligentsia. Every nation for centuries and millennia of its existence developed its own code of conduct, moral and intellectual values. They are different in different people, sometimes its something little, sometimes it comes to the mutual exclusion, and they often present the value only in their own nation and environment. But they are there in each and every nation and it should be considered.
Nation, in general, can’t commit crimes. At least, in the moral dimensions of this exact nation. We are different, and it should be considered. We all remember how Azerbaijan massively cheered their officer who cut down sleeping Gurgen Markaryan. We all were outraged: how could the scum, vile murder be admired? In fact Ramil Safarov didn’t violated Turks moral code, on the contrary, he acted in full accordance with their unwritten code. That is why he still enjoys the glory of the hero. Murder, even the most vile, doesn’t conflict with the mentality of Caucasian Turk. It’s impossible for us. Of cause even among the Armenians could be found man capable on killing of sleeping person. I even think that there could be found few dozen people who would try to justify this murder. But among majority of Armenians such murder would be condemned.
I would like to be understood correctly: I am not saying what is good or bad. I am just saying that this way thinking worked out by nations for centuries. I understand that some Transcaucasian Turks could get indignant by reading these words. But I understand that only marginal part, or those who have some not-Turkish blood would get indignant. True Turks will only smirk. You can’t do anything with it. If Turks would be different, then they probably won’t survive in the history. And conversely if we would be different, then probably we won’t exist. It means that ideological codes worked out by nation to a large extent dictated by history and necessity.
G. K. Do you want to say that Turks are not worse or better us?
L. M. - Sh. It’s exactly what I want to say. We are different. It’s just impossible to compare incomparable things. What is better, a cave or a tree? Turks and Armenians are civilizational antipodes. We have different outlook, different cultures, mutually exclusive lifestyles, different civilizations. We live in a different value dimensions. We should accept each other the way we are.
G. K. Do we act different way?
L. M. - Sh. Yes, unfortunately. We always believed that Turk could be the way we are; it’s a mistake, almost crime. Note: we had three wars with Transcaucasian Turks only in XXth century. Each time, immediately after the end of another war there were some Armenians, who claimed that Turks are not "the same”. Phrase "Turks, could be bad, but I have a Turk friend…”, probably heard every Armenian. The result of this thinking was the fact that after each war Armenian survivors after massacres remained to live behind Turk lines, turning in a voluntary hostage, or, I’ll say tougher, "material for the future massacres”.
It would be wrong and even unfair to blame people, but we can’t turn a "blind eye”. People, extrapolated on Turks their own outlook became unwitting perpetrators of their children martyrdom. We don’t talk here about Armenians, who lived in Artsakh and Utik: they lived on the territory of their historical Homeland. We talk about those, who lived on the left bank of Kura River, in Kakh or Shamakhna regions, in Sumgait or Baku. Nukha Armenians, for example, during each of three mentioned above wars were massacred. Altogether in Nukha-Aresh region Turks killed more than 75 thousand Armenians. More than 65 thousands of them were killed during summer-fall of 1918. Indeed it was possible to avoid, if not this ill-starred "Turk is not the same”.
Turk is always "same”. We are always the same. He is always ready to cut, we are always ready "to understand it” and even "notice” imaginary changes. Even today some people in Armenia believe that "Turk is not the same”. They don’t understand, or they don’t want to understand, that it’s impossible. In case if they understand and still repeat it, then I can’t call them other way than traitors.
G. K. Do Turks extrapolate their outlook on us, Armenians?
L. M. - Sh. Naturally. Otherwise they won’t believe in delirium that Azeri government propaganda stuffs them with. Why the average Transcaucasian Turk believes that Armenians killed Khojaly people, tortured and shut prisoners and so on? Because he is able to do that. He can’t imagine different way of things. Azerbaijani propaganda daily invent new stories of Armenian "atrocities”, they all designed for the formed by centuries outlook of Transcaucasian Turk. Seeds fall on the well-manured soil, therefore there are such lush fruits.
G. K. Does it mean that genocide and massacres – unavoidable phenomenon, and we are doomed to survive it in the future?
L. M. - Sh. Fortunately, this is not so. But not because we, Armenians, suddenly saw the light or Turks changed. As I’ve said, among Armenians there are people, who believe that "the Turks are not the same”. Turks are still willing to cut peaceful and defenseless people. However, since 1988 situation radically changed. It’s one of the main results of national liberation fight for Artsakh. Turk lost his advantage. It didn’t happen intentionally, in some extent it happened occasionally, better to say because of the political short-sightedness of our enemies, who deported Armenians from the left bank of Kura River. But it happened.
Artsakh war has changed a lot in our life. As war, it, doesn’t stand out from thousands other collisions with the neighboring tribes, and its glorification is the consequence of its close aberrations and even incompleteness of war itself. The Artsakh war has the unique consequence: it geographically divided us with Turks. You see, it’s very important: the resettlement areas of Armenians and Transcaucasian Turks are no longer intersecting. From now on Turks denied the opportunity to cut the civilian population. We lost the feeling of concern for the remaining hostage relatives. For the first time in many centuries! Even if you deny the historical truth, it would be enough do not let Turks in our rear.
I am convinced that Turks attempt reoccupy Artsakh (mountains and low parts) not because they consider it as their homeland. Turk perfectly well know that this is not so. Azerbaijan seeks (at least partially) to restore the conditions, that would allow (if necessary) to begin new massacres. Azerbaijan needs hostages. Roughly speaking Azerbaijan needs "material for genocide”. And we should understand it. Nomads never had a feeling of the native land. Moreover, it never belonged to them. Pasture with the juice grass in Karavachar Mountains that’s all what they’ve lost. They need the return "of refugees”, I repeat, they need to separate part of Armenians from the main mass, to get back to cutting, thus blackmailing the remaining part of the Armenian people.
G. K. Thank you Levon Grantovich. Hopefully, we’ll have another possibility to talk.
L. M. - Sh. Sure. And we’ll talk about our Army, the only and eternal guarantee of Armenian people’s security
G. K. Certainly.