Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   23 July

"I don't see anything condemnable in my Artsakh visit" - Çetinoğlu

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 7, ARMENPRESS. Turkish scholar and activist Sait Çetinoğlu, who visited Artsakh in September, says Baku’s stir and Azerbaijani chief prosecutor’s decision on issuing an international arrest warrant for him and his friends is totally ungrounded.

In an exclusive comment for ARMENPRESS, Çetinoğlu expressed concern over Azerbaijan’s actions – which are aimed at making other countries and international structures the tool of its manipulation.

“In addition of being a historian and genocide researcher, I am first of all a human rights defender and activist. I held a senior position in Turkey’s Human Rights Association. Back when Amnesty International didn’t function in Turkey, I was one of the people having an international status of the organization. And when Amnesty International decided to come to Turkey, I was one of their first coordinators. At the same time I was the speaker of the Freedom of Thought Initiative in Ankara.

From this perspective my visit to Artsakh is seen more than natural. I accepted this proposal from my friend, Aragats Akhoyan, without hesitation.

I find the terms “disputed” and “subject to discussion” territories to be strictly problematic. According to whom or what are they disputed? The answer to these questions is conjunctive and “realpolitik”. In other words, this is a political situation which doesn’t reflect reality.

In the present days, when humanity has reached such valuable achievements, this is an absolutely unacceptable and retrograde situation. As a human rights defender and activist I don’t see anything condemnable in my visit and research in the Caucasus’ Artsakh/Karabakh – which is called “disputed” and “problematic”.

Next to the news about continuous clashes in the world’s agenda, I find my visit to be more than natural to this region, where gross violations of human rights happened in April of 2016, in order to understand what is happening in that region. Moreover, I have to confess that I became involved in this issue very late.

Azerbaijan’s issuance of international arrest warrants against us, by violating international rights norms, is literally an act of violence. The second unacceptable demand is demanding us from our own country in order to punish us, which doesn’t have any legal basis and is absolutely unacceptable. Capriciousness. And that’s why this demand was ignored by our country.

Another manifestation of violence by Azerbaijan is obstruction of my right to free movement by declaring me wanted. This situation is nothing but a violation of fundamental human rights, an attempt to make states and international organizations a tool of Azerbaijan’s vagary. They are attempting to limit our right to visit not only Artsakh, but also other countries.

As we know, the right to free movement is one of the fundamental human rights. Proceeding from this principle, the International Criminal Court rules the limitation of the right to movement to be a crime against humanity.

I will release the results of my research in Artsakh separately”, Çetinoğlu said.

Araks Kasyan

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