Burbank rescinds friendship to Hadrut recognizes Artsakh, Azerbaijan responds

By | Rachel Brooks

March 5, 2021 

Above: “File:Azerbaijan-Khojavend.png” by User:Golbez is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.  A map of the general region of Hadrut. 

The Azerbaijani community of California was incensed on March 5 following the Burbank City Council’s decision to rescind its friendship status to the city of Hadrut, Azerbaijan. Burbank likewise motioned to recognize the Armenian Republic’s “Artsakh ” settlement in the Karabakh as legitimate. The Azerbaijani community stated that the village of Lokbatan, Azerbaijan “strongly and angrily condemned” the ANCA sponsored resolution. 

 

Hadrut is a city located in the Khojavend District, Azerbaijan. It was occupied by the Artsakh settlement until October 2020, when it was liberated during the Second Karabakh war. The Battle of Hadrut occurred during the first week of October. On October 5, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry declared that Armenian forces had retreated from the area. Hadrut was exactly 28 years and three days after it was initially occupied on October 2, 1992

Anadolu Agency reported that, once Hadrut was occupied, the Fuzuli region was surrounded, and a small corridor was opened to allow civilians to leave the region. The battle of Hadrut was marked as a “historic victory” for the Azerbaijani forces. Azerbaijani forces had a “complete advantage” on the battlefield, which was a major contributing factor for the October victory in Hadrut. 

Armenian forces continued to launch attacks at the greater Hadrut locale in the days following the liberation. 

“During the night, #Armenian armed forces attacked in  #Hadrut and #Jebrail directions. All Enemy attempts were repelled by the #Azerbaijan Armed Forces.

The enemy lost: a large number of soldiers, 5 T-72 tanks, 6 howitzers, 5 ammo trucks, 11 vehicles, 3 MLRS, 5 self-propelled howitzer, 8 AD systems,” tweeted the Azerbaijani MOD on October 11. 

#Lokbatan village in #Azerbaijan strongly and angrily condemns this @ANCA_DC-sponsored resolution by @BurbankCA. In retaliation, Lokbatan recognizes the independence and self-determination of #Burbank’s Northwest District. Burbank’s occupation of Northwest District must end,” tweeted the Azerbaijani Community of California on March 4. 

The city of Burbank did not immediately respond to our request for comment. 

Members of the Azerbaijani community appeared on social media to express their dismay at this decision. Durdane Agayeva, a survivor of the Khojaly massacre, called the efforts of the Armenian National Committee of America a “waste.” 

“For years @ANCA_DC was spending tremendous resources to get different US cities to establish “friendship city” relationships with cities of #Azerbaijan that were under #Armenia’s occupation. Now @ANCA_DC is spending huge resources to get those “friendships” canceled. What a waste,” tweeted Agayeva. 

Efforts by the Armenian lobby of the United States have expended large resources toward creating a bias in American cities toward Turkic nations. On March 5, the Caucasus Journalist Network obtained photographs and information that billboards have appeared on the highway in New Jersey condemning Azerbaijan and Turkey for alleged war crimes, without elaborating on what said war crimes entailed. The billboards cited “endthecycle.com” End the Cycle.com is a website owned by the ANCA’s March to Justice campaign. 

Biases against the Azerbaijani reclamation of Hadrut likewise circulated in the western press. The Investigative Journal published a story by Lindsey Snell that recounted the captivity of an Armenian war prisoner. Lindsey Snell’s reports tend to be biased against Turkic nations because she was a prisoner in Turkey captured as an alleged spy.

Such articles as the post by Snell have since been picked up by the Armenian lobby and used as a way to stir bias. In this case, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia used Snell’s piece for national rhetoric. 

“.@LindseySnell tells the story of Gharayan family from #Artsakh‘s Hadrut region: Sasha Gharayan (74) was returned from #Azerbaijan captivity in Dec, while his son Arsen – tortured and killed in captivity, ” wrote Anna A. Naghdalyan, the Armenia MFA spokesperson. 

In what appeared to be a sequence of actions, ANCA likewise announced a newly recognized Armenian Caucasus resolution to demand that Azerbaijan release an alleged 200+ Armenian “prisoners of war and captured civilians.” The Caucasus did not give a citation for this claim. Reports of continued hostilities in the Hadrut region continued after the ceasefire agreement was reached in November. Armenia claimed that the hostilities were coming from the Azerbaijani forces, while the Azerbaijani side stated that Armenian forces had attempted to make their way back into the liberated city after it was freed from forces. 

Despite continue persistent bias-stirring attempts by the Armenian lobby, the American public appears to be moving toward a more unbiased public opinion of the Karabakh conflict. Nasimi Aghayev, the Consul General of Azerbaijan to the Western United States, tweeted on March 5 stating that the American game show Jeopardy! recently added a question to one of its games that recognized that Armenia had been recognized by the United Nations as an illegal occupant of the Karabakh territory.

 

One of America’s oldest and most-watched television shows @Jeopardy asked this question yesterday. Illegal, @UN-condemned occupation & ethnic cleansing of #Azerbaijan’s #Qarabagh region by #Armenia was exposed again. Watched by millions of people. Truth always comes out,” tweeted Aghayev.