BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 15. Until late 1980s, the majority of the population of Armenia's Yerevan were Azerbaijanis, an article in the Foreign Policy Association, a non-profit organization with headquarters in New York, said, Trend reports.
"Although many people may not be aware of it today, the majority of Yerevan used to be Azerbaijani Turkish. In 1897, there were 77,491 Azerbaijani Turks and only 58,148 Armenians in Yerevan Province," the article said.
However, after a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign, Yerevan is now majority Armenian and there are not any Azerbaijanis left in the region, the author added.
The article noted that the Western Azerbaijan Community has published a public appeal to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, claiming, that "Ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity and the safe and dignified return of Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia is their legitimate right".
Foreign Policy Association quotes the words of Bakhtiyar Nabiyev, Chairman of the Yasamal Regional Branch of the New Azerbaijan Party, who is also a refugee from Western Azerbaijan, saying that the process of expelling Azerbaijanis from their hometown of Yerevan had begun in February 1988, noting that the Soviet Armed Forces were protecting Azerbaijanis up until December that same year.
"Generally, our people were worried and afraid of this process. The residents asked to evacuate disabled, elderly, children and women first because there was an expectation of an attack from the Armenians. There was a possibility that Armenians could attack any moment," he said.
Nabiyev recalled how with the help of the military convoy, his grandparents were evacuated from their homeland.
"My father was among the last ones who left the village. He stayed in Kirovakan until May of 1989. After the earthquake, there was a power outage and a limited number of residents were living there. My father was saying that Armenians were coming to our villages with the help of Russian soldiers. They frequently asked him what he was doing there. And he responded that ‘I can’t leave the homeland of my grandparents.’ Because my father and mother were buried here.’ He left the village in May of 1989 and therefore the evacuation process from our homelands came to an end," he said.
Nabiyev noted that Armenians have been conducting ethnic cleansing policy against Azerbaijanis since 1905-1906.
"Azerbaijanis were oppressed by Armenians but we didn’t want to leave our homeland. We lived there for centuries; we will be back," he concluded.