Event Dedicated to Azerbaijani 20 January Tragedy to be Held in Turkey

Azerbaijan, Baku, 11 January / Trend corr. E.Huseynli / The Azerbaijani Consulate General in Istanbul has approved the plan of events in connection with the 20 January tragedy, Sayad Aran, the General Consul, told in his interview for Trend on 11 Jnaury. On 15 Jan, the memory ceremony dedicated to the tragedy will be held in the central hotel of Istanbul.

Late at night on 19 January 1990, the Soviet troops stormed Baku. They acted pursuant to a state of emergency declared by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, signed by President Gorbachev and disclosed to the Azerbaijani public only after many citizens lay wounded or dead in the streets, hospitals and morgues of Baku. More than 131 people died from the wounds received that night and during the subsequent violent confrontations and incidents that lasted till February; the majority of these were civilians killed by the Soviet soldiers. More than 744 civilians were wounded. Hundreds of people were detained, only a handful of whom were put on trial for the alleged criminal offenses. The Civil liberties were severely curtailed. The behavior of Soviet armed forces in Baku must be judged in the context of their actual mission. Mikhail Gorbachev's use of force in Baku was nothing, but the desperate attempt to stop the dissolution of Communist ruling in Azerbaijan. The Soviet army was trying to rescue the totalitarian regime, the rule of Communist Party and the Soviet empire.

Grounding the International military tribunal, the decision of the Geneva agreement passed in 1949 on protection of the military victims as well as under the Azerbaijani Constitution, soldiers who committed the tragedy are recognized as the international criminals.

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