Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 26
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The tragedy in Azerbaijan's Khojaly town is a crime against humanity, deputy chairman of Turkey's oppositional Republican People's Party, Ozturk Yilmaz told Trend Feb. 26.
He made the remarks in connection with the 24th anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy.
On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops stationed in Khankendi committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.
The event became the largest massacre in the course of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
As many as 613 people were killed, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people were killed as a result of the massacre. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both.
A total of 487 civilians became disabled as a result of the onslaught. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people remains unknown.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
"A crime against humanity was committed in Khojaly, and we strongly condemn it," said Yilmaz.
Turkey offers condolences to Azerbaijani people on the anniversary of the genocide in Khojaly and honors the memory of the killed residents of the town, he said.
"Azerbaijani-Turkish relations are based on the "One nation - two states" principle. We urge Armenia to immediately withdraw from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan," said Yilmaz.
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