Ilham Aliyev received co-founder and dean of Simon Wiesenthal Center and president of US Congress of Christian Leaders

15 november 2019, 17:55

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received co-founder and dean of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jewish religious figure Rabbi Abraham Cooper and President of United States Congress of Christian Leaders, evangelical public relations executive Johnnie Moore.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper said:

- I think the Summit was amazing and successful. I do hope that Azerbaijan, as a leading country, will continue its efforts not just in words but by presenting itself from the multi-faith and leadership perspective. When we come here, we feel very much at home. We know that this has been made possible mainly as a result of your personal leadership and the joint efforts of your late father.

During the conversation, the sides touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. President Ilham Aliyev said that 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands were occupied by Armenia and that Azerbaijanis had been expelled from their homes.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- All Azerbaijanis were expelled from their lands, after which the Armenians organized the notoriously illegal referendum, the results of which are not recognized by anyone. Since that time, they have organized such referendums several times, but the governments of the United States of America, Russia and France, the co-chairing countries of the Minsk Group, openly condemned that. They have destroyed our mosques, while we have restored the Armenian church. So this is an indicator of our attitude and theirs to religious monuments. Azerbaijan is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country, while Armenia is a mono-ethnic state. Representatives of all other ethnic groups have been expelled. I heard that there is supposedly a leader of the Jewish community in Armenia, but his last name is either Karapetyan or Varapetyan. There are no Jews and no Azerbaijanis there.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper: However, there is anti-Semitism there.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, there is anti-Semitism there, of course. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not. One of the topics at the CIS Summit in Ashgabat, where leaders of the republics of the former Soviet Union met in October this year, was related to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in World War II. I made remarks and said that Azerbaijan and other CIS countries were advocating a single position on condemning fascism. Speaking about the glorification of the Nazis, I said that, unfortunately, in our region, in the CIS, there was a country praising the Nazis. I named Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan, who served the Nazis and in whose honor the Armenian government has erected a monument six meters high. This was a man who said during the time of fascist Germany that "He who dies in the name of Germany dies in the name of Armenia". This person was involved in the murder of representatives of various nationalities, including Jews and other people. He created a secret network in Bulgaria. A spy network was created. He was arrested, imprisoned for a long time and died in a prison in the city of Vladimir. I called on the new government of Armenia to demolish this monument because it was erected by the previous government. The new government introduces itself as being democratic. So prove it by demolishing the monument. My accusations were not aimed at him but at his predecessors, who were overthrown as a result of the notorious revolution. He said Solzhenitsyn was also imprisoned and many other Soviet dissidents were in the Vladimir prison. Thus, he actually said that a Nazi killer and Solzhenitsyn were the same thing. It is hard to imagine a more absurd statement. Therefore, of course, we should say everything as it is. We know that there is the Armenian lobby in America, Russia and France – in all the countries co-chairing the Minsk Group. But there is only one truth. Is it possible to tolerate this monument in the center of Yerevan on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Victory? I know from the media that they want to build a monument in Bulgaria. They erected one such monument in the Russian city of Armavir. One brave man sprayed black paint over it, and the Armenian diaspora is attacking him now. They are protecting a fascist. Therefore, of course, we do hope that Jewish communities of the world will join us and force the Armenian government to demolish this monument.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper: In particular, as we know, possibly the last meeting will be held on the occasion of this anniversary in Auschwitz at the end of January. More precisely, most leaders of the countries of the former Soviet Union, even though it costs them dearly, are proud to have played a large role in the victory over Hitler and his associates. This is an acceptable time to ensure that Armenia joins other states. Unfortunately, the history in Europe is being rewritten and monuments are being erected to Nazi associates, to those who committed massacres.

President Ilham Aliyev: Absolutely right! On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, we – and I mean politicians, public figures, religious leaders, NGOs and the media - need to consolidate our efforts. We must advocate this position because it is a major threat. This means not only a distortion of history. This paves the way for further discrimination.