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Azerbaijan, Turkey agree to expand efforts to open Zangazur corridor

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Azerbaijan and Turkey are stepping up their efforts to create the Zangazur Strategic Corridor which will connect the two countries through multimodal communication routes and will be part of a larger East-West trade and transport corridor.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the Shusha Declaration which was signed in the Azerbaijani city of Shusha during the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan covers the opening of the corridor.

“The Declaration contains unequivocal statements on the opening of the Zangazur corridor. This is the result of a new geopolitical situation that emerged following the second Karabakh war, ”said President Aliyev. mentionned, according to its official website President.Az.

“Today we are not just talking about the Zangazur Corridor, which will connect Turkey and Azerbaijan by rail and road; we are creating this corridor through tangible work. It is crucial that this issue is reflected in the joint declaration on allied relations, “he added.

The Zangazur Corridor is a multimodal transport route that will re-establish the shortest connection between the Azerbaijani mainland and its southwestern enclave of Nakhichevan. The route will be further extended to the eastern regions of Turkey.

The creation of the Zangazur Corridor is part of the restoration of transport links in the South Caucasus after last year’s war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. the tripartite ceasefire declaration signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on November 10, 2020, calls for the restoration of all economic and transport links in the region.

According to the agreement, Armenia guarantees the security of transport links between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan in order to organize the free movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. The construction of new transport links connecting Nakhichevan to the western regions of Azerbaijan would be ensured by agreement of the signatories.

President Erdogan expressed Turkey’s support for the creation of the Zangazur Corridor.

“We consider the southern Zangazur Corridor project in Azerbaijan very important and we support it. The completion of this project will open a new common corridor from East to West that can be used by all. It is very important, “said the Turkish president mentionned.

Meanwhile, the Armenian authorities have been evade discussions on opening the Zangazur Corridor, despite the obligations Yerevan entered into under the tripartite ceasefire agreement, which ended last year’s Karabakh war. Acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in May that Armenia had never discussed and would not consider creating such a corridor. He claimed that the regional connections included in the tripartite declaration did not refer to the Zangazur corridor.

Zangazur Historically was an Azerbaijani region which now forms the southern part of modern Armenia and part of the territory of Azerbaijan in the country’s Zangilan, Gubadli and Lachin districts.

The Zangazur region, inhabited by Turkish tribes, was part of the Seljuk Empire during its 150-year reign in the 11th and 12th centuries, which further expanded Turkish-Islamic influence in the region. From the 13th century, Zangazur was invaded by Mongol-Tatar tribes and the Timurid Empire. From the 15th to the 18th century, the region was part of the medieval Azerbaijani states of Garagoyunlu, Aghgoyunlu and Safavids.

Demographic changes in Zangazur took place during the reign of Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. As a result of massacres by Armenian armed groups in 1905-1907 and 1914-1920 in Zangazur, around half a million indigenous Azerbaijanis and other local Muslims were killed. During these years, 115 Muslim villages of Zangazur were wiped from the face of the earth.

Shortly after Bolshevik forces subjugated the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan on April 28, 1920, much of the Zangazur region was ceded to the newly established Armenian SSR on November 30, 1920. As a result, Nakhichevan was ceded to the newly established Armenian SSR. became a separate enclave from mainland Azerbaijan.

In 1933, the territory of the Armenian SSR was divided into districts and the name of Zangazur was replaced by new district names, including Gafan, Gorus, Garakilsa (Sisian) and Mehri.

In 1988, Azerbaijanis living in Zangazur were forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands as part of the final phase of their illegal deportation from Armenia. Hundreds of historical, material and cultural monuments belonging to Azerbaijanis have been destroyed as a result of the brutal displacement of Azerbaijanis through acts of terror and ethnic cleansing.

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