New attempts to seize historical-cultural heritage unveiled
In recent times, there has been a surge in Azerbaijani events and endeavors seeking to appropriate Armenian culture. These activities are particularly pronounced on both domestic and international platforms, often revolving around the misleading concept of "Western Azerbaijan."
Hence, as of December 15, 2023, the exhibition titled "Western Azerbaijan in Cultural Memory" was inaugurated at the National Museum of Art in Azerbaijan (https://t.me/AzeSputnik/52778).
Under the coined term "West Azerbaijan," Azerbaijan is attempting to reinterpret the history of Yerevan through the lens of decorative art, photographs, manipulation of historical documents, and the fabrication of a newly constructed Azerbaijani identity. The exhibition relies on photographs of the palace of the Persian khans of Yerevan, artifacts from the Yerevan fortress, and numerous monuments, all presented as representative of the culture of "Western Azerbaijan."
An event exemplifying these efforts was the "Return to Western Azerbaijan" festival held in Nakhichevan on November 23-24, 2023, preceded by the "Road to Western Azerbaijan" conference (https://t.me/zangezuravtonomia/47872?single). The event was organized by the authorized representative office of Baku in Nakhichevan, the Ministry of Education and Science of Azerbaijan, and Nakhichevan State University. Notably, the festival's poster replicated the political map of the Republic of Armenia. Through various photographs and decorative art objects showcased during the festival, an endeavor was made to depict the map of Armenia with fictitious names assigned to cities and villages (Figs. 1, 2). As part of the festival, numerous Armenian and regional cultural expressions were showcased under the Azerbaijani language umbrella. These included presentations of folklore, a book exhibition, displays featuring samples of culinary and material culture, a concert program, films, literature excerpts, scientific research, a collection of articles, and artwork dedicated to "Western Azerbaijan" (Figs. 3, 4). Additionally, various cuisines were presented under the name "Irevan cuisine" within the festival's framework (https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=3637743036495553&set=a.1559362004333677).
As part of the propaganda efforts accompanying the "event," the state propaganda apparatus of Azerbaijan goes so far as to discuss the purported "return of Armenia (termed as 'Western Azerbaijan' by their narrative)" to the fold of Azerbaijan (https://www.facebook.com/100000854067526/posts/7295056650532731/).
Parallel to Azerbaijan's depopulation policy towards Armenians, as well as the perpetration of genocide within their historical homeland and forced deportations, Azerbaijan persists in pursuing territorial, historical, and cultural ambitions against the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. This includes encroachments on the historical homeland and cultural heritage of the Armenian people. These actions collectively constitute an egregious set of unacceptable measures with the apparent goal of eradicating the Armenian presence. For further insights into the newly coined term "Western Azerbaijan," you can delve into the article by Ruben Galichyan (https://monumentwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Text-and-Maps-in-Armenian.pdf).