The Statement of the President of Azerbaijan on the Church of Tsakuri

The president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced that the church of Tsakuri is not Armenian, it is Albanian, the inscriptions and the khachkars there are false, and Azerbaijan will restore the church bringing that to its original state. “That is our historical monument, the temple of our Udi brothers… they will return here. Just as our mosques were desecrated by the Armenians, so the ancient Albanian temple was, but we will restore that. All these fake inscriptions (he points to the tympanum bearing the building inscription and cross on the Western wall) were applied much later. They made an attempt to create a false history for themselves on our ancient land, but they did not succeed. We exposed them. The fact that the Albanian church is this bad condition now once again confirms the Armenian falsification. If the church was Armenian, they would restore that”.

This announcement could be clearly considered as Alteration of the Cultural Heritage, Demolition of the Components, Partial Destruction.

According to the Second Protocol to The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1999), Article 2, point C  “any alteration to, or change of use of, cultural property which is intended to conceal or destroy cultural, historical or scientific evidence” is prohibited. According to the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, the safeguarding means guaranteeing the existence of the heritage. The preservation of the heritage means guaranteeing its safety and wholeness (including the community), providing identity, unicity and intactness standards. These principles emanate from the World Heritage Convention and the statements of other International organizations.