A BBC report by correspondent Jonah Fisher discovered that an Armenian Church that fell into Azeri control following last year’s Turkish-sponsored invasion of Artsakh was completely wiped out in a gross example of cultural genocide.
“Azerbaijan has said ethnic Armenians are welcome to stay in Nagorno-Karabakh but Armenia has accused it of damaging and destroying Armenian cultural heritage left behind in the region, including churches and monuments,” the BBC writes.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan said in a statement:
“Despite efforts to present itself to the world as a center of tolerance and multiculturalism, Azerbaijan has so far proven its position as a leader in the destruction of the Christian heritage.
“We strongly condemn this yet another case of a crime committed by Azerbaijan on the grounds of religious hatred.
“Attempts of the Azerbaijani leadership to justify this barbarism are even more concerning, it shows that this manifestation of vandalism was intentional in nature and is reminiscent of the systematic destruction of Nakhichevan’s historical and cultural heritage.”
YouTube’s “The New Tears of Araxes” shows Azeri soldiers in 2005 obliterating a large 9th century Armenian cemetery in Nakhichevan, demonstrating Azerbaijan’s continued process of destroying Armenian historical and cultural heritage.
Naghdalyan said that the destruction of the Kanach Zham Church in Shushi, a separate incident to the BBC’s discovery, “proves that the cultural vandalism carried out by Azerbaijan is based on only one criterion: hatred toward the Christian Armenian people.”
“The destruction of the Armenian historical-cultural and religious heritage once again demonstrates that the assurances on the preservation of the Christian cultural values by the Azerbaijani authorities are false,” she continued.
“The international community should undertake measures to stop and condemn the crimes, including the cultural genocide being committed by Azerbaijan since September 27 last year to date,” added Naghdalyan.
Armenia’s National Commission for UNESCO condemned the destruction of the Mekhakavan church.
“Strongly condemn yet another act of cultural crime by Azerbaijan,” the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO tweeted.
“As BBC found out Armenian church disappeared after Azerbaijani got control over it,” the tweet added.
They also highlighted that Azeri troops had vandalised the church and posted videos online, proving that the church was destroyed after the war concluded.
“Armenian monuments of Artsakh under Azerbaijani occupation are vandalized and destroyed in ISIS-style,” the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO added.
#Armenia|n monuments of #Artsakh under #Azerbaijan|i occupation are vandalized and destroyed in ISIS-style.
The disappeared #Armenia|n Church became a victim of an act of vandalism in the first place. #StopTerrorism pic.twitter.com/EswgTKskz2
— Armenian National Commission for UNESCO (@ArmUnesco) March 25, 2021