TODAY.AZ / Voice of Diaspora

For those, who gave their lives for Azerbaijan...

16 September 2010 [11:20] - TODAY.AZ
September 15th marked the day of liberation of the city of Baku to become a capital of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), the first secular parliamentary democracy in the Muslim and Turkic-speaking world.

In the aftermath of 1917 Russian Revolution and prior to the proclamation of independent Azerbaijan on May 28, 1918, nation's largest city, Baku, came under the control of a Bolshevik-Communist led Baku Soviet. For the two preceding months, under the leadership of Stepan Shahumyan, the forces of Baku Soviet allied with irregular armed units of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) "Dashnaktsutiun" carried out mass killings against Azeri civilians in Baku, Guba, Shamakhy, Lenkeran and other cities of the country. According to the 1920 New York Times publication, using a pretext of fighting against the counterrevolutionary insurgency, from March 31 to April 3, 1918, Bolsheviks and their Dashnak allies slaughtered over 12,000 Azeri civilians in Baku alone.

After the establishment of Azerbaijani government in Ganja, in June 1918, the Bolshevik-Dashnak forces mounted an offensive to crush the young republic. In a desperate situation, the ADR government appealed for assistance from the Ottoman authorities, and subsequently, the joint Turkish-Azerbaijani defense force was formed under the leadership of the Ottoman Turkish general Nuri Pasha. This force managed to stop the Bolshevik-Dashnak offensive, and by August 1918, moved to the outskirts of Baku laying siege to the city. While a small British expeditionary force (also known as Dunsterforce due to being led by General Dunsterville) quickly fled the city, the Turkish-Azeri units defeated Bolsheviks, Dashnaks and the remnants of Russian Imperial Army liberating Baku on September 15, 1918.

The memory of Turkish soldiers who gave lives for the liberation of Baku in 1918 had remained firmly in the hearts of many Azerbaijanis. While in Soviet times, the tomb of an unknown Turkish soldier who fell near Shamakhy turned into  a place of informal worship, after the restoration of independent Azerbaijan, a memorial honoring Turkish soldiers was erected at the Alley of Martyrs in Baku.

Azerbaijani-American Council and Azerbaijan Society of America join in greeting all Azerbaijanis and friends on the occasion of this anniversary, honoring all those who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Azerbaijan.


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