Today.Az » Voice of Diaspora » The U.S. Azeris Network protests gross mistakes in the "Armenia with Nagorno Karabagh" by Bradt Travel Guides Publishing House
17 February 2008 [04:13] - Today.Az
The U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) (www.USAzeris.org), is a registered non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian genuine grassroots advocacy and voter education network that is facilitating political activism and efforts by the Azerbaijani-Americans and other Turkic-Americans and their associations, organizations, councils, conferences, and other formal, semi-formal and informal groups, on federal, state and local levels. Through the auspices of the U.S. Azeris Network, the voice of the Azerbaijani-Americans is becoming unified and strengthened. USAN is the first nationwide grassroots organization uniting Azerbaijani-Americans, conducting successful fundraisers and being created by the grassroots, for the grassroots.
Recently USAN members have picked up a copy of the "Armenia with Nagorno Karabagh" and were outraged by the sheer number of gross mistakes, misrepresentation and outright false statements. After authoring an article by the USAN team for a leading Azerbaijani online publication, Day.Az ( http://www.day.az/news/politics/108364.html ), and submitting a negative review of the book to Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1841621633/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img ), a protest letter to the publishers of the guide was adopted and made available through the USAN network - http://www.USAzeris.org/travel.htm . The USAN letter follows this Action Alert.
All USAN members and friends of Azerbaijani-Americans are urged to go to http://www.USAzeris.org and send the letter to their elected officials.
# # #
USAN Action Campaign Letter: Protest Travel Guide mistakes over NK and other parts of Azerbaijan
To the attention of the Bradt Travel Guide and The Globe Pequot Press publishers,
As a member of the Azerbaijani community, I am simply flabbergasted and outraged by Nicholas Holding's "Armenia with Nagorno Karabagh", published by Bradt Travel Guide in the UK and The Globe Pequot Press in the US (ISBN 1841621633). Both the maps and the text of the book are misrepresenting the facts and plain false on more than one occasion.
Firstly, the Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as seven (7) other regions of Azerbaijan that have been occupied by Armenia (a total of some 16% of the territory of Azerbaijan, from which all of its 800,000 strong Azerbaijani population has been ethnically cleansed), are recognized by the international community, including both US and UK, as being part of Azerbaijan (for a detailed review of all these aspects, read: http://www.cria-online.org/j2_3.php). Nowhere do you mention any of these facts, nowhere does your book and author even attempts to cover its utter bias with any kind of disclaimers. It is absolutely unacceptable that your publishing houses serve as clearinghouses of propaganda, separatism and distortion.
At the same time, the regional capital of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan official name is Khankendi. This is the historic name of the city, which was changed by Soviets in 1923 to Stepanakert (the only name which you use in the book), and was re-named back in 1992 by the independent Azerbaijan. Same applies to many other toponyms and name-places which you use for the Azerbaijani regions, reflecting your book's absolute Armenian bias, with complete negligence and disregard for well-known facts and international law.
Compare your maps with those from the following official or otherwise respected sources:
CIA World Factbook: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/aj.html
The National Geographic magazine:
The U.S. State Department: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/aj/
The UN: http://www.un-az.org/karta.jpg
Secondly, it is important to stress that there is absolutely no evidence that Karabakh ever belonged to Armenia, especially before the creation of the USSR. All relevant official maps and Soviet documents of the time clearly show that Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan, then upon Sovietization of Armenia was pressured to be assigned to it but due to Azerbaijani resistance, was left within Azerbaijan. All the relevant archive letters are available upon request. A recent U.S. State Department historical background clarifies the issue of historic land ownership irrefutably: "In the late 18th century, several khanates [Azerbaijani states], including Karabakh, emerged in the south Caucasus to challenge the waning influence of the Ottoman Empire. After the Russian Empire eventually took control over the region in 1813, Azerbaijani Turks began to emigrate from Karabakh while the Armenian population of mountainous (Nagorno) Karabakh grew. With the 1917 Russian Revolution, Azerbaijan and Armenia each declared independence and sought control over Karabakh during the Russian Civil War. In 1923, after the Bolshevik takeover of the Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) was made an autonomous region within the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic" (Source: U.S. Department of State, "History of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict", March 30, 2001).
Thirdly, the books makes many more other mistakes, such as the false statistics figures from 1917, citing an official census which was last taken 20 year prior, in 1897, and while overlooking the huge Armenian influx into Caucasus since early 19th century, which has been well documented by Russian, Turkish, Iranian, Azerbaijani, European, American and even Armenian researchers. Perhaps the census data from the Russian Imperial Census of 1897, the most authoritative statistical document, should be considered as the most reliable statistical document, and which shows Armenian population at about 40% - way below the 72% majority your book tries to push (see the census re-print in: Prof. Audrey Altstadt, "The Azerbaijani Turks", Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1992).
Fourthly, the wholesale declaration of all Christian heritage on the territory of occupied Azerbaijan as being Armenian is simply not true. Instead, nearly all churches, monasteries, cemeteries and other tangible Christian heritage in Karabakh region is that of Azerbaijani ancestors, the Caucasian Albanians, who as a nation officially converted into Orthodox Christianity in 313. In fact, Dr. Hratch Tchilingirian, an Armenian nationalist who is a researcher from the London School of Economics, admitted that: "Beginning with the fifteenth century, the monastery of Gandzasar became the seat of the native Catholicos of the Albanian Church" ("Religious Discourse on the Conflict in Nagorno Karabakh" / Religion in Eastern Europe, Volume XVIII, Number 4, August 1998).
Finally, it is despicable when the books talks about massacres of Armenians in Baku and Elizavetpol in September 1918, but completely fails to mention that Armenians has committed the biggest massacre in March 1918, by slaughtering no less than 12,000 Azerbaijanis in Baku. This act, described in vivid details by British journalist and historian Peter Hopkirk, was described by him as "genocidal" ("Like hidden fire. The Plot to bring down the British Empire", Kodansha Globe, New York, 1994, pp. 281-287). To commemorate that and other Armenian atrocities against innocent Azerbaijani civilians, Azerbaijan observed March 31 as the Day of Massacre since 1919, which today symbolizes the day of the Azerbaijani Genocide.
I would like to once again express my utter disappointment and outrage, and deplore your publication of this book, in violation of every single ethical and moral standard as well as the law. You should not only pull the book off all the shelves and initiate a total recall of all of its remaining stock, but apologize in writing to the Azerbaijani (and all other) readers for printing such a book, and offer the Azerbaijani side to publish an authoritative travel guide with editorial control done by a group of recognized American and British specialists.