“Recent days claims have been started to be voiced in Russian media that First Karabakh war started with Sumgait events. I want to remind that first blood was not shed in Sumgait,” said Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu in his speech at commemoration night of Khojaly victims in Moscow, APA’s Moscow correspondent reports.
P. Bulbuloglu said that in January 1988, thousand Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia started to flow Baku: “In general, more than 200 thousand Azerbaijanis were expelled from the territory of Armenia alone. All these people, who lost their property in one night, gathered in Baku and Sumgayit. Azerbaijani side tried to eliminate socialtension but the severity of the pain, anger, resentment, loss of loved ones and relatives could not be forgotten.”
The ambassador reminded the facts on Armenians’ several attacks against Azerbaijanis prior to Sumgait events: ” In April 1983, during the so-called "Day of Genocide", Armenian extremists committed a massacre in Zangibasar (now Masis district), attacked the Gafarov family during a wedding, killed four people and wounded dozens of Azerbaijanis. However, despite numerous complaints and appeals local police and administration did not respond to these complaints. Even after appeal to central bodies of Soviet Union criminal case was not initiated. In 1986 almost hals of Azerbaijani people were expelled from Gafan region of Armenia. In 1987, after Heydar Aliyev was dismissed from the position First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Mass expulsion of Azerbaijanis from all Armenian territories began.
On February 22, 1988 two young Azerbaijanis were killed by Armenians in Asgaran region. This event caused a wide public resonance in Azerbaijan.
The ambassador noted that the events in Sumgayit, where tensions were high, were organized by Eduard Grigoryan, an ethnic Armenian who had been convicted three times before: “He took an active part in robberies and aggressions, personally killing 6 Armenians.During the investigation his guilt was fully proven, and he was convicted and sentenced to prison. His two brothers also attended in riots in Sumgayit. I am personally thinking that both that tme and today, the scenario of the events in Sumgayit is an open provocation to justify the start of military operations in Karabakh and the atrocities committed there. Because theexpulsion of Azerbaijanis from Armenian territory was only the beginning of the big plan of the Armenian separatists. In the second stage this plan had continued with etnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh, and then in 7 regions where Azerbaijanis lived.”