Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday in commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the Khojaly Tragedy which claimed the lives of at least 613 Azerbaijani civilians from the town of Khojaly on 25–26 February in 1992 by the Armenian and partially Russian forces.
The statement said, “ As Turkey, we deeply feel the pain of our Azerbaijani siblings of what they experienced 24 years ago when they were exposed to brutal massacre and flagrant violence in Khojaly. We strongly condemn this massacre by the Armenian Republic and the years-long invasion of Azerbaijani lands.”
At least 161 Azerbaijani civilians, including 106 women and 63 children, were massacred by Armenian armed forces with the help of the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment, in Khojaly, a town located in the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1992.
“We ask for the mercy of God for all people who lost their lives in this tragedy, which has not received the attention it deserved on an international level, and we stand in awe of them,” the Turkish ministry said.
The massacre took place during the Nagorno-Karabakh war that erupted in the late 1980s between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the South Caucasus.
Annexing the region against international law, the Armenian government did not hesitate to resort to any kind of crime and violence against the local people.
The Khojaly tragedy became the largest massacre in the course of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict while another 1,000 people were wounded and 1,275 were taken hostage.
Moreover, 150 people remain missing to this day.
According to a mass media report by Azerbaijan Publishing House, Baku, in 1992 , Saria Talybova, who witnessed the bloody tragedy as it unfolded, watched as four Meskhetian Turks, refugees from Central Asia, and three Azerbaijanis were beheaded on the grave of an Armenian soldier, and children were tortured and killed before their parents’ eyes; two Azerbaijanis in national army uniform had their eyes gouged out with screw drivers.
“Women and children had been scalped”, Assad Faradzhev, an aide to Karabakh’s Azeri governor told The Washington Times on March 3 1992.
Former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev said in a speech addressed to the nation of Azerbaijan on the 10th anniversary of the massacre that "The Khojaly genocide with its inconceivable cruelty and inhumane punitive methods, completely targeted the people of Azerbaijan and represents a barbarian act in the history of humankind. At the same time, this genocide was a historical crime against humanity.”
Several international organisations and US states recognised and commemorated the Khojaly Massacre while memorials were held in various locations around the globe.
On May 30 2011, the Khojaly Massacre Memorial was erected in Berlin and the ceremony of opening the monument to the victims of the Khojaly massacre was held in the city of Usak of Turkey on February 2014.