CPP community speaks up about Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

As Armenia and Azerbaijan continue their conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, that as of Oct. 13 has killed about 600 people, the Cal Poly Pomona community is saddened to hear this news, as several students and staff, mourn the attacks. The Greater Los Angeles area, specifically Glendale, is home to the highest concentration of Americans of Armenian descent.

A ceasefire between the two countries, brokered on Oct. 10, has largely been seen as ineffective with the death toll continuing to rise in the fighting that begun late last month when Armenia accused Azerbaijan of attacking civilian settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armeni Azilazian, a fourth-year sociology student, is devastated as she is seeing her home country of Armenia being destroyed and hundreds of lives lost. Her family fled their motherland during the 1915 Armenian genocide.

“It’s very heartbreaking to see what is happening to us Armenians right now,” said Azilazian. “A second genocide is happening right before our eyes and there’s little to no coverage or help. Armenians want peace while Azerbaijan wants war.”

The Nagorno-Karabakh territory was originally part of Azerbaijan, however, according to the U.S. Institute of Peace, it has been claimed and governed by the Republic of Artsakh that is pre-dominantly Armenian since 1992. The region’s volatile history traces to the 1920s, and today they remain unwilling to come to an agreement of peace.

According to Reuters, Turkey has provided Azerbaijan with fighters from Syria, while Armenia keeps a defense pact with Russia.

Mary Anne Mendoza, a CPP political science professor specializing in comparative politics and international relations, dissected the relationship between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

“When we think about this, you have Turkey and Russia, who are supporting opposite sides; Azerbaijan is backed by Turkey, while Armenia is backed by Russia,” said Mendoza. “Turkey works with Azerbaijan in order to gain Turkish influence in certain regions where Russia has had more influence.”

Mendoza stated that Azerbaijan possess an abundance of natural resources; therefore, Turkey stands to gain these resources by aiding Azerbaijan.

Aram Chalikyan, a third-year biology student, said he is losing sleep thinking about what is going on overseas.

“A population of over 3 million trying to save themselves from Azerbaijan, backed up by a superpower country, Turkey, totaling a population of about 91 million together,” said Chalikyan. “I acknowledge that there are innocent lives being lost on both sides, but Azerbaijan and the Turkish government are to blame for starting this war.”

The eruption of conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has killed innocent people, resulting in a tragic state across Armenia and the world.

“The grandchildren of genocide perpetrators are firing at the grandchildren of genocide survivors. Let that sink in,” added Azilazian.

Students can donate to the Armenia Fund, which helps fund healthcare and aid in Armenia.

(Feature image courtesy of Jeffrey Grospe)

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