Fake picture of Caucasus Heritage Watch

Fake picture of Caucasus Heritage Watch

Caucasus Heritage Watch, an American organization purportedly dedicated to preserving cultural heritage, has once again come under scrutiny for disseminating what Azerbaijani sources allege to be fabricated information. The organization, founded by Armenians associated with Cornell University, has accused Azerbaijan of destroying an "Armenian cemetery" in Shusha, Karabakh.

The claims are based on two satellite images, one taken before Azerbaijani authorities re-established control in the area and another purportedly revealing a new road constructed through the cemetery. Caucasus Heritage Watch contends that this road construction resulted in the destruction of ancient Armenian graves. The assertion quickly found its way into media outlets in Yerevan, Russia, Europe, and the United States, on the same day it was made.

A Shusha resident, Hikmet Sabiroglu, refuted these allegations in an interview with Turan, emphasizing the challenging topography of the cemetery and the implausibility of heavy equipment reaching the burial site. Sabiroglu, while rejecting the accusations, suggested that Cornell University's message should be thoroughly investigated, citing concerns about the organization's credibility.

Turan, an Azerbaijani news agency, conducted its own inquiry, examining a satellite image from Google on November 24. Contrary to Caucasus Heritage Watch's claim of a new road, Turan's investigation found only two existing parallel roads in the cemetery, disputing the organization's assertion. Turan previously reported on other instances of misinformation from Caucasus Heritage Watch, including claims of the destruction of an Armenian church by Azerbaijanis. Azerbaijani specialists, in that case, demonstrated the inaccuracy of the allegations.

Accusations against Caucasus Heritage Watch extend beyond misinformation, with Azerbaijani sources accusing the organization of engaging in photo manipulation through the use of Photoshop to fabricate new roads and depict destruction. A prior Turan article delves into what they characterize as pseudoscientific activities of Caucasus Heritage Watch, accusing Armenians associated with the organization of conducting anti-Azerbaijani propaganda.

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