Qarabağ erməniləri Laşın yolunda

Qarabağ erməniləri Laşın yolunda

In a development that has garnered international attention, more than 100,000 people of Armenian origin, according to Armenian sources,  have reportedly fled the region of Karabakh in recent days, seeking refuge in Armenia. The exodus, driven by ongoing regional tensions, has prompted questions and concerns about the true population figures in the contested area.

Armenian authorities confirmed that by the evening of October 1, a total of 100,514 internally displaced persons (IDPs) had arrived in Armenia. These figures are in stark contrast to the population estimates reported at the beginning of the year, which placed Karabakh's population at 120,000. Azerbaijani officials, however, have consistently questioned these numbers, alleging that they have been exaggerated nearly twofold.

Azerbaijan's official bodies have yet to disclose the precise number of people who have left Karabakh. They have, however, stated that efforts have been made to ensure a safe and unobstructed passage for individuals leaving the region.

When questioned by Turan, the State Border Service of Azerbaijan did not provide an exact count of Armenians who have left Karabakh, promising to share the information at a later time.

The United Nations mission to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, in a statement released on October 2, described a troubling situation where very few local residents remained in the city of Khankendi. The statement noted a wide range of estimates regarding the number of individuals who chose to stay in the area, with figures varying from "50 to 1,000."

The UN mission further detailed a significant migration event, stating, "the mission then went through Lachin to the checkpoint, where 100,000 ethnic Armenians passed over the past few days. Here, members of the mission did not meet any civilian vehicles moving towards Armenia."

Addressing these developments, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller remarked on October 2, "about 100,000 ethnic Armenians left Nagorno-Karabakh and departed for Armenia... In my opinion, none of us can say how many percent of them plan to stay in Armenia permanently or how many percent may want to return if conditions allow."

Hikmet Babaoglu, Deputy Chairman of the Milli Majlis Committee on Defense, Security, and Combating Corruption, in an interview with Turan, suggested that Armenia may be inflating these figures for several reasons. "Firstly, by increasing the number of Armenians voluntarily leaving Azerbaijan, they are trying to garner more assistance from abroad, from the Armenian Lobby. Secondly, they always try to prove that the number 120,000, which they lied about, is true. Therefore, they began to exaggerate these figures at a tremendous speed."

Babaoglu contended that the figure of 40,000, mentioned by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the end of September, may be closer to reality. He added, "I think that as prime minister, he had an exact figure of the number of Armenians in Karabakh."

As the international community watches closely, questions about accurate population figures persist. Arastun Orujlu, a political commentator,  in an interview with Radio Azadlig,  pointed out that everyone passing through the Lachin border point is registered, making it feasible to determine the number accurately. "Azerbaijan should also disclose these figures and present the list to international organizations," Orujlu urged.

The ongoing dispute surrounding the population figures in Karabakh raises concerns about the region's stability and the humanitarian challenges facing those displaced. While Armenia labels the mass migration as "ethnic cleansing" and "deportation," Azerbaijan maintains that residents of the region were encouraged from the outset to remain in their homes and reintegrate into Azerbaijani society. The true extent of the population shift and its long-term implications remain to be seen.

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