The year 2020 will remain memorable for many of us mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, in the Middle East, especially in Azerbaijan and Armenia, most people will recall the Karabakh war from this tragic year. The 44-day war has ended with the Azerbaijaniis recovering Karabakh.
History of the conflict
During 1990 and 1991, as the Soviet Union weakened and then disintegrated, an independent republic of Azerbaijan was established. However, the war with Armenia overshadowed their independence. Previously, the Soviet Union controlled the conflict between the two countries.
In the Western press as well as in Hungary, they often describe the events as a Christian-Muslim war.
But this does not cover the reality at all. Karabakh is internationally recognised as the territory of Azerbaijan. However, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Subsequently, with Russian help, the Armenian army seceded Karabakh from Azerbaijan, even though this was not recognised internationally by many states. Among the countries in the region, Turkey supported Azerbaijan, while Russia stood on Armenia’s side.
Despite international intentions, the conflict could not be resolved at the negotiating table.
The war period
The recapture of Karabakh had long been the goal of the Azerbaijani government, waiting only for the right conditions and time. Szabadeuropa.hu writes that Azerbaijan had several advantages over Armenia. The Azerbaijanis invested well in oil capital.
Better technology and tactics all benefited the Azerbaijanis.
More than 6,000 people lost their lives in the battle, which lasted nearly a month and a half. The war ended with Azerbaijan liberating the city of Susa, known for its art and culture. Then
the President of Azerbaijan, İlham Əliyev, and the PM of Armenia, Nikol Pasinyan signed a ceasefire agreement on 10 November 2020 in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As a result of the war, the acquired territories came under Azerbaijani control, including the city of Susa and Karabakh region. Russian soldiers march to Xan kendi to protect Armenians and maintain peace.
After the war, Armenia was hit by a domestic political crisis due to the defeat. While in Azerbaijan, İlham Əliyev’s presidency has been strengthened and the country is currently working on getting back on track. On the one hand, they plan to literally rebuild the country, as the construction of many new buildings and road network is on the agenda.
These construction projects are progressing well. The fact that they built Fuzuli International Airport in less than a year is a good example of that. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is also working on elevating the country’s image and boosting the tourism sector. Hence, they organised the Baku Formula 1 race and were granted the hosting rights of the European Football Championship.
Hungary has always had an amicable relationship with Azerbaijan.
The Hungarian government and the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly sided with Azerbaijan. After the Karabakh war, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that Hungary offered financial support and help with the reconstruction works. In 2021, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s guest was Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan, writes origo.hu. The main topic was the good rapport between the two countries.
In 2021, 900 Azerbaijani students applied for scholarships in Hungary.
Not only education but also trade and energy supply make their relationship stronger. Azerbaijan will play an important role in Europe’s gas supply. According to an agreement, Azerbaijan will also export gas to Hungary from 2023.
The relationship between the two countries is not just about economics. You can see the mutual sympathy through the fact that on 9 November 2021, the Azerbaijanis living in Budapest celebrated their Flag and Victory Day. In the last days of 2019, the Azerbaijani House opened in the Hungarian capital.
Source: origo.hu, szabadeuropa.hu, DailyNewsHungary
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