The newly opened TV "Western Azerbaijan" and the Western Azerbaijan community

Stella Vardanyan

Following the 44-day war in 2020, the term "Western Azerbaijan" has been frequently used by Azerbaijan to refer to the current territory of the Republic of Armenia. At the same time, the non-governmental organization known as the "Azerbaijani Refugee Union," founded in 1989, was transformed into the "Western Azerbaijan Community" non-governmental organization on August 3, 2022, under the chairmanship of Aziz Alakbarli.[1]

The community includes various structures such as councils of observation, elders, intellectuals, women and trustees, board of directors, control-inspection commission, youth union, representations in foreign countries. On January 8, 2023, a Science Commission was established in the ''community of Western Azerbaijan''.[2]

The community claims that “since 1989, the community has been the only public institution dedicated to addressing the problems of refugees from Western Azerbaijan, collecting and preserving facts and documents about Azerbaijanis who became refugees between 1988 and 1991. During that time, more than 50,000 families were evicted. The community's work in this area is ongoing. In the years following 1988, detailed statistics were compiled for each family “expelled from approximately 300 settlements in West Azerbaijan”, including their names, surnames, and patronymics, resulting in a comprehensive list of 130 villages. The organization is also working to create an accurate list of all instances of historical and cultural heritage in Western Azerbaijan”.[3]

Thus, Azerbaijani anti-Armenian propaganda, which has a systematic character, is being gradually presented in new formats.

In addition to the above, on May 1 of this year, a TV station named "Western Azerbaijan" was launched in Baku.[4]

Aziz Alakbarli[5], the president of the “Western Azerbaijan community”, noted that “the TV station would introduce a new format. It will focus on "highlighting the truth about our relatives who were displaced from their homes over the last 200 years, the destruction of our heritage in Western Azerbaijan, and the peaceful, dignified return”.[6]

In his speech, Hikmet Babaoglu, a deputy in the Parliament of Azerbaijan and the vice-chairman of the Western Azerbaijan community, emphasized that the TV station holds great significance for propaganda.[7]  

The "Western Azerbaijan" TV company began its activities on August 1, 2023, initially on an online platform. The TV company broadcasts its programs in three languages: Azerbaijani, Russian, and English.

Ulvia Zulfigar, the head of public relations for the "Western Azerbaijan Community" and "Western Azerbaijan" television department, spoke to journalists during the opening ceremony. She said, "With this opening ceremony, we are modernizing the TV station's cyber policy. We have added new programs with a refreshed format and content. For example, the program 'The great leader and Western Azerbaijan'. The program 'Towards Western Azerbaijan' focuses on the president's efforts related to Western Azerbaijan, while the program 'Against Humanity' covers the events that impacted our relatives. We will also air 'Step by Step Western Azerbaijan', 'Tastes of Western Azerbaijan', 'Literary Yerevan', and other programs exploring the material and cultural heritage of Western Azerbaijan."[8]

It should be noted that back on December 24, 2022, Ilham Aliyev, visiting the administrative building of the organization, emphasized in his speech that “Western Azerbaijan is our historical land, it is confirmed by many historical documents, historical maps, our history.... our main task is to deliver this information to the global community. The works in this direction have already started. But I am sure that the community will work more purposefully in this direction to achieve results”.[9]

The state-sponsored "Western Azerbaijan" television company once again demonstrates that under the guise of "human rights" and "freedom of speech," the Azerbaijani authorities present themselves to the international community as "peace-loving." However, in reality, this TV company serves as another platform for spreading anti-Armenian propaganda and misleading narratives.

All this once again shows the intensifying aggressive and hostile policy of Azerbaijan towards the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people. By circulating and consistently promoting the concept of "Western Azerbaijan," Ilham Aliyev's regime is laying the ground and creating justifications for the settlement of hundreds of thousands of so-called "Azerbaijani refugees" in the current territory of the Republic of Armenia.        

[1]“ Qərbi Azərbaycan İcması bu binada fəaliyyət göstərir”, https://modern.az/qerbi-azerbaycan-icmasi-tam-fealiyyete-baslayib/365733

[2] QƏRBİ AZƏRBAYCAN İCMASI,   http://anl.az/el/emb/Qerbi_Azerbaycan/haqqinda.htm

[3] ELEKTRON MƏLUMAT BAZASI, http://anl.az/el/emb/Qerbi_Azerbaycan/haqqinda.htm

[4]Qərbi Azərbaycan TV yeni formatda efirə çıxdı”,  https://youtu.be/j_CwSrCyrCI?si=d1LsruagSA1DHGq5

[5]  Parlamentdə təmsil olunan Qərbi Azərbaycan İcması nümayəndələrinin Bəyanatı qəbul edilib - 26.12.2023, Sputnik Azərbaycan. Մուտք 4.05.2024: https://sputnik.az/20231226/milli-meclisde-qerbi-azerbaycanlilarin-deportasiyasi-ile-bagli-sergi-numayis-olunub-461579332.html

[6]   “Qərbi Azərbaycan TV yeni formatda efirə çıxdı”,  https://youtu.be/j_CwSrCyrCI?si=d1LsruagSA1DHGq5

[7] Նույնը` https://youtu.be/j_CwSrCyrCI?si=d1LsruagSA1DHGq5

[8] Նույնը` https://youtu.be/j_CwSrCyrCI?si=d1LsruagSA1DHGq5

[9]  Əliyev Qərbi Azərbaycan İcmasının binasında,   https://axar.az/news/toplum/701751.html