Census process of our compatriots deported from Western Azerbaijan was started from those deported in 1988-1991 – Spokesperson of Western Azerbaijan Community
Ulviyya Zulfikar, spokesperson of the Western Azerbaijan Community was interviewed by “Baki-Xeber.com”
News.az presents the interview
– The last deportation of our compatriots from Western Azerbaijan occurred in 1988-1991. The Western Azerbaijan Community initially conducts a census of those who were deported during this period. Why does the census first apply to those deported between 1988 and 1991?
– This census process has been started for several months. The reason for starting the census with our compatriots who were deported in 1988-1991 is related to the fact that most of the people are physically alive, we can easily communicate with them and get more complete information from them so that our work goes faster. As mentioned, these people have documents about their residence in Armenia, their higher education, and property. From a physical point of view, most of them are alive, so we communicate with them. Of course, other deportees are being registered. But we are now focused on the years 1988-1991.
– How is the registration process going on?
– Initially, namely, the people who were deported during that period are registered. Their heirs, of course, are a separate category. It is announced that about 250,000-300,000 people were deported, but the number is expected to get grow. Of course, in parallel, those who were deported in previous periods are also registered. After the registration of deportees of 1988-91 is completed, the full process regarding those who were deported in other periods will begin.
– As far as we know, in the 20th century, our compatriots were deported from Western Azerbaijan about 4 times. Azerbaijanis were deported in 1905, 1918-1920, and 1948-1953. Today, of course, mostly their heirs are alive. There are even those who live in foreign countries. Isn't it difficult to search for their heirs?
- Actually, there are certain difficulties. Yes, among them there are even those who moved from our country and live abroad, as well as those who live in our country. Migration is a natural process. If we start with those who were deported in 1988-1991 in order to make our work go faster, we can get results faster than getting information indirectly from the heirs. Unfortunately, since the years 1905, 1918-1920, and 1948-1953 are far away from us in terms of time, there are perhaps very few survivors of those who were deported in those times. As I said, the deportees themselves will be in a separate category, and the heirs will be in a separate category. In total, if we take both categories, as well as all deportations, there are about 5 million Western Azerbaijanis associated with these deportations.
– Let's pay attention to the geography of distribution of Western Azerbaijanis in the world. What methods will be used to find out how many Western Azerbaijanis live over the world? It won't be difficult to find out and investigate their number, and which genealogy they belong to when they went abroad.
– The Western Azerbaijan Community has five representations abroad. Their number will be increased. Through these representations, we will collect information about Western Azerbaijanis living abroad, they will be attracted to these representations.
– What difficulties do you face in the registration process that are hard to solve and you need to turn to archives or certain government agencies?
– At the moment, the difficulties are purely due to sheer numbers. Because a lot of people were really deported during that period. At that time, the population of more than 150 of the 300 settlements where Azerbaijanis lived is currently listed. As I said, maybe the number of deported people will exceed 250-300 thousand. Because the number of those who were deported was more in that period. Maybe because that deportation fell into the collapse of the USSR and the period of chaos, those numbers are understated. We are investigating and I think the numbers will increase. We cooperate with local executive bodies and municipalities, and they respond to us, and we conduct joint investigations. Of course, there are those who apply to the Community itself. The difficulty lies in a large number of these numbers, there is no other difficulty.
– Many of our compatriots who were deported do not have passports issued by the Armenian USSR, and many of them do not have documents of their houses and property. These people fled their homes with only their lives. How will their fate be?
– We are currently in the early stages. All mentioned will be determined. Information will be received verbally from our compatriots who cannot show documents. Just because they can't show a document doesn't mean they didn't live there. Documents related to them remain in archives and other places. First of all, oral information will be received from those people, and a decision will be made according to the situation.
– What will be the outcome of the process?
– In general, our goal as a community is to peacefully return to our ancestral lands under peaceful conditions. The biggest aim which unites us is that we want to peacefully return to our land and coexist peacefully. All of our activities and steps we take are towards this. First of all, we will form the picture in front of our eyes, in order to know how much damage caused to us along with our material, cultural and historical heritage. After collecting the necessary data, we will have relevant figures and when we conduct our propaganda in the international arena, we will provide international organizations with fully accurate information.