Azerbaijan, celebrations after victory on Shusha, Karabakh

Celebrations in Azerbaijan for the liberation of Shusha after 28 years

The President of Azerbaijan announced today the liberation of this strategic city after 28 years of Armenian occupation.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Azerbaijan this Sunday in a historic day to celebrate the liberation after more than 28 years of Armenian occupation of the ancient city of Shusha, the second most important in Karabakh and key to the control of the entire region, after the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, announced in a message to the nation the capture of the town after more than a month of fighting.

Dressed in military uniform and with the national flag of Azerbaijan, Aliyev announced “with great pride and joy that the city of Shusha has been liberated,” adding that this November 8 “will be marked in the history of the people of Azerbaijan as the day when we returned to Shusha.”

“Our victorious advance continues. If the Armenian leaders do not respond to my demands we will go to the end, until the complete liberation of the occupied territories (in Karabakh),” said Aliyev, who has insisted in recent weeks that any peace negotiations with Armenia must include the withdrawal of its forces from Karabakh and the return of the territories occupied by this country from Azerbaijan in the 1990s.

In the country’s capital, Baku, thousands of people took to the streets waving flags of Azerbaijan and also of Turkey – a country with close historical, ethnic, cultural and political ties with Azerbaijan – to celebrate the liberation of Shusha (Şuşa, in Azerbaijani) of the Armenian occupation, singing and dancing amid huge displays of jubilation.

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Erdoğan: “The joy of our brothers in Azerbaijan is ours”

Indeed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated his Azerbaijani counterpart on Sunday for the liberation of the strategic city of Susha, which was the capital of Karabakh until 1822. “The joy of our brothers from Azerbaijan for the step-by-step liberation of their cities under occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh, it is also our joy,” Erdoğan said during a speech to members of his AKP party in Kocaeli, northwest Turkey.

Underlining that the capture of Shusha means that the liberation of all of Karabakh is very close, Erdoğan insisted on the support that Turkey will always give to Azerbaijan in its fight to regain the territories occupied by Armenians in the region. “Turkey has always been with Azerbaijan in its struggle to liberate its territories from the very beginning, and will continue to be,” he said.

Shusha, the key to control all of Karabakh

In fact, Shusha, which was occupied by Armenia on May 8, 1992 during the bloody war that faced Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 90s after the dissolution of the USSR, is not only the second most important city of Karabakh and the self-proclaimed Artsakh Republic – the puppet state of Armenia without international recognition founded on the occupied territories in Karabakh – but also the key to dominance of the entire region.

Caucasus, Azerbaijan gains in Karabakh

With some 20,000 inhabitants before the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed at the end of September after the later accused Armenia of bombing the civilian population on its border, Shusha is located on a promontory that dominates the entire region and also Stepanakert (Xankəndi, in Azerbaijani), the capital of Karabakh with about 50,000 inhabitants located just 10 kilometres away, also controlling the main road that connects Stepanakert with Armenia.

Just a week ago the Armenian leader of the self-proclaimed Artsakh Republic, Arayik Harutyunyan, published a video on social media in which he asked for help to stop the advance on Shusha of the Azerbaijani army, then less than 5 kilometres from the town. “The enemy’s main objective is to capture Shushi,” he said, referring to the town’s Armenian name. “Whoever controls Shushi, controls Artsakh,” he warned.