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System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian slams Turkey over Nagorno-Karabakh war, Armenian genocide (E983)

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to the lead singer of System of a Down, Serj Tankian. He discusses the new documentary ‘Truth to Power’, which explores his family history, including his grandparents surviving the Armenian genocide, and his own early life growing up in Lebanon. Tankian discusses the history of Armenia as a nation, and why many countries such as the UK don’t recognise the repression that Armenians faced under Turkey as genocide. We also talk about the Nagorno-Karabakh war and the dangers Armenians are facing, Turkey’s work to prevent nations from recognising the Armenian genocide, and much more! Finally, we speak to former Turkish ambassador to the UK and leader of the Republican People’s Party, Unal Cevikoz. He discusses the allegations Serj Tankian made about the Republic of Turkey, Turkish power within NATO, the purchase of the S400 missile defence system from Russia, allegations of Turkey using Syrian mercenaries in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and much more!

‘The United States Congress formally recognised the Armenian genocide in December 2019, both Houses of Congress, so the US has recognised the Armenian genocide, it’s Britain’s turn to recognise the Armenian genocide. Russia has recognised the Armenian genocide, the European Parliament has recognised the genocide, the Vatican, a number of countries around the world, most of Europe, a lot of South America. You tell me why Britain hasn’t recognised the Armenian genocide. I would say that there are too many cosy relationships with BP, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the gas corridor, the southern gas corridor, and it’s basically playing geopolitics and using genocide as political capital, which is disgusting.’

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STATEMENT ADDITION:

Mr. Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador of Azerbaijan in the UK replies:

Arguing that the UK or any other state should take a certain position about the events, true nature of which is yet to be investigated by historians, is nothing more than an attempt to falsify the history and use it for the purpose of political pressure on countries. Luckily, there are internationally accepted norms and principles to define actions of the states, instead of fictional comments as Serj Tankian’s.

On another note, a person so proud of his Armenian ancestries should take extra precaution while pronouncing the word genocide. After all, Armenia is responsible for all kinds of brutal humanitarian and human rights violations against Azerbaijani civilians, including but not limited to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the last 3 decades.

On February 26, 2021 we commemorated 29th anniversary of Khojaly genocide committed by Armenian Armed Forces against Azerbaijani civilians on the night of 25-26 February, back in 1992, where they literally butchered 613 people resorting to worst possible cruelties. Reading the front pages of the international media outlets such as The Times, The New York Times, Independent, Newsweek and etc published on that day is enough to imagine the level of atrocity perpetrated by Armenians in Khojaly. Yet, impunity which the Republic of Armenia has been enjoying for these severe wrong-doings during First Karabakh War encouraged them to resort once again to war crimes during Second Karabakh War (lasting between September 27 – November 10, 2021), this time using more lethal weaponry, including cluster munitions to cause higher casualties among the civilians. These deliberate attacks launched by Armenia on the civilian population and infrastructures of densely populated Azerbaijani cities such as Ganja, Barda and Tartar, far removed from the battlefield, left more than 100 civilians, including 12 children dead and 423 wounded.

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'System of a Down actually put out two songs during the war in Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh as a way of bringing attention to the truth of what was actually happening and to fight Azerbaijan disinformation and bots of social media. We’ve also gathered a large amount of money to donate to non-profits in Armenia, for retrofitting soldiers with prosthetics, who had lost prosthetics to drone attacks as well as laser therapy for soldiers suffering from White Phosphorus, banned weaponry burns dropped by the Azeri army'

Mr. Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador of Azerbaijan in the UK replies:

First of all, these are paradoxically strong words for the lead singer of a group, whose another founding member, Mr. Malakian has been admittedly inspired by a serial killer.

Secondly, even Serj Tankian’s reference to Nagorno Karabakh using the term coined by Armenia to legalize puppet regime established in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan shows where his convictions are.

What was actually happening back in September 27 – November 10 is that in response to yet another Armenian aggression, Azerbaijan had to launch counter-offensive measures to exert its right to self-defence. Yet, Azerbaijan conducted military operations within its internationally recognized territories, fighting only legitimate military targets unlike Armenia who deliberately targeted Azerbaijani cities, removed far from the battlefield using banned weaponry. This is well-documented by the number of civilian casualties from both sides.

As a result of military operations between September 27-November 10, 2020 and Trilateral statement signed by Presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia as well as the Prime Minister of Armenia, Azerbaijan liberated its territories and now we have entered a new phase of reconstruction, rehabilitation, and period of peaceful co-existence. Therefore, only by expressing its support to the said statement and calling Armenian government to uphold its obligations will Mr. Tankian be able to truly contribute to lasting peace process between the two nations.

When it comes to Mr. Tankian’s claims on “Azerbaijani disinformation in social media” I guess it is enough to remind that just a few days ago, Twitter Safety removed 35 fake accounts with ties to Government of Armenia revealing that these accounts were created to advance narratives targeting Azerbaijan; purported to represent government and political figures in Azerbaijan, as well as news entities claiming to operate in Azerbaijan: https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2021/disclosing-networks-of-state-linked-information-operations-.html

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When the host say the Azerbaijani government disputes those facts, Tankian responds:

'Dictators love to dispute'

Mr. Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador of Azerbaijan in the UK replies:

Do they? I do not know what Serj Tankian’s experience with the dictators is, but even a very good artist in his own rights should refrain from making misguided political judgements that lead only to further aggravations.

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