karabakh allegations of hayk sargi̇s kotanji̇an and
KARABAKH ALLEGATIONS OF HAYK SARGIS KOTANJIAN AND LEGAL
Res. Assist. Polat KIZILDAĞ
International Symposium in which Karabakh Allegations were Reported
The conference under the title of “Reassessing Security in the South Caucasus: Regional
Conflicts, Stability and Transformation” was held in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, on
14-15th May 2009 by Armenia Institute For National Strategic Studies of The Ministry of
Defense and Lyion University Centre For Security and Defense Studies. In this
conference, it has been found out that there are some legal and political contradiction in the
presentation of Hayk Sargis Kotanjian under the title of “Referendum as a Gesture of a Good
Will: Peace And War Scenarios for Karabakh” in terms of the matter of Karabakh and
relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Here, actual detection will be relieved by
evaluating Karabakh allegations of Kotanjian in the legal context.
Who is Hayk Sargis Kotanjian?
Hayk Sargis Kotanjian is a commander with
the rank of colonel in Armenia Ministry of
Defense. He has been still working as the Head
of Departments of Foreign Relations and
Military Cooperation of Armenian Ministry of
Defense. He is also an official who consult
Armenian Ministry of Defense.
Besides, he is also active in various academic
institutions and organizations. For example; he
is the founder commander of Drastamat
Kaynayan Institution of International Strategy
Research, which is the first think-tank of
Armenian Ministry of Defense. Drastamat
Kaynayan is the name of a general who served
as the Minister of Defence and was a member
of Tashnagtsutiun Party.
Between the years of 1998-2002, he founded Armenian Defense Office which is connected to
the American Ministry of Defense and he became responsible for the air, army and naval
forces of this office.
From 2004, he is a member of Academy of Counterterrorism of USA National Defense
Giresun University, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences (FEAS), [email protected]
Between the years of 2006and 2007 , Dr. Hayk Sargis Kotanjian worked as Secretary and
Academic Consultant at the Board of Interagency Maturation of National Security Strategies,
which is an institution connected to Armenian presidency directly.
On the other hand, Kotanjian also works as a member of Russian Academy of Military
Sciences, an Academic-Expert Member of Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO)
and the Head of The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), whose centre is in Tel
Aviv and which makes researches about national security of Israel and Middle East issues.
Karabakh Allegations of Kotanjian And Legal Facts
Dr. Kotanjian asserts that Azerbaijan uses the matter of Karabakh as a means of military
pressure and hence, tries to be effective upon the people of Karabakh who want selfdetermination1. When the legal dimension of the principle of self-determination is considered,
it will be seen that Karabakh’s demand of self-determination against Azerbaijan is not
After the principle of self determination took place in the Charter of United Nations (UN)2, it
is accepted by UN General Assembly in the “Declaration of Granting Independence to
Colonial Countries and Peoples”, numbered 1514 and accepted in 1960, in the first articles of
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights with the purpose of dissolution of colonialism. In historical
process, characters of the principle have changed and in 1970 “Declaration of Principles of
International Law”, numbered 2625, organised the rules concerning the usage of the right of
self-determination in nation-states. According to this; separatist demands of some ethnic
groups were definitely excluded from the scope of the principle of self-determination by
regarding the meaning of society as a whole. As it can be understood clearly that the principle
of immunity of the territorial integrity of countries has determined as basis.
Besides this, when we examine the national law structure of Azerbaijan, it can be understood
that Nagorno- Karabakh is not a colony of Azerbaijan on the contrary of Kotanjian’s
allegations. In this context,
According to the article 12 of Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan under the title of
Paramount Objective of the State:
The basic objective of the State to uphold human and civil rights and freedoms.
Human rights and freedoms, determined by this Constitution, are applied in
accordance with the international agreements which the Republic of Azerbaijan
According to the article 18 of Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan under the title of
Religion and State :
H. Sargis, Kotanjian, “Referendum As A Gesture Of A Good Will”: Peace And War Scenarios For Karabakh”,
Presentation at the International Conference “Reassesssing Security in the South Caucasus: Regional
Conflicts, Stability and Transformation, 14-15 May 2009, Yerevan
See; Charter of United Nations, a.1(2), a.55, a.73, a.76
Religion in the Republic of Azerbaijan is separated from the State. All religions are
equal before the law.
And again according to the paragraph 2 of the article 21 of Constitution of the Republic of
Azerbaijan under the title of Official Language:
The Republic of Azerbaijan ensures free use and development of other languages
spoken by the population.
According to the paragraph 3 of the article 25 in the section 3 of chapter II of the Constitution
under the title of Equality of Rights:
The government can not limit no one’s right and freedom due to race, nationality,
language, religion, political or social status regardless of race, religion, language,
gender, nationality, title, status, role, opinion and membership of party and syndicate
and professional and social unity and privilege is also prohibited.
According to the 44th item under the title of Rights of National Affiliation in the Constitution
Everyone has the right to keep the ethnic identity
No one can be forced to change the ethnic identity
According to the 45th item under the title of The Right of Using the Mother Tongue:
Everyone has the right to use mother tongue. Everyone has the right to have education
in whatever language he wants and to deal with creativity.
No one can be deprived of the right of using the mother tongue3.
As it is seen Azerbaijani Constitution has provided very broad rights to everyone who lives in
Azerbaijan via these decrees or the other ones. The prohibition of race, religion, language and
the other possible forms of separation have been preserved via the related items of the
Constitution and guarantees are given for the realization of these rights. There is not a legal
infrastructure of referring to using the self-determination right of Nagorno- Karabakh
Republic regardless of the items of the Constitution about this issue4.
The Current Situation in Karabakh
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, at the beginning of 1992, the process of forcing the
Azeri population for immigration in the districts of Azerbaijani Lachin, Kalbajar, Agdem,
Fuzili, Qubadli and Zangilan has continued. The battles spreading to the Azerbaijan-Armenia
border in February 1992 has continued with the Khojaly Massacre on 25-26 February and
After the Nakhichevan region and Shusha attacks, Karabakhas been occupied by Armenia.
For the original full-text of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which is accepted on 12th November
http://www.anayasa.gen.tr/azerbaycananayasasi.htm Prepared by Alesker Aleskerli, A.U.F.S.S, Department of
Public Law, (last access date: 13/07/2009)
Rovshan Ibrahimov, “Dağlık Karabağ Sözde Cumhuriyeti’nin Bağımsızlığının Tanınması Durmunda,
Uluslararası Ortamda Ortaya Çıkabilecek Sorunlar”, Ermeni Araştırmaları (ERAREN) Sayı:6, Yaz 2002
Today 20% of Azerbaijani territory is still under the occupation of Armenia. More than one
million Azerbaijani Turks have been victimized as a result of deportation from their own
countries with this policy of occupation5.
Another importance of the occupation of the Azerbaijani territory by Armenia occurs in
economic dimension. It has been claimed that the damage of Armenian attacks to the
economy of Azerbaijani is about 60 billion dollars6. The occupations have also affected the
Azerbaijani culture deeply. The destruction of the forests in the regions occupied by
Armenians has affected the ecological dimension of the country seriously. Therefore, when
we refer to the Karabakh region, we still mention about the territories under the Armenian
occupation which still continues today in the Azerbaijani territory. It is possible to detect that
the occupation in Karabakh is not convenient to the international law when we accepted the
principle of the territorial integrity of the countries as a starting point. Therefore, it is not
logical to mention about the principle of self-determination in a region occupied by the armed
forces of another country.
For the historical dimensions of the matter of Karabakh , its reflections for today and more detailed information
about Karabakh see; Aygün Attar (Haşimzade), Karabağ Sorunu Karşısında Ermeniler ve Ermeni Siyaseti,
Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi Yayınları, Ankara 2005, Filiz Cicoğlu, “Azerbaycan-Ermenistan Çatışması:
Kafkasya’da Bitmeyen Mücadele”, Dünya Çatışma Bölgeleri, (ed.) Kemal İnat, Burhanettin Duran, Muhittin
Ataman, Nobel Yayın Dağıtım, Ankara, April 2004, pp. 269-280
Sinan Oğan, “Türklere Karşı Yapılan Soykırımlar ve Hocalı Soykırımı”, TURKSAM Armenian Institute,
23rd Feb 2007, http://www.turksam.org/tr/a1199.html, (last access date:13/07/2009)
Making the Karabakh Issue International
After the participation of Armenia and Azerbaijani in the OSCE Summit in Prague in 1992,
Karabkh which was considered as a regional issue between these two countries till this period,
has gained an international dimension with the activation of this organisation in the solution
of Karabakh issue. In his presentation, Dr. Kotanjian, also addresses to the effect of OSCE
Minsk Group in the solution of the Karabak issue. In this context, Dr. Kotenjian states that
OSCE Minsk Group take into consideration the principle of not using power, the principle of
territory integrity and the principle of self-determination of the nations , which forms the
basic principles of the Charter of UN. However the situation in Karabakh does not reflect
any of these principles.
Additionally it is emphasised that Armenia is a party to the issue, immunity of the territorial
integrity of Azerbaijan and the occupied territories should be left immediately and
unconditionally in the resolutions numbered 822, 853, 874, and 884, taken by UNSC due to
Armenian occupation during the ongoing Armenian Occupations between 1992-19947.
Dissatisfaction with the Armenian Occupations has been mentioned, the principles in the said
Additionally, the article related to the recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has
been accepted by 52 member countries with concurrence via Flavio Cotti’s ,the chairman of
OSCE, proposal despite the all the objections of Armenians in the summit declaration after
Oya Eren, “BM Kararı Azerbaycan’ı Sevindirdi”, Stratejik Analiz, May 2008, p. 10-11
the routine summit of the member countries of OSCE in Lisbon the capital of Portugal held
by OSCE Minsk Group on 2-4 December 1996.
In this declaration which has been added to the concluding document of summit meeting,
these principles take part concerning the solution of the problem.
1. Territory integrity of the Republic of Azarbeijan and The Republic of Armenia
2. Giving the broadest autonomy status to Nagorno- Karabakh within the borders of
3. Guaranteeing the security of the entire population of Nagorno- Karabakh8
Thus, the right of self-determination proposed by Armenian side and Hayk Sargis Kotanjian
for the solution of the Karabakh issue is contrary to the related articles of the Constitution of
Azerbaijan, the resolutions taken by OSCE Minsk Group and also the articles, 1(2), 55, 73,
76, of Charter of the United Nations about the self determination.
Decision of the OSCE Minsk Group Solution
Until now; OSCE Minsk Group has been known to offer three recommendations to resolve
1. Package Solution (June 1997)
2. Progressive Solutions (October 1997)
3. Common State Proposal (November 1998)
In the Package solution model, status of Nagorno Karabakh, Lâçin, Shusha and other
occupied regions has been envisaged to be resolved at the same time. Nagorno Karabakh's
future status and the termination of the occupation of the region outside of Karabakh are
envisaged together9. In the Progressive solution model , it is asked that the status of Nagorno
Karabakh and the region outside of Karabakh should be evaluated seperately.The priority has
been given to the recover of the foreign invasion of Nagorno Karabakh.. About the status of
Nagorno Karabakh, negotiations have been left to the later. Armenia rejected the first two
proposal, with reasons that Nagorno Karabakh and itself do not protect the interests of
Armenia. That, Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan discussed in the rest of the equal value of
two buildings come together to establish a joint government foreseeing the third partner in the
State Proposal, was not accepted by Azerbaijan10. (Serbia and Montenegro should be
remembered as an example of this third proposal in the context.)
http://library.aliyev-heritage.org/tk/5412138.html, (Last access date: 13/07/2009)
Hatem Cabbarlı, "Dağlık Karabağ Sorununun Çözümünde Son Gelişmeler”, Azerbaijan Strategic Research
Center, 11/05/2006, http://www.azsam.org/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=88, (Last access date :
10 Mustafa Aydın, "Dağlık Karabağ Sorunu", Türk Dış Politikası, (ed.) Baskın Oran, Volume: II, İletişim
Yayınevi, Istanbul 2002, p. 401
As it can be seen, as Kotanjian claims, Azerbaijan, Karabakh is not an obstacle in front of the
solution of the matter. Armenia’s inappropriate interest in the solution package is even more
Referendum: The Annexation Tool of Nagorno Karabakh byArmenia
The other issues referenced in Kotanjian the
Nagorno Karabakh's, dated 10 December
1991 referendum, which is demanding the
right to self-determination. Kotanjian this
referendum, the rights recognized in the
USSR Constitution, and feel of the 1977
Geneva Convention I. Expressed as the
protocol occurred. Yet that, of the USSR in
1977 and the 1988 Constitution, adopted last
year with the changes in the way according to
In a manner free from the Republic of Union of the USSR have the right to leave. (Article 72)
Union without the approval of the Republic of the land that can not be changed. The borders
of the Union Republic, only to approve of the USSR, between the republics was admissible
subject to change upon mutual consent. (Article 78)
Each Union Republic is to determine its own internal administrative regions. (Article 79)
Autonomous regions are located within the Republic of the Union. Law on autonomous
region, autonomous region that is submitted by deputies to the Soviet Union's Supreme Soviet
of the Republic is considered by. (Article 86)
All the existing Autonomous Region within the Republic of Union of the name counts.
According to this article, Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region within Azerbaijan Soviet
Socialist Republic is located. (Article 87)
Finally Kotanjian'ın proposed solutions, to determine the status of Nagorno Karabakh will be
made to a desired resolution of the problem plebiscite result is the direction.
3rd Azerbaijan Constitution Article according to international rules themes, the country's
borders for modification of plebiscite alone can be done in the country. Moreover, this
provision to be changed also with the same materials is only possible with a referendum.
According to the 1989 population census 76.9 per cent of the population of the Nagorno
Karabakh Autonomous Region of the Armenians, 21.5 percent is the Turks. Prohibited and
considered as war crimes by the Geneva Convention, although its own citizens or the diaspora
of the Armenian civilian population into occupied territory is. In this case, the whole lot from
the region back to the Turks, even if the result of the plebiscite will be to unite with Armenia's
Karabakh. The basis of today's international system is the principle of state integrity of the
country. Without the consent in accordance with this policy of Azerbaijan in Nagorno
Karabakh's independence or union with Armenia will not have the legal validity. On the other
Soviet Union Constitution, for the relevant articles; see: Rovshan İbrahimov, Ibid.
hand, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh within the framework of the country the highest
possible integrity is ready to grant autonomy has announced the beginning12.
As a result, Hayk Sargis Kotanjian'ın, proposed for resolution of the Karabakh problem in the
basis of objective plebiscite claim, the breach of international law, but showing as inviolate,
the Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia's direction will be left.
Kamil Ağacan, "Dağlık Karabağ: 2006 Altın Fırsat Mı?”, Stratejik Analiz, February 2006, p. 83-87