Turkey's Culture Ministry ready for 'whatever needs to be done' in Karabakh
Civilization was burned, destroyed, 'culture was avenged' in Karabakh during occupation, says culture minister
Turkey's culture and tourism minister said Wednesday his agency is "ready for whatever needs to be done" in Karabakh that was recently liberated from Armenia's nearly 30-year occupation.
"We are always ready ... to put stone upon stone, whatever is expected from us,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said at a conference in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku. “It was like this before, and it will continue to be so."
He noted that the Turkic world has a rich culture and said a common culture and history are the guarantee of the future.
Emphasizing that culture is the most important thing that should be passed on to future generations, Ersoy stressed that the stronger the culture is, the stronger the future will be.
He said that the liberation of Azerbaijani lands under the occupation of Armenia was greeted with "great happiness" in the entire Turkic world but news about the harming the cultural heritage "broke the hearts of everyone who cares about civilization."
"Everything about civilization was burned and destroyed. In a way, culture was avenged. You cannot actually change the history by damaging the buildings and damaging the cultural assets of a country. History is not a phenomenon that can be easily forgotten," he said.
Ersoy said now is the time to restore those structures to their "former beauty."
"Those structures will give the messages we want to give. We need to restore those structures," he added.
‘Fix,' ‘revive losses'
Ersoy pointed out that there was no harm to other cultures in the Turkic civilization.
"But unfortunately, we did not encounter such a thing in Karabakh. We will fix these losses, we will revive them," he said.
Recalling the words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic -- Azerbaijan's sorrow is our sorrow, its joy is our joy -- Ersoy said being able to preserve the "brotherhood from the past to the present" is very crucial.
"We are strong when we are all together. The 44-day war was important to show this. May Allah always protect our unity, let our strength and courage always be an example to the world," he said.
Azerbaijan and Armenia were embroiled in a 44-day conflict regarding Karabakh last year, which ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020.
During the faceoff that started in September, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and 300 settlements and villages that were illegally occupied by Armenia for almost three decades.
The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.
Prior to the victory, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory had been under illegal occupation for nearly 30 years.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara