Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice
by Fatih Gökhan Diler
We met with the Azerbaijan correspondent of Agos newspaper Arzu Geybullayeva, after we published news regarding her receiving threats for working with Agos newspaper and becoming the target of a systematic hate campaign in her country.
Last week we published news regarding Arzu Geybullayeva, our correspondent for Azerbaijan, who has been receiving threats for working with Agos newspaper and has become the target of a systematic hate campaign in her country. As the news elicited strong interest, there has been increased awareness in public opinion for the safety of Geybullayeva’s life.
When we asked Geybullayeva for her opinion regarding news that Agos had been defamed as the “enemy’s newspaper” and she as an “Armenian bastard”, she confirmed that some parts of society regard her as a traitor who sold out her homeland, nation and past.
I learned about the Karabakh from history books
“Obviously, I am a traitor because in the eyes of those who prefer to remain in the dark; it is treason to work in Turkey at an Armenian newspaper. Moreover, I am also a traitor because they claim that I have not yet written anything on Karabakh. The correspondent who highlights that this comes “in spite of the fact that there are a sufficient numbers of essays and articles that I wrote”, continues as follows: “20 years have passed since the war. When the war started in 92, I was nine years old. What I can recollect resembles pretty much old black-and-white movies, a bit blurry and fragmented. I have learned about the Karabakh war from history books. They teach that Armenians as a race are terrible people, that they deprived us from Azerbaijan territories, that our army failed to protect its own borders, that dozens of innocent people were killed mercilessly – I have read all this. Our state sought to ingrain this into our minds. Personally, I have only learned one lesson from what I have seen, watched and heard: such pain must never occur again.”
Khojali is a black day
Regarding the Khojali tragedy, which constitutes another important historical rupture between Azerbaijan¬ and Armenia, Arzu Geybullayeva stated the following: “Yes, it is a tragedy, because close to 600 fellow citizens were killed, they died. They were tormented before they died and froze to death while trying to escape this nightmare. What happened that night has not been forgotten. It never will be. Every year, the pictures of dying fellow citizens reminds us and the world of it. For me, Khojali is a day in our history when our people were killed in a horrific way. This happened. To deny this is in itself a crime. Anyways, I have never been talking about denying and forgetting our past. My treason is apparently to seek for peace.
The correspondent further stresses that in Azerbaijan there is no willingness to acknowledge the truth – that Azerbaijan also killed citizens and that the other side also suffered from the war. She utters her stance as follows: “I finally understood that hate speeches lead to nowhere. For that I tried to get into dialogue with the other side. I wanted to learn how Armenians learn about the war. Not in an attempt to prove who is innocent and who is guilty, but to understand.”
Arzu Geybullayev, who believes that “we should strive to write the history of our own period, not to live in what others have written for us”, concludes her words by raising a question to those who targeted her. “In your insults and humiliations, I might be remembered as a traitor; well, so what about you? Who said that you are heroes in the first place?”