Parliament Speaker opens monument for Khojaly massacre

Speaker Cicek urges for the perpetrators to be held accountable, calling the massacre a 'barbaric crime against humanity'.

Speaker Cicek urges for the perpetrators to be held accountable, calling the massacre a 'barbaric crime against humanity'.

ANKARA - Turkey’s Parliament Speaker, Cemil Cicek, urged accountability for the perpetrators of the Khojaly massacre as he attended the inauguration ceremony for a monument dedicated to the victims in capital Ankara, on Wednesday.

Cicek said the massacre, which killed hundreds of ethnic Azeri citizens in the town of Khojaly in 1992, was a ‘barbaric crime against humanity’.

"All the monsters that had a hand in the massacre must be held accountable," Cicek told a gathering in central Ankara. "Those monsters, who slaughtered 1,300 of our brothers and sisters according to unofficial figures, must be brought in front of the International Criminal Court."

The speaker and experienced politician stressed brotherly relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, saying that the bonds were primarily ‘between peoples and hearts’.

"We should never forget this pain, because those who focus on the pains of others and forget their own can never become a true nation," he said.

During the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Armenian forces launched an offensive on the town of Kojaly on February 25, 1992, shelling it with artillery and tanks. Official figures say 613 people were killed and nearly 500 were wounded.

Azerbaijan and Armenia are deadlocked in a frozen conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The area is located within Azerbaijan borders but has an Armenian majority.

Also attending the opening ceremony of the monument, Azeri Deputy Parliament Speaker Ziyafat Asgarov said that the entire Turkish world must unite against such aggression as brought about the Khojaly massacre.

"I am confident that the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute will eventually be resolved in peace but this scar in the hearts of every one of us (Khojaly massacre) will never heal," Asgarov said.

Faig Bagirov, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Turkey who also attended the ceremony, thanked Turkish officials for the monument, calling it a ‘most auspicious act of respect’ for the victims' souls.

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