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In the Internet I paid attention to one photo: an old woman hugs a young man in a military uniform. In the bottom it was written: “Azeri grandma and Armenian fighter”. I sent this photo through the net and asked people to give me some information about this photo. Istanbul University teacher Alber Keshish reacted. He told me that the soldier is his classmate – Sargis Hatspanyan, Artsakh war participant. And now I talk to Sargis.

-How was the photo made?

-It was in April 1993, during Karvachar liberation. There were hundreds of peaceful inhabitants, men ran away leaving them helpless. We approached a group of women. One 80 years old woman asked me with reproach: “Why are you so late? Very soon the Armenians will enter the city. Our men said – we leave, we’ll send helicopters after you. They went leaving us here”. I understood that the woman took us for their people. “Armenians are already here”, – said I. I was responsible for the prisoners. All were instructed to be respectful to the population. We gathered all of them and told them that their life and honour were safe, and we were not against the peaceful population. In contrast to Azeri soldiers we don’t use weapon towards unarmed, we don’t humiliate them. There was an 81-year-old woman – Sheikha Khanum who was respected by everybody. She was a poet. I liked talking to her. She used to say: “This war is not the war of our two people, we like Armenians, we all know that this is the country of Armenians, there are Armenian graves everywhere, cross-stones, everywhere there are marks of Armenian culture”. And during this talk Zaven Khachikyan unnoticeably took our photo.

-How old were you during that time?

-30. After that the French newspaper «Liberation» publishes that photo and writes that the Azeri woman likes the Armenian-volunteer more than her son. They publish also an article where they quote Azeri prisoners’ words about the humane attitude of the Armenians. The next day the Turkish newspaper «Milliyet» writes that against tens of thousand peaceful inhabitants of Karvachar violence is being used, and they publish the same photo. Inscription says that the Azeri woman kisses her grandson (i.e. me) and says – go and take revenge from Armenians for your killed and humiliated relatives. In Paris one of my friends sees this newspaper, accidentally he reads also the article in the «Liberation», takes both newspapers and sends to the European Union as a striking example of Turkish falsity and slander.

Category: #45 (961) 15.11.2012 – 21.11.2012, Destinies, News, Spotlight