|Country||De jure Azerbaijan
De facto Nagorno-Karabakh
|• Mayor||Arthur Sahakyan|
|Time zone||UTC (UTC+4)|
Lachin (Azerbaijani: Laçın (Azeri for "hawk"), Armenian: Բերձոր Berdzor; also Abdallyar, Datschin) or Berdzor is a town internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but currently controlled by the de facto independent unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Since 1992 the area has been under the control of NKR, which has renamed the town Berdzor, and acts as the capital of Kashatagh Province. The government of Azerbaijan considers it to be the regional center of its Lachin Rayon. The town and its surrounding region serve as the strategic Lachin corridor connecting the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with Armenia.
In the early 1920s, Vladimir Lenin's letter to Narimanov "had implied that Lachin was to be included in Azerbaijan, but the authorities in Baku and Yerevan were given promises that were inevitably contradictory." The town of Lachin on July 7, 1923 became the administrative center of Kurdistansky Uyezd, often known as Red Kurdistan, before it was moved to Shusha. It was dissolved on April 8, 1929: Kurdish schools and newspapers were closed. According to Bushkapin[who?], official statistics from 1931 say that there were 3,322 Kurdish speakers in Lachin. These figures did not include those individuals who did not speak Kurdish but nonetheless defined themselves as Kurds. Most of the Kurdish population in Lachin were Shi'a Muslims and there was a Kurdish minority in the area before the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
On May 15, 1992, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army took control of the first land-corridor to Armenia. Previously, on May 13, 1992 Turkey threatened Armenia that, "It would intervene militarily if Shusha and Lachin were not restored to Azerbaijan". Russia responded by signing a military agreement with Armenia, pledging military aid if its security was threatened. On May 20, 1992, Turkey reassured Russia that it would not intervene militarily. Thus, after three years of blockade, a land bridge linking the Republic of Armenia with the territory of Nagorno Karabakh was established. In the fall of 1992, Azerbaijani forces tried to regain control over Lachin, but were repulsed. All of Lachin's Azerbaijani and Kurdish population fled as a result of the fall of the region to ethnic Armenian forces.
Lachin town and the surrounding rayon were the location of severe fighting during the 1990-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh war, and the town has not wholly recovered from the destruction of that war. Lachin is the most important town under Armenian control because of the Lachin corridor, which links Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group co-chairs noted that "Lachin has been treated as a separate case in previous negotiations." This is because Lachin is Nagorno Karabakh's humanitarian and security corridor. Without it, Nagorno-Karabakh would remain an isolated enclave. The Lachin corridor and the Kelbajar district have been at the center of Armenian demands during the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks with Azerbaijan.
On 16 June 2015 European Court of Human Rights passed a judgement in the case of ″Chiragov and Others v. Armenia″, which concerned the complaints by six Azerbaijani ethnically Kurdish refugees that they were unable to return to their homes and property in the district of Lachin, in Azerbaijan, from where they had been forced to flee in 1992 during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Court confirmed that Armenia exercised effective control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories and thus had jurisdiction over the district of Lachin. The Court found that the denial by the Armenian Government of access to the applicants’ homes constituted an unjustified interference with their right to respect for their private and family lives as well as their homes.
Administrative divisions and sister cities
Berdzor is twinned with:
- Բերձոր քաղաքի համայնքապետի հաշվետվություն
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- Press release issued by the Registrar of the Court. "Azerbaijani refugees’ rights violated by lack of access to their property located in district controlled by Armenia". European Court of Human Rights. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Serop From Syria Starts Anew in Berdzor: "Rich or poor, it's the homeland"
- "Azerbaijan Protests California Town’s Recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh." RIA Novosti. December 6, 2013.
- Е. М. Поспелов (Ye. M. Pospelov). "Имена городов: вчера и сегодня (1917–1992). Топонимический словарь." (City Names: Yesterday and Today (1917–1992). Toponymic Dictionary." Москва, "Русские словари", 1993.
- Pictures of Lachin
- Demographic Crisis in Lachin (Berdzor)
- More information about Lachin (Berdzor) from Armeniapedia.com
- "Lachin (Berdzor)". Azerb.com. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- "History of Artsakh (Part 3)".
- Lachin (as Laçın) at GEOnet Names Server