Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

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Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Date 1988–1994 (Nagorno-Karabakh War)
1994–present (sporadic violence, especially border clashes)
Location South Caucasus




Supported by
Commanders and leaders
Armenia Serzh Sargsyan (President of Armenia, Commander-in-Chief)
Armenia Seyran Ohanyan (Defense Minister of Armenia)
Armenia Yuri Khatchaturov (Chief of the General Staff of Armenia)
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan (President of NKR)
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Movses Hakobyan (Defense Minister of NKR)
Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev (President of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief)
Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov (Defense Minister of Azerbaijan)
Azerbaijan Najmaddin Sadigov (Chief of the General Staff of Azerbaijan)
Casualties and losses
28,000-38,000 killed in total[8]
72 killed in 2014[9]
41 killed in 2015[10]

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic conflict between the Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a region in Azerbaijan populated primarily by ethnic Armenians. It has its origins in the early 20th century, although the present conflict began in 1988 and escalated into a full-scale war in the early 1990s. Tensions and border skirmishes have continued in the region despite an official cease-fire signed in 1994.


Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–94)[edit]

Main article: Nagorno-Karabakh War

The Nagorno-Karabakh War, also known as the Artsakh Liberation War in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, was an armed conflict that took place in the late 1980s to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted, undeclared war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby most of the voters voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which began anew in 1988, began in a relatively peaceful manner; however, in the following months, as the Soviet Union's disintegration neared, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between ethnic Armenians and ethnic Azerbaijanis, resulting in claims of ethnic cleansing by both sides.[11][12]

Inter-ethnic clashes between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia on 20 February 1988. The circumstances of the dissolution of the Soviet Union facilitated an Armenian separatist movement in Soviet Azerbaijan. The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land.[13] As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave's government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.[14]

Full-scale fighting erupted in the late winter of 1992. International mediation by several groups including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with. In the spring of 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave itself, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region.[15] By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave and also held and currently control approximately 9% of Azerbaijan's territory outside the enclave.[16] As many as 230,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan and 800,000 Azeris from Armenia and Karabakh have been displaced as a result of the conflict.[17] A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in May 1994 and peace talks, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, have been held ever since by Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Post-war violence (1994–present)[edit]

Some clashes occurred in the years following the 1994 ceasefire.[9] Although no exact casualty figures exist, by 2009, as many as 3,000 people, mostly soldiers, had been killed, according to most observers.[18] In 2008, the fighting became more intense and frequent.[19] With 72 deaths recorded throughout the year, 2014 became the bloodiest since the war ended.[9]


  1. ^ "‘Nagorno-Karabakh is Turkey's problem too,' says Erdoğan". Today's Zaman. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. ...Erdoğan noted that Turkey's unconditional support for Azerbaijan... 
  2. ^ Özden Zeynep Oktav (2013). Turkey in the 21st Century: Quest for a New Foreign Policy. Ashgate Publishing. p. 126. ISBN 9781409476559. ...Turkey's support for Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh... 
  3. ^ Flanagan, Stephen J.; Brannen, Samuel (2008). Turkey's Shifting Dynamics: Implications for U.S.-Turkey Relations. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies. p. 17. ISBN 9780892065363. Turkey's border with Armenia has remained sealed since 1994, due to Turkish support for Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 
  4. ^ de Waal 2003, p. 285.
  5. ^ Winds of Change in Nagorno Karabakh. Euronews. 28 November 2009.
  6. ^ Uppsala Conflict Data Program, Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh - civilians, viewed 2013-05-03
  7. ^ "Azerbaijani Soldier Shot Dead by Armenian Forces". Naharnet. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  8. ^ See [4][5][6][7]
  9. ^ a b c Loose Restraints: A Look at the Increasingly Shaky Karabagh Ceasefire
  10. ^ "Diversionary attack Tavush region. Armenian side suffered no casualties". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Rieff, David (June 1997). "Without Rules or Pity". Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations) 76 (2). Retrieved 13 February 2007. 
  12. ^ Lieberman, Benjamin (2006). Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. pp. 284–292. ISBN 1-56663-646-9. 
  13. ^ Croissant, Michael P. (1998). The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Causes and Implications. London: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96241-5. 
  14. ^ It should be noted that at the time of the dissolution of the USSR, the United States government recognized as legitimate the pre-Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 1933 borders of the country (the Franklin D. Roosevelt government established diplomatic relations with the Kremlin at the end of that year). Because of this, the George H. Bush administration openly supported the secession of the Baltic SSRs, but regarded the questions related to the independence and territorial conflicts of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the rest of the Transcaucasus as internal Soviet affairs.
  15. ^ Four UN Security Council resolutions, passed in 1993, called on withdrawal of Armenian forces from the regions falling outside of the borders of the former NKAO.
  16. ^ Using numbers provided by journalist Thomas de Waal for the area of each rayon as well as the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh Oblast and the total area of Azerbaijan are (in km2): 1,936, Kelbajar; 1,835, Lachin; 802, Kubatly; 1,050, Jebrail; 707, Zangelan; 842, Aghdam; 462, Fizuli; 75, exclaves; totaling 7,709 km2 (2,976 sq mi) or 8.9%: De Waal. Black Garden, p. 286.
  17. ^ The Central Intelligence Agency. "The CIA World Factbook: Transnational Issues in Country Profile of Azerbaijan". Retrieved 14 February 2007.  Military involvement denied by the Armenian government.
  18. ^ Armenia and Azerbaijan: Preventing War
  19. ^ Two Azeri Soldiers Killed In ‘Armenian Truce Violation’