BERLIN — Representatives of the Armenian government and the church have issued urgent appeals to the German government and Bundestag (Parliament) to intervene in search of a diplomatic solution to the ongoing war in Nagorno Karabakh. But, to date, Berlin has declined the invitation, suggesting that Armenia and Azerbaijan handle it themselves.
Both the Ambassador to Germany, Dr. Ashot Smbatyan, and representatives of the church, as well as members of the Armenian community in Germany, appeared last week in events organized by the Bundespressekonferenz, an independent German journalists association, to present their views.
Speaking on October 20, Smbatyan reviewed the history of the conflict and listed war crimes committed by Azerbaijan, which is deploying weapons provided by NATO member Turkey as well as foreign mercenaries. Smbatyan warned that a “humanitarian catastrophe“ was looming and human lives — both Azerbaijani and Armenian — were being destroyed. He called for stopping Turkey’s interference and issued a plea for concrete steps to be taken to contribute to a peaceful solution.
Antranig Aznavour, representing the Central Council of Armenians in Germany (ZAD), criticized German press accounts that deny Karabakh’s right to independence, in utter disregard for the right to self-determination. Germany “is calling for de-escalation but lacks determination,“ he said; Berlin should put Turkey and Azerbaijan in their place. He called for economic sanctions and an arms embargo, and urged the media, parties, the government and civil society to become active: denounce the Azerbaijani aggression and Turkey’s role; and acknowledge Karabakh’s legitimate right to self-determination and independence.
Georgi Ambarzumyan, president of the AGBU-Germany, also criticized the press for its “equidistance,“ noting that only the tabloid BILD-Zeitung had denounced Azerbaijan as aggressor. Ambarzumyan recalled the clause in the 2016 Bundestag resolution recognizing the genocide which acknowledged Germany’s historical responsibility, and stressed that this refers not only to the past, but to the present; Germany has a responsibility to defend Armenian life.
In discussion with journalists, the Armenian spokesmen lamented the lack of active interest shown by German politicians and press, as indicated by the fact that only BILD-Zeitung has a correspondent in Karabakh, and only the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany party has visited the region — a visit neither the embassy nor the ZAD had anything to do with. (Another sign of disinterest on the part of the press was the number of journalists present at the event; one could count them on the fingers of one hand.)