The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) mourns the victims of the Khojaly massacre, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Azerbaijani civilians from the town of Khojaly located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

As Human Rights Watch documented, the Armenian Armed Forces, reportedly backed by soldiers from the 366th Motor Rifle Regiment of the Russian Army, massacred 613 Azerbaijani civilians, including 106 women and 63 children between February 25 and 26, 1992. Armenian forces took hostage another 1275, torturing 56 to death; another 150 remain missing to date. Over 480 civilians were disabled through mutilation, 76 of them teenage boys and girls. Young girls were raped and sexually mutilated. Twenty-five children lost both their parents, while 130 children were left motherless or fatherless.

According to Human Rights Watch, the massacres occurred while Azeri villagers were fleeing as their town fell to invading Armenian forces. The Armenian invasion of western Azerbaijan continues to date, and has caused the displacement of 1.5 million Azeris.

Human Rights Watch stated, “We place direct responsibility for the civilian deaths with Armenian forces. Indeed, neither our report nor that of Memorial includes any evidence to support the Armenian argument that Azerbaijani forces obstructed the flight of, or fired on Azeri civilians.”

Markar Melkonian, the brother of Armenian American terrorist and Armenian forces leader, Monte Melkonian, boasted, “Khojaly had been a strategic goal, but it had also been an act of revenge.”

Serge Sarkisian, long-time Defense Minister and Chairman of Security Council of Armenia, proudly declared, “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were people who would not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype]!”

The ATAA condemns the heinous acts of the Armenian Republic, in the Khojaly massacres, as well as subsequent similar massacres that occurred in Shusa and Lachin in May 1992, Kelbajar in April 1993, Agdere in June 1993, Agdam in July 1993, in Fizulu and Djebrail in August 1993, Kubatly in September 1993, and Zangelan and Goradiz in October 1993.

The ATAA calls upon the United States and international community to hold Armenian leaders accountable for these crimes, as well as for the refugee crisis that continues to date as Armenian forces occupy western Azerbaijan.