In October 1998 as a young reporter I traveled to Azerbaijan to conduct a study on the Baku-ceyhan pipeline, which was still in the stage of being a project.
Back in those days, Baku was not the sleek and dapper city it is today because the country’s underground riches had not been unearthed as of yet.
Every spot my eyes fell upon, I came across rundown light brown buildings from the Soviet era.
While I was there I wanted to make the most of my trip and write an article on the people, the refugees who had fled places occupied by Armenia, or as the Azeri Turks refer to them, the escapees.
So I set off and wrote an article on the misery of those teary-eyed people living in squalor.
When I was shuffling through the “old books” the other day, I came across that very article I had written 22 years ago.
I found myself feeling melancholic both because I was nostalgic for the past and also because I remembered the desperation of those people back then.
I would like to share with you the last two lines I wrote on the escapees:
These war-torn refugees, the escapees in other words, have to wait for a miracle spring to find out what happened to their homes. But before spring blooms, an arduous winter awaits these escapees in tent cities.
So by pinning our hopes on the Minsk group, we gave off an idea that only a miracle would resolve this problem.
However, 22 years has passed since that article and now it’s possible to talk about a true miracle. I’m elated that they have the chance to return to their homes.
It had been said if Shusha falls, then so will Karabakh; and that is how it unfolded.
On Tuesday morning, we were met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s tear-eyed announcement that they had accepted defeat in Karabakh.
Pashinyan announced that Yerevan had signed a joint declaration for the ceasefire with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that this declaration was "painful" for him and the people of Armenia.
“This deal is unspeakably painful for me personally and for our people,” is what he said.
As we can gather from the Armenian prime minister’s words, the deal denotes a clear victory for Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who was clearly thrilled at this conclusion said: “This declaration has put an end to a prolonged occupation. It shows that the Lachin and Kalbajar regions will be handed over without any bloodshed.
Furthermore, the agreement states that the Azerbaijan Army will remain in position in the areas that have been liberated.
We also saw footage of how Pashinyan’s throwing in the towel was received in Yerevan.
Angry groups who haven’t been able to stomach this defeat, stormed a government building and committed acts of vandalism.
It seems that they won’t so easily accept the situation.
But force spoils the game.
When you unfairly occupy a country’s territory, one day you might have to pay a heavy price such as this.
As you all know, there is another country watching Azerbaijan’s advance in Karabakh:
Following this deal, the Paris administration once again took aim at Turkey in a statement, calling on Ankara to stop its provocations in Karabakh.
On another note, I stumbled across an article that I found highly intriguing, in which France was also mentioned.
According to the article, France’s former Washington envoy Gerard Araud interpreted the ceasefire as “Turkey’s success, Iran’s regress, Armenia’s defeat and Russia’s strange stance.”
When the Azerbaijani army launched operations to liberate Karabakh at the end of September, one of the most asked questions was what Russia’s reaction would be.
The French envoy is obviously utterly disappointed in thinking that the Russians would stumble in favor of Armenia.
But as he said there is a plethora of strange actions on Russia’s part regarding this subject.
There are signs that Moscow is acting with the intention of keeping Ankara far away from the new status-quo, despite Turkey’s clear-cut role in this latest deal.
As we celebrate and join in on Azerbaijan’s victory, we have to simultaneously keep one eye on this matter.