After the declaration of the cease-fire deal, an atmosphere of displeasure simultaneously encroached upon Azerbaijan and Turkey. It was declared on Nov. 8 that Shusha had been liberated from Armenian occupation; and on Nov. 10 it was announced that the Armenians had surrendered and a cease-fire deal had been signed. This news presented the liberation of Shusha as a milestone. However, as the painful memories that emerged with the collapse of the Soviets in the early 1990s were still fresh, it was not easy to comprehend the situation. Despite the myriad radical changes that took place in the three decades between Karabakh wars I and II, the pressure of these painful memories did not allow a clear interpretation of the results of the deal signed by Armenians. It is likely that the change that would unfold in Southern Caucasus upon the Azerbaijan military’s great victory was not fully grasped. Yet, a major change was taking place in Azerbaijan, and this had manifested in several areas. Therefore, we need to find the answer to how the Azerbaijan Turkic military achieved its victory.
It seemed an extremely challenging task to reclaim Shusha from the occupying Armenian army. Considering the land structure as well as the defense lines formed by Armenians, it was obvious that the Azerbaijan Turkic military would not be able to enter Shusha without casualties. It was again the battle of Shusha that would determine the destiny of the Second Karabakh War. This is where we need to seek out the most basic characteristics that will help us provide an explanation to the military’s victory. If it were not for strong “patriotism” and a high level of “national awareness,” we would not have been able to see such a faithful army. As the war advanced, Armenia had struck Ganja and other cities with missiles. These attacks led to civilian losses, but Azerbaijani Turks did not abandon their homes in a frenzy. When reporters interviewed the public, many declared that they were not afraid, that they would not abandon their homeland, pointing to the fact that the civilian public shared the same patriotism and national awareness. This belief is critical for troops fighting on the front. We do not know the exact number of martyrs and veterans, however, considering the signs of the war, a great price must have been paid to liberate Shusha.
One of the most important elements encouraging the fearless leap into the battlefield for the sake of liberating occupied territories was the desire to overcome the shame of defeat. Surely, defeat against Armenia was a stain in Turkic history. Armenians lived throughout history as minority groups on lands under Turkish sovereignty. Thus, it can be said that the massacres committed by Armenians wounded the national pride of the Caucasus Turks. One needs to be helpless in order to be subjected to massacre after all. It is clear that Azerbaijani Turks, both civilian and soldiers, want to overcome the shame of defeat – whatever the cost. It is because they wanted this so much that no power could have stopped them in Karabakh.
Well-trained troops equipped with sophisticated weapons are critical in order for such strong faith to reach its goal. This thus indicates the role of military training and weapons. These are crucial facilitative elements that ensure success. These elements, which point to serious preparation, hold great significance in terms of achieving victory.
When Azerbaijani intellectuals had to leave their homeland in the 1920s, when the Soviet occupation started, they produced somber works of art. Their words clearly show that they were trying to find solace in the presence of the nation. We better understand today that their actions were not without reason. The Karabakh victory shows how important it is to propel an idea into the future. Despite the painful events of the 1990s, this idea did not diminish and was propelled to the future. In this sense, the preparation period we mentioned is of great value.
After the discovery of oil, Baku became a cosmopolitan city. We need to bring up on the agenda the heroes, who fought in the name of protecting and carrying Azerbaijan and Baku’s national characteristics to the future, and their struggle. Postnationalism gained prominence especially during the Soviet period. The value of overcoming all this and achieving great success a century later with “patriotism and national awareness” is beyond any sort of recognition. It can be said that everyone, from President İlham Aliyev to the troops fighting on the front, as well as the public has a great role in this success.
Long live Azerbaijan.