For most people in the West, even the name ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ sounds stereotypically foreign and remote. For the people of the Caucasus, however, it’s another leftover conflict from the Soviet era that is still taking lives today. Over the weekend 30 people have been killed in fighting between the Azerbaijani army and ethnically Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh forces. While in recent hours the Azerbaijani president has announced a ‘unilateral ceasefire’, this is a conflict that is not going away. So what is it all about? And why are the consequences of a potential war as bad as ever?
You might be surprised to look at any news website today and notice that one of the biggest headlines is that the Pope has called the killings of Armenians one hundred year ago ‘genocide’. He made the statement at a service in the Vatican, attended by the Armenian President and members of the Armenian Catholic Church. It seems like a non-story at first glance, the deaths of around 1.5 million Armenians would seem like genocide. The reason that it’s in the news this much though is because Turkey has already reacted angrily to his statement. So what really happened back in 1915? Why is it still such an issue for Turkey? And what does it say about that tricky word ‘genocide’? Continue reading