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Demand for peace and call for solidarity

The anti-war statement, signed by 224 Armenians, Azerbaijanis and citizens of other countries, was published on September 18. The statement of the Azerbaijani Feminist Peace Collective was published few days before that, on September 14. Republishing them belatedly and together:

We Demand Peace!

We, a group of people who stand for peace, from the post-Soviet space and its neighborhood exhausted by never-ending wars and growing imperialist rivalry on our territories, are full of rage as we have observed Azerbaijan’s recent large-scale attack on Armenia. This, coupled with Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine and the renewed military clashes in border areas between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, raises heavy concerns regarding possible future escalations not only in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict but all other conflicts in the post-Soviet space.

The recent attack on Armenia has costed hundreds of lives within two days from both sides of the conflict, caused serious destruction to civil infrastructure in Armenia, displaced thousands, and further widened the gap between the countries and their people. We raise our persistent voices against the continuing warfare.

The second Karabakh war two years ago was a devastating experience, from which the Armenian and Azerbaijani societies have not yet recovered and remain deeply antagonized. Officials need to finally understand that military means cannot solve the conflict but they only deepen the divide between the two countries and cause more violence and human suffering. We welcome the truce that halted the violence on September 15 and demand for permanent return to the negotiation table without any further escalations or violence.

The Azerbaijani side should realize that the “corridors” cannot be opened, and a peace treaty cannot be achieved through military aggression. Such prospects are unacceptable for people whose daily lives would presumably be crossed over by these “corridors,” as they will not let borderland populations on both sides cooperate with each other. No one can be forced into peace. Officials in Armenia, in turn, should recognize the damage their rigid negotiation position had done for over 30 years, including the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis, and their refusal to compromise and settle the conflict in a timely manner.

Negotiations “mediated” behind closed doors, that do not take into consideration the livelihood and human needs of people affected, are doomed to fail. The best mediators for interstate negotiations are non-state peace-oriented/peacebuilding communities of both countries who have a great experience of overcoming their own disputes and facilitating dialogues between other people from their countries with antagonistic positions.

We see the clear connection of the developments in Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and peace processes with the dynamics of the war in Ukraine. The deadly war in Ukraine has caused great turbulence and instabilities in the wider region, exposing the simple truth that violence creates more violence. There is no military solution to any conflict and human life is of absolute value. The only priority should be nonmilitary diplomatic solutions that are always possible regardless of whatever statesmen try to convince us. The inability or unwillingness of states to solve the problems through non-violent means and ensure human security can no longer be tolerated.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we’ve lived through decades of violence. We continue to suffer through regularly recurring warfare on the territory of Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. We are deeply concerned about overt attempts to reopen the Moldovan/Transdniestrian, Georgian/Abkhaz and Georgian/Ossetian conflicts. The confrontation between NATO and the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine is playing out primarily at the expense of lives of people in Ukraine and, increasingly, residents of Russian regions adjacent to Ukraine. Moreover, hundreds of military men from Ukraine and Russia are killed daily.

If we stay on the current trajectory, it is only a matter of time until the ongoing and recurring warfare in different regions of Eurasia will synergize with one another and with wars in other parts of this world, turning into a bigger regional or global war and sacrificing more and more people from numerous countries.

We cannot afford this! We do not call for peace – we demand peace! We demand that governments commit to non-use of force, to engage in genuine search for diplomatic solutions that prioritize human security, and to stop interfering with, and better yet, support people-to-people contacts and peacebuilding.

We demand that international actors involved in the official negotiations ensure that the voices of people affected by conflict are heard and that people-to-people negotiations and human security considerations are at least on an equal footing with the official negotiation process.


Flora Ghazaryan (Armenia/Austria, historian); Nazrin Gadimova (Azerbaijan/Turkey, conflict studies researcher), Katya Korableva (Russia, social researcher), Lilit Gizhlaryan (Armenia), Marina Danoyan (Finland, peacebuilding practitioner), Vadim Romashov (Finland, peace researcher), Sevil Huseynova (Azerbaijan/Germany, social researcher), Diana Yayloyan (Russia/Armenia, researcher in conflict studies), Mete Ulutaş (Turkey, anthropologist),  Leon Aslanov (UK), Ivan Nikolovski (Austria/North Macedonia, Political Science scholar), Dunja Milenkovic (Austria, medievalist), Shirin Tumenbaeva (Kyrgyzstan/Austria, political scientist), Lala Darchinova (Azerbaijan, Feminist Peace Collective), Sevinj Samadzade (Azerbaijan, Feminist Peace Collective), Saadat Abdullazade (Azerbaijan, Feminist Peace Collective), Burcu Becermen (Turkey, Interpreter), Arpi Bekaryan (Armenia, journalist), Rustam Ismayilbayli (Azerbaijan, activist), Zakir Bayramov (Azerbaijan, human rights activist), Rovshan Mammadli (Azerbaijan, student), Nika Musavi (Georgia/Azerbaijan, journalist), Samir Akhundzada (Azerbaijan, historian), Samira Alakbarli (Azerbaijan, Social and Political Science Researcher), Toghrul Abbasov (Azerbaijan, social researcher), Hermine Virabian (Armenia/Georgia, journalist), Laman Orujova (Azerbaijan, economist), Samad Shikhi (Azerbaijan, writer), Nışan Güreh (Turkey, Nor Zartonk Activist), Ayaz Shirinov (Azerbaijan, designer), Emel Kurma (Turkey, rights defender), Farid Ismayilov (Azerbaijan, journalist), Lilit Dabagian (Kyrgyzstan, independent researcher), Aliheydar Aliyev (Azerbaijan, student/activist), Ali Malikov (Azerbaijan, LGBTQ+ activist), Elvin Jabizadeh (Azerbaijan, Filmmaker), Loghman Gasimov (Azerbaijan, doctor), Philip Gamaghelyan (Armenia/USA, peace and conflict scholar), Sergey Rumyansev (Azerbaijan/Germany, sociologist), Atuf Guliyev (Azerbaijan, student), Polad Gulushov (Azerbaijan, economist), Keti Kapanadze (Georgia, restaurant manager), Zarina Sanakoeva (South Ossetia, peace activist), Josh Nadeau (Georgia/Canada, dialogue practitioner and researcher), Zamira Abbasova (Netherlands, peace activist), Eva Gabrielian (Canada, attorney), Tamara Atayan (France, biochemist/pharmacologist), Karine Ter-Gabrielyan, Rita Ohanyan (Armenia, chemistry teacher), Husik Ghulyan (Armenia, independent scholar), Leyli Gafarova (Azerbaijan, filmmaker), Naila Dadash-zadeh (Azerbaijan, artist), Gunel Movlud (Azerbaijan, writer/member of PEN), Darin Morsel (Georgia, Photographer), Artsrun Pivazyan (Armenia, activist), Eric Rubenz (USA, business owner), Arnold Aleverdian (USA, peacebuilder/PhD student), Anahit Aslanyan (Armenia), Ani Paitjan (Armenia, journalist), Agabeg Simonian (Armenia, videographer), Anna Leontyeva (Armenia/Russia, policy researcher), Araz Baghirov (Azerbaijan, social researcher), Mikail Mamedov (USA, PhD Historian), Shushanna Tevanyan (Armenia, graduate of University of San Diego, Kroc School of Peace Studies), Sofia Manukyan (Armenia, researcher- environmentalist), Margarita Tadevosyan (Armenia/USA, Peace and Conflict Resolution, scholar practitioner), Martin Boyadgian (Finland, Architect), Irakli Kokhtashvili (Georgia, accountant), Stepan Danoyan (Armenia, Radio-engineer, Armenia), Irina Danoyan (France/Armenia, Supply Planner), Asya Ghazaryan (Finland/Armenia, Economist), Sophio Tskhvariashvili (Georgia), Leyla Jafarova (Azerbaijan, anthropologist), Hakob Karapetyan (Armenia, journalist), Aynur Abutalibova (Baku, Azerbaijan, Graphic Designer), Hamida Giyasbayli (Azerbaijan, Peaceworker), Gunay Kazimli (Azerbaijan/Italy, Data analyst), Eviya Hovhannisyan (Armenia, anthropologist), Sona Dilanyan (Armenia), Vlada Baranova (Russia, sociolinguist), Mehmet Muslimov (Russia, linguist), Anastasiia Melkonian (Russia/Armenia, teacher), Todar Baktemir (Russia/Armenia/Israel, journalist), Norayr Olgar (Turkey, Nor Zartonk, Activist), Sayat Tekir (Turkey, Nor Zartonk, Activist), Alexis Kalk (Turkey, Nor Zartonk, Activist), Oxana Karpenko (Russia, sociologist), Mariam Pesvianidze (Georgia, film director), Hovhannes Tumanyan (Armenia/USA, musician), Ayla Azizova (Azerbaijan/The Netherlands, Architect), Arifa Kapba (Abkhazia, journalist), Ali Hamidian (Iran, Youth Activist), Diego Ardouin (Argentina, Bright Garden Voices Activist), Nurzada Sadyrbekova (Kyrgyzstan, Activist), Clare Bath (USA, student/activist), Sabina Aliyeva (Azerbaijan/The Netherlands, dutch council for refugees), Afiaddin Mammadov (Azerbaijan, Democracy 1918 Movement, politician), Joshgun Gafarov (Azerbaijan, Baku city, Political activist), Denis Agamalyan (Russia, Insurance Company), Petar Parvanov (Bulgaria, archeologist), Giyas Ibrahim (Azerbaijan, political activist), Tinay Mushdiyeva (Azerbaijan, researcher), Andrea Mansoorian (United States, Graduate Student), Samson Martirosyan (Armenia, journalist), Ofelya Aliyeva (Azerbaijan, International Development and Cooperation scholar), Arpy Manusyan (Armenia, sociologist, researcher), Mariam Khalatyan (Armenia, Sociologist), Nvard Margaryan (Armenia, researcher), Rufat Demirov (North Macedonia, PhD International Relations), Markus Sattler (Germany, geographer), Armen Ohanyan (President of PEN Armenia), Philipp Pankraz (Austria, Sound engineer, Musician), Mirabbos Khikmatilloev (Uzbekistan/Hungary, Data Analyst/Researcher), Lusine Kharatyan (Armenia, cultural anthropologist and writer), Ari Hadjian (Argentina-Armenia, Architect), Chirkova Natal’ya (Russia, freelance), Leyla Hasanova (Azerbaijan, gender researcher), Muhammet Mazı (Turkey/Austria, PhD History), Lilit Ghazaryan (Armenia, activist), Patricia Neruta (Moldova/ Portugal, Political Science and International Relations Student), Harutyun Sargsyan (Armenia, QA), Amassia Niziblian (Armenia. Artist), Vilen Danielyan (Armenia, Project manager), Dilnovoz Abdurazzakova (Uzbekistan/ Austria PhD student Economics), Sahila Jabbarova (Azerbaijan, Translator, Researcher, Student), Chirkinyan Anna (Russia, dentist), Akhundov Ravan (Azerbaijan, student), Karim Agayev (Azerbaijan, Psychologist), Mirkamran Huseynli (Azerbaijan, Researcher), Gohar Shahnazaryan (Armenia, sociologist), Ani Tuniyants (Armenia, QA Engineer), Anna Ohanyan (USA/Armenia, Professor of Political Science, mother of three children), Said Alimirzoev (The Netherlands, Dj/Promoter), Olga Brednikova (sociologist), Toghrul Valiyev (Azerbaijan, economist), Vusal Khalilov (Azerbaijan, researcher), Durna Safarova (Azerbaijan, journalist, and filmmaker), Xaqani Hass (Turkey-Azerbaijan, poet-writer), Mammad Azizov (Azerbaijan, war studies researcher), Emil Novruzov (Azerbaijan, factory worker), Giorgi Iskandar (Belgium, Tourism), Mariam Yeghiazaryan (Armenia, an earthling, independent journalist, documentary filmmaker), Melanie Goushian (USA, student), Samira Suleymanova (Azerbaijan/Russia/Turkey, philologist), Giorgi Gotua (Georgia, social researcher), Lele Jobava (Georgia, journalist/peace activist), Veronika Aghajanyan (Armenia, project manager), Nijat Eldarov (Azerbaijan, researcher), Günel Mamedova (Russia/Wales/Azerbaijan, historian, art manager), Veronika Pfeilschifter (Germany, social scientist at Institute for Caucasus Studies Jena), Oleksandra Nenko (Helsinki, University of the Arts), Eldar Haji (Azerbaijan), Aram Amirbekian (Armenia, journalist), Tural Ismayil-zadeh (Turkey, Researcher), Valeriia Soloveva (Russia/Finland, Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research Student), Suriya Talibova (Azerbaijan/The Netherlands, philologist), Anna Dasjan (Azerbaijan/The Netherlands, social worker), Nigar Amrah (Azerbaijan, student), Anna Nikoghosyan (Armenia, feminist scholar and activist), Karén Karslyan (Armenia/USA, writer, Chairman of Peace Committee of PEN Armenia), Alexander Sicheneder (Germany, Political Science Student), Arpi Balyan (Armenia, cultural anthropologist, artist, activist), Karl Lebt (Germany/ Ukraine/ Azerbaijan, lawyer), Sanay Yaghmur (Azerbaijan, feminist activist), Bahruz Samadov (Azerbaijan, researcher), Armen Harutyunyan (Armenia, architect), Gumru Aliyeva (Azerbaijan, political scientist and feminist activist), Elnara Gulieva (Russia, analyst), Aytən Fərhadova (Azerbaijan/Georgia, journalist), Havva Hazer (Turkey, housewife), Mariam Hovsepyan (Armenia / Germany, Finance consultant), Anastasiia Danilova (Moldova, GENDERDOC-MEzo Özer, Turkey, journalist), Yasmin Bashirova (US/Azerbaijan, tech specialist, pro-peace activist), Ümit Kıvanç (Turkey, documentary filmmaker and journalist), Ekaterina Chigaleichik (Russia, anthropologist), Vafa Hanlar (Azerbaijan/Aorearoa, Insights Analyst), Kevork Oskanian (England, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Exeter), Kamran Kazımi (Azerbaijan, programmer), Lilit Abrahamyan Empson (Armenia/ Switzerland, psychiatrist), Arpine Papikyan (Armenia/Germany, PhD candidate), Lala Aliyeva (Azerbaijan, documentary filmmaker), Müge Yamanyılmaz (Turkey, civil society worker), Akın Birdal (Turkey, human rights defender), Amrah Tahmazov, (Azerbaijan, political activist), Sascha B. Garibyan (Germany/Armenia, Investor), Ivleyeva Darya (Russia, logistician), Nil Delahaye (Turkey, activist), Anna Cieślewska (Poland/Georgia, a social anthropologist), Shujaat Ahmadzada (the United Kingdom, researcher), Sabina Rahimova (Azerbaijan, activist), Tina Hakobyan (USA, accountat receivables), Bondarenko Olesya (russia, c# developer), Semra Somersan (Sociologist retired Assoc Prof), Yıldız Önen (Turkey, political scientist), Natia Natsvlishvili (Georgia, architectural historian), Ela Nuroğlu (France/Turkey, musician in Collectif Medz Bazar), Anna Sukiassian (Armenia/The Netherlands, Political Science Student), Karim Maiche (Finland, researcher), Özdeş Özbay (Türkiye, radyo programcısı), Karine Ghazaryan (Armenia, AML specialist), Sopio Gogsadze (Georgia), Alexandra Ramsay (Finland, historian, teacher), Vafa Naghiyeva (Azerbaijan, feminist activist), Lili Nazarov (Georgia, LGBTQI+ rights activist), Turkay Gasimli (Azerbaijan/Italy, historian), Thijs Korsten (Netherlands/Germany, researcher), Gillet Thierry (France, chef d’entreprise), Aliya Hagverdi (Azerbaijan/Estonia, editor), Jonas Korfhage (Germany/Georgia), Daniel Tahmazyan (Armenia/Germany, Student), Sidney Pruß (Germany, Student), Polina Ivanova (Germany/Armenia, historian), Bruno Lefort (Finland, researcher), Rossen Djagalov (Bulgaria, university teacher), Aysel Aziziva (Azerbaijan, journalist), Fethiye Çetin (Turkey, Avukat), Valentina Gevorgyan (Armenia, researcher), Pelin Buzluk (Turkey, writer (member of PEN)), Luciana Minassian (Assistant to Legal aspects of Armenian Genocide course, University of Buenos Aires, Law School, Armenian Lawyers from Argentina), Sergeeva Anna (Russia, student), Arakelyan Gayane (Finland, teacher of drawing and drafting), Samuel Halton (Ireland/ USA, Conflict Studies Researcher), Rovshana Orujova (Azerbaijan/ Germany, social scientist), Heghine Grigoryan (digital marketing specialist).

Call for radical solidarity for peace!

The latest ongoing escalation on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan hits us with an unbalanced, aggressive, and uncompromising phase of the conflict, different from the previous precedents. Azerbaijan using military operations as a tool to ensure superiority in negotiations, is largely benefiting from the current geopolitical situation. This political context in a broader sense appears as a result of the collapse of the multipolar world, followed up by the strengthening of cold war narratives, and making peripheries in Russia’s sphere of influence choose between empires. Turkey’s active participation in the power games in the region and its use of the conflict to secure its economic and political interests is another complex representation of the changing geopolitics.

Apart from that, there is no doubt about how much this conflict, that its scope was not limited to one-night escalations and lasted for more than 30 years, and that its power dynamics have changed dramatically since 2020, is a tool for the ruling class in Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is also very clear that these raising power asymmetries around the conflict are creating new nationalist discourses and fueling revanchism.

Today, the failure of the negotiation process is put forward as the main justification for military operations. However, it is obvious how the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments failed to build “peace” outside the loop of “territorial integrity” and “self-determination”, by blaming each other for 30 years and conducting macho-masculinist and elitist negotiations. For the parties unwilling to make concessions, the collective memory, hatred, and ethno-nationalist propaganda created by the conflict are actually the main means of extending their power. People condemned to remain in a cycle of renewed traumas, losses, and resentments, are mere observers of these closed-door negotiations, regardless of whether their regime is democratic or authoritarian.

For thousands of people who were defeated in the classical sense and lost their territories in the first Karabakh war, returning to Karabakh became the main need for a long time. However, the Second Karabakh War proved once again that this need is not only related to returning home, but also to national identity and, in a broader sense, to the capitalist interests of the ruling class. Therefore, as if the land gains achieved after the war of 2020 were not enough, the Azerbaijani authorities, who claim more territory, today attack the territory of Armenia and talk about creating a “buffer zone” and insinuate this to the people under the name of “just war”. It does not fit into any context of justice to occupy the territories of Armenia and justify it by citing the occupation of Azerbaijani territories at some point and turning it into a bargain during negotiations. Therefore, the answer to the aggressive behaviour of the Azerbaijani authorities should come from the people of Azerbaijan: We cannot be in the same position in the war waged by the ruling class, which turns us, our resources, and our bodies into instruments! We don’t share the same “justice” with the regime that keeps us in constant danger by using our security as an excuse! We stand against any wars waged in our name at the cost of the lives, health, and future of hundreds and thousands of people!

We urgently need unity for these and future crises to come that leave us desperate and powerless. This unity can destroy the existing internal and external political consents by expressing its radical opposition to imperialist political games, wars, military operations, and deadlocked negotiations. It’s time to reject Azerbaijan’s aggression in addition to holding both governments accountable, and demand public diplomacy and peacebuilding!

Feminist Peace Collective
September 14, 2022