BAKU/April 12 (The Bulletin) — Wearing his military combat uniform, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev opened the Military Loot Park in Baku, a collection of so-called ‘war treasures’ of mainly smashed and semi-destroyed military kit taken from the defeated Armenian army in the neighbours’ 2020 war.
Also included in the Military Loot Park is a section of life-sized mannequin dummy Armenian soldiers looking scared, confused, injured or dying.
Photos from Mr Aliyev’s trip to the park showed him walking through a corridor displaying the helmets of Armenian soldiers and posing in front of a wall of licence plates taken from Armenian registered vehicles.
“After the First Karabakh War, Armenians took the license plates of Azerbaijanis’ personal cars and displayed them in the occupied territories,” he said referencing a war in the early 1990s.
“These number plates are from military trucks. 522 military trucks were destroyed by the Azerbaijani Army or taken as booty. During the war, I ordered that their licence plates should be collected and stored so that one day we can display them.”
Rights groups, though, were less impressed. They said that Azerbaijan’s gloating undermined any chances of any reconciliation.
Azerbaijan was able to push back a well-dug in Armenian army, which had held the region since taking control of it in the early 1990s, in only six weeks with the help of Turkish and Israeli military advice and drones.
Since signing a Russia-negotiated peace deal in November, Mr Aliyev has been basking in his new status as the victor of Nagorno-Karabakh, while Armenian PM, Nikol Pashinyan has been fending off calls for his resignation.
>>This story was first published in issue 479 of the weekly Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin