Armenia is seeking restitution from Azerbaijan due to forced displacements, ethnic cleansing, and migration that have deeply affected the Armenian population residing in Garabagh. The Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has underscored on multiple occasions in his speeches that the Armenians living in Garabagh possess a legitimate entitlement to request compensation from Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has been strongly denying the allegations. According to Azerbaijani sources, the Armenian authorities and the Armenian diaspora form foreign countries have been coming up with baseless and fictitious demands of compensation against Azerbaijan with the lack of legal, moral and logical basis.
The roots of the conflict can be traced back to the 1990s, when tensions flared between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two breakaway states of the former Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh, a region situated between Azerbaijan and Armenia, has profound historical and ethnic significance for both nations. Notably, Nagorno-Karabakh was predominantly inhabited by people of Armenian ethnicity. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nagorno-Karabakh voted to join Armenia, a move that Azerbaijan vehemently opposed due to its substantial economic interests in the region.
Furthermore, Nagorno-Karabakh possesses valuable mineral resources such as gold, mercury, chromite, pearlite, lime, marble, agate, and copper, including gold mining operations. Geographically, Nagorno-Karabakh is strategically positioned in the South Caucasus, serving as a critical link between the European Union and Asia. The South Caucasus Energy Pipeline traverses this region, making it of utmost geopolitical and strategic importance for both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has been steadfast in rejecting what they perceive as baseless claims for compensation from Armenian authorities and the Armenian diaspora in foreign countries. Their argument centers on the contention that those who left Armenia did so voluntarily, taking with them all their valuable possessions. Azerbaijan also highlights the significant toll of Armenian actions, including the assassination of a considerable number of Azerbaijani soldiers during both the First and Second Garabagh wars. This, along with damage to citizens’ property and historical and national monuments, has inflicted irreparable harm on Azerbaijan.
The international community recognizes that Azerbaijanis were forcibly expelled from territories acknowledged as part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and they consequently became Internally Displaced People (IDPs). These individuals once enjoyed a prosperous life, but their homes were pillaged and left in ruins by the departing Armenian population. Azerbaijan claims that Armenia exploited the natural resources of Azerbaijan, profiting at Azerbaijan’s expense. Azerbaijani historian Musa Gasimli underscored the importance of Azerbaijan pursuing a compensation case against Armenia in light of these circumstances.