Armenian Christians Fear They Will Be Wiped Out following Peace Deal with Azerbaijan
A peace deal has ended the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but some Armenians are concerned that the Christian culture of Armenia will now be erased.
According to CBN News, the peace deal came after months of attacks on Armenia from Azerbaijan and Turkey. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia agreed to the Russian-brokered deal earlier this week to end the war.
Under the deal, the Armenian army will withdraw from the Nagorno-Karabakh area and Russian peacekeepers will be put in place.
“I personally made a very hard decision for me and all of us,” Pashinyan wrote in a statement announcing the agreement. “It’s not a victory, but there’s no defeat.”
The Nagorno-Karabakh region is mostly Armenian, but it has been considered within the borders of Azerbaijan despite claiming independence.
Many said the prime minister of Armenia was a “traitor” for making the deal, and according to the New York Times, protesting started in Yerevan, the capital, after the announcement. A crowd also reportedly pulled Pashinyan’s nameplate off his office door.
The deal will allow internally displaced people in the region to return to Azerbaijan as Armenia will surrender control in the area.
"This has become an existential issue. This is an issue of ethnic cleansing, and terrorist bombardments applied by Azerbaijan towards Armenians who live there," said Arman Tatoyan, an Armenian human rights defender.
Others say the peace deal means the Armenian people in the area will be “wiped out.”
"It was started by the Azeris who are not only trying to take territory that has been historically Armenian for thousands of years, but they don't want to stop with the taking of territory. They want to wipe out the Armenian people," Daniel Decker, an Armenian composer, told CBN News.
Many Armenian families from the region are sheltering in Yerevan with family and friends.
"Their very existence is in danger right now. And as Americans, as Christians in America, we have that obligation to support Armenia and Artsakh," Decker said.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.