By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
Whether it was the Achaemenian compounded word "Ādharbādhagān”, the Parthian pronunciation "Ādharbāyagān” that followed, the Sassanid version Āzarbāydjān” that came next, or the present term "Azarbaijan” – in vogue for the millennium-and-four centuries after the advent of Islam – it means the "Land of Fire” and refers to the vast northwestern Iranian region, despite the northernmost part of it forcibly separated from the motherland during Russia’s war on Persia.
Since ancient times it was coveted by expansionist powers such as Alexander of Macedon, the Roman Empire, the Byzantines who replaced it in Constantinople, and the Ottoman Turks who converted the Greek city into what is known today as Istanbul, but at every attempt these aggressors were defeated and repulsed by the proud Iranian Azeri people in coordination with the Armenians, until the 19th century.
As we said in our Viewpoint Column of October 31 on the recent conflict between the republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia, titled Is ‘Pax Persiana’ Possible in the Caucasus?:
"The Caucasus had known peace as long as ‘Pax Persiana’ prevailed in the region for long centuries until it was disturbed by the dubious treaties of Gulistan (1813) and Turkmanchai (1828) that detached from Qajarid Iran and placed under the rule of the Czar a string of Khanates stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea that today form the republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Chechen-Ingushetia and Daghestan.”
As the Azeri people on both sides of the River Aras that has been an unnatural barrier between them for almost the past two centuries very well know, the Islamic Republic of Iran spared no efforts to peacefully resolve the current crisis, though unfortunately an undesirable war over the Karabakh region (formerly the Iranian Khanate of Qarabagh), because of outside meddling, has claimed over a thousand Armenian and Azeri lives, besides bringing destruction to towns and cities.
Tehran had reiterated its principled position ever since the collapse in 1990 of the Soviet Union, which had arbitrarily divided into ‘oblasts’ and autonomous regions the southern Caucasus through forced ethnic displacement of the Stalin era, that Karabakh should return to the control of Baku.
The government in Yerevan, although reluctantly withdrew its forces, but sadly, instead of promoting peace in the region, it seems outside meddlers like the illegal Zionist entity, the US, and the Turkish president, want to keep tensions in the region at the boiling point.
Iran definitely considers this as unwanted intervention, especially after Rajab Tayyeb Erdoghan who made a provocative visit to Baku to review a local military parade, made irresponsible remarks by distorting out of context an old Azeri poem on the tragedy of the forced separation of parts of Azarbaijan north of River Aras from the Iranian motherland by the Czarist armies, in a bid to revive memoires of the Ottoman wars.
Tehran has long buried the rivalry of the past and desires coordination and cooperation with Ankara for peace and stability in the entire region, and has never laid claim to eastern Anatolia up to Diyarbakr as being part of the Safavid Empire.
The Islamic Republic had no other choice but to promptly summon Turkey’s Ambassador in Tehran to the foreign ministry to voice strong protest over the meddlesome remarks of the Turkish president with regard to the separation of the Azerbaijan’s northern part from Iran, demanding immediate explanation from the government in Ankara.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh warned that the "era of territorial claims, warmongering and expansionism has long ended,” saying: "The Islamic Republic will never allow anyone to interfere in its territorial integrity, and will never compromise on its national security.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for his part criticized the Turkish President for the unwarranted reciting of the poem, saying Mr. Erdoghan has clearly misunderstood. He added: "No one can talk about our beloved Azerbaijan.”
Even the Azeri people and officials in Baku were dismayed by the remarks of their guest, and many pointed out that the region north of the Aras, including Chechnya and Daghestan were the provinces of Persia since time immemorial and never the part of the Roman, Byzantine, or Ottoman Empires.
Till this day despite its unnatural separation, the Republic of Azerbaijan shares ethnic, cultural, religious, and lingual ties with motherland Iran and not with Turkey despite the crude attempts at pan-Turkism by the neo Ottomans.
Thus, in view of these facts the Islamic Republic expects Turkey as a brotherly Muslim state to knit ranks and strive for the peace and progress of the Ummah instead of biting the bait of sedition of the Zionists and the Americans.