Djulfa.com calls on UNESCO chief to resign over corrupt Azerbaijani payments to her husband
Asbarez – Djulfa.com has consistently criticized UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova’s unflinching and hitherto inexplicable support of oil-rich Azerbaijan, despite the latter’s deliberate desecration of ancient archeological sites. As such, we are outraged yet unsurprised to learn from The Guardian’s September 4, 2017 report that Director-General Bokova’s husband has received over half-a-million-dollars as part of an all-too-obvious Azerbaijani ‘quid pro quo’ corruption and money laundering scheme.
In November 2013, four months after accepting a $5 million donation from Azerbaijan on behalf of cash-strapped UNESCO, Irina Bokova helped unveil the absurdly-titled “Azerbaijan: A Land of Tolerance” exhibit in Paris, where the organization is headquartered. She has since made several trips to the Azerbaijani capital for the ‘Baku World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue;’ praised president Ilham Aliyev for “fostering new forms of dialogue between cultures;” allowed Azerbaijan to appoint UNESCO staff as “loaned personnel;” and has given Aliyev a platform at the UNESCO Leaders’ Forum to lecture the world on tolerance and shift the blame of cultural genocide to Armenians.
That Azerbaijan, a top jailer of journalists ranked as the world’s 5th most-censored country, is no land of tolerance is widely-known, but few are aware of its state-sponsored eradication of the region’s vast medieval Christian heritage. Since inheriting the presidency from his father in 2003, and emboldened by Azerbaijan’s oil-revenues due to the 2005 launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, Ilham Aliyev has spearheaded the complete destruction of Western Azerbaijan’s entire medieval Christian heritage – consisting of hundreds of churches and thousands of cross-stones – due to the latter’s association with the region’s indigenous Armenian civilization.
While Azerbaijan’s destruction of Armenian monuments started in 1988 following widespread calls for the return of Armenian-populated Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) to Armenia as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the systematic eradication of every trace of medieval Armenian memory was launched and completed nearly two decades later under the current presidency. In December 2005, alone, over one-hundred Azerbaijani soldiers carried out a week-long operation to obliterate the world’s largest medieval Armenian cemetery – Djulfa, an archaeological wonder that also constituted Eurasia’s largest collection of historic Christian cross-stones. Despite eyewitness video and photo evidence, verified by the American Association for the Advancement of Science through satellite analysis, the Aliyev regime denied the destruction of Djulfa, claiming that the cemetery never existed in the first place.