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Geycha and Zangesur (Caucasus)

Gökchai and Zangezur

Last modified: 2008-05-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: armenia | azerbaijan | geycha and zangesur | gokchai and zangezur | wolf (white) | crescent (white) |
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Status of the area

The Flag Bulletin [tfb], #149 (1992) p. 247 states: "Geycha and Zangesur: It is claimed that in March 1992 Azeri-populated areas near Lake Geycha (Lake Sevan) in Armenia proclaimed their own state."
I would assume the Armenians would vehemently deny the existence of these people or this state. It is also possible the Azeris proclaimed this state from outside Armenia. The phrase "It is claimed..." is telling.

Dave Martucci, 24 July 1998

An Armenian point of view

I insist that the fact of existence of any flag does not imply the existence of a state or of necessary conditions for its creation.
Until 1988-1990, the Azeri population of Armenia was about 180,000 (less than 5 percent of total population), and it was extremely scattered throughout the country. Azeris were living almost in all provinces with small, compact groups. They are not indigenous people in Armenia. First Turkic tribes settled in Transcaucasia in the VIIth-VIIIth centuries, at the time, when Armenia already had a more than 1000 year-old history.
After the well-known events connected with the national-liberation movement in Nagorno-Karabakh, more than 400,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan were displaced and moved to Armenia. This was followed by the migration of Armenian Azeri population to Azerbaijan. As a result, in 1992, there were no Armenian community in Azerbaijan and no Azeri community in Armenia. This is the true story in brief.
Why have they chosen the territory near Lake Sevan and of Zangezur for claiming an independent state? I think, they had in mind the old Pan-Turk dream of unification of all Turkic-speaking nations within a mysterious state of "Turan". This ideology proved to be an anti-Armenian movement, since the continuous chain of inhabitancy of the Turco-Tatar people was interrupted only in Armenia, which thus, by its existence, became the only obstacle of the materialization of the Pan-Turk ideology. If you look at a detailed map of Transcaucasia, you will see that the southern coast of Lake Sevan and the Zangezur region constitute the territory, dividing Azerbaijan mainland from the Azerbaijani autonomous republic of Nakhichevan and subsequently, from Turkey. I think that the main reason, why they claimed the "Geycha and Zangezur" state, was the dream to remove the last obstacle for territorial continuity of the Turkic chain - the Armenian southern province of Siunik (Zangezur).

G. Ghalatchian, 30 July 1998

An Azerbaidjani point of view

In fact, Geycha and Zangezur are historical Azeri lands which have been inhabited since before the birth of Jesus Christ by indigenous people of Caucasian Albania. Caucasian Albanians later became Christians and then were integrated into Azerbaijani ethnos along with Midians, Atrapatenians and Turkic tribes. Azerbaijani nation accepted Islam during later periods. Unfortunately, Azeris, descendants of those ancient people and natives to Geycha and Zangesur experienced great prosecutions after Russian invasion in the region. Russian authorities promoted heavy migration of Armenians into those areas, as well as into Garabagh, Erivan and other parts of Caucasus, because they saw Christian Armenians as a more loyal base than Muslim Azeris.
However, even in the beginning of this century, Azeris still comprised a majority in Geycha and Zangesur. During Soviet rule, especially in 1948-1950, many of them were expelled from Geycha and Zangesur, at that time parts of Armenian Republic within USSR.
Still, before 1988, Azeris were a majority in a big part of Zangezur, before Armenian nationalist militants killed thousands of Azerbaijani civilians and expelled all of them from Armenian Republic. That is a brief history of Azeris in Geycha and Zangesur.

Elmar Chakhtakhtinski, 20 September 1999

Description of the flag

The Flag Bulletin [tfb], #149 (1992) p. 247 states: "Their flag bears a crescent and wolf, traditional Muslim and Turkish symbols, against a background of equal horizontal stripes of black-red-green-blue."

Dave Martucci, 24 July 1998

This flag appears in the Flags of Aspirant Peoples chart [eba94], #114, with the following caption:
East Armenia

Ivan Sache, 15 September 1999