Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said last week although the Zangazur region and the city of Iravan, the capital of modern-day Armenia, are historical lands of Azerbaijan, Baku does not make claims to these territories.

The president explained that both Zangazur and Iravan were inhabited by indigenous Azerbaijanis before they were ceded to Armenia by the Soviet government a century ago.

“When I say that Zangazur is the ancient land of Azerbaijan, it is true. Zangazur was ceded to Armenia in 1920 – 101 years ago. Before that, the land belonged to us,” President Aliyev said. “Azerbaijanis lived around Lake Goycha, which they call Sevan today. This is also a fact. If you look at the maps of the early twentieth century, you will find Goycha, not Sevan.”

President Aliyev added that the same can be said also about Iravan (modern-day Yerevan), an ancient Azerbaijani city where the traces of Azerbaijanis have been erased through vandalistic acts following the city’s transfer to Armenia in 1918.

“They [Armenians] destroyed the historical part of Iravan. These are all facts. Azerbaijanis lived there, including my ancestors. These are all facts, but that does not mean that we are making territorial claims [against Armenia],” he explained.

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