Azerbaijan suspends its participation at ITB Berlin

Azerbaijan has had to prematurely terminate its participation at the International Tourism Exhibition (ITB Berlin) in a protest at the negligence and inefficiency of the exhibition’s organizers.

Tofig Garayev, the head of the Germany-Azerbaijan Culture House, said the decision was made to protest Yerevan’s provocative attempt towards Azerbaijan.

At the opening day of the event, which was held in Germany’s capital on March 9-13, Azerbaijan’s western neighbor, Armenia presented an unrecognized ‘state’ created in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.

In order to remove this stand exposition, Azerbaijan’s embassy in Germany has appealed to the exhibition’s organizers, Garayev believes.

“ITB administration expressed support for Azerbaijan’s position, however, to our great regret, no effective measures were taken to address the problem with Karabakh stand,” he said, adding that such negligence made Azerbaijan to suspend its participation at the exhibition.

Garayev believes that Azerbaijan’s tough position would play its role. “It is necessary to demonstrate that the sovereignty of Azerbaijan in Karabakh is not the topic in which we are ready to make compromises and to carry out parallel activities within the exhibition that represents Nagorno Karabakh as an ‘independent state’,” he stressed.

Earlier, Yerevan attempted to represent unrecognized regime established in the occupied Nagorno Karabakh region at the ITB Berlin in 2009, but this attempt failed.

After Azerbaijan has left the exhibition, Armenian companies spreading provocative materials were introduced in the ‘black list’ of the ITB, and since then there were no problems in connection with the Karabakh issue, according to Garayev.

“As in previous years, before the opening of the exhibition, the Armenian delegation received a warning letter from the management of ITB, which openly stated about the inadmissibility of speculation attempts on the Karabakh issue,” he said.

However, these people made their way to the exhibition by a registered private company in Germany and began to spread provocative materials on Nagorno-Karabakh in terms of its stand, Garayev added.

The Azerbaijani government has sent a strong signal to the organizers of the exhibition and will continue to raise this issue in all international organizations, head of the Germany-Azerbaijan Culture House said.

Moreover, members of the Azerbaijani Diaspora in Berlin held a loud action, blocking the entrance to the ‘Karabakh’ stand and spreading informational materials about the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

“Occupied Azerbaijani regions have been presented as a stable tourist destination, but the Azerbaijani side gave everyone understand that a zone of armed conflict and constant clashes are hidden behind attractive glossy photos,” Garayev said, adding that tourists will not go to a zone of military operations on holiday.

As a result of conflict that evolved in 1988, Armenia created an unrecognized regime at the occupied territory of neighboring Azerbaijan. Armenia controls over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions that make up 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory for over 24 years, using the resources of these rich lands.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly accused Armenia of carrying out illegal economic and other activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, counteracting the international law. Armenia uses the Nagorno-Karabakh as a testing ground for terrorist activities, as well as for drug trafficking. Moreover, companies from more than 20 countries illegally operate in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.

Source: Azer News