UNRECOGNISED, UNSETTELED - THE LAND OF NAGORNO KARABAKH

Visits to Nagorno Karabakh have been like light trips to the land of gorgeous nature in the last several years. But pain is always felt here. And for many years it has not been felt like in these days of fighting. In this land, a disputed border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan, pain mixes with decisive character, one that is desperate to be recognized.

Clashes between Azerbaijani forces and ethnic Armenian forces of Nagorno Karabakh escalated to a great extent in the night of April 1-2, 2016. More than 100 soldiers, on both sides, and several civilians were killed as results of these clashes. After several days of war, ceasefire agreement was announced on April 5th between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The conflict re-ignited more than 20 years after the war between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, in 1988-1994. Up to 30,000 people were killed in this conflict. The ethnic Armenian enclave declared its independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, but the independence has not been recognized internationally. A ceasefire agreement mediated by Russia was signed in 1994 and stopped the war. But skirmishes along the border have continued for years.

While sides are negotiating in a ceasefire and there is no clear picture of how things will develop, the spirit of Karabakh and its people is heavy. The word Karabakh means Black Garden, and the beauty of this garden is living its dark years.