Memorial Day in Azerbaijan Date in the current year: September 27, 2024

Memorial Day in Azerbaijan Memorial Day (Anım Günü) is observed in Azerbaijan annually on September 27. It was established by President Ilham Aliyev in 2020 to honor the military personnel who were killed during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, which has been a disputed territory for a while. Populated predominantly by Armenians, it became part of Azerbaijan during the Soviet era as the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

The question of Nagorno-Karabakh and its status reemerged as the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. A war over the region, now known as the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, took place from February 1988 and May 1994. It was fought between the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh supported by Armenia, and Azerbaijan backed by Turkey. The war ended with Nagorno-Karabakh becoming the unrecognized but de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and siding itself with Armenia.

Despite the ceasefire reached through Russian mediation, clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh continued, the most serious one being the 2016 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, also known as the Four-Day War. A new war erupted in the region in September 2020, when Azerbaijan with military support from Turkey launched an offensive along the Line of Contact established by the 1994 ceasefire agreement.

At around 8 a.m. on September 27, 2020, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan launched artillery and aerial strikes against settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh, including the de facto capital of Stepanakert. Azerbaijani authorities claimed that the Armenian armed forces had shelled the positions of the Azerbaijan army two hours before and Azerbaijan thus launched a counteroffensive.

The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War lasted for 44 days (hence its alternative name, the 44-Day War). It was characterized by the deployment of long-range heavy artillery and armored warfare, widespread use of sensors and drones, missile strikes, trench warfare, and information warfare.

On November 8, the Azerbaijani forces captured the strategically important city of Shusha, the second-largest city of Nagorno-Karabakh. In the late hours of November 9, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement mediated by Russia, which came into force at midnight on November 10 Moscow time.

The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War ended with Azerbaijani victory: Azerbaijan regained control of 75% of the territories in and around Nagorno-Karabakh that had been controlled by Armenia prior to the war. Approximately 2,000 Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the region along the Lachin corridor, a mountain road connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

To commemorate the beginning of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and honor the memory of the military personnel who died in it, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev signed a decree establishing Memorial Day on December 2, 2020. The next day, Azerbaijan stated that 2,783 service members of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had been killed during the war. From 2021 onward, memorial events have been held every September 27 to honor and mourn them.

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Memorial Day in Azerbaijan, observances in Azerbaijan, remembrance days, memorial days, Second Nagorno-Karabakh War