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Lake Urmu and killings of South Azerbaijani Turks

South Azerbaijan always has been a prosperous and fertile land, with hard working and industrious Turkish inhabitants. At the turn of the century, Azerbaijan was called “the food basket of the region”. With Tabriz and Urmu at the centre, South Azerbaijan was world famous in commerce, prosperous economy, agricultural production and hand crafted products. The land and eventually people of South Azerbaijan were adversely effected by coming to power by coup d’etat of Persian racist and specifically anti Azerbaijani dictatorship of Reza Pahlavi.

In 1920s and 30s hundreds of thousands of South Azerbaijani Turks were forcibly moved to Persian speaking provinces and areas of Iran. Most of which were killed in opposition or vanished during the process of forced migration. Millions were put to the process of forced assimilation to foreign language and culture of Persian. Turkish language was banned and every aspect of national prosperity for South Azerbaijanis such as economy, commerce, culture, education, and media were denied and prohibited. After twenty years of despotic anti Turkish iron rule of Reza Pahlavi, he was deposed by world powers led by England and US.

Anti Azerbaijani policies of Iranian central government were followed by the deposed king’s son until 1979. During the second Pahlavi’s rule, more South Azerbaijani Turks lost their land, lives, and their very identity. South Azerbaijani Turks suffered more, and their land and people were degraded in every aspect of life. Step by stop the name of Azerbaijan was taken away from areas and provinces. Most of names of rivers, mountains, places, and cities were changed to Persian. Even naming children had to be in non-Turkish. In short, South Azerbaijan was de-Azerbaijanized and native Turks were de-Turkisized systematically. In 1945 by popular uprising, South Azerbaijan declared it’s regional autonomy and in on short year of semi independence, many progress were achieved by the government of Prime Minister Pishevari in South Azerbaijan.

In 1946 Iranian army occupied South Azerbaijan and burned most of crop resulting in great starvation and depression, forcing more people out of their homeland. From 1946 until 1979 the so called Islamic revolution, over one million South Azerbaijani Turks were incarcerated, tortured, exiled, starved to death, and killed by Iranian racist Persian-Shia government. In the last 32 years of so called Islamic rule, oppression, despotism were multiplied by the central government, and all anti Azerbaijani and Anti Turkish policies were intensified. Iranian apartheid government is literally destroying every resource of South Azerbaijani nation, making their land desolate, un-irrigable, and uninhabitable, and reducing people to mere desperate uneducated, and humiliated people of second degree in Iran. In the systematic and intentional process of destruction of South Azerbaijan by Iranian government, over 60 dams were construed on 30 rivers feeding Lake Urmu, reducing the water level to under 40 percent in the last ten years. Lake Urmu, being one of the world’s four salt lakes is reduced to less than half in just a few years to mountains and deserts of sand, threatening to destroy the whole ecology of South Azerbaijan, eastern Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan in the north. All statistics and scientific data supports the fact that the Lake Urmu is dying because of intentional stoppage of the waters of rivers reaching it. Facts show that in few years the tsunami of millions of tons of salt will be creating salt storm destroying cites and lands, threatening over 15 million South Azerbaijani Turks living around Lake Urmu. It is noteworthy to mention that the most of the rivers were re-routed to avert the Lake Urmu, making dams to create electricity providing Armenia with the generated power. At the moment, Armenia is occupying over 20 percent of the Republic of Azerbaijan, massacring over 50 thousand innocent people, and resulting in over one million displaced in their own country, the most in the world.

The aggressor, Armenia, is supported militarily and logistically by the big brother Russia and the so called Islamic Republic of Iran. In mid August Iranian so called parliament rejected the speedy review of the situation of Lake Urmu. To protest the dire situation, South Azerbaijanis poured to streets of South Azerbaijani cities in peaceful demonstration, only to be beaten, arrested, tortured, and killed in the response. Iranian racist and terrorist regime’s treatment of human rights activists and environmental activists resulted in more protests and popular uprising among ordinary people. Nowadays, every day, there are many peaceful protests in many cities by desperate people who are loosing their livelihood in their own homeland, and harsh and inhumane treatment of Iranian security forces, uniformed and plain-cloth. Pasdaran which is a world recognized terrorist organization and affiliate Basij plain-cloth forces are exacting havoc on South Azerbaijani cities, using even heavy weaponry and air forces. We are gathered here today to support human rights and environmental activists in South Azerbaijan, echoing their plight and their cry .

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