Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey
June 19 2005

Occupied Karabakh Holds Disputed Elections, Azerbaijani Refugees Not
Allowed to Vote

Jan SOYKOK - Parliamentary elections are being held in the occupied
south Caucasus enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian forces occupied
and many more Azerbaijani towns in 1991.

Around 106 Armenian candidates from seven parties are contesting
33 seats. While Azerbaijan called the vote illegitimate, the
territory's so-called 'president' says he hopes it will boost its
bid for international recognition. The European Union and OSCE
called Armenia 'occupier' in Karabakh and in other Azerbaijani
territories. More than 1 million Azerbaijanis became refugees. The
Armenian riot in the Nagorno-Karabakh has claimed up to 30,000 lives
and displaced more than 1 million Azerbaijanis. Now no Azerbaijanis
left in Armenia. The other minorities, including Jewish, have also
suffered from ultra-nationalism. Karabakh' so-called 'president'
Arkadiy Gukasyan promised an honest and transparent vote and warned
against any actions which could harm the province's image. All attempts
at violations, whoever the author, will be denounced and initiators
punished with the full severity of the law," he said.

Azerbaijan claims sovereignty over the territory but was beaten back
by Armenian forces in the war, which ended with a ceasefire in 1994.
Azerbaijan says if Yerevan does not withdraw its forces from the
Azerbaijani territories, the Azeri Army will retake the occupied
forces. Turkey has also declared Sunday's vote illegitimate. In 1991,
the Armenian forces had attacked to Naxchivan, and Turkey stooped the
Armenian occupation by warning the Armenians. Turkey says no state
in the region should change the borders by using military force.
Armenian breached the UN principles in Karabakh and other occupied

Two thirds of the parliament's 33 seats are to be elected directly and
the remaining 11, under a proportional system. Results of the poll,
which is being monitored by around 100 non-governmental observers,
are expected late on Monday or early Tuesday. For the elections to
be declared valid, at least 25% of the 89,000 people eligible to vote
must turn out.

Azerbaijani refugees cannot vote in the elections. If the Azerbaijani
voters are allowed to vote, Karabakh would possibly have an Azerbaijani