Study of genocide typology applied to the Azerbaijani Turks in Iran

The term genocide meaning the “racial destruction” comprising of the Greek root γένος génos “birth, race, and “cide” in Latin (killing) is defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic or religious minority. The genocide embraces the components, as the political and social prohibitions, cultural and religious diversion, economic stroke to weaken any country’s economic power and finally mass killing.

The genocide, as a definition, includes the destruction of a community or members hereof, differing from others by their race, human beings, political views, religion, social situation or other separate features, in a significant number and in an orderly manner.

While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, anational, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

– killing members of the group;

– causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

– deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

– imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group children of the group to another group.”.

To study the genocide typology, it would be expedient to throw light on the matter from the standpoint of these three components, i.e. the cultural, economic and mass destruction. These genocide actions applied from 1925 up to present in the Iran political system to the ethnic minorities were observed frequently.

Cultural genocide

The efforts implying the identification of the Iranian identity with the Persian nationalism and transforming of other ethnic groups into a single state and nation reflected in the nation-state project advanced in 1925 when Reza shah came to power resulted in the victory scored by the Iranian identity on remained ethnic groups headed by the Azerbaijani Turks, exposed to the assimilation and it may be considered as the beginning of the cultural genocide in Iran.

And the Azerbaijani Turkic people, being victims of the nation-state project established by Reza shah in 1925, are constant subject of this cultural genocide both within the period of Reza shah and Khomeini that includes the prohibition of education in the mother tongue, penalizing the persons speaking their mother tongue, ban against the Azerbaijani music, books burned in 26 Azer and so on.

The objective of these cultural genocides was to melt down one ethnic group into other. The purpose of the genocide is that the targeted ethnic groups were assimilated without subjecting them to physical destruction. This definition meaning the “forced assimilation” in general identifies itself in the various transformations.

The cultural genocide means the forced impropriation of the oppressed group’s identity by the oppressive group, bans imposed on a mother language and forming of children in the schools in the spirit of the oppressive group’s cultural traditions.

Economic genocide

The most characteristic feature of this genocide kind is that the economic interests play a decisive part in the process of destruction of people.

The objective is to utilize the natural resources and raw-materials of a concrete region and to appropriate them for the benefit of the state budget. It is to be noted that the raw-materials were extracted within years from the Southern Azerbaijani lands and transported to the Persian regions that resulted in increase of unemployment and poverty in the Southern Azerbaijani regions, not distribution of profits evenly, mainly, construction of big and important factories only in the Persian lands, exposing of other ethnic groups to the forced emigration because of unemployment; all these are indices of the economic genocide applied by the Persian racists against the Azerbaijani people. In other word, if the Southern Azerbaijan region is always under oppression and in eternal poverty, it means that this ethnic group shall show its faithfulness to the central government.

Mass killing

A group unable to put up a strong resistance in such genocide receives heavy blows from the opposite side. The degree of violence in genocide intending for revenge is higher. If we have a glance at the history of the national republic founded in 1945 through 1946, we can easily observe the scenes of revenge implying the occupation of the South Azerbaijan by the Iranian Army, the fact of killing of about 25000 human beings, the forced deportation of thousands men and so on.

Conclusion

Despite of majority of the Azerbaijani Turks in Iran in terms of population, the anti-Azerbaijan policy started by Reza shah is proving out itself both in political, social, economic and cultural fields. They are not satisfied with the anti-humanist policy based on the idea of beingAryan of the Persian nation applied to other ethnic groups headed by Azerbaijani Turk people and it is followed today by the Iranian political regime. Despite the real feature of Iranian regime and Persian nationalism are known to the Azerbaijani Turk people, they understand that they will be exposed to the next genocide (for example, by draining of Urmu lake). The disaster to be taken place in the region in consequence of drying of Urmu lake, will be resulted in annihilation of the Azerbaijani territories, the forced migration of the population, damages caused to the region in billion USD. All these facts prove that the main goal of this policy is to uproot a whole nation, to transform it into another nation. This action of the Iranian regime is inconsistence both with the international legal principles and the principles of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Shahin Khiyavi – Human Rights Activist

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