Australian Department of Foreign Affairs Admits to Knowing of Material Support of Azerbaijan by Turkey

By ANC-AU | Thursday, 29 October 2020

CANBERRA: Under Senate Estimates questioning in parliament, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade has admitted the Government is aware of "material support" provided by Turkey to Azerbaijan during the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

Chair of the Australian Senate's Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade Legislation Committee, Senator Eric Abetz raised the current war in Nagorno Karabakh, which began when Azerbaijan broke the ceasefire agreement and attacked the indigenous Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh along the entire line of contact.

The Australian Government, through statements released by Foreign Minister Marise Payne and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), has so far failed to point blame at Azerbaijan as the aggressor, nor has it condemned Turkey's destructive involvement through the provision of air support and deployment of Islamist jihadi mercenaries from Syria to fight Artsakh's indigenous Armenian population.

Despite initially only admitting to "verbal support" provided by Turkey to Azerbaijan, DFAT spokesperson John Geering was forced to admit to "some material support" provided by Ankara to Baku.

"If Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade is aware of the Turkish dictatorship's involvement in Azerbaijan's attempt to settle their expansionist ambitions by military force, why isn't the Government calling it out?," asked Armenian National Committee of Australia Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.

"Our community expects more from Australia whose position as a bystander is enabling a dictatorship to openly threaten ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people of the Armenian homeland."


Background on Australian Support

The largest legislative chamber of Australia's largest state, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly recognised the Republic of Artsakh, while condemning Turkey and Azerbaijan's attacks on the country's indigenous population.

While the Australian Government has so far played a bystander's role, public support for Armenia and Artsakh has been offered by Australian politicians at all levels of government and public figures, including parliamentary statements by Trent Zimmerman MPJohn Alexander MP and Minister Paul Fletcher MP, along with the co-convenors of the Federal Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union, Federal parliamentarians Senator Kristina KeneallyTim Wilson MPJosh Burns MPJason Falinski MP and John Alexander MP, as well as New South Wales Member for Prospect Hugh McDermott MP, who wrote a scathing letter to the Azerbaijani Embassy in Australia. NSW Legislative Assembly Speaker Jonathan O'Dea MP expressed his solidarity with the Republic of Artsakh and Northern Beaches Councillor Vincent De Luca and media broadcaster Jon Dee did the same.

The Australian Greens political party released a statement calling out Azerbaijan and Turkey for their aggression, while the The NSW Young Liberals passed a motion reflecting a similar sentiment. Ryde City Council also released a message declaring solidarity with the Armenian people under attack, while the Greek-AustralianAssyrian-AustralianPontian-Australianand Kurdish-Australian communities were strong in their public support for Armenia and Artsakh. Another strong statement statement of support has been issued by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

The New South Wales Ecumenical Council, which comprises of 16 churches in the state of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, has released a statement calling out Azerbaijan's Turkey-backed attacks on Armenia and Artsakh while calling for diplomatic intervention by the Australian Government.

The Armenian National Committee of Australia have petitioned SBS and petitioned Prime Minister Scott Morrison, as well as lobbied the ABC and other networks for their unbalanced coverage of the attacks, as well as advocated for support from Government Ministers, including for an investigation into Australian flights made by a cargo airline owned by the family of Azerbaijan's dictatorship, which has past links to transporting arms and support to terrorist mercenaries in the Middle East.

On Saturday 24 October 2020, a Covid-compliant March for Armenians received end-to-end media coverage as Armenian-Australians were joined by various communities to paint Sydney City red, blue and orange while calling for an end to Australia's silence on Azerbaijan's Turkey-backed attacks against the indigenous Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh.