On March 31, 2013, Azerbaijani-Americans solemnly observe the 95th anniversary of the March Days of 1918, known also as Soyqırım, or the Azerbaijani Genocide. Between March 30 and April 3, 1918, armed forces of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnak Party) aided by Russian Bolsheviks massacred over 20,000 Azerbaijanis and other Muslims in the city of Baku and its suburbs.
March Days were part of a broader campaign of extermination carried out by the Armenian nationalists seeking to create a state in the Caucasus and Anatolia. Consequently, over 1 million Azerbaijanis and close to 2.5 million Turks, Kurds and other Muslims were killed or deported from their lands in the early 20th century.
In 1948 and in 1964, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were forced out of Soviet Armenia. In 1987-1989, the remaining 250,000 Azerbaijanis were deported from their historical homeland turning Armenia into the only mono-ethnic post-Soviet state. In the course of the 1991-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War, over 600,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from the fifth of Azerbaijan currently occupied by the Armenian military. The most recent episode of this ethnic cleansing was the 1992 Khojaly Massacre of 613 Azerbaijani civilians, including 106 women and 63 children, by Armenian forces.
In 1919, the Parliament of Azerbaijan observed March 31 for the first time as the day of remembrance of the March 1918 massacres, and in 1998, President of Azerbaijan decreed to designated March 31 as Day of Azerbaijani Genocide. In 2012, the New York Senate adopted Resolution 3784 that became the first-ever legislative recognition of the Azerbaijani Genocide. And last week, on March 22, 2013, the New Jersey General Assembly issued a commemorative resolution recognizing the Azerbaijani Genocide and designating March 31 as Azerbaijani Remembrance Day.
On this day of remembrance, Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) and Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA) join Azerbaijanis around the world in observing the 95th anniversary of Soyqırım and pledge to continue seeking its further recognition across the United States.
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