The acting spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Hikmet Hajiyev, has this week spoken out against Armenia’s ‘politicization of tourism’, which his department believes is being used to legitimize the Armenian government’s involvement of the unrecognized de facto state.
Speaking to press earlier this week Hajiyev commenting on the apparent news that Nagarno-Karabakh would have its own dedicated stand in the Armenian Pavilion at the upcoming World travel Market exhibition in London.
Hajiyev took the opportunity to discuss what he views as a record of politicization of tourism employed by Armenian authorities to legitimize their ‘attempted annexation’ of the region. According to his department tourism is used by Armenia to portray Karabakh as an area under Armenian control and Armenians from across the world are encouraged to visit the region in an attempt to encourage Armenian culture and the local economy.
Hajiyev also commented on a previous attempt to treat Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent entity during a previous international tourism event.
“The participation of the Nagorno-Karabakh regime created in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories at the international tourism exhibition in Italy’s Rimini was prevented,” he told reportes.
Despite the news being widely covered in Armenia and Azerbaijan it was, however, later refuted by the event organizers who confirmed that Nagorno-Karabakh would not be given their own dedicated space. The statement came after a letter was sent by the Azerbaijani embassy in the UK to the event organizers.