BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 15. Azerbaijani NGOs working in the field of sports addressed the international community regarding the burning of Azerbaijani national flag in Armenia, TurkicWorld reports.
The statement reads:
"We - the Azerbaijani NGOs working in the field of sports feel compelled to draw the attention of the international sport community to the unfortunate episode that took place during the opening ceremony of the European Weightlifting Championship in the Armenian capital city of Yerevan. One of the event organizers set Azerbaijani flag ablaze.
We have dedicated our lives to promoting universal values of sport with special emphasis on equality, inclusion and mutual respect. Winning is important in any sport competition, but it is not the only thing that matters.
We can’t find the words to convey our dismay and outrage. It is not just about national flag which is the most sacred thing for any nation. It is about the total disrespect of the fundamental values of sport.
When travelling to Yerevan this week our athletes were well aware of the fact that they are going to the capital of the country which kept the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan under occupation for 30 years. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan decided to attend the Championship in Armenia because we believed the true spirit of sport should not be held hostage to difficult relations between our countries. We have also been encouraged by multiple statements of the organizers who guaranteed safety and security of the event participants.
The most barbaric act of the flag desecration performed by someone who was in charge of providing the normal environment at the tournament is nothing less than heinous. While Azerbaijan is trying to build peace, certain circles in Armenia are determined not to give peace a chance.
We appeal to you asking for your solidarity in the face of those who want to turn sport into a tool for delivering their message of hatred".