The Embassy of Azerbaijan hosted a meeting for the reporters at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul Jan. 17, 2020 on the occasion of the Black January Day of Azerbaijan. Details of the contents published by Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan at the meeting were as follows.—ed.
On January 17, 2020, the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Korea held a commemorative event “Black January, struggle for state independence of Azerbaijan” dedicated to 30th anniversary of January 20 tragedy. During the event the presentation ceremony of the newly published in Korean “Gulustan Poem”-selected poems of the national poet of Azerbaijan, Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh which also included poems on January 20 martyrs took place.
The commemorating ceremony which was attended by Korean government officials, public and political figures, representatives of local media, professors and teachers from several universities, as well as members of the “BUTA Azerbaijan-Korea Friendship Association” began with a minute of silence in the memory of the martyrs of January 20 tragedy.
Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov welcomed the participants and touched upon the importance of the 20 January tragedy in the modern history of Azerbaijan as a turning point in the restoration of independence in 1991. The Ambassador also spoke about the translation and publication of B. Vahabzadeh's works in Korean, its contribution to the development of Azerbaijani-Korean cultural relations, and thanked everyone who helped to make this work possible. In addition to mentioning the active literary activities of B.Vahabzadeh as a poet, it was noted that he played a great role as a public figure in the struggle for national freedom of the Azerbaijani people in the late 1980s.
The publication of B.Vahabzadeh’s selected works in Korean was initiated by the Embassy in 2017 and was realized in the framework of cooperation with Korea Dongduk Women’s University, KYOBO Daesan Foundation and Moonji Publishing Company in December 2019 on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Diplomatic Service. The poems were translated into Korean and presented to Korean readers in 1,200 book copies. Thus, for the first time, selected works of an Azerbaijani poet were translated into Korean.
The event was followed by a presentation of the Embassy's representative on the history, causes and consequences of the January 20 tragedy, as well as on the global community's position on the tragedy. In the presentation it was noted that similar crimes had been committed by the leadership of the USSR in other republics as well, however, the most terrible crime in terms of scale and cruelty occurred in Azerbaijan.
Later, the translator of the book “Gulustan Poem”-selected poems by B.Vahabzadeh into Korean language, Mrs. Oh Eun-kyung, professor of Dongduk Women’s University, director of Institute for Eurasian Turkic Studies at the University presented the book. Professor Oh emphasized that the poet’s works appealed to the Korean public well, especially in view of the partition of the Korean people and the dedication of B.Vahabzadeh’s “Gulustan” poem to the divided Azerbaijani people. Professor Oh, referring to B. Vahabzadeh’s poems, said that the tragedy of January 20, was not only the national sadness for, but also the determination and strong will of Azerbaijani people. She emphasized that after this event the national liberation movement in Azerbaijan became a full political reality. It was also noted that after the tragedy of January 20, the collapse of the USSR became an irreversible process.
Professor Oh, in addition to talking about the book, also made a brief tour to the history of Azerbaijan and informed the participants about the ancient and medieval Azerbaijani states, including Safavid Azerbaijani state. She also touched upon division of Azerbaijan between Russia and Iran in 1813 with the “Gulustan Treaty”, purposeful transfer of Armenians to Azerbaijani lands since that time, declaration of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in 1918 and its demise just two years later, Azerbaijan’s regaining independence in 1991, occurrence of Bloody January tragedy one year before, occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia and perpetration of Khojaly Genocide.
The event featured photos of the January 20 tragedy and a book of selected poems by B. Vahabzades translated into Korean were offered to the participants.