Nov 16, 2011

Southern Azerbaijan: Residents Urge Azerbaijani Officials to Save Lake Urmia

As appeals on Tehran have fallen on deaf ears, residents of Lake Urmia, formerly the largest salt lake in the world, have written a letter to the Azerbaijani President and Chairman of the Parliament encouraging the officials to lend their support to the recovery project.  Threatened by increased resource extraction in Iran, Lake Urmia has lost almost sixty percent of its water in the last three decades.

Below is an article published by Azeri-Press Agency:

A group of Azerbaijani Turks living in Iran addressed the President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev and Chairman of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ogtay Asadov.

According to APA, they drew attention to the political, economic and social state of the Azerbaijani Turks in Iran, ethnic discrimination they face there, as well as drying up of the Urmia Lake in Southern Azerbaijan: “As you know, tens of millions of Southern Azerbaijani Turks living in Iran suffer from the cultural and economic problems and discrimination. In recent years, the Southern Azerbaijan has faced such serious problems that have turned into a life and death struggle for our people. This problem is related to Urmia Lake, which is called the “Azerbaijani Bride” for its natural beauty. The lake has threatened to dry up in the past few years. Being the world’s second largest salt lake at one time, Urmia lost 60% of its waters and is rapidly drying up. It threatens to create a large salt heath in the center of the Southern Azerbaijan.”

A heath containing a billion tons of salt will cause catastrophic environmental problem for the region. “Most of our people will be forced to move to central and southern Iran. It will devastate our homeland and displace our people. The Iranian government claims that this problem has natural causes, but the experts think that it was caused by artificial problems rather than natural. The government has not taken any measure for the prevention of this problem so far, which strengthens the above-mentioned version.”

The Southern Azerbaijani Turks asked the Azerbaijani authorities to help them to solve this problem: “We, a group of Southern Azerbaijani Turks, ask you, as the representative of Azerbaijani nation in the world, not to remain inattentive to the fate of your compatriots and not to refuse to give humanist and civil support. Your role in informing the world community about the problem of Urmia Lake will be important and decisive and will give a great support to your sisters and brothers in the South.”