Azaris are not Turks. They are Iranians who speak Turkish
June 7, 2005
I am sorry but my english is very weak. My name is Keyvan Valizadeh and I am an Iranian Azari born in Belgium.
I was taught in my childhood that we were "iranian tork" but when I was 16, I told myself that this was weird to be both iranian and turk. I wanted to be sure of my identity. And I remember that I hated the Persians because I heard from pan-turkist azaris that we were being oppressed by them for hundreds years.
The fact that we spoke a turkish language was enough for me to claim I was in fact a Turk. But with time I discovered that these pan-turkist nationalists didn't reveal us all about our history and many of their claims was totally false. But I feel to be turkish even if I begin hesitating about the origin of my people.
I was suddenly sad not to know my origins. I begin to search books about the history of the Azaris. I read books of Ahmad Kasravi and books of the "Azari nationalists". I understood that the historical facts were hidden by those "nationalists" and I found that many of their claims were lies (like the Azari language didn't exist and that the Azaris are in fact Turks that settled in Iran). Archeological founds said indeed the opposite.
But I was sure I was a Turk because of the language my family spoke.
My parents were very disappointing when I said to them that they were not Iranians and in fact traitors that prefered to change their identity. The castle of Babak Khorramdin, this Azari Hero that fought the Arabs was a proof for them that our ancestors were Iranians as both the Azaris and Persians spoke different dialects of the same language and that both were Zoroastrians at that time.
I was really impressed about their knowledge and was rather amused by the fact that I could have found answers of all my questions without reading all of these books. Azaris are in fact aware of their history, something the Turks don't know. But I wasn't still conviced.
I went to this famous Babak Castle that the pan-turkist Azaris praised. I didn't know why these pan-turkists that I admired earlier didn't said what was the real goal of his fight against the Arabs. Years before in Maragheh (where I am from) the pan-turkists gave me leaflets that said the "first Azeri hero that fought the Persians for their independance was Babak Khorramdin".
I was now shocked because I knew it was false. I knew that Babak (whose name I noticed was not turkish) was fighting the Arabs and not the Persians and wanted to restore the glory of Persia and the ancient religion of the Persians. And I distanced myself from them. Because I hated their ocean of lies and like Hafez said: Do not consider the intestinal conflicts of sects for, not having found the truth, they went to the invention
Today I feel great and can argue about our origins with other Azaris. Many of the Azaris I spoke had discovered the Truth too and were glad to say that their ancestors were Cyrus or Dariush and not the Mongols the Turks claim to be their ancestors. Some others didn't want to know. Books about Azaris are indeed very rare and the Iranians don't have written books about us contrary to the Turks.
Today even if I don't hate the Persian anymore (how could I hate my brothers and sisters ?) I am really confused about the fact that they have dropped us in this historical battle. Because I assume they think they have no right to intervene. Something that is totally irresponsable. If others peoples of the Iranian family (be it Lors, Persians, Baluchs, Kurds, Bakhtiaris, Gilakis, etc) don't help us the political agenda of Turkey or the pan-turkists will be achieved.