In October 2023, an order was posted on the official website of the head of Baku, Ilham Aliyev, to declare the historical territory of the village of Tog a state historical, architectural and natural reserve “Tug”.
As a “basis” for the creation of the reserve, it is noted that “Tug” is one of the historical settlements demonstrating the historical past of the Azerbaijani people.
The monuments located here belong to the ancient heritage of Caucasian Albania.
The order states: two months are allocated for the formation of the reserve, technical issues, management system and clarification of the boundaries of the reserve.
As a result of the 44-day war in 2020, Baku completely occupied the Hadrut region of Artsakh.
The historical settlements of the Hadrut region with hundreds of various monuments came under the control of Baku: fortresses and castles, churches, monasteries, chapels, shrines, mansions, historical settlements.
The Hadrut region with ancient settlements and monuments is one of the most important centers of Armenian identity, Tog is the center of power and the Melikdom of Dizak, one of the historical, political, cultural centers of Artsakh.
After the capture of the region, official Azerbaijan first began to develop the Hadrut region.
Visits of representatives of the so-called Udi community to Tog, Hadrut and Tsakuri were organized, where the Armenian heritage of the region and all of Artsakh was declared Albanian-Udi, and Tog was declared the oldest Albanian-Udi, Azerbaijani settlement.
The President of Baku takes an active role in the development of the historical region of Hadrut, who, visiting the occupied areas of Artsakh with members of his family, devoted quite a lot of space to the settlements of Tokh and Hadrut.
During one of these visits, Ilham Aliyev with his wife and family members also visited the occupied village of Tsakuri, in the church of which he stated that all these monuments are not Armenian but Albanian and there are fake Armenian inscriptions and crosses above them, therefore the Azerbaijani side will bring these monuments to original historical appearance.
On churches, chapels, Melik mansions, springs, houses located on the territory of the village of Tokh, there are numerous inscriptions in Armenian, made in different centuries, and such statements by the president predetermine their fate.
It is clear that the purpose of creating the reserve is to destroy the historical Armenian past and change the cultural heritage.
By declaring the Armenian heritage Albanian or Udian and appropriating it, the Azerbaijani side is clearly committing cultural genocide.
Based on the UNESCO Convention “On World Cultural and Natural Heritage” adopted in Japan in 1994, the Armenian cultural heritage thus loses its basic value and is deprived of signs of authenticity and integrity.
In addition, according to Article 4 of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property during Armed Conflict and Article Nine of the 1999 Second Protocol, any transformation of cultural property, as well as changing the method of its use for the purpose of concealing or destroying cultural, historical and scientific evidence.