The photo of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family, which was published on April 26, after their visit to Fizuli and Zangelan regions, was actively circulated on the Internet and in the media.
In the photo, the Aliyev family is hugging a plane tree.
Some Armenian media outlets and users shared the photo and announced that the “Plane Park”, which has the status of a state reserve in Syunik Province, has been handed over to Azerbaijan.
In his turn, political scientist Hayk Martirosyan confidently stated in his Facebook post that the photo was taken in the “Plane Park”. His post has had more than 600 shares.
Taking into account the fact that the above-mentioned sanctuary goes through the territory of Nerkin Hand community of Syunik Province, which is located right next to the state border, and the hypothesis that the sanctuary has passed to Azerbaijan prevails in the spread rumors, the Fact Investigation Platform contacted the head of Nerkin Hand community Khachatur Baghdasaryan, who said that no territory from the reserve has been handed over to Azerbaijan.
“How could Aliyev come to the park?” he wondered.
According to the head of the administrative district, the village is quite close to the border with Azerbaijan, but the village and the “Plane Park” (coordinates 39.05439394,46.53085603) are in the territory of Armenia.
As for the fact that the Aliyevs were photographed hugging the trunk of a plane tree, Baghdasaryan said that there are plane trees on the other side of the border. “The plane trees reach as far as Araks. It is true that it is sparse there, it is not as dense as here, but there are plane trees there as well.”
It is noteworthy that the official website of the President of Azerbaijan also reported that Ilham Aliyev’s family had visited Fizuli and Zangelan regions.
In his speech, Ilham Aliyev reports that he is in the Basut-Chay Reserve (coordinates` 39.0524144,46.6125114), which is located in the Zangelan region. This reserve was founded in 1974 and occupies an area of about 100 hectares. In fact, this reserve is a continuation of the plane forest. However, as the head of Nerkin Hand community told us, unlike the “Plane Park”, there are fewer plane trees there.
The Ministry of Environment has denied the misinformation spread by the media about handing over a part of the “Plane Park” State Reserve to Azerbaijan.
By the way, the ministry had also referred to the false rumors about the same reserve in December last year and presented a map of the reserve, which clearly shows that it is completely in the territory of Armenia.
In conclusion, we can state that the information that a part of the “Plane Park” sanctuary was handed over to Azerbaijan does not correspond to reality, and the Aliyevs were photographed not in the sanctuary in Armenia, but outside its territory.