The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict affected the entire Caucasus region and became one of the bloodiest ethnic conflicts, claiming 25,000 lives and creating one million refugees, which represents about 14 percent of the entire Azerbaijani population and it is the highest percentage of any national population in the world living as refugees and displaced persons.
The conflict started before the collapse of the Soviet Union and continued after its end. The two newly independent states Armenia and Azerbaijan’s foreign policy makers mainly engaged with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Armenian side demanded either incorporation of the Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia or establishing an independent ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’. Azerbaijan argued that the Nagorno-Karabakh was inseparable part of Azerbaijan and secession of Nagorno-Karabakh was unacceptable for Azerbaijan. The conflict ended in 1994 with a ceasefire agreement. As a result of the conflict, 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan remained under the Armenian occupation.