Center for National and International Studies
“Azerbaijani authorities use all means such as blackmailing, bribe and assault to silence its critics abroad.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev has been on hunger strike for 48 days. Some journalists consider it the longest hunger strike in the political history of Azerbaijan. Despite continues calls from local and international human rights organziations and public figures the court refused to relase the activist. Meanwhile more people join to demand immidiate relase of Hajiyev. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted about the activist as well: “I add my voice to the chorus of people and institutions expressing concern for Azerbaijani activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. He’s on hunger strike to protest his detention since December on politically-motivated charges, and his condition is deteriorating. The world is watching.”
Some private photos and messages of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev have been circulated on social networks which was described by the activists as “a coward act by the regime”. Beside being an illegal act many belive that the reason why the intimate content was shared was to defame and to damage the reputation of the activist. However, many political activists and opposition leaders condemned the those posts and renewed the call for the immidate release of Hajiyev.
Chairperson of the National Council of Democratic Forces Jamil Hasanli said that privates messages between Hajiyev and his friends were shared by the same people who are responsible for his illegal arrest. Hasanli’s Facebook post: “ Forget about those photos. They were spread by those who illegally arrested Bakhtiyar, who weaved a false criminal network to trap him. It is important to defend Bakhtiyar and save his life. He fights to death to find his freedom.”
Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli reported that Azerbaijan State Oil Company (SOCAR) offical aranged an atatck and a court decision against Azerbaijani activist living in Germnay. Mukhtarli’s post: The Hamburg court fined Berlin-based blogger Orkhan Aghayev based on the claim of Anar Alizade, the head of SOCAR Trading. Orkhan was not informed about the mysterious court proceedings and Orkhan was kept out of the proceedings. The other unusual aspect is that the case is being heard in the Hamburg court, despite the fact that Orkhan lives in Berlin. Another lawful step is to give the home address of Orkhan Agayev, who has found asylum in Germany under political immigrant status, to Azerbaijani government representatives generally, to a third party. This is a serious violation of the law. I recall that some time ago Orkhan was attacked in front of the apartment where he lived. He was beaten and severely injured. Anar Alizadeh sued Mohammed Mirzali in France, Fuad Aghayev in Switzerland, Orkhan in Germany and other bloggers. It is said that Anar Alizadeh is a relative of former president of SOCAR Rovnang Abdullayev. Azerbaijani authorities use all means to silence critics abroad: Immigrants are being offered money; they are blackmailed; they are sued; terrorist acts have been committed against them; Immigrants are slandered and defamed by the employed trolls; there is a group that regularly collects information about immigrants and sends it to Baku and propagates against immigrants on social networks. This group includes those who were known for critical oppinion in the past, took refuge in Europe due to political persecution and then started to cooperate with Aliyevs.”
Governance and Corruption
Accoridng to the latest news that were shared by the Turkish media, Pasha Holding bought 50% shares of Mandarin Oriental recreation center in Bodrum, Turkey which is one of the most important tourist facilities in Turkey, that costed 650 million dollars when it was construcetd. The Pasha Holding company, which also owns the Allium Bodrum Resort&SPA center located on the coast of Yalıkavak in Bodrum, belongs to Ilham Aliyev‘s daughters Leyla and Arzu Aliyeva.
Activist and journalist Tural Sadigli shared a investigative report arguing that Gilan Holding belongs to the first family contrary to the popular belife that it was owned by the minsiter of Emergency Kamalladdin Heydarov. Sadigli: “I think Radio Liberty, Meydan TV, Voice of America, and the rest of the independent media organizations should take into account this emerging document, that Gilan Holding belongs to the president’s family and in accordance with media ethics correct their mistakes. In their reports before 2018, they mentioned that this holding is owned by Kamaladdin Heydarov‘s family. I do not claim that they did it deliberately, but the fact is that the people of Azerbaijan were deceived through these media organizations. Thus, from 2005 to 2018, Gilan Holding was owned not by the Heydarovs, but by the daughters of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.”
Starting from the first week of February the monthly salaries of teachers working in state general education and vocational education institutions financed from the state budget of Azerbaijan, whose knowledge and skills have been evaluated, pre-service training and physical education leaders of young people, and employees engaged in management and training activities, were increased by 10 percent on average. Chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party Gubad Ibadoghlu commented on the pay rise saying that the new payrise should be appied to the salaries of all the teachers without dsicrimianton. Ibadoglu: “If the the officallly accepted infliation rate was 14 percent last year, why only 10 percent increase is applied. The increase in the wages should exceed the infliation so that the purchasing power of teachers’ wages reaches at least the level of the beginning of last year. Second, why is the increase applied from February 1 when the calendar year starts on January 1? It seems that this government knows how to save one month’s payment. Finally, why is the current increase not applicable to all teachers? There are also teachers in schools who have not been evaluated, their salaries have not been increased for a long time, and teachers working in state universities are also excluded from such increases. I believe that this leads to discrimination and is contrary to the principles of the charters of which Azerbaijan is a member.”
Chairperosn of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Ali Karimli said that the regime provocates tried to prevent them from visiting the Khojaly memorial. “Despite the YAP provocation, we paid our tribute to the Khojaly memorial. We commemorated the victims of the genocide with respect. Unfortunately, it is no longer surprising that the gang, which views the state as an object, staged a cheap spectacle against political opponents even on the day of the Khojaly massacre.”
Journalist Seymur Hezi said that “the provocation of the YAP members against the member of the APFP on the anniversary of the Khojaly massacre is not only disrespectful to the mourners, but also a preparation for Lavrov‘s visit to Baku, a message sent to the Kremlin that “we are with you in this matter”.
Activist Nigar Hezi said that the presence of Russian troops in Azerbaijan is disrespectful to the memory of the civilians who were killed in Khojaly. Today marks 31 years since the Khojaly tragedy. We have not forgotten the genocide committed by the Russians together with the Armenians in Khojaly, we will not forget! Justice will be served to Khojaly when the Russians and Ilham Aliyev, who brought those Russians to our lands, will be held accountable by the law.”
Khojaly Massacre is commomorated every year on February 26. On the night of February 25-26, 1992, the Amrenian Armed Forces occupied the city of Khojaly with the help of the 366th motorized rifle regiment of Russia, and massacred the the residents of the ethnic Azerbaijanis background. 613 people including 63 children, 106 women, and 70 elderly people were brutally killed, and 1275 people were taken captive.
February 28, 2023