With supporting of National Institute for Democracy and Marshall Foundation, CNIS held in Lenkaran City a conference on “Religion and State: Azerbaijan and Turkey’s experience” . Dr. Alaeddin Yalcinkaya, professor of the Sakariya University in Istanbul, political scientist Hikmet Hadjizadeh, historian Kamran Ismayilov, representatives from civil society and religious communities of the South of Azerbaijan participated in the conference.
In her keynote address the president of Center for National and International Studies, political analyst Leyla Aliyeva underlined that one of the major Azerbaijan’s achievements is construction of a secular society. And for this “Azerbaijan Democratic Republic which laid the foundation for tradition of construction of secular society in Azerbaijan must take great credit”, Leyla Aliyeva noted.
Kamran Ismayilov, historian, gave political assessment to the role of ADR in construction of secular society. “Unfortunately, relationship between state and religion during ADR has not been sufficiently studied by historiography. It is precisely under ADR that laicism was, for the first time, proclaimed as official state policy”, Kamran Ismayilov stated.
Professor Alaeddin Yalchynkaya telling about Turkish experience of construction of secular society remarked “reforms in any sphere shall be based on common sense and pluralism of opinions. Ataturk, for instance, having conducted reforms of the Turkish language and being publically criticized for that, after 3 years admitted that they were blundering”.
Hikmet Hadjizadeh, political analyst in his speech on “Religion and State in post-Soviet Azerbaijan” noted that “nowadays Azerbaijan is experiencing a profound crisis in relationship between religion and state”. “Gгeat problems are encountered in freedom of belief and religion. Meanwhile, no one has the right to limit this right. At the same time, every believer is to display tolerance. Religious freedom can be unrestricted unless it does not present a real threat for the society”, – emphasized political analyst.
The representatives of southern regions Esmira Turkhida and Zair Amanov – have also made speeches at the conference, underlining the peculiarities of relationship between religion and state in the region.
In their closing speeches Leyla Aliyeva , Kamran Ismayilov and Hikmet Hadjizade emphasized the necessity to conduct regular and open discussions of these issues, high culture and tolerance and the necessity for an overall context of reforms in the society.