Center for National and International Studies
“We will know the real results of the Sochi meetings in the next two months, especially if the peace agreement is signed...”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
The decisions of the appeals and cassation instances in the case of nineteen persons who were arrested in the “Tarter case” and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment for treason and other serious charges were canceled and returned to the appeals court for re-examination. On November 2, those cases were considered at the Ganja Court of Appeals. The long-term prison sentences issued by the Tartar military court against the eleven people have been canceled. Due to the annulment of the verdict against these persons, their convict status was also terminated. They are currently considered accused persons. The Tartar Case is a notorious torture committed against hundreds of soldiers and military officers.
Veteran Jahangir Aliyev’s family told Azadliq newspaper that despite their numerous appeals to the governmental bodies, their requests for medical treatment were not considered. Veteran Aliyev, born in 1999, who lives in Sumgayit, went to military service in April 2019, was seriously injured in the Second Karabakh war and remained in a coma for two months. Although Aliyev was sent to Turkey for medical treatment, after which his health improved significantly, his treatment was suspended, and he was sent back to his hometown. The veteran was diagnosed with severe brain damage that left him with a loss of speech and limited mobility. He lost one of his eyes, four fingers on one hand, and one finger on the other.
Governance and Corruption
Azerbaijani State Security Service detained the deputy minister of Culture Elnur Guliyev. As part of the operation of the State Security Service in the Ministry of Culture, twelve people, including the head of the Ministry's Supply Department, were arrested. Minister Abulfaz Garayev did not comment on the investigation.
Moreover, the Security Service of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was canceled, and in its place, the department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the AR was created. Mohsun Ashurov, who worked as the head of the Security Service at Baku Airport, was appointed as head of the new department.
Journalist Seymur Hezi said that the autonomous republic status of Nakhchivan should be abolished, and it should be replaced by an elected municipality. Hezi wrote: “Not only Nakhchivan Security Service but also all similar structures should be abolished. Especially the Supreme Assembly, the parliament of Nakhchivan, should be canceled. Nakhchivan should be an economic district. Several big city (regional) municipalities should be created in the country, and one of them should be the Nakhchivan region (big city) municipality.”
Human Rights defender Rufat Safarov said that the head of the autonomous republic, Vasif Talibov should be dismissed and brought to justice for the numerous cases of human rights violation. Safarov wrote: The Head of the Autonomous Republic, Vasif Talibov should be completely isolated from society. Vasif Talibov should sit in the accused's chair and answer the questions. He repressed many people, destroyed families, and ruined many lives. He behaved and still behaves like a medieval khan.”
Azerbaijani state security service announced that an illegal armed group created under the control of Iran's special service was exposed, and 19 people were brought under investigation. The Security Service detained Azerbaijani citizens suspected of cooperation with Iran's special services. The statement released by the Security Service states that comprehensive investigative measures have been carried out, and “cases of Azerbaijani citizens being held in the sphere of influence by blackmail and other violent methods in order to be used against the interests of state security have been determined.” Operational-investigative measures established that a secret illegal armed association of Azerbaijani citizens was created under the control of Iran's special service by inculcating radical-extremist religious ideas. According to the statement, the illegal armed association involved citizens who were previously convicted of various crimes and selected from among the members of the Muslim Union Movement. Abulfaz Bunyadov, the head of the press service of the Muslim Union Movement, told Meydan TV that the persons arrested by the Security Service are not members of the Movement.
After Iran's launch of military training on the border with Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan released information and said that under the leadership of Lieutenant General Hikmat Mirzayev, exercises of Azerbaijani Special Forces are being held on the southern borders with Iran.
Azerbaijan's Special Forces have started military training on the border with Iran. This is considered Azerbaijan's retaliatory measure after Iran's military exercises on the border. Meanwhile, the measures taken against the groups backed by Iran serve to limit Tehran's influence in the country and to neutralize the network it has formed against Azerbaijan.
The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Sochi to discuss the future of the peace negotiations between the two countries. At the meeting, which President of Russia Vladimir Putin also attended, the parties agreed to refrain from the use of force or threatening force. Member of ruling YAP Party MP Siyavush Novruzov argued that the mandates of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Karakah will not be extended. “It is impossible to extend the mandate of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh. If prime minister Pashinyan does not legally and morally fulfill the obligations, he undertook in the meetings held so far, raising new issues only serves to prolong the peace process. They want to tempt Russia and get support from Russia in one way or another. However, they forget that Russia itself has signed each of the declarations, participated in the negotiations, and agreed to be a participant in the resolution of the conflict.”
The Sochi meeting, however, was considered a backward step by the opposition parties.
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoglu argued that the Sochi meeting of the presidents bore no “practical results”. Ibadoghlu wrote: “Azerbaijan and Armenia remained at the exact position where they stood. Because there is no practical result for the parties to the conflict. Although the pro-government press will present the Sochi meeting as a victory for the Azerbaijani side, a diplomatic victory for Ilham Aliyev. However, not a single word was written in the final statement about the transport line between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan, nor about the withdrawal of Armenian military units from Karabakh.”
Journalist Seymur Hezi said that Sochi meeting signals the future possibility of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Hezi wrote: “The Sochi talks are fully in line with the objectives of the Moscow. The phrase “no significant progress” means that the endless negotiation process continues. That is, peace is like the sun stuck on the horizon. The twilight of the war will still linger. Aliyev, like Putin, is more interested in preserving the status quo of uncertainty than a concrete result. Putin and Aliyev still win under current circumstances. Will the Washington format of the peace agreement will be followed, and how is it going to happen? That is the main question.”
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that “if a peace agreement is signed in the next two months, that will ensure Azerbaijan's sovereignty over Karabakh.” Karimli’s Facebook post reads: “The USA and the EU want to achieve a permanent peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia by the end of this year. After the Prague meeting, Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan considered signing the peace agreement by the end of the year. There are two months to the end of the year. If a peace agreement is signed in these two months, that will ensure Azerbaijan's sovereignty over Karabakh, as it was planned from the beginning, then Aliyev and Pashinyan fooled Putin in Sochi. However, if there are clashes again in the next months, if it is not possible to sign a peace agreement, at least if the process is prolonged, then it means that Putin has unofficially agreed with Aliyev and Pashinyan (at least with one of them) to sabotage the Brussels process, in addition to the official statement agreed in Sochi. That's why I say that we will know the real results of the Sochi meetings in the next two months. However, we should not just sit and wait for these two months. As a nation, we should send a message to the Azerbaijani authorities every day and at every opportunity that we do not want to see Russia in Karabakh and in the region in general. We will not forgive if the authorities are involved in Russia's plans.”
Member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu said that as there is no democratically elected government in Azerbaijan, the public doesn’t have a chance to influence the decisions on the peace talks. Yagublu wrote on Facebook: “Ilham Aliyev sacrifices the interests of Azerbaijan for his chair. There should be a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Of course, this is a difficult process, and those who have leading roles in this process force the parties to compromise (without which it is impossible to achieve peace). When Pashinyan sees no further option, he says that “I can agree, but the people will not agree and will immediately flock to the squares.” Can Ilham Aliyev, who canceled the freedom of free assembly in the country, say this? Of course not! The whole world knows that Ilham Aliyev deprived the people of their right to assembly, so when they propose a compromise, they don't consider the factor of public protest. They just think of forcing Ilham Aliyev to make some concessions. Look, 2-3 days ago, 25-30 thousand people (almost the entire population of the so-called republic) held a protest in Khankendi, which is not even the size of a micro district of Baku. Armenians sent a message to the world that they would not make any concessions. Did Baku have an answer to this? Ilham Aliyev does not allow the APFP to hold a rally with 50 people in front of the Baku City Executive Power building with the demand to ensure the freedom of free assembly. Because he does not represent the power of the people but the power of family rule. The freedom of assembly should be ensured!”
November 4, 2022