Center for National and International Studies
“There is a big difference between the elections in Turkey and Azerbaijan: in Azerbaijan, both the living and the dead participate in elections!”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
At his trial Zamin Salayev, the chairman of the Salyan district organization of the opposition Popular Front Party (APFP), reiterated his innocence, denying the accusation against him. Salayev has been on a hunger strike for more than 95 days, protesting his illegal arrest and demanding release. Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that “the regime is conducting an anti-human experiment on Salayev.” Karimli said that the next trial will be on May 17. “Even today, the court did not change the decision to release Alizamin Salayev. On the 17th of May, if he survives until then, the trial will continue on the 100th day of his hunger strike. It seems that they are waiting for him to die of hunger. Everyone should protest against this cruelty and torture.”
Governance and Corruption
On May 14, the President of the Council of the European Union Charles Michel, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, and the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan had a trilateral meeting in Brussels. “Following the recent positive talks held in the U.S. on the peace treaty, the momentum should be maintained to take decisive steps towards the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement,” Michel said after the meeting. Michel also added that both sides had “made clear progress” regarding border delimitation and the leaders agreed to resume bilateral meetings on border issues. The leaders also affirmed their unequivocal commitment to the 1991 Almaty Declaration and the respective territorial integrity of Armenia (29,800 km2) and Azerbaijan (86,600 km2). The final delimitation of the border will be negotiated in the near future. He noted that the positions of the parties, especially regarding the re-opening of railway connections to and from Nakhchivan, are very close to each other. According to Michel, the respective teams of the parties have been instructed to finalize the agreement on the opening of railway connections and necessary construction works on a specific schedule. The parties also agreed to use the support of the World Customs Organization. As for humanitarian issues, Charles Michel said there is an agreement that more war prisoners will be released in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense issued a statement that another Azerbaijani soldier Garayev Mahammad Mahir oglu, a serviceman of the Azerbaijani Army, was killed as a result of the ongoing provocation of the Armenian armed forces.
Chairperson of the National Council of Democratic Forces (DCDF) Jamil Hasanli shared photos of the damaged walls of the old town saying that as a result of the construction works the medieval walls in the city center have been either destroyed or seriously damaged. Hasanli: “We talk about the destroyed monuments in Karabakh. But the Old City is being destroyed before our eyes, it is a victim of the ruling family’s inexhaustible love of wealth. In late 2006, the walls of the Castle were brutally destroyed during the construction of the Four Seasons Hotel complex. Demolition works carried out at Neftchiler Avenue with the intervention of heavy equipment, and machines led to the destruction of 50-60 meters of the walls of the Castle. Since the cafes and restaurants built along Asaf Zeynalli Street are adjacent to the Castle walls, the core of the walls does not see the sun and is constantly wet. The sewage pipes of those buildings are discharged directly to the base of the Castle walls. Since the condensers in cafes and restaurants are installed adjacent to the Castle walls, their water drops also drip directly onto the base of the Castle walls. On the one hand, the flow of sun and air is prevented, on the other hand, runoff water is discharged into the foundation of the ancient building. As a result, the walls that have passed the test of centuries and have come down to our time are eroded and carved, and cracked in some places. One day the fortress wall may collapse from those places. If the catering facilities, which are mainly owned by members of the ruling family, were to be built one or two meters away from the Castle wall the situation would be different.”
Member of the APFP Fuad Gahramanli said that the Party could not find a place to hold its congress as venue owners refuse to host them. Gahramanli: “Not providing a place for the party congress is an attempt to hide the APFP from the people. They saw that the meeting of the APFP Supreme Assembly was on the agenda, and now they are afraid that the congress will be the sign of a new stage. They still don’t understand that in the politics of this country what they get gets stronger, not what they give. In the eyes of society, where are the opposition organizations whose political genetics have been changed, given offices, money, privileges, and mandates?
Elections in Turkey
Two days before the elections in Turkey, mothers of the martyred Azerbaijani soldiers appealed to the citizens of Turkey to vote for Erdogan, not Kılıchdaroglu. The appeal was distributed by websites connected to the government of Azerbaijan.
Ali Karimli I have a call to my compatriots who are carefully following the election in Turkey and commenting on it. Say “Let there be political competition in Azerbaijan.” Say: “Let people have freedom of assembly in my homeland.” Reject the mentality that sees opposition as the enemy. Do not put up with the fact that the results of all the elections held in Azerbaijan are known in advance, and that someone else chooses instead of you. Say: “Free, fair, competitive election is the right of my people.” Say, “If the elections in our country are held under conditions of free competition, our people will only benefit from this.” I highly appreciate the fact that our people are carefully following the election in our brotherly country. In our country, politics is in a semi-legal state, and the electoral institution has actually been abolished. In such a situation, the example of Turkey clearly demonstrates to our people how free competition and democratic election competition are useful for the nation. The Azerbaijani authorities should also learn something from these elections. The most important thing is to learn to respect the will of the people.
Member of the APFP Fuad Gahramanli commented on the elections in Turkey saying that for the current government, it would be easier in the second round to win the elections. Gahramanli: “On the other hand, the victory of the “Republican alliance ” in the parliamentary elections with a large margin also gives Erdogan an additional advantage. In addition, the fact that Erdogan is ahead by more than 4 percent according to the results of the first round creates a psychological advantage among his supporters and voters. On the other hand, it seems more difficult for the opposite party, which received fewer votes, to win. In such a situation, maintaining the integrity of the electoral coalition, which has deep ideological differences, and remobilizing voters will create additional difficulty for Kılıçdaroğlu.”
Blogger Mehman Huseynov also reflected on the elections in Turkey using his traditional satiric post: All Azerbaijani TV channels praise Erdogan. They put the officials on the air. It is as if Azerbaijan elects the president, not Turkey. I don’t understand Erdogan. He should forger Turkey and run for the presidency in Azerbaijan. There is a big difference between the elections held in Azerbaijan and Turkey: in Azerbaijan, both the living and the dead participate in elections! So, real democratic elections are held in Azerbaijan! Voting is open for both those above the ground and those below the ground!”
May 16, 2023