Center for National and International Studies
“Erdogan is exaggerating Ilham Aliyev‘s closeness to Putin as a mediator, sending a message to the West that “you should look at his regime through the prism of geopolitics and security, not in the context of human rights and democracy.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Political prisoner Niyamaddin Ahmadov, who is on a hunger strike, was subjected to torture, according to his family. Ahmadov’s father, Arif Ahmadov told Azadlig newspaper that in a brief telephone conversation with his father, Niyamaddin Ahmadov said that the act of torture against him was carried out by Babek Iskenderli, the deputy head of the prison. Niyamaddin Ahmadov also said that another prisoner was beaten because he was on good terms with him. Arif Ahmadov asked human rights activists to pay attention to the issue.
Activist Ilkin Rustamzade reacted to the crisis on the border with Russia. It has been weeks that hundreds of Azerbaijanis who flee Russia are stranded on the border, waiting to be allowed to enter Azerbaijan. Rustamzade argued that the reason why the government neglects its citizens is that when activists were arrested for their political views, people chose to be indifferent to politics. According to Rustamzade, if the activists are not strong as a group, it is because the society is afraid to interfere in politics. Rustamzade wrote: If you had not left us, those who were at the forefront of the struggle, alone and without support, if you had come and stood by us, today we would be strong enough to help you.”
Governance and corruption.
Former MP Elkhan Suleymanov’s son Ziya Suleyman called Ilham Aliyev an illegitimate president and called for his resignation. Ziya Suleyman wrote two Facebook posts in which he criticized Aliyev for managing the country like a limited liability company and betraying the national interests for his own gains. Suleyman also mentioned that he was subjected to immense pressure after his posts and through his family members government demanded that he delete posts and apologize. He also added that he had reached the point of suicide.
MP Elkhan Suleymanov was exposed for bribing European parliamentarians in the infamous Caviar diplomacy corruption scandal.
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli reacted to the anti-west sentiments in Turkey, calling it dangerous for the future of democracy in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Karimli wrote: Open and hidden supporters of the family regime in Azerbaijan, use Turkey’s position as an excuse to justify the Russian occupation and Ilham Aliyev‘s authoritarianism. In their sick imaginations, they form an Erdogan–Putin–Aliyev alliance and pit it against the democratic world. By presenting Turkey as a force against the West, they try to create an anti-Western mood in Azerbaijani public opinion. These mercenaries of authoritarianism, dressed in the love of Turkey, present Turkey as a force against the democratic world. These mercenaries of authoritarianism justify Aliyev‘s repressive one-man rule in the country and his rejection of the demands of democratic reform from the international community.”
Member APFP Fuad Gahramanli shared a similar opinion arguing that Turkey’s Eurasian approach in its foreign policy doesn’t serve Azerbaijan’s national interests. Gahramanli wrote: if we approach the issue from a strategic point of view, we can say with full confidence that the Eurasian approach in Turkish foreign policy is no longer in the national interests of both Azerbaijan and Turkey. First of all, because if Turkey equates its position on Ukraine with the Western bloc, it can strengthen confidence and support for Turkey in international public opinion and cover a significant distance on the path to European integration. It is this closeness that will allow the Turkish state to change the previous position of the United States, both on the Syrian issue and in the F-35 program, and to reach a compromise. Because Turkey’s success in resolving problems with the West depends more on acting as a partner than on being on the other side.”
The War in Ukraine
On March 24, the UN General Assembly adopted a second resolution on Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. Azerbaijan once again did not take part in the voting. 140 countries supported Ukraine, while only five countries- Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, and Syria – voted against the resolution. Besides Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Comoros, Somalia, Venezuela, Dominica, Morocco, and Turkmenistan also did not take part in the UN voting.
The National Council of Democratic Forces has decided to hold a rally in support of the Ukrainian people on April 2. Members of NCDF called on society to join the rally to show solidarity with Ukraine and protest against Russia’s aggression.
Natig Jafarli of REAL accused the Western countries of hypocrisy and double standards in their foreign policy. Jafarli wrote: The West is not far behind Russia in its illogical statements. The Western countries declare Putin a war criminal and rightly accuse the Russian army of “fascism,” – but they consider the Russian army in Khankendi to be “peacekeepers.” The West fully supports the rightful and just cause of the Ukrainian soldier in its own territory – but, in our own territory, they are concerned about any movement of our soldiers and condemn any activity. The civilization has been doomed for a long time, therefore today, there is no truth, no justice, but double standards- we have fallen into such a mess.”
Fuad Gahramanli of APFP reacted to Turkish president Erdogan’s comment on Aliyev. In his recent speech, Erdogan praised Aliyev for having a good understanding of the situation in the region and for better relations with Putin. Gahramanli wrote: “At a time when all bridges with Russia are on fire, Erdogan is exaggerating Ilham Aliyev‘s closeness to Putin as a mediator, sending a message to the West that “you should look at his regime through the prism of geopolitics and security, not in the context of human rights and democracy.” In other words, if it is impossible to hide the alliance statement signed with Putin and Azerbaijan does not vote against Russia in any vote in international organizations, then it is necessary to recognize Ilham Aliyev‘s “special status” and try to use it as a mediator.”
Economic and Social Situation
Chairman of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu argued that the idea that Aliyev’s foreign policy is successful is a mere propaganda to cover the serious internal issues in the country. Ibadoghlu wrote: We have heard the same opinion about Erdogan in Turkey and Putin in Russia. This is propaganda that serves to divert attention from internal problems. After all, how can the foreign policy of a country whose name is associated with Panama papers, Pandora’s box, Laundromat, Caviar diplomacy, Anonymous Azerbaijan report, and is ashamed all over the world for corruption be successful? Taking into account that foreign policy in Azerbaijan is based on submission at the government level and social policy reminds slavery, I have repeatedly expressed my opinion about it. In this post, I want to talk about domestic politics. Undoubtedly, food prices in the Azerbaijani consumer market are growing faster than in Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom. But what does the Aliyev regime, which set the price of oil in the budget at $ 50 and sell Azerbaijani oil for $ 120-130, plan in this regard?”
Activist Shemshad Agha also reacted to the declining economy and rising prices by criticizing the government for misusing the state budget. The activist wrote: The occupation of Karabakh hindered the development of this nation for 30 years. Saying, “We are at war,” they committed all kinds of thefts. People’s lives were turned upside down, and became IDPs. They had to live in tents for many years, suffering from diseases, fighting against poverty under inhuman conditions, while a group of officials stole from the humanitarian aid and state benefits to build a fortune for themselves. Even now, part of Karabakh has been liberated, but in the name of construction, they will steal people’s livelihood for another 30 years. In short, we boarded a bus called Karabakh.”
Member of NCDF Gultakin Hajibeyli shared her observations of society, arguing that the most ardent supporters of the current regime are surprisingly among the most impoverished segments of society. Hajibeyli wrote: “I have noticed that those who avoid the regime the most, those who pretend to be deaf and blind, not seeing the country turn into a place of disaster and humiliation, and those who are the who are living in poverty. The regime has taken everything from them. They live in misery. Most of them do not have a house, the 300-500 manats monthly salaries they receive are only enough for utilities and transportation. They do not even imagine talking about basic leisure activities, such as vacation, traveling abroad, spending money on education and personal development. They lie in ambush to seize any opportunity to praise and whitewash a family that sees them as suitable for the life of slaves, not human beings. In fact, these people are trolls. But they are voluntary, well-known trolls. There are intellectuals among them. For 50 years, this regime has humiliated our people so much that it has condemned them to an existence unworthy of human dignity, and some people have forgotten that they are human beings, just like those who ruled this country. And some genuinely think that “they have to live this life, I have to crawl, this life is for them”.
Situation in Karabakh
According to Azerbaijani sources, in the morning, an Armenian army of 7 soldiers tried to attack in the direction of Farrukh village. Special forces of the Azerbaijani Army neutralized them. Two Armenians were killed, and at least two were injured, according to the sources. The Russian Defense Ministry said that after the talks, the Azerbaijani side ensured the withdrawal of its armed forces from the Farrukh settlement of Karabakh. However, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense denied the withdrawal of the army and issued a statement: “There have been no changes in the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the village of Farrukh and the surrounding highlands, which are part of the sovereign territories of our country. The information about the withdrawal of Azerbaijani Army units from those positions does not reflect the truth.”
March 29, 2022