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Azerbaijan Report: October 23, 2001

23 October 2001
Will Azerbaijan Render Assistance To Afghanistan?
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem recently visited Azerbaijan and a number of other Turkish republics and raised the issue of those countries' assistance to the Afghan people. Ismail Cem said during his meeting with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev that the issue was raised in the Islamic conference and a recent session of the European Union member and candidate countries. Cem considered it urgent for the Turkish republics to get involved in the issue.

The Azerbaijani President did not express an unequivocal attitude to the proposal but did not accept it either. Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan has always been together with Turkey and the policy will be maintained in future.

Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev who is now visiting Paris told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service that Azerbaijan is not the initiator of the issue. Moreover, the volume of the assistance has not been ascertained yet. According to Guliev, they have taken a political decision for Azerbaijan not to remain aside of the fraternal Turkish republics in this issue.

Vilayat Guliev is paying a one week-visit to Paris and he took part on 23 October in UNESCO's 31st General Assembly. Guliev told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service that he made a speech to the assembly on behalf of the Azerbaijani delegation and covered in his speech the ties with UNESCO, protection of cultural heritage, and the destruction of historical monuments in Nagorno Karabakh and other occupied districts. According to Guliev, his agenda includes meetings with several French officials and he will discuss the Karabakh problem with them.

(Babek Bekir)

Azerbaijani Embassy Will Open In Israel
In 2002, an Azerbaijani Embassy will open in Israel, Azerbaijan�s Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev stated pointing out that it has been impossible to do so up to now due to "financial problems." Israel has had an embassy in Azerbaijan since August 1993. But Azerbaijan did not hurry to open its embassy in that country and political circles connected it with the fear that Islamic countries could reproach it.The Islamic Republic of Iran has called Azerbaijan at the highest level to sever diplomatic ties with Israel.

Azerbaijan's former foreign minister Tofig Zulfugarov says that finance is only one of the problems in the embassy issue, but did not specify what the others are.

Independent political scientist Zafar Najafly thinks that Azerbaijan should develop closer diplomatic ties with Israel in order to protect its national interests. As to a possible confrontation with the Arabic world, there is already discord among these states over Afghanistan and opening Azerbaijani Embassy does not attract attention in this context.

(Natig Zeynalov)

Experts Comment On The Possibility Azerbaijan Will Provide Humanitarian Assistance To Afghanistan
Azerbaijani experts highly evaluate Azerbaijan's joining the campaign of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan although the republic itself has numerous problems. Azerbaijan's former state advisor Gabil Huseinli thinks that by being involved in settlement of international problems, Azerbaijan can bring its problems into the agenda of international relations. As for Azerbaijan's ability to assist another country while it has over one million refugees, Huseinli thinks that the proposal made by Turkey will most probably be implemented at the expense of the country that initiated it.

Mubariz Ahmadoglu, Head of the Political Innovation and Technologies Center, thinks that Turkey's intention of assisting Afghanistan is connected with the Turkish community in that country. According to Ahmadoglu, Afghanistan is a country where ethnic relationships are stronger than any other ties and by assisting Afghanistan, Turkey wants to help Afghanistan on the whole and the Turkish-speaking tribes in that country.

(Maarif Chingizoglu)

Azerbaijan's Ex-President Accused Of Possible Coup D'etat
Azerbaijan's Minister for National Security Namig Abbasov stated in his remarks to the ceremony on Independence Day, which was attended by Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev that his ministry has information that foreign forces are preparing to overthrow the Azerbaijani government. Commenting on this statement, some media outlets report that a new coup d'etat show is prepared in Azerbaijan.

Afterwards, former Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutallibov made a statement noting that the government wants to accuse his supporters in Azerbaijan of preparing such a coup. He said that some days ago on instructions from the Azerbaijani leadership special service bodies began to accuse his supporters of mounting a coup d'etat.The statement reads that the parties and organizations defending Mutallibov include saboteurs. Mutallibov said that due to the non-professionalism of the Ministry for National Security, they have obtained the names of those saboteurs. Under the plan, the armed groups under his leadership were to plot a coup and ensure his return to Azerbaijan with the help of foreign countries. But the effort was thwarted, according to Mutallibov. The ex-president thinks that the goal in realizing the plan is weakening the social base of the Civil Unity Party (CUP) and damaging its image. According to Mutallibov, the recent attacks on the CUP are part of the attacks on his supporters. Stressing that even the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party is aware of the state overthrow show, Mutallibov expressed concern about possible pressure on his party.

The Ministry for National Security Press Service Head Araz Gurbanov said that Mutallibov has no reason to worry if he is not guilty. Gurbanov said that the information on the coup d'etat will be provided at the appropriate moment.

(Zhale Mutallimova)

Special Purpose Police Department Members Were Not Pardoned
Although many people expected that the Azerbaijani President would pardon political prisoners as well as the members of the special purpose police group (OMON) in connection with the tenth anniversary of Azerbaijan's state independence, the president ordered the release of only three journalists. The numerous appeals the OMON-members' mothers sent to the president remained without answer again. Rugiyye Aghammadova, whose son served in the OMON, says that they had long expected that day and believed that the president would act as a humanist and pardon their children. Aghammadova says that their hopes have failed and as time passes their children die in prison while parents die outside prisons. According to Aghammadova, they cannot see their children, cannot help them and because of this, she wishes to die.

Aziza Nebiyeva, whose son also served in the OMON, says that they had expected their children would be pardoned on the Independence Day, but it did not take place. Nebiyeva again asks the president, members of the parliament, intellectuals and patriotic citizens to do everything possible for release of the prisoners.

Gabil Rzayev, Head of the Committee for the Protection of OMON Rights, thinks that they intend to submit to the head of state an appeal with the signatures of 30 OMON officers. According to Rzayev, some 15 officers have already signed the appeal.

(Maarif Chingizoglu)

What Does Repeal Of Section 907 Promise For Azerbaijan?
The Armenian side is already accepting as a fact the lifting of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which bans the U.S. governmental assistance to Azerbaijan. The U.S. government made efforts to repeal the section before as well. The Congress attitude to repeal of the section is not known yet but the U.S.-based Armenian organizations have declared that it will be impossible to keep 907 in force. In an interview with the Noyan-Tapan agency, Armi Vardanyan, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America, stated that Section 907 creates obstacles for the U.S. anti-terror strikes in Afghanistan. Vardanyan added that the restriction of assistance to Azerbaijan prevents the Federal Investigation Bureau from collaborating with their Azerbaijani counterparts in capturing Osama bin Laden.

Section 907 was adopted in 1992 and aimed at punishing Azerbaijan for allegedly imposing a blockade on Armenia. But now the repeal of the section is explained not by the lifting of the blockade but with U.S. needs. Over the ten years of its independence, Azerbaijan has lived under the pressure of Section 907. Economists say that over this period, Armenia obtained one billion dollars worth and Georgia got about one billion dollars worth of aid from the U.S. According to politicians, Azerbaijan can live without this assistance as well, what matters is the political essence of the section which is against Azerbaijan.

Political scientist Rasim Musabeyov thinks that lifting Section 907 will pave the ways for U.S. governmental assistance to Azerbaijan and eliminate the injustice created by the section.

(Natig Zeynalov)

World Azerbaijanis' Congress Chairman Sent A Letter To The Azerbaijani President
Javad Derakhti, Chairman of the World Azerbaijanis' Congress (WAC), has sent a letter to the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev expressing WAC concern about the Azerbaijani state bodies' intention to establish an alternative structure to it. Doctor Derakhti says that the WAC was established in 1997 and it has been recognized by the UN and a number of international organizations. According to Derakhti, the WAC invited government and opposition officials from the Azerbaijan Republic to its sessions and they took part in them. Derakhti claims that plans to hold a World Azerbaijanis' Congress under the same name in Baku in November will only damage the activity of the Azerbaijani Diaspora in the world.

Sabir Rustamkhanli, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament says that the name of the session has not been ascertained yet may be changed.

(Zerkhanim Akhmedli)

Azerbaijan Democratic Party Staged Action Of Protest
The Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) staged on 20 October an action of protest in the Galaba (Victory) square in Baku. The Baku municipal authorities had consented to this action and thousands of people took part in it. The action makers put forth such demands as " Liberate Karabakh from occupation!" "Bread, freedom and right to people!" "Freedom to political prisoners!" as well as "Put an end to all kinds of terrorism!" Aydin Guliev, ADP Secretary for Ideology, told the meeting that the Azerbaijani people has no other way today than to take to the streets and demand justice. Guliev said that he cannot agree with some persons' living in luxury while the population at large has numerous problems. Guliev claims that the party he represents aims at eliminating injustice and helping the people.

Then ADP Political Council member Natig Jebiyev read to the meeting the appeal of ADP Chairman Rasul Guliev, who lives now in exile in the U.S. The appeal underscored the party's goals for future. Rasul Guliev says that he has many wishes for the people but their implementation depends on his return to Azerbaijan.

The other speakers included ADP party member Prof. Adalat Rehimli and former parliament deeputy Zamina Dunyamaliyeva. Participants adopted a resolution demanding an end to unemployment, the economic crisis, and violations of the Constitution, the dropping of fabricated charges against Rasul Guliev and an end to political repression.The resolution also read that if the government does not react to these demands in near future, mass actions of protest will be held regularly.

(Babek Bekir)

Elshad in an article entitled "YAP's face" carried by the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" writes that now it is necessary for everybody to recognize the faces of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party. The author mentions the names of two YAP members - Seyavush Novruzov and Fezail Aghamali. The author claims that Novruzov is engaged in giving false testimony in courts, making speeches on instructions from state officials and abusing the opposition in desperate conditions. According to the author, Aghamali once was one of the fanatics of Heydar Aliev's team and now, he has been ordered to level accusations against presidential administration head Ramiz Mehtiev. Elshad writes that they aspire to come to power under Ilham Aliev's leadership. According to him, more difficult days than the present ones await Azerbaijan if such a team comes to power.

An article "Effort for coup d'etat" carried by the newspaper "Tezadlar" describes the recent mentioning of Azerbaijan's ex-president Ayaz Mutallibov's name in connection with a possible coup in Azerbaijan. The author claims that the former president did not note occasionally in his recent statement that due to non-professionalism of the Ministry for National Security, they have obtained the names of the saboteurs in the party.The author notes that Ayaz Mutallibov has close ties with Vagif Huseynov, former head of the State Security Committee and these ties can be compared with those between the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and the presidential administration head Ramiz Mehtiyev. According to the author, Mutallibov has recently been frequently visited by Tehmasib Novruzov, who was once accused of being informed about an effort for coup d'etat and assassination against Heydar Aliyev but not informing government officials of it. The author notes in conclusion that the saboteurs in Mutallibov's team are known not only to him.

Rauf Arifoglu in an article "Who feels himself in the opposition" carried by the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" writes that the tribe offers money to some and unity with opposition to others. Arifoglu writes that the president who is called a famous politician cannot settle the Nagorno Karabakh problem and prevent the crimes in Azerbaijan's Zagatala- Balaken zone. He writes that the government finds the people who are eager to help Azerbaijan and hurts them by all the possible means. Now the government is attacking the opposition members. According to Arifoglu, anyone who feels himself in the opposition and claims that he has not betrayed the opposition's interests will come out of the process honestly. The author writes that if the opposition does not seek ways to unite, then it will be difficult to overcome problems.

Zahid Mirelioglu in an article "Hajibala Abutalibov has learned to say 'yes'" carried by the newspaper "Hurriyyet" writes that after persistent appeals, the Azerbaijan Democratic Party taught the Baku municipal authorities how to say "yes". But the government hesitates to sharply say "no" to the opposition. According to the author, the position of leading parties is not understandable. Mirelioglu writes that it is impossible to gain a victory over the Aliyev regime in the country by keeping silent. Now, everything depends on the decision of party leaders. Their electorate waiting for a hint has long been ready to say "no" to the government.

The newspaper "Yeni Musavat" reports that two more members of the special purpose police group (OMON) have been detained and brought to Azerbaijan. Ziyatesh Aliev, driver of Rovshan Javadov, the late OMON-commander was detained in Astana and OMON-member Javanshir Hasanov was arrested in Russia. According to official information, both men fought against the Azerbaijan people and state in illegal armed groups. They are accused of illegal possession of weapons, opening fire on policemen from guns, and stealing weapons and a number of other crimes. Rovshan Javadov's father Bakhtiyar Javadov, in an interview with the newspaper, said that he knew Ziyatesh as the driver of his son, but he has no information about the second OMON-member. Rovshan Javadov's brother Mahir Javadov says that the only "guilt" of the arrested is that they fought for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

Erhun Saday in an article carried by the newspaper "Azadlig" writes that according to the policy of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party, the party members have planted trees along the sliding part of the Bayil road, they arrange concerts in the Azadlig square, and have several offices near the metro station Sahil. In other words, YAP-members can do what they want. But those who are not members to the party have no rights. Everything is for YAP except for prisons, a parliament member from YAP remarked to the parliament. The author writes that a division could be wedged regarding the issue: YAP-members are innocent, non-YAP-members are guilty.

The newspaper "525" writes that Chechens were involved in the plans to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin in Azerbaijan. Iraqi citizen Rostam Kenan together with a group of Afghans and famous field commander Arbi Barayev plotted a terror act against the Russian President. The Press Service of the Azerbaijan�s Ministry for National Security spread the information on 22 October. According to the source, R.Kenan is a Kurd and arrived in Chechnya in 1997. There he obtained a false passport with the name of a Russian citizen Kenan Magomedov. He came to Baku with this passport in February 2000. Rostam�s telephone talks were listened to and it became known that he discussed terror act with an Afghan called Shamshir. The security bodies paid attention to the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin�s name was mentioned in the telephone talks. According to local and foreign experts, the radio device taken from Rostam has no analogue and it has never been used in a terrorist act.

According to the newspaper "Azadlig," Azerbaijan gets ready to send humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. According to the newspaper, the agreement was reached during the Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem's visit to Baku. Azerbaijan's foreign minister Vilayat Guliev briefed journalists regarding assistance to Afghanistan. The assistance is reported to contain medicines and food.

The newspaper "Ekho" writes that the Musavat Party leader Isa Gambar has made a proposal to hold early elections in order to determine the opposition's single candidate for presidency. According to Gambar, his proposal can damage the government's plans. He noted that early elections will contribute to the rapprochement between opposition parties. Adalat Party Chairman Ilyas Ismailov noted that although they have always supported the opposition's unity, bitter experience shows that when it is time to implement joint documents, some parties and party leaders refuse to do so. Ismailov says that this could happen again. Because of this, he gives preference to discussions. Liberal Party head Lale Shovkat Hajiyeva thinks that the discussion of a single candidate is possible but it is not convincing that concrete results will be obtained. Lale Shovkat does not think it expedient to hold early elections.

(Compiled and translated by Arifa Alieva)