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Azerbaijani Minister Criticizes RFE/RL Over Eurovision Interrogation Story

Rovshan Nasirli was questioned about his vote for Armenia in the song contest.
BAKU -- The Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sport has criticized RFE/RL for covering news about the interrogation of some people who voted for the Armenian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Azad Rahimov says RFE/RL used the information that “someone was summoned to somewhere” to make a scandal.

“Everything is obvious on the Internet,” he said. “Anyone with normal analytical capabilities can see it is a political game. No one was summoned to anywhere.”

Referring to the 25-year-old who told RFE/RL about being summoned for questioning, Rahimov said: “Only Rovshan Nasirli out of the 43-person list was invited to the National Security Ministry. I don’t believe that the National Security Ministry had such a list and I also cannot believe that Rovshan Nasirli went to the Ministry without an advocate.”

The minister accused Nasirli, who first gave the information to the media, of acting as a provocateur by giving interviews to RFE/RL and BBC.

“As if the whole world was waiting for the information, BBC, the “New York Times,” deputies, the Bundestag, all rose to his defense,” Rahimov said.

Forty-three Azerbaijanis voted for the Armenian entry in the Eurovision Song contest in May. Some later complained to the media that the Ministry of National Security interrogated them.

Azerbaijan has belligerent relations with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave within Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenians.