Sunday 18 July 2004
June 15, 2004
Caucasus: EU Increasingly Targeting Georgia Over Conflict-Stricken Armenia, Azerbaijan
The European Union this week formally included Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in its European Neighborhood Policy. The move does not open the door to EU membership -- officials studiously avoid speculation, saying simply membership is "not on the agenda." However, the new neighborhood initiative could, over the next decades, lead to free trade, substantial aid grants, and extensive political dialogue with the EU. In the South Caucasus, Georgia now appears best placed to make use of EU goodwill, while officials say the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains a serious obstacle for Armenia and Azerbaijan.
June 11, 2004
Azerbaijan: Is President Ilham Aliyev's Power Base Wobbling?
Members of the Azerbaijani government and other state officials have been trading accusations of corruption and other misdeeds through the media for the past few weeks. Indications that political jockeying among the ruling elite may be intensifying have, in turn, fueled speculation about President Ilham Aliyev's ability to control his team.
June 09, 2004
Azerbaijan: Urban Development Threatens Baku's Ancient Inner City
Since it was built in the 12th century, the walled city inside Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, has survived invasions by Persian armies, bombardment by Russian warships, civil war, revolution, and the 2000 earthquake. But the site is now increasingly threatened by urban development and the absence of conservation policies.
June 08, 2004
Turkey: Fethullahci Schools -- A Greenhouse For Central Asian Elites?
The Nur ("light" in Turkish) movement is generally considered one of the most important Islamic reformist currents to have appeared in Turkey in the past century. One of this movement's subcommunities, founded by religious thinker Fethullah Gulen, seeks to breed a "new generation" of socially integrated Muslim believers who will eventually achieve high government positions. The collapse of the Soviet Union offered the Gulen community -- which is one of Turkey's most powerful socio-religious movements -- a unique opportunity to expand abroad, notably in Central Asia. RFE/RL correspondent Jean-Christophe Peuch reports in this second of a two-part series.
May 26, 2004
Analysis: Azerbaijan's 'Magnificent Seven' Stand Trial
The so-called preliminary hearing in the trial of seven Azerbaijani oppositionists charged for their involvement in the clashes in Baku on 15-16 October in the wake of the disputed presidential election opened in Azerbaijan's Court for Serious Crimes on 7 May. Although such preliminary hearings generally last no longer than one day, this one entered its 11th day on 26 May, albeit in the absence of the defendants, who refused on 24 May to participate in further sessions, citing numerous procedural violations.
May 21, 2004
Analysis: Azerbaijan's 'Grey Cardinal' Lambastes Opposition
Ramiz Mekhtiev, who served as Azerbaijan's Communist Party ideology secretary in the1980s and since 1993 has headed the administration of two successive Azerbaijani presidents, Heidar and Ilham Aliyev, has launched a scathing attack on the Azerbaijani opposition and on unnamed foreign powers that he claims sought to promote Islam in Azerbaijan in ways that posed a threat to the country's national security.
May 19, 2004
Caucasus: EU, Azerbaijan Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh
Yesterday's visit to Brussels by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev came on the heels of a decision by the European Commission to recommend the inclusion of the three South Caucasus countries in the bloc's European Neighborhood Policy. The decision -- to be formally confirmed during the EU summit in June -- will mean increased integration, but also greater EU involvement in the region's crises. EU officials told RFE/RL yesterday that the bloc is preparing to bring its diplomatic muscle to bear on Nagorno-Karabakh.
May 18, 2004
Azerbaijan: EU Keen To Get Involved In Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Process
On his first visit to Brussels, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev today visited European Union headquarters for talks with the president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi. Prodi took the opportunity to underline the commission's recent decision to include the three South Caucasus countries in the EU's European Neighborhood Policy. However, Prodi also indicated the EU will be taking a closer interest in resolving the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh.