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Political monitoring


2017 March 06 ( Saturday )  10:42:28
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Русский 

 

Chronicle of Events

01/02/17: The Chairman of the Board of Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Frederick Reinfeldt arrived in Azerbaijan. On the eve of the visit members of the Azerbaijani NGO Coalition for EITI appealed to him to draw attention to the problems of the country's civil society.

01/02/17: The State Security Service of Azerbaijan reported on the destruction of four religious radicals suspected of terrorism and the detention of another one. The report said on January 31 there was an operation to arrest Azerbaijani citizens suspected of preparing a particularly serious crime, based on religious extremism.

01/02/17: Ilham Aliyev received the head of the Board of EITI Federico Reinfeldt and discussed with him issues of Azerbaijan with this organization. According to the official report, Baku intends to continue cooperation with EITI and to conduct measures to restore the status of full membership of Azerbaijan in this organization.

02/02/17: The Iranian Embassy in Baku issued a statement denying the accusations by the website www.haqqin.az of its transferring money to activists of the movement REAL. “Once again, we have witnessed a revival of Iranophobia in Azerbaijan and unwillingness of certain forces to strengthen and improve the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations,” the statement said.

02/02/17: Publication of slander against the movement Republican Alternative (REAL) on its allegedly secret ties with Iran and some financial aid received from the Iranian Embassy is not a figment of author’s imagination, but is the execution of an order of the political power. This was stated in an interview with Chetin Sual (Difficult Question) of Turan IA by the REAL Board member Azer Gasimli.

03/02/17: Moscow opposes extradition of the blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan, insisting on the inadmissibility of extradition of Russian citizens to third countries, said the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.

04/02/17: The Working Group on the single list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan issued a statement on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the arrest of the leader of the movement REAL Ilgar Mammadov. Despite the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the unlawfulness of his arrest, Mammadov is still in prison, the document notes.

04/02/17: The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko ordered to manage the extradition of the blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan. The Head of State said this at a meeting with representatives of the public and Belarusian and foreign mass media.

04/02/17: “Being a blogger or a journalist does not give any reason to break the law and does not give them the right to inviolability. For this reason, it is not necessary to politicize the extradition of the blogger Lapshin and try to give visibility to this fact as violation of ‘freedom of speech’. This was stated by the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev, commenting on the information in connection with the extradition of the Israeli blogger to Azerbaijan.

05/02/17: With the mediation of the OSCE and the ICRC the body of the soldier Chingiz Gurbanov, who was killed during the suppression of enemy commando breakthrough on December 29, was returned to Azerbaijan.

06/02/17: EU Leaders should put pressure on President Ilham Aliyev to release wrongfully imprisoned political activists, journalists, and other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said in connection with the visit of the head of Azerbaijan to Brussels.

06/02/17: IDPs living in a hostel in the Narimanov district of Baku at 4 Malik Mammadov Street (near the building of the former University Tafakkur) held a protest against the installation of electricity meters in their place.

06/02/17: Scheduled for 14:00 Baku time, the meeting of the head of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani with President Ilham Aliyev was canceled at the initiative of the Azerbaijani side. The European Union website said Aliyev refused to speak with Tajani because of the fact that the European Parliament would hold a debate on human rights violations in Azerbaijan on the same day.

06/02/17: The government wants to split the NGO Coalition for EITI. This was written by the Coordinator of the NGO Coalition for EITI Gubad Ibadoglu on his Facebook page.

06/02/17: The Civil Society Forum of Eastern Partnership joined 75 other NGOs and signed a letter calling for the heads of the Council of Europe, the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to use the current visit of Ilham Aliyev to persuade him to put an end to the suppression of human rights in Azerbaijan.

06/02/17: In Brussels, with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev talks were held at the highest level on a draft strategic partnership agreement, which will cover the areas of energy, economy, transport, trade, politics, human rights and others.

06/02/17: The European Union supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and considers it as its important partner. This was stated by the European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. “We are based on reliable and strategic partnership and we want to further expand the cooperation. Azerbaijan is of great importance for the energy security and diversification of Europe's energy supply. We have a common commitment to the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor,” Tusk said before the press.

06/02/17: The head of the Shaki branch of PFPA Islam Hasanov was arrested on charges of insulting a traffic police officer. The court arrested him for 25 days.

07/02/17: Ukraine and Azerbaijan agreed not to pass goods produced in their territories not controlled by Baku and Kiev, without the approval of the authorities of each other, Ukrainian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Alexander Mishchenko said.

07/02/17: The Supreme Court of Belarus upheld the extradition of the blogger Lapshin to Azerbaijan, BELTA reported.

07/02/17: Internally displaced people held a protest action against the bad socio-economic situation in the Garachukhur residential area of Baku. The protest was provoked by bills for electricity, which were handed to IDPs from Karabakh.

07/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev received the French Secretary of State for State Reforms and the Chairman of the Environmentalist Party Jean-Vincent Platz. On the same day Aliyev received the Vice President of the Centrist Democrat International Mario David. The details were not disclosed.

07/02/17: A special plane of the Azerbaijani airway company Silk Way Business brought the blogger Alexander Lapshin to Baku. Belarus extradited him at the request of Azerbaijan.

07/02/17: At various parts of the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces firing with mortars and large-caliber gun mounts was observed, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan reported.

07/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev called the head of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Aliyev expressed gratitude to the Belarusian side and personally to President Lukashenko for demonstrating fair position and decisive step in connection with the extradition of Alexander Lapshin, against whom a criminal case was filed under the relevant articles of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, to Azerbaijan. He described the move as the observance of the rule of law and international conventions, and the manifestation of the Azerbaijan-Belarus friendship and strategic partnership.

08/02/17: The head of the youth organization of the Shaki branch of the Popular Front Party Samir Hasanov was administratively arrested for 23 days by the decision of a local court.

08/02/17: Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry urged not to politicize the case of the blogger Lapshin, who was arrested and extradited from Belarus to Baku. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry once again called upon foreign citizens to avoid traveling to the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia. At the same time, other states should notify their citizens about the legal consequences of such visits, the statement said.

08/02/17: The Civil Society Protection Committee called for strengthening the democratic dimension of the future partnership agreement between EU and Azerbaijan.

08/02/17: Restoring the Jojug Mardjanly village of the Jabrail district will be the first pilot project for the return of IDPs to their homes. These steps are supported by international organizations, the official representative of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev told reporters.

08.02.17: The US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta and the diplomats Susan Chelsea and William Solly had a meeting with the Executive Secretary of the movement REAL Natig Jafarli and a member of the Board Azer Gasimli.

09/02/17: The Interior Ministry filed a lawsuit against the blogger Mehman Huseynov, said his lawyer Elchin Sadygov. The case would be considered in the Surakhani District Court under the chairmanship of Ceyhun Gasimov on February 10. However, the prosecution did not receive the indictment and would insist on the postponement, the lawyer said.

09/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev received the Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of PACE Alain Destexhe, the website of the Head of State reported. Aliyev noted that the relations between the Council of Europe and Azerbaijan continue for more than 15 years and close cooperation is maintained with various Council of Europe bodies. According to Aliyev, the country has made important steps towards democratization, reforms, and diversification of the economy. The activities of Destexhe are criticized by local human rights defenders.

09/02/17: The Musavat party issued a statement which said that on February 9 the police and workers of the State Property Committee ‘seized’ the office that housed the local offices of Musavat and the Popular Front. Musavat considered the seizure of the premises, the forcible eviction and destruction of the records as a ‘manifestation of vandalism’ and called for an end to this.

10/02/17: The Civil Society Protection Committee expressed concern about the situation around the NGO Coalition for EITI. It said the activities of the Coalition and the tripartite working group, which includes the NGO Coalition for EITI, the State Oil Fund and the international EITI, was almost paralyzed.

10/02/17: The Speaker of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of PACE Alain Destexhe met with representatives of civil society of Azerbaijan. In particular, he had a conversation with the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and the blogger Mehman Huseynov. Destexhe was interested in the situation with freedom of the media and Internet, the persecution of online activists and journalists, including the blogger himself.

10/02/17: The Secretary of State to the Prime Minister of France on Public Administration, Jean-Vincent Platz met with a group of civil society activists of Azerbaijan. The sides discussed the state and problems of civil society in Azerbaijan.

10/02/17: Amnesty International called on the Government of Azerbaijan to investigate the violations of the right to a fair trial and the facts of torture of Taleh Bagirzadeh and another 17 people.

11/02/17: In order to improve the penal sphere, achieve the humanization of punishment and expand the use of alternative measures without isolation from society, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev created a probation service.

12/02/17: The Head of State Ilham Aliyev received the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkevichs. They discussed the development of the bilateral relations.

13/02/17: Amnesty International called on the Azerbaijani authorities to release the blogger Alexander Lapshin, who was arrested in Minsk at the request of Azerbaijan and extradited to Baku a few days before for illegally crossing the border and appeals against the statehood of Azerbaijan.

13/02/17: A wide range of the Azerbaijani-Georgian relations was discussed in Baku at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Elmar Mammadyarov and Mikheil Dzhanelidze. As Mammadyarov said at a briefing after the meeting, the parties in detail discussed issues of cooperation in the field of transport.

13/02/17: The Civil Society Protection Committee called on the Azerbaijani authorities to put an end to the repression and unconditionally release all political prisoners.

13/02/17: A new agreement between Azerbaijan and the European Union might be prepared for the summit of the Eastern Partnership in November this year, the Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevichs said in Baku. He expressed hope that the new agreement would make the partnership strategic.

14/02/17: At the meeting of Milli Majlis the MPs harshly criticized the French President Francois Hollande for his statements about the Karabakh conflict. In recent days, Armenian media reported that Hollande during his meeting with members of the Armenian community of France said the Karabakh conflict should be resolved on the basis of the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination.

14/02/17: Carrying out the so-called "referendum" in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh is an open violation of the Azerbaijani Constitution and international law, and therefore the results will never have any legal force. This was stated by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry in connection with the upcoming February 20 "referendum" held by the separatist regime with the aim of amending the "constitution" of Karabakh.

14/02/17: Representatives of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) visited the Azerbaijani soldier Elnur Huseynzadeh captured by Armenians on February 1.

15/02/17: The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree On Amendments to the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan on January 23, 2017 On Establishing the Unified Monthly Benefit for Internally Displaced Persons and Persons Equated to Them. This was a concession to the protesting IDPs. According to the order, the utilities for IDPs temporarily stationed in places where meters could not be installed or used (former hostels, spa resorts, motels, etc.) will be paid by the state in a centralized manner under the rules that were in effect prior to January 1, 2017.

15/02/17: Dozens of employees of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Azerbaijan and representatives of international organizations went to the liberated village Jojug Mardjanly of the Jabrayil region. According to the State Committee for Refugees, the diplomats were acquainted with the work on restoration of the village and the return of internally displaced persons.

16/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev received the Chief of the US Armed Forces Joint Committee of Staff Chiefs Joseph Dunford. As the President's website said, during the meeting the successful development of the bilateral relations was noted in the military, political, economic, defense and security sectors.

16/02/17: The British lawyer Ramute Remezaite, coming from London, was detained in the Baku airport at night and then expelled from Azerbaijan. She is a lawyer, which monitors the implementation of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Azerbaijan. She also served as a lawyer at the European Court for claims of citizens of Azerbaijan and has published several articles on the topic of human rights violations in Azerbaijan.

16/02/17: The European Court of Human Rights announced the decision in cases of another 11 applicants from Azerbaijan. ECHR fined the Azerbaijani government for 140 thousand Euros.

16/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev received Iran's Justice Minister Mustafa Pourmohammadi. Aliyev said there are good opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the field of law enforcement. Aliyev expressed confidence that Pourmohammadi’s talks and exchange of views with the Azerbaijani counterparts will open new opportunities for cooperation.

17/02/17: Marine Corps General, Chairman of the Joint Committee of Staff Chiefs Joe Dunford and Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Army General Valery Gerasimov discussed a wide range of issues at a meeting in Baku. The military leaders exchanged views on the US-Russian military relations and international security situation in Europe, the Middle East and in other key regions.

17/02/17: The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, Stephan Visconti (France) and Richard Hoagland (USA) after a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Berlin on February 16 made a statement. They called on the parties to show restraint and to prepare their populations for peace and not for war.

18/02/17: Azerbaijan will never agree to independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. This was stated by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in an interview with Al Jazeera TV. “This attack is not only on the historical heritage of Azerbaijan, but at the same time on the Islamic values, Islamic historical legacy. Therefore, Armenia's attempts to strengthen or sometimes to normalize relations with some Muslim countries cause great surprise. I believe the resolutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which openly recognize Armenia as an aggressor, should be the main message to all the Muslim countries willing to develop relations with Armenia,” Aliyev said.

18/02/17: Police officers of the Surakhani district of Baku took four sisters, their husbands and the children of Ordukhan Temirkhan, a political emigrant living in the Netherlands, to the police. They were required to force the blogger to abandon political activities and criticism of the government of Azerbaijan.

19/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev made a 17-19 February visit to Germany to attend the traditional Munich Security Conference.

19/02/17: A group of human rights activists presented a list of 27 political prisoners to the Commission on the Prerogative of Mercy, and a joint working group on Human Rights. This was done in order to include them in the expected order of pardon to the Novruz holiday. Turan was reported by the head of the Azerbaijan National Committee of Helsinki Civil Assembly Arzu Abdullayeva. The list was made by Arzu Abdullayeva, Novella Jafaroglu, Saida Gojamanli, Saadat Bananyarli, Avaz Hasanov and Mirvari Gahramanli.

19/02/17: Within the framework of the Munich Security Conference, President Ilham Aliyev met with the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. According to the report on the website of the President, the two sides discussed various aspects of the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations.

20/02/17: The journalists Ayten Farhadova and Ainura Heydarova filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in relation to the ban on leaving Azerbaijan. According to the lawyer Fariz Namazly, the ban was associated with the investigation of a criminal case against the Internet publication Meydan TV.

20/02/17: SIPRI Stockholm International Peace Institute published the annual report on armaments. The study "International trends in the supply of arms -2016" says Azerbaijan purchased more weapons than usual. Among the customers of the 40 largest arms manufacturers, Azerbaijan took the 21st place. Compared with Armenia, Azerbaijan is far ahead in armament.

20/02/17: The Ministry of Health signed an order to strengthen the fight against corruption in this area. The Health Ministry press service said hospitals were ordered to tighten control over the release of drugs to the subsidized groups, as well as on the government programs.

20/02/17: The activist of the Sumgait branch of the movement REAL Rahim Shaliyev was detained. The young man was taken by the police out of the house and to a local police station, and from there – to the city police department. He was sentenced to 30 days of administrative arrest.

20/02/17: Six employees of the newspaper Azadlig were interrogated on 18 and 20 February at the Investigation Department on Grave Crimes of the General Prosecutor's Office of Azerbaijan. In particular, called for questioning were Ilham Hussein, Ayten Mammadova, Elshan Shirinov, Vidadi Mammadov, Khalid Garayev and Fizza Heydarova.

20/02/17: The police pressure on the relatives of the opposition blogger Ordukhan Teymurkhan living in the Netherlands continued. His brother and nephew Sabuhi and Khanlar were arrested for 30 days. Both were charged with disobeying police, he told Meydan TV.

20/02/17: An activist of the movement D18 Gadir Agakishiyev was arrested by a court decision of Sumgait city for 30 days. As the head of the movement Ruslan Izzatli explained, the reason for the arrest was his social and political activism.

20/02/17: The State Security Service arrested two Azerbaijani citizens,  Elshan Amiri and Elchin Babayev on charges of treason and espionage. According to the SSS report, from January 2016 the activities of these individuals were brought under operational control.

20/02/17: Activists of the Masalli branch of the Popular Front Party, Elvin Bahramov and Farasat Ahmadov were taken away from their homes to the district police. The same day, Masalli District Court arrested them for 30 days in administrative proceedings on charges of disobeying police.

21/02/17: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev appointed Mehriban Aliyeva First Vice President of the country, “I believe that I will justify the confidence of President Ilham Aliyev and all those who believe in me,” Mrs. Aliyeva said at the Security Council during the appointment of the Vice President.

21/02/17: “There is nothing sensational in this decision. It was to be expected,” the executive secretary of the movement REAL Natig Jafarli told Turan. “If it improves the management system, delimits the powers between the Presidential Administration and the Cabinet, then why not,” said Jafarli.

The leader of the Popular Front Party Ali Kerimli said the appointment actually formalized the family power existing in Azerbaijan.

21/02/17: A young activist of the Surakhani district branch of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, Amil Mammadzadeh was arrested for 30 days.

21/02/17: The Chairman of the Yasamal district branch of the Classic Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, Nisakhanum Valiyeva was detained by police. She was first taken from the house to the 29th police precinct of the Yasamal District Police Administration. She was kept there for two hours and then taken to the Yasamal District Police Administration, where she was also kept for two hours.

21/02/17: The editor of the Azadlig newspaper Rovshan Hajibeyli was questioned in the Investigation Department for Serious Crimes of the Prosecutor General.

21/02/17: Another opposition activist Namig Abbasaliyev was detained and taken to the 6th precinct of the Binagadi district police on charges of disobeying police.

22/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev received US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Robin Dunnigan and the accompanying persons. Details of the meeting were not disclosed.

22/02/17: The Investigation Department of the Prosecutor's Office for Serious Crimes questioned a columnist of the newspaper Azadlig Shahvalad Chobanoglu and a photographer Tazakhan Miralamli.

22/02/17: The Head of State Ilham Aliyev received the State Minister of Japan for Economy, Trade and Industry, Yoshifumi Matsumura. Details of the negotiations were not announced.

22/02/17: Amnesty International published its latest report on the human rights situation in the world in 2016, comparing Azerbaijan with Central Asian regimes.

22/02/17: An activist of the movement REAL Rahim Shaliyev was tortured in Sumgait City Police Department. Turan was told by his lawyer Yalchin Imanov, who visited Shaliyev in Sumgait police.

22/02/17: The leader of the movement For the Sake of the Motherland, Abdul Abdulov welcomed the appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva the First Vice-President “Congratulating Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva on this appointment, at the same time I'm talking about people's expectations of the beginning of considerable reforms across the country,” he said.

22/02/17: An Azerbaijani soldier Khanoglan Khalilov was killed on the Karabakh front. The soldier was killed in a shelling from the Armenian side.

22/02/17: The theologian Sardar Babayev was arrested In the Masalli region (south of Azerbaijan), the lawyer Javad Javadov told Turan. According to him, the criminal investigation against Babayev was launched at the end of last year on the basis of appeals of the executive power of the Masalli region.

22/02/17: All the cable TV channels in Azerbaijan by the decision of the National Broadcasting Council suspended the broadcasting of the Turkish Fox TV because of the irony of the anchorman on the appointment of Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva Vice President of Azerbaijan.

22/02/17: An activist of the Khatai branch of the Popular Front Party Vasif Muzafarov was detained by police on February 22 at the exit from the house and taken to police. They took away his phone and made him delete a page on Facebook. The district court arrested the activist for 30 days for disobeying police, which was a continuation of the mass repressions against members of the opposition party, according to PFPA. The party said eight of its members were arrested in the past two weeks.

23/02/17: The Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan announced an international arrest warrant on the members of the European Parliament Frank Engel (Luxembourg), Eleni Teoharus (Cyprus) and Jaromir Stetina (Czech Republic). The reason for this was their visit to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in connection with the so-called "constitutional referendum" conducted by Karabakh separatists.

23/02/17: The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal case against scientists from Armenia, Spain and the UK, who carried out field research in the Azikh cave in the occupied Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

23/02/17: The Head of State Ilham Aliyev met with the Vice President of the European Commission for Energy Maroš Shefkovich, who arrived in Baku to participate in the meeting of the Consultative Council for the Southern Gas Corridor project.

23/02/17: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Khojaly urged the international community to condemn the massacre committed by Armenian military in the town in Nagorno-Karabakh, populated by Azerbaijanis, and recognize it as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.

24/02/17: The local court in Sheki arrested an activist of the party Musavat Yousif Garayev for 25 days. As stated in the party report, police took Garayev from his home, accusing him of insubordination. Colleagues of the opposition activist believe the reason for the arrest was the zonal conference of members of Musavat, held in his apartment on February 19.

24/02/17: The National Council of Democratic Forces strongly condemned President Ilham Aliyev for appointing his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva First Vice President of Azerbaijan.

25/02/17: Azerbaijan marked the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Khojaly. In the night from 25 to 26 February 1992 the second most important Azerbaijani town of Nagorno-Karabakh, Khojaly was occupied by Armenian armed forces, with the active participation of military personnel and military equipment of the 366th motorized rifle regiment of the Russian Federation stationed in Karabakh.

25/02/17: The head of the Executive Office of the party Musavat Gulaga Aslanli was summoned to the Investigation Department for Serious Crimes at the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan. Aslanli told Turan he was interrogated as a witness in the case “On people trying to get the emigrant status abroad on forged documents.”

26/02/17: A mass rally was held in Baku on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide. The procession began from Azadlig Square, from where thousands of people walked to the Genocide Victims Memorial in the Khatai district of Baku.

26/02/17: President Ilham Aliyev left for an official visit to Qatar. On the same day, Aliyev met with the President and CEO Qatar Petroleum Saad al-Kaabi Sherid. The sides discussed prospects of cooperation in joint energy projects in the Caspian and by SOCAR in other countries. Aliyev also held talks with the head of Al Faisal Holding Faisal bin Qasim bin Faisal Al Thani.

25/02/17: The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan destroyed a long-term fire point of the Armenian army. In addition, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan reported that an enemy drone was shot down, when trying to carry out reconnaissance flights over the Azerbaijani positions in the direction of the village Talysh. The Armenian side also suffered other losses, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan reported.

26/02/17: Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Karabakh conflict, Igor Popov (Russia), Stefan Visconti (France) and Richard Hoagland (USA) called for access to the bodies of the victims. This is stated in a statement released by the press service of the OSCE. The bodies of several Azerbaijani military men remained in the neutral zone.

27/02/17: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan announced Armenia responsible for the escalation of tension in the zone of the Karabakh conflict on the night of February 25.

27/02/17: In Doha, Qatar in the framework of the official visit of President Ilham Aliyev and his talks with the country's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, an Azerbaijan-Qatar agreement was signed. In particular, a memorandum of understanding between the governments, cultural cooperation and cooperation in the field of sports was signed.

27/02/17: Former and current leaders of the party Musavat Isa Gambar and Arif Hajili were questioned in the Investigation Department for Serious Crimes of the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan. The reason for the call was a criminal investigation into the issuance of false documents about the Musavat membership used to obtain political refugee status abroad. Hajili assessed the criminal case as pressure on Musavat.

27/02/17: The press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported the evacuation of the bodies of five soldiers, which remained in the neutral zone after the military clash in the night of February 25 at the direction of Khojavend (South Karabakh). The evacuation was carried out with the mediation of the Red Cross and the OSCE.

28/02/17: The activist of the Popular Front Party Zeynal Bagirzadeh convicted in Nakhchivan was subjected to inhuman torture. Turan was told by his brother, head of the regional organization of PFPA Yashar Bagirsoy that 10 days before he was brought half-naked to 20 degrees below zero and kept there until he lost consciousness, with his hands and feet tied. After that, he was thrown into a solitary cell that was not heated. This happened in the mixed type jail in the Kangarli region.

28/02/17: The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev left for Islamabad to attend the 13th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the President’s website reported.

 

Start Leading to Strategic Partnership Agreement

06/02/17: The Civil Society Forum of Eastern Partnership joined 75 other NGOs and signed a letter calling for the heads of the Council of Europe, the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to use the current visit of Ilham Aliyev to persuade him to put an end to the suppression of human rights in Azerbaijan.

06/02/17: In Brussels, with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev talks were held at the highest level on a draft strategic partnership agreement, which will cover the areas of energy, economy, transport, trade, politics, human rights and others.

06/02/17: The European Union supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and considers it as its important partner. This was stated by the European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. “We are based on reliable and strategic partnership and we want to further expand the cooperation. Azerbaijan is of great importance for the energy security and diversification of Europe's energy supply. We have a common commitment to the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor,” Tusk said before the press.

Long Way to the Goal

On 6 February the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev  will leave for Brussels to discuss a new draft agreement on strategic partnership. This visit can be called a long way to the goal, which in Azerbaijan and Europe seen in different ways.

Official Baku sees the aim of the Azerbaijan-EU relations in the deepening cooperation in the conclusion of Azerbaijani energy resources and other goods to the European markets, the expansion of contacts between people, access to cheap European financial instruments. These wishes are reflected in the old concept of "deferred democracy" by the Head of Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev, which in the last two years re-qualified into course of modernization. "That is, the regime offers a gradual transformation of authoritarianism to democracy in the long term and above all in the economic sphere.

The European Union sees the Goal in the rapid establishment of democratic traditions in Azerbaijan in the form of free elections, separation of powers, rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms. This concept  of the vision of the Goal was announced during the visit of the vice-president of the European Commission Federica Mogherini in February 2016 in Baku, who said that the EU believes that the path to long-term development and prosperity is through an open society and respect for freedoms.

Taking into account the two entirely different approaches to the same goal, we can come to a cautious conclusion (counter productive actions of the Azerbaijani authorities do not leave anything else) that the truth about the project of strategic partnership, which will be submitted to Aliyev, is somewhere in between.

It will be based on  proposals  on cooperation between the EU and "Eastern Partnership" program countries (EaP), which is reflected in the Riga Summit Declaration  of the Eastern Partnership  on May 22, 2015. They included four components: 1) Strengthening institutions and effective management; 2) Mobility and human contacts; 3) Market opportunities; 4) Mutual relations.

Taking into account the weakness of the regime, due to economic collapse and consistent pressure from the West, they can be supplemented by components such as the rule of law, expanding civil society freedoms, human rights and freedom of speech.

Relations between the EU and Azerbaijan since the signing of the first cooperation agreement in 1996 were tense, especially since Ilham Aliyev came to power, which strongly hindered the country's integration into the European political and economic space, except for the energy sphere. This is evidenced by outsider position of Azerbaijan in the lineup of participants and countries of the EaP and  Aliyev's rhetoric, who often speak about  Western civilization, values ​​and realities with irritation.

Azerbaijan has always managed to postpone the signing  the  agreement with the EU first of associate membership, then the modernization, and finally the partnership, most of all  juggling this protracted strategy subjects the country's role in ensuring energy security of Europe and the so-called Kremlin pressure, disinterested in the expansion of the EU's influence in the former Soviet Union .

Today, both of these questions are not so relevant. Firstly, the energy diversification of the European part of the route has been executed, and  is in the stage of completion and development, and  Azerbaijan’s place in this has fixed by obligations. Secondly, Russia stung by the crisis offers its own modernization plan with the participation of Western institutions that implicitly says about its own process of European integration. Both cards fall from the deck of counter-arguments of Aliyev on the need of the delayed integration with the EU, but he still has 34 cards from the classic "Swiss deck."

 

First Vice President

21/02/17: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev appointed Mehriban Aliyeva First Vice President of the country, “I believe that I will justify the confidence of President Ilham Aliyev and all those who believe in me,” Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva said at the Security Council during the appointment of the Vice President.

21/02/17: “There is nothing sensational in this decision. It was to be expected,” the executive secretary of the movement REAL Natig Jafarli told Turan. “If it improves the management system, delimits the powers between the Presidential Administration and the Cabinet, then why not,” said Jafarli.

The leader of the Popular Front Party Ali Kerimli said the appointment actually formalized the family power existing in Azerbaijan.

From the First to the First

The first of four Tuesdays - Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday) that precede the Novruz spring holiday, widely celebrated in Azerbaijan on the vernal equinox on 21 March was marked by the expected sensation. President Ilham Aliyev appointed first lady Mehriban Aliyeva to the position of a First Vice President. This position was introduced at last year's referendum on constitutional changes.

Preparing the first lady for the higher positions began immediately after Ilham Aliyev’s coming to power in 2003; and when the following year she led the newly created Heydar Aliyev Foundation - the so-called state within a state with ample means and authority. In 2015, she headed the organizing committee of the First European in Baku, which included almost all the members of the government, and who had to obey the instructions on the first lady.

The theme of her leadership especially vividly manifested itself in difficult periods in modern history. For example, in a presidential election year 2013 was announced the initiative to nominate her as a presidential candidate. In June 2013 candidacy of M. Aliyeva was put forward by the newly formed group calling itself the party of World of Democratic Azerbaijan. However, the New Azerbaijan ruling party was not happy with this idea, and regarded as a provocation. Activists of this idea subsequently were subjected to pressure and discontinued their activity. In August, the Movement "National unity for the country", created a month ago put forward her as a presidential candidate; but the First Lady did not participate in the elections, and the Movement remained in the shadows.

Immediately after the referendum 2016, which was held on September 26, 2016, the Movement "National unity in the name of the Motherland» again reminded of itself, by forwarding the initiative on the appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva as the First Vice President, justifying this by saying that "many of the country's problems will be solved, in particular, the Karabakh problem, the position of Azerbaijan in the international arena will strengthen, and the national reconciliation will be achieved."

The Movement's leader, Haji Abdul, who in the late 80s created and headed the religious society Tovbe (Repentance) and later was the leader of the Imam Hussein mosque religious community in Baku, in an interview with Turan on November 19, 2016 said: «Her stay at the post of the first vice-president is not the slightest harm to our people. Only Mehriban Aliyeva can provide the unity of the nation and its consolidation. People must consolidate around her and solve the problems facing the country. Not joining the initiative will be regarded as unwillingness of the consolidation of the nation. I think God gives us the chance which should be used to solve the country's problems."

http://www.contact.az/docs/2016/Interview/111900175276ru.htm

Asking the question on how such an unprecedented practice in the modern world will be accepted, when husband is a President and wife is the First Vice-President, Haji Abdul replied, "I understand. But it is another question. We put forward the candidature of Mehriban Aliyeva, not because she was the First Lady, MP and President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. We support her candidacy because her activity is worthy of it. From a moral point of view she is worth it. As for the legal side of the issue, it is not up to us. "

The appointment of Aliyeva can have two target areas: 1) to ensure the continuity and safety in the event of an emergency, when the first person, for whatever reason cannot fulfill his role, 2) preparation of Aliyeva’s nomination to the first position in the presidential election in 2018. It will be a period of forming a new team and building management experience of the First Vice President under the patronage of President Ilham Aliyev.

The problem of nation’s consolidation for parochial, political, religious and ethnic grounds is really important, especially taking into account unprecedented social stratification of society and the widening gap between the so-called elite and the people.

It was expected that the decision on launching the Institute of Vice Presidency and all the other innovations and changes will happen in April. President Aliyev announced last October that the solutions resulting from the referendum will be implemented in six months. However, as it can be seen, the power spurred by the economic crisis is in a hurry. The day before the odious Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov was dismissed and his department was incorporated in the Ministry of Communications, headed by 39-year-old Ramin Guluzadeh, who comes from Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Such haste may mean that society will witness many innovations, including the dismantling of the old team and the formation of a new one in the first days of spring.  Time will show soon what the top level family can bring to the country. Anyway, the process shows that reforms cannot be avoided, and all is doomed.