German Government Report Slams Azeri ‘State Repression’

Azerbaijani police officers detain an opposition activist during a protest rally in Baku (AP photo)

From Spiegel

On the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest, scrutiny of host Azerbaijan is increasing, particularly the country’s human rights record. A confidential German Foreign Ministry report, which SPIEGEL has seen, criticizes “state repression” in the country.

The confidential document from Berlin is about Azerbaijan, a Caucasus republic in which prisoners are mistreated, parliamentary debate is “nearly impossible” and the activities of the opposition are “noticeably restricted” through measures that even include “state repression.”

This is the exact wording used in the German Foreign Ministry’s latest situation report about Azerbaijan. The confidential report describes a country whose state organs have apparently “abused arrested individuals in police custody” in the past. It is the country where the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest — a pan-European pop music competition that is Europe’s largest television event — will nonetheless be held on May 26.

Rarely has the regime of Azerbaijan’s autocratic ruler Ilham Aliyev, the son of the longtime president and former KGB general Heydar Aliyev, enjoyed such international attention as now, as musicians from 42 countries prepare to head there for the competition. And rarely have opinions about the country on the Caspian Sea been as sharply divided.

In 2010, no less a figure than former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh declared Azerbaijan to be an “icon of progress and modernity” in the Caucasus. Since then, Israel, the second-largest importer of oil from the republic, has been granted access to air bases inside Azerbaijan, according to a recent report in the US journal Foreign Policy, which quoted senior US officials. Does Israel want to use the airfields as a base for a possible attack on Iran — for F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, as well as helicopters that would have to fly rescue missions into Iran in the event of war?

On Par with the Mafia

When Europeans turn their attention to Azerbaijan, their biggest complaint is alleged violations of human rights. American strategists take a more pragmatic approach. A February 2012 arms deal between Azerbaijan and Israel, worth $1.6 billion (€1.2 billion), apparently worries them more than the report of “seven prisoners who clearly have a political background” mentioned in the German Foreign Ministry’s situation report.

A 2009 telegram from the US Embassy in Baku to the State Department in Washington compared the Azerbaijani president to fictional mafia bosses from the “Godfather” films. Is it nevertheless possible to negotiate with someone like Aliyev, if only for the sake of a song contest?

The moral reprimands have their limits. Azerbaijan is Germany’s seventh-largest supplier of crude oil. The West obtains its lifeblood of Azerbaijani resources through pipelines in the Turkish cities of Ceyhan (oil) and Erzurum (natural gas). Aliyev is not the leader of some isolated, post-Soviet oil-rich republic. His country is a member of the Council of Europe and submits to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Because Aliyev is well connected throughout the continent, his opponents only have one stage to express their disapproval: the pop music festival in Baku. Volker Herres, the program director of Germany’s ARD television network, who has been accused of political naïveté, says that the ARD studio in Moscow, which is responsible for covering the festival, has the situation under control. The network, he says, will cover the abuses in Azerbaijan in the run-up to May 26, the day of the final.

Read: Azerbaijan Accuses Germany of Smear Campaign

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


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  1. Peter Megerdumian said:

    Israel and Azerbajian are both major human rights violators so no wonder they are such good friends. It is a disgrace that the Council of Europe has dictatorships like Azerbajian as a member. Why has the world singled out Assad but completely ignored the long legacy of crimes against humanity committed by Heydar Aliyev and his mafia clan. No one knows how many Azeri people that Heydar Aliyev had tortured and executed during his reign as a KGB general.

  2. Peter Megerdumian said:

    If the Europeans were smart , they would build a trans-mediterranean oil pipelines and bring oil from Algeria and other North African countries to Europe. It would be far better than having to kiss the feet of the Turk and Azeri barbarians.
    The NKR republic should start to explore for oil deposits because there is evidence of oil the NKR and that is why the Azeris want the land. That is why they committed the Maragha massacre because there are oil deposits near the village which is now in the Tartar region of Azerbaijan.

  3. edward Demian said:

    With enough bananas, one can teach a monkey to drive, but at the end of the day, it’s still a monkey.

  4. facts said:

    Jews are still complaining to US why America didn´t condom Hitler’s fascist ideology long before!

    US Senate will soon have hearings on future US Ambassador to Azerbaijani Khanat.
    Therefore the hearings should focus not only human right volition ad war like statements but more attention should be paid to Nazi like anti Armenian propaganda carried out by officials in Baku An Nazi Like anti Armenian racial motivated hate campaign which has become a state ideology-

    A future US Amb to Baku should condom openly fascist ideology and policy pursued by officials in Baku , else he wouldn´t be the right person for the post!

  5. 4 peace said:

    Into which amount is Azerbaijani Mafia active in Central America and within Pakistani Talibans?

    This is shouldn´t be a hidden fact anymore that H. Aliyev was the head of influential Soviet Azerbaijani Mafia. So his son… I. Aliyev is not only the president but head of powerful Azerbaijani Mafia too, while his wife is busy with money laundering , barbering politicians (mostly retired ones) as well journalist and “researchers /students” by using so called „Aliyev foundation” .

    Azerbaijani Mafia has apparently good conations to certain criminla circles within Pakistani estbishment and drug cartels and Mafia groups in Central America.
    This should not become as a surprise either when all of sudden a parliamentary (sub) committee in Mexico or Colombia or Pakistan is being engaged actively in dirty anti Armenian propaganda by referring to so called “Kohjali Genocide”-

    I would say: The fight against Mafia and drug cartels in Central America and terrorist groups in Pakistan is the war of Armenia and NKR too.

    I am sure if EU, US does support Karabakh or Armenia to sue Colombia und Mexico, for allowing certain parliamentary committees or officials to be engaged in ugly anti-Armenian propaganda on behalf of Azerbaijan. I am sure the presidents of Mexico and Colombia would be able and would be forced to act and would discover soon ugly connections between Azerbaijani Mafia and drug/Mafia groups in Mexico and Colombia ….

  6. Jack Kalpakian said:

    In attacking the Morningstar nomination, there is no need to even bring up the world “Armenian.” The focus should be his complicity in enabling a very dangerous dictatorship in its abuse of its own population. There is no need to bring up Karapakh to sink Moringstar, but the fallout of his blockage will be immensely beneficial. This picture should haunt his confirmation hearings: Mr. Moringstar, is this what you worked so hard to finance?

  7. Alex Postallian said:

    The picture proves beyond a doubt of the turkies violation rights,free speech,freedom of abuse,humane treatment. Give them enough rope,the animal behavior always is displayed.IT ANSWERS THE QUESTION,DID THE MONGOLS REALLY LEAVE.