Relations between Azerbaijan and Europe, the pre-election situation...

Azerbaijan is reportedly contemplating a reconsideration of its participation in the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), as disclosed by confidential sources cited by local media. The nation's Foreign Ministry and presidential administration experts are said to be actively studying legal aspects linked to a potential withdrawal from these prominent international bodies. If, by the year-end, a decision to restore Azerbaijan's delegation's rights to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is not reached, the sources suggest that Baku may choose to withdraw from both the Council of Europe and the ECHR.

Political commentator Nasimi Mammadli shared insights on these developments in the "Difficult Question" program, expressing concerns about the potential repercussions such a withdrawal might have on Azerbaijani society. Mammadli argued that the Council of Europe benefits not only the government but also every member of Azerbaijani society. He emphasized that the move to withdraw would likely raise serious concerns among citizens, as the Council of Europe and the ECHR have provided an alternative avenue for justice due to concerns about the lack of independence within Azerbaijan's judicial authorities.

Mammadli highlighted the significance of citizens turning to the ECHR since Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001, seeking a fair resolution to legal issues within the country. He noted that depriving society of this opportunity would not be easily accepted, emphasizing the potential discontent and backlash that might arise.

The political commentator acknowledged that, with the exception of matters related to Azerbaijan's relations with Armenia and the military operation in Karabakh in September 2023, claims raised by the Council of Europe against Azerbaijan are, in his view, fair. He specifically pointed to concerns about political prisoners, human rights violations, and the non-fulfillment of the country's assumed obligations.

Mammadli asserted that European institutions are sensitive to issues involving the Azerbaijani people and emphasized that the resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to deprive Azerbaijan of voting rights was largely influenced by the lingering Armenian question. He noted that, prior to the resolution, the Council of Europe had not reacted as sharply to human rights violations in Azerbaijan, linking the heightened scrutiny to the unresolved Karabakh issue.

In discussing the upcoming early presidential elections, Mammadli remarked on the absence of a discernible pre-election atmosphere in the country, signaling a notable aspect of the political climate as Azerbaijan navigates these complex international relations and domestic considerations.

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Difficult question

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