Chronicle of events

01.11.23: The rotation of personnel of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the Karabakh economic region is being completed, reports the Russian Ministry of Defense. The press release also indicates the sending of weapons and military equipment of peacekeepers to the Russian Federation for “routine repairs.”

01.11.23: The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress has called for the release of oppositionist Gubad Ibadoglu arrested in Azerbaijan. Note that the Commission's statement has been published on its page on social network X and timed to coincide with 100 days since Ibadoglu's arrest and the International Day for the Protection of Political Prisoners on 30 October.

01.11.23: The verdict of a member of the Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) Etibar Ismailov was read out in the Baku Court for Serious Crimes. The court found him guity of  large-scale drug trafficking  and sentenced him to 9 years and 9 months in prison. The MUM announced the falsification of the charges against Ismayilov, and human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

01.11.23: A lawsuit has been filed against Orhan Hajily, the son of the head of the "Musavat" party Arif Hajily, under two Articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, the head of the press service of the party, Mustafa Hajibeyli said. In particular, he is charged with the acts provided for in Article 263.1 (violation of traffic rules, resulting in negligent infliction of less serious harm to health) and Article 264 (Leaving the scene of a traffic accident) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

01.11.23: Command and staff exercises of a separate combined Arms Army of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have begun in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. The exercises are conducted in order to improve the combat skills of the headquarters and personnel of the army, the press service of the Ministry of Defense.

01.11.23: Head of state Ilham Aliyev received commander of the ground troops of the Armed Forces of Pakistan Asim Munir. Aliyev highly appreciated the continued support of the government and people of Pakistan during the period of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan and expressed gratitude for the political support of Pakistan during the Second Karabakh War.

02.11.23: In Iran, the court rejected the appeal against the sentence of Azerbaijani citizen Farid Safarli, who was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “intent of espionage.”

02.11.23:  Moscow has extended an olive branch in the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, expressing its willingness to facilitate dialogue and reduce tensions between the two nations. Russia's proposal entails organizing a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia in Moscow, with the aim of fostering a peaceful resolution to the longstanding disputes.

02.11.23: President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Astana to participate in the anniversary summit of the Organization of Turkic States, which will be held.

02.11.23: The Yasamal court of Baku arrested Orhan Hajyly, the son of the head of the Musavat Party Arif Hajyly for 2 months. He was charged under Article 263.1 (violation of traffic rules that caused less serious harm to health) and Article 264 (Leaving the scene of a traffic accident) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Lawyer Nemat Kerimli stated that the criminal prosecution was unjustified, stressing that the accident was not the fault of O.Hajyly.

02.11.23: The State Security Service of Azerbaijan reported the detention of Madat Babayan near the village of Gozlukerpu (former Getavan), on the territory of Kalbajar. The interrogation established that he took an active part in the fighting in the early 90s as part of illegal Armenian formations against Azerbaijanis. In particular, he was among those who participated in the occupation of the city of Khojaly in February 1992 and the mass killings of its residents.

03.11.23:  German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who is on a visit to Yerevan, called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to return to the negotiating table in order to find a political solution to the conflict that has been going on for decades.

03.11.23: Based on information received from the Iranian border service, Azerbaijani border guards conducted search activities near the village of Khudaferin in the Jabrayil region. The border patrol found a package with 4 kg 690 grams of drugs (4 kg 345 grams of marijuana and 0.305 grams of methamphetamine) hidden in a cache, the State Border Service of Azerbaijan reported.

03.11.23:  The  X Summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) convened in Astana under the  leadership of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan. A document entitled "Prospects of the Turkic world – 2040" was approved at the summit, signifying a collective commitment to the enduring unity of fraternal countries.

03.11.23:  Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressed gratitude to the neighboring countries for their invaluable support in the ongoing efforts to restore the city of Fuzuli, liberated from the Armenian occupation, located in the Karabakh region.

03.11.23: Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to Azerbaijan, lauding the nation's momentous achievement in restoring territorial integrity.

04.11.23: German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock, in a press conference held in Baku on November 4, conveyed the European Union's and Germany's commitment to supporting Azerbaijan and Armenia in their pursuit of peace. Her statement followed discussions with her Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov.

04.11.23: German Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock, during her visit to Azerbaijan, engaged in a significant discussion with representatives of the country's civil society. The meeting covered a wide range of critical issues, including the state of human rights in Azerbaijan, crackdowns on activists, politically motivated prosecutions, the status of media freedom, government pressures on civil society, and human rights organizations.

03.11.23: Moscow is in contact with Baku and Yerevan to settle relations between them, a peace treaty is being prepared, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said, speaking at the marathon of the "Znaniye" society within the framework of the Russia exhibition-forum.

03.11.23: During the meeting of Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Edmondo Sirielli with Special Representative of the President of Azerbaijan Elchin Amirbekov held in Rome, issues of developing cooperation between the two countries were discussed. "The importance of strengthening strategic partnership in all spheres was stressed. Italy is closely monitoring the development of the situation in the region and supports the dialogue process," an account of the Italian Foreign Ministry on the X.-platform reads.

05.11.23: In the Terter region of Azerbaijan, a 63-year-old man suffered a leg injury as a result of a mine explosion.

05.11.23: The congress of the Republican Alternative Party ("REAL|) held amended the charter and programme of the organisation, bringing them in line with the new Law on Political Parties. In addition, 8 members of the political committee of the Party, 6 members of the political initiatives commission and 3 members of the control and revision commission were elected.

06.11.23: Prospects for the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Croatia were discussed today at a meeting in Baku between President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Balkan country Andrei Plenkovich. The sides touched upon issues of expanding trade and economic ties, cooperation in energy, tourism and other spheres, the website of the head of state.

06.11.23: The military personnel of the Goradiz border guard managed to prevent the smuggling of 42 kg of drugs from Iran, the  statement of the state Border Service of Azerbaijan.

06.11.23: The arrested activist of the Party of People's Front of Azerbaijan (PPFA), Elkhan Aliyev, suffered a heart attack, the activist's colleagues in the Party told Turan. "On November 4, he called home and said that he felt unwell and turned to the doctors of the Baku pre-trial detention center. Doctors, having examined him, diagnosed a heart attack," said a member of the PPFA, Jeyhun Novruzov.

07.11.23: The Baku military court sentenced Vagif Khachatryan, accused of mass murder in the villag e of Hindered to 15 years in prison. According to the verdict of the court, he will spend the first five years in a covered prison, the rest of the term in a strict  regime prison.

07.11.23: The Media Development Agency of Azerbaijan has started filing lawsuits against sites that have not been registered in the media registry.

07.11.23: Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov arrived on an official visit to Serbia, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported.

07.11.23: Public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, currently in jail, has been charged with a new charge, lawyer Elchin Sadigov told Turan. In particular, he was charged under Article 213.1 of the Criminal Code (tax evasion, unemployment insurance payments, compulsory medical and social insurance). As the lawyer noted, the new charge, like the previous ones, have no grounds and are fabricated.

07.11.23: Despite Baku's peace initiatives immediately after the end of the war, Armenia chose the path of obstructing negotiations on the conclusion of a peace treaty.

08.11.23: A military parade of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces was held on 8 November on the day of liberation of the city of Shusha and in honour of the third anniversary of the end of the Second Karabakh War.

08.11.23: Baku does not need a new war, but if Armenia tries to take revenge, counting on its patrons, then no force is capable of threatening Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev made this message in Khankendi at a military parade on the occasion of Victory Day.

08.11.23:  The Group of Seven (G7) Foreign Ministers and the High Representative of the European Union urged Azerbaijan to 'fully comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law and welcome international efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs for those who have been displaced.

09.11.23: The Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization opened in the capital of Uzbekistan. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Uzbekistan late the night before to participate in the work of this forum. According to the forum program, the heads of the ECO states will consider issues of expanding trade, economic, transport, investment and humanitarian cooperation.

09.11.23:  President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held talks with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who is on a visit to Uzbekistan as part of the main events of the ECO summit.The talks centered on reinforcing the already strong friendship and strategic partnership between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. Both leaders expressed deep satisfaction with the progress made through their regular high-level interactions.

09.11.23: A meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran took place in Tashkent within the framework of the summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization.   According to the press service of the Azerbaijani President, the Iranian president expressed satisfaction with the state of bilateral relations. He also congratulated Azerbaijan on the liberation of Karabakh and expressed Iran's readiness to participate in the restoration of the liberated territories. In previous years, extra-regional forces also tried to interfere in friendly relations between Iran and Azerbaijan. "However, these attempts have not yielded results, I am sure that it will be the same now," Aliyev stressed.

09.11.23:  The U.S. Senate on Wednesday backed President Joe Biden's nominee, career diplomat Mark W. Libby, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

10.11.23: Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov left on a working visit to Saudi Arabia. He will attend a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the press service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported.

11.11.23: A day later, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reacted to the provocative statement of Iran's Ambassador to Armenia Mehdi Sobhani. "We strongly condemn the groundless ideas of a provocative nature expressed on November 10, 2023 by the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Republic of Armenia Mehdi Subhani during an interview with the Armenian CivilNet platform," Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Ayhan Hajizade said. "We expect Iran to take appropriate steps in connection with the statements made by the ambassador, as well as to prevent such steps that do not correspond to the spirit of our relations," Hajizadeh concluded.

11.11.23: The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry strongly rejected and condemned the statement of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan about the alleged "ethnic cleansing" of Armenians in Karabakh.

12.11.23:  Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov left for an official visit to the Kingdom of Morocco. According to the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of the visit, a meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Cooperation will take place, as well as bilateral meetings of Bayramov with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco, the Director General of the World Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and other persons.

13.11.23: In October, the European Council discussed strengthening cooperation with Armenia to support its democratically elected government and its security. This was stated in Brussels at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers by the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrel.  "Our message to Azerbaijan is clear: any violation of Armenia's territorial integrity is unacceptable and will have serious consequences for the quality of our relations," he said.

13.11.23: The period of stay of Turkish servicemen in the joint Russian-Turkish monitoring center in the Agdam region will be extended for another year. The relevant bill was submitted to the Turkish Parliament by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

13.11.23: A preliminary investigation has been completed against the public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, his lawyer Rovshana Rahimli told Turan. She noted that according to the results of the investigation, Hajiyev is charged under Articles 192.1 (illegal entrepreneurship), 193-1.3.2 (legalization of large-scale funds or other property obtained criminally), 206.1 (smuggling), 213.1 (tax evasion), 221.2.2 (hooliganism associated with resistance to a representative of the authorities),  289.1 (disrespect for the court), 320.1 (forgery or illegal production of a certificate or other official document, falsification of stamps, seals, forms), 320.2 (use of deliberately forged documents) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

13.11.23:   Azerbaijan will additionally buy Barak MX air defense systems from Israel in the amount of $ 1.2 billion. According to the publication Defense Industry Europe, a few months ago, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) conducted a successful demonstration of Barak MX systems in Azerbaijan. According to the official report of Azerbaijan, the tests included multiple launches of interceptors of various versions of the Barak MX system.

13.11.23:   Azerbaijan is a supporter of sustainable peace in the South Caucasus and supports the regional peace agenda, normalization of relations and signing of a peace treaty with Armenia, stated  Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at a meeting with the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Pia Kaumu. He noted that after Azerbaijan liberated its territories  occupied by Armenia, there are now good opportunities for a peaceful agenda. Aliyev stressed that after the 44-day war in 2020, it was Azerbaijan that initiated the peace treaty with Armenia and the principles that form its basis.

13.11.23:   The Center for Combating Computer Incidents of the State Service for Special Communication and Information Security warns citizens about cyber fraudsters acting on behalf of state institutions. According to the Centre's press release, cybercriminals offer discounts and bonuses given when paying utility bills or fines.  The fake websites used for this purpose are hxxps://asanodeme.info/kommunal, hxxps://asan-cerime.net, hxxps://asan-cerime.biz and hxxp://asan-cerime.com.

13.11.23:   The US Embassy in Azerbaijan announced that 901 Azerbaijanis will study in America in the 2022/2023 academic year. This is up by 23.8% from a year earlier. According to Hugo Guevara, US Charge d'Affaires in Azerbaijan, this means "a significant growth in opportunity for innovation, cooperation and joint success."

13.11.23:   Talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be discussed  in Brussels at the regular meeting of Foreign Ministers of the 27 countries of the European Union.

14.11.23:   Armenia, under various pretexts, refuses to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the search for mass graves of Azerbaijanis killed during the First Karabakh War and clarifying the fate of the missing, the head of the State Security Service (SSS) and Chairman of the State Commission for Prisoners, Missing Persons, Hostages Ali Nagiyev stated at a meeting with the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Pia Kauma.

14.11.23:   Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev received Iranian Ambassador to Baku Seyid Abbas Mousavi. According to the message of the Iranian Embassy, during the conversation, issues on the agenda of bilateral relations were discussed in line with provisions of talks held on November 9 in Tashkent by the leaders of the two countries - Ilham Aliyev and Seyid Ibrahim Raisi. Besides, issues of cooperation between the two countries, joint energy and transport projects were discussed in general.

14.11.23:  The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry condemned the statement of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel, voiced by him at a press conference on November 13 in Brussels after a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. It ought to obe noted that Borrel threatened Azerbaijan with "serious consequences" in case of "any violation of the territorial integrity of Armenia." At the same time, he also promised to strengthen Armenia's support from the EU.

14.11.23:     Within the framework of the Dubai Airshow 2023 international exhibition, a meeting of the Defense Ministers of Azerbaijan and Italy – Zakir Hasanov and Guido Crosetto - took place in Dubai. According to the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, prospects for the development of cooperation between the two countries in military, military-technical, military-educational and other fields, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting.

14.11.23: The United Kingdom made a statement during the discussion of the universal periodic review (UPR) of Azerbaijan at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The document expresses concern about the restriction of human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan.

14.11.23:  The Baku Court of Appeal (BCA) suspended the website dia.az. This was reported to Turan by the head of the site, Mohammed Ersoy (Zamanov). On November 3, the Media Development Agency filed a lawsuit to suspend the site's activities due to the fact that the site owner did not apply within the 6-month period as set forth in the law for registration in the Media Registry.

15.11.23: The top State Department official in charge of Europe and Eurasia assured U.S. lawmakers that there's 'no chance of business as usual'  with Azerbaijan, as long as the peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan goes unconcluded, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.  "We're putting forth all the elements that we see as important in the relationship in order to see whether we can get a peace agreement concluded now." Ambassador James O’Brien said during a hearing before the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh.

15.11.23: Azerbaijan has extradited Tural Mammadov, the alleged organizer of a gang of teenagers who beat passers-byes in St. Petersburg, to Russia. He is accused of hooliganism with the use of violence by a group of persons and of inciting hostility on a national basis, the Telegram channel of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation reported.

15.11.23: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided transfer from Karabakh to Armenia to 50 vulnerable individuals based on their own decision. Most of them were reunited with their families in Armenia, according to the information we received from the ICRC office in Baku.

15.11.23: The OSCE PA leadership visiting Azerbaijan welcomed Baku's readiness to conclude a peace agreement with Armenia and the return of ethnic Armenians to Karabakh. The delegation also positively noted the significant efforts of Azerbaijan to ensure the security of the new controlled territories from land mines and to move forward in the field of reconstruction and reintegration.

15.11.23:   The assistant to the President of Azerbaijan for Foreign Policy Hikmet Hajiyev held talks with the foreign policy adviser to the head of the European Council Simon Mordue (chief foreign policy advisor to the President of the European Council). "The issues of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan were discussed. The emphasis is laid on the fact that Azerbaijan is an important partner for the EU in the Caucasus. The European Union will continue to support the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to thus promote a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus," Mordy wrote on his Twitter account.

16.11.23:  The United States said  it 'continues to support' peace talks to resolve the issues between Azerbaijan and Armenia, despite Baku's rejection of the next ministerial meeting in Washington, TURAN's U.S. correspondent reports.

16.11.23: Press Secretary of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Peter Stano expressed regret over the extension of the arrest of the distinguished scholar  and activist Gubad Ibadoglu to 7 months. “We urge authorities to ensure his access to necessary medical care, as well as his and activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev`s immediate release,” Stano wrote on his Twitter account.

16.11.23:  The unilateral and biased comments of US Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien at the hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are ineffective, unfounded and unacceptable, the comment of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. "We regard the speeches at the hearings as a blow to relations between Azerbaijan and the United States. These accusations are groundless and undermine peace and security in the region," the commentary says.

16.11.23: Plainclothes persons took Kamran Farat, an activist of the “Muslim Unity” Movement, the author of the anthem of this organization, from the house. Lawyer Zibeyda Sadygova reported that Ferat was taken to the 8th department of the Sabail district police department. According to her, Ferat was previously subjected to short-term detentions, he was banned from leaving the country.

16.11.23:    The Narimanov district court of Baku considered the submission of the investigative body on the extension of the term of arrest of the chairman of the Azerbaijani Party of Democracy and Prosperity, Professor Gubad Ibadoglu.  As lawyer Zibeyda Sadygova told Turan, the court extended the term of the politician's arrest for another 3 months.

16.11.23:    The 7th meeting of the Ministers of Transport of the Organization of Turkic States (OT) is taking place in Zangilan. The meeting is taking place within the framework of an international scientific and practical conference on the topic: "International transport and logistics corridor: development impulses from Zangilan".

16.11.23: The U.S. Senate  sent to the House of Representatives a bill that cancels the authority of the Administration to suspend the 907th Amendment to the Freedom Protection Act of 1992, prohibiting the provision of state aid to Azerbaijan.

17.11.23: Azerbaijan welcomes the decision of the International Court of Justice in the case “Armenia v. Azerbaijan” on provisional measures for the application of the International Convention for the Abolition of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) dated November 17, 2023. This was stated in a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry emphasizes that the court's decision confirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and its sovereignty over Karabakh.

17.11.23: The International Court of Justice of the United Nations adopted a ruling on interim measures based on Armenia's appeal. The Court called on Baku to create conditions for the return of Armenians to Karabakh.

17.11.23:  The United States on Friday defended its position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process after Baku snubbed the next round of Karabakh meetings in Washington accusing the U.S. of bias. "Azerbaijan is aware its actions have had an impact on our relationship, but we continue to engage both Armenia and Azerbaijan in pursuit of peace"  a State Department Spokesperson told TURAN's Washington correspondent.

17.11.23: As Azerbaijan commemorated National Renaissance Day, a collective of prominent public figures organized a flashmob demanding the liberation of renowned economist Professor Gubad Ibadoglu.

17.11.23: November 17 is celebrated in Azerbaijan as National Revival Day. On November 17, 1988 uninterrupted rallies began on the main square of Baku - "Azadliq" (former Lenin Square - ed.) with the demand to ensure the sovereignty over Karabakh.  Later, the participants of the rally raised the question of Azerbaijan's independence.

17.11.23:  A delegation led by Samir Rasulov, the head of Azerbaijan's Electronic Security Service (ETX), conducted a productive working visit to Kazakhstan on November 16-17, 2023. Amidst this visit, the State Technical Service of Kazakhstan inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) within the Information Security domain. The MoU delineates the parameters for cooperation and synergy between the involved parties, with a specific focus on incident response in the sphere of information security.

17.11.23: İn the evening, border guards found several bags near the village of Govuzbulag, Jalilabad district with more than 18 kg of drugs (marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin, as well as 3607 tablets of methadone m-40. According to the Border Service of Azerbaijan, the drugs were delivered to Azerbaijan from Iran.

18.11.23: The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Iran, Jeyhun Bayramov and Huseyn Amir-Abdullahian, discussed bilateral and regional issues in a telephone conversation. As stated in the message of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, the importance of the work carried out within regional formats and increasing efforts in this direction was noted, and it was emphasized that “this process will contribute to peace and stability in the region.”

18.11.23: In a statement  made during the autumn session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan revealed that Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached a consensus on the fundamental principles of a peace agreement. Pashinyan acknowledged both positive and negative developments in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process.

18.11.23: The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense denied the report of the Armenian military department that an Armenian soldier was wounded by a shot from the Azerbaijani side on the Nakhichevan section of the conditional border of the two countries. The military department called the information from the Armenian side disinformation. On 18 November at 09:50, an Armenian serviceman was shot by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the direction of the Armenian position located near Paruyr Sevak settlement. His health condition is assessed as medium severity. This is stated in the report of the Armenian Defence Ministry.

18.11.23: Hikmet Hajiyev - assistant for foreign policy of the president of Azerbaijan in his interview with euroreporter.co said that Azerbaijan wants regional security. "We want to build a new regional security architecture based on justice, recognising each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and ending all territorial claims. First, peace and regional security are not in Brussels, Paris, Washington, or anywhere. Peace is in the region.”

18.11.23: Madat Guliyev has been dismissed from the post of Defence Industry Minister by order of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Another order of the head of state appointed him Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Azerbaijan, the Presidential website reports.

20.11.23: In the morning, on the way to the airport in Baku, the director of the online publication Abzas Media Ulvi was detained by the police. In the evening, he was charged at the Baku City Police Headquarters under Article 206.3.2 (smuggling of foreign currency by a group of persons by prior agreement) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. This was reported to journalists by lawyer Zibeyda Sadygova. He has been brought in as a suspect and will be placed in a pre-trial detention cell. Hasanli pleaded not guilty and called the accusation unfounded.

20.11.23: On evening, the editors of Abzas Media reported that in the morning, public activist Muhammad Kekalov was detained and taken away from his house by plainclothes police officers.

20.11.23: Azerbaijan has been waiting for a response from Armenia on proposals for a peaceful settlement since September 11, Head of State Ilham Aliyev  stated at  joint briefing with Iraqi President Abdullatif Jamal Rashid on Monday. "We are waiting for comments on our proposals from Armenia. We have repeatedly exchanged proposals on the draft peace treaty. But now, since September 11, we have been waiting for a response from the Armenian government for more than two months, but we have not received a response," he said.

20.11.23: The reason for the arrest of Ulvi Hasanli is materials on the investigation of corruption facts, stated  the editorial address to the readers.

20.11.23: After a five-hour search in the office of “Abzas Media,” police officers revealed 40 thousand euros, said Zibeida Sadigova, the lawyer of the director of this online publication Ulvi Hasanli. In turn, the editorial staff of “Abzas Media” informed Turan that this amount has nothing to do with the publication and was planted by the security forces in order to have legal grounds for closing this media and charges against Hasanli.

20.11.23: The international press defence organisation "Reporters Without Borders" has called for immediate release of Ulvi Hasanli, director of the independent publication "Abzas Media" in Azerbaijan.

20.11.23: The State Security Service of Azerbaijan announced the indictment of Karabakh resident Rashid Beglaryan for complicity in the mass killings of residents of the city of Khojaly in February 1992.

20.11.23: Border guards recorded a violation of the border with Iran by two violators on the territory near the village of Amirzeydili in Beylagan region. On the order of the border guards to stop, the violators did not obey and opened fire. Then they ran back towards Iran. During the inspection of the territory, a bag with 85 kg of opium and more than 10 kg of methamphetamine was found.

21.11.23:  The Khatai District Court of Baku has arrested  Ulvi Hasanli , director of the online  Abzas Media.  The editor-in-chief of Abzas Media, Sevinj Vagifgyzy, was arrested for the same term as well Both denied charges of foreign currency smuggling.

21.11.23: Armenia's failure to provide a response to Azerbaijan's proposals on the draft peace treaty within 2.5 months seriously delays the process, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement on November 21.“ This stagnation in peace negotiations does not contribute to stability and well-being in the region,” the document says. Azerbaijan is ready for direct bilateral negotiations with Armenia in order to complete work on a peace treaty as soon as possible. “We believe that both countries should decide together on the future relations between them,”  press-release of the Foreign Ministry.

21.11.23: Azerbaijan sent a new batch of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, consisting of electrical equipment. According to the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan, the electrical equipment was sent to Ukraine in accordance with the decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated July 17, 2023. "The humanitarian cargo includes more than 900 thousand meters of electrical cables and wires, as well as 18 transformers and complete transformer substations," the message says. On November 21, a convoy of 23 trucks with humanitarian aid left the territory of the Sumgait Technological Park.

21.11.23: A large group of Azerbaijani journalists issued a statement condemning the criminal prosecution of the heads of “Abzas Media” – Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgizi, as well as activist Mohamed Kekalov, who cooperates with this publication.

21.11.23: Armenia has submitted to Azerbaijan the sixth proposal for the conclusion of a peace treaty, the Armenian Foreign Ministry announced this. "Armenia remains committed to concluding and signing a document on normalization of relations based on the previously announced principles," the Foreign Ministry said.

21.11.23: The Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan made a statement due to the Law S.3000 (Act in Defense of Armenians), adopted earlier by the US Senate. The statement condemns the anti-Azerbaijani act and calls for taking an "objective" position in the South Caucasus processes.

21.11.23: Azerbaijani authorities should release "Abzas Media" director Ulvi Hasanli and allow the country's independent media to operate freely, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.

21.11.23:   The United States said it 'would be willing' to facilitate the next round of Azerbaijan-Armenia peace talks, "as we have in the past," and it welcomes other countries doing so as well, as the State Department put it, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports. "It is important that Armenia and Azerbaijan discuss and resolve issues directly to benefit the region," Spokesperson Matthew Miller told a daily briefing when responding to TURAN's questions.

21.11.23:   The State Department reacted to the latest police raid on an independent news outlet in Azerbaijan, AbzasMedia, and the arrest of its director, former political prisoner Ulvi Hasanli. "We are deeply troubled by the reported arrest of journalist Ulvi Hasanli and the allegations of physical abuse in custody,"  Spokesperson Matthew Miller told TURAN's Washington correspondent. "We urge the Azerbaijani government to protect the rights and freedoms of all, including freedom of expression," Miller added.

21.11.23:  The United States on Tuesday, once again, urged the Azerbaijani government to respect rights and freedoms in the country, as the authorities in Baku reportedly detained additional journalists associated with the independent news outlet AbzasMedia, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.
"We are deeply troubled by the reported arrest of three journalists: Ulvi Hasanli, as well as the allegations of Hasanli’s physical abuse in custody; Sevinj Vagifgizi; and Mahammad Kekalov, who is also a civic activist," State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told TURAN.

22.11.23: Deputy Defense Ministers of Azerbaijan – Director General Agil Gurbanov and Air Force Commander Ramiz Tairov are on a working visit to Georgia. According to the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, the Azerbaijani delegation held a meeting with Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Giorgi Khaindrava and Commander of the Defense Forces Giorgi Matiashvili. The parties discussed issues of cooperation in the military, military-technical spheres, the field of military education, and other topics of mutual interest.

22.11.23: Issues of bilateral relations and international security were discussed during a meeting between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and British Minister for European Affairs Leo Docherty. Bayramov stressed that Azerbaijan attaches importance to multifaceted relations with the UK, touched upon the possibilities of further strengthening the partnership between the two countries in the political, economic, energy, humanitarian and security spheres, the press service of the Foreign Ministry.

22.11.23: The Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly condemned the arrests Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgizi, the director and editor-in-chief of “Abzas Media” in Azerbaijan  on "false accusations of smuggling," as well as the detention of another member of this team, Mohammed Kekalov. The committee called on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop pressure on independent media and immediately release the detained journalists, the organization said in a statement on the social network X.

22.11.23: The 7th meeting of the EU-Azerbaijan Joint Committee on Visa Facilitation was held in Baku. The head of the EU mission in Azerbaijan, Peter Mikhalko, wrote on his Twitter account.

23.11.23: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrived in Baku  to participate in the SPECA summit as a guest of honor.  During the meeting with Ilham Aliyev, he "expressed congratulations on the restoration of Azerbaijan's sovereignty and the stabilization of the situation in the region," the official statement reads.  Orban also expressed gratitude for Azerbaijan's support in rapprochement of Hungary in the development of relations with the Organization of Turkic States.

23.11.23:  The Khatai District Court chose a preventive measure against Kekalov in the form of arrest for a period of 3 months and 27 days, lawyer Asadov said.

23.11.23: Lawyers of the director and editor-in-chief of the online edition of “Abzas Media” - Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgizi appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in accordance with the Article  39 of the Rules of Court. This norm allows us to consider the appeal as a priority, lawyer Elchin Sadygov told Turan. The reason for the appeal is the seizure of computers and phones belonging to “Abzas Media” without a court decision.

23.11.23:  Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov received Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Siyaarto, who is in Baku on a working visit. The parties discussed issues of cooperation between the two countries in various fields and the regional situation. 

23.11.23:  The State Migration Service (SMS) reported the detention of a foreigner who deceived his compatriots with promises of employment in Azerbaijan or transportation to a third country, the message of the SMS.

23.11.23: Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Ayhan Hajizade confirmed on Thursday the upcoming meeting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on November 30."Such a meeting will take place," he told Turan, commenting on reports from Yerevan that a meeting of the two countries' commissions on border delimitation issues will take place.

23.11.23: PACE rapporteurs call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Ulvi Hasanli.

24.11.23: Issues of developing cooperation between the countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Europe were discussed  at the SPECA (Special Program UN for the Economies of Central Asia) summit in Baku. The summit, which was held for the first time in Baku, was attended by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as the heads of Government of Hungary and Georgia, the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf, as guests of honor.

24.11.23: A large group of civil society activists and human rights defenders issued a statement condemning the persecution of "Abzas Media"online publication employees. It says that the criminal prosecution on charges of smuggling of the "Abzas Media" director and editor-in-chief Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgyzy, as well as activist Mohammad Kekalov, who collaborated with the publication, is unfounded. There is also a call to release Hasanli, Vagifgyzy and Kekalov.

24.11.23: The international human rights organization Freedom Now has condemned the arrests in Azerbaijan of journalists - director of the independent Azerbaijani media Abzas Media Ulvi Hasanli and editor of this publication Sevinj Vagifgizi. "We call on the Azerbaijani government to immediately release them from custody and drop all charges. Hasanli is the founder and director of Abzas Media, Vagifgizi is the editor of the publication, and Kekalov is the project manager," the statement said.

25.11.23: Eamon Gilmore - EU Special Representative For Human Rights, expressed concern about pressure on Abzas Media in Azerbaijan.

25.11.23: The ceremony of laying the foundation of the village of Soltanly took place in Jabrayil region with the participation of Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Siyarto. The settlement, destroyed during the Armenian occupation, will be rebuilt by Hungarian companies.

25.11.23: Azerbaijan has delivered to Ukrainian rescuers a new tracked demining machine Revival P.

26.11.23: The irretrievable losses of the security and defense sector of Azerbaijan for 11 months of 2023 amounted to 258 people. At the same time, 212 people were killed in combat conditions, the remaining 46 losses were not combat, CDSI (Caspian Defense Studies Institute) reported.

26.11.23: The International Human Rights Protection Association (IHRPA) issued a statement expressing concern about the arrests in Azerbaijan of the director of the online publication Abzas Media Ulvi Hasanli, its editor-in-chief Sevinj Vagifgizi, as well as activist Mohammed Kekalov. The statement also points to the arrests of economist and politician Gubad Ibadoglu, journalist Avaz Zeynalli and public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev on false charges. In conclusion, the IHRPA calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to release all these individuals and other political prisoners, and to stop persecuting citizens for exercising freedom of expression.

26.11.23: The US Embassy has postponed the ceremonial meeting with graduates of American universities, scheduled for November 27 at the Marriott Absheron Hotel. This happened after reports in the pro-government resources Baku TV and Qafqazinfo that the embassy was organizing a meeting with its “spy network,” with people “recruited as American agents during their studying  in the United States.”

27.11.23: The fourth session of the Russian-Azerbaijani Expert Council (RAEC) convened in Moscow, a collaborative effort between the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Center for Analysis of International Relations of Azerbaijan (CAIRA). The event centered on the theme "Interaction between Russia and Azerbaijan in the Conditions of Post-Conflict Development in the South Caucasus."

27.11.23: The talks in Baku between the heads of the military departments of Azerbaijan and Georgia - Zakir Hasanov and  Juansher Burchuladze resulted in signing  the plan of bilateral military cooperation for 2024.

28.11.23: The Sabil District Court of Baku arrested  Aziz Orujev, the head of the Internet television "Kanal 13", for 3 months. Orujev linked the criminal case with his journalistic work because there is no corpus delicti in his actions, a lawyer Agyl Laidj told Turan. The investigation accused Orujev of illegally building a house on state-owned land. However, thousands of houses have been built on the same territory, but there are no claims against their owners. On the other hand, the land is owned by the state, and 11 citizens who are not related to this land filed a complaint against Orujev.

28.11.23: The Charge d'affaires of the USA and Germany in Azerbaijan, as well as the French ambassador, were separately summoned to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. It was brought to the attention of the ambassadors that organizations registered in these countries carried out illegal financing of the news portal “AbzasMedia”. The embassies of these countries were also involved in this, and in this connection, a strong protest was expressed to them, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

28.11.23: The German Embassy in Azerbaijan rejects the accusations of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry of illegal financing of the online publication “Abzas Media.

28.11.23: In November, representatives of the ICRC visited all Armenians detained in Azerbaijan, as well as Azerbaijanis held in Armenia. Private meetings were held with the detainees and they were given the opportunity to contact their families, the message of the ICRC Baku office. According to the mandate, during such visits, the ICRC evaluates the treatment of detainees and conditions of detention and helps them maintain contact with their families.

28.11.23:  President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on the establishment of the "Karabakh University" in the city of Khankendi. According to the document, the University is being created to train highly qualified personnel in accordance with the socio-economic needs of the region and to preserve historical educational traditions.

28.11.23: US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held separate talks with Azerbaijani President Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan to discuss a lasting and dignified peace between the two countries, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports. "The Secretary of State welcomed President Aliyev's desire to conclude a lasting and dignified peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Secretary of State noted the suffering that this protracted conflict has caused both Azerbaijanis and Armenians, and noted the prospects that peace will bring to the region," State Department spokesman Miller said, commenting on the content of the talks.

28.11.23: The United States confirmed its concern about the current wave of arrests of independent journalists in Azerbaijan — four in a week. "We are deeply concerned about the arrest of journalists: Ulvi Hasanli, as well as allegations of physical violence against him in custody; Sevinj Vagifgizy; Aziz Orujev; and Magomed Kekalov, who is also a civil activist," a State Department spokesman said in response to a request from TURAN. "We call on the Government of Azerbaijan to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, including those who exercise freedom of expression," the State Department spokesman added. Orujev, the head of the Internet TV channel Channel 13, became the latest victim of the "media hunt".

29.11.23: The New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) called on the Azerbaijani authorities to release  Aziz Orujev, the director of “Channel 13” Internet Television, from custody and to drop the charge of illegal construction from him, as well as to stop the legal persecution of independent media.

29.11.23: President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visited the State Security Service  and took part in the opening of new administrative buildings of the department where some structural units of the central office of the State Security Service will be placed, the website of the head of state reports.

29.11.23: President Ilham Aliyev signed an order appointing Ildrim Veliyev as head of the Department for Control over Execution and Personnel Issues of the Security Council of Azerbaijan. Since 2019, Veliyev has been a chief consultant in the Security Council, and before that, he worked as deputy head of the department in the Prosecutor General's Office for supervision of the execution of laws in the implementation of investigative and operational investigative activities in the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the State Security Service and the State Border Service.

29.11.23: The Baku military court  completed consideration of the criminal case against those accused of torturing former defendants of the "Terter case". The court sentenced former commander of the military unit Vusal Aleskerov, former chief of staff of the same unit Rashid Niftaliyev and super enlisted soldier Ramil Garayev to 5.6 years of imprisonment each. Another conscript Rustam Aleskerov was sentenced to 9.5 years' imprisonment. They were found guilty under Articles 145.3 (illegal deprivation of liberty), 293.3 (tortures and other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment), 341.2.2 (abuse of power) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

30.11.23: The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) called on the Azerbaijani authorities to release the director of the Internet TV "Kanal 13" Aziz Orujev and drop charges against him

30.11.23: Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov has left for the capital of Northern Macedonia, Skopje, to participate in the 30th meeting of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers.

30.11.23: A meeting of the State Commissions of the two countries on the delimitation of the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia was held on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia under the chairmanship of the vice-premiers of the two countries Shahin Mustafayev and Mher Grigoryan. The parties agreed on the text of the Regulation on the organization and holding of meetings and joint working meetings and more.

30.11.23: Border guards prevented the smuggling of drugs from Iran to Azerbaijan near the village of Arus, Yardimli region. According to the State Border Service of Azerbaijan, 18 kg 800 grams of drugs (10 kg 500 grams of marijuana, 3 kg 750 grams of methamphetamine, 4 kg 550 grams of heroin) were found and seized during search and operational activities.

30.11.23: The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection has allocated 250 apartments in the village of Bibi-Eibat in the residential building  intended for the families of martyrs and invalids of the Karabakh war. It should be noted that the specified building in Bibi-Eibat, apartments in which are provided to families of martyrs and war invalids, was originally built for journalists, next to two multi-storey buildings already built by the authorities for representatives of loyal media.

German mediation in the active phase

04.11.23an: German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock, in a press conference held in Baku on November 4, conveyed the European Union's and Germany's commitment to supporting Azerbaijan and Armenia in their pursuit of peace. Her statement followed discussions with her Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov.

04.11.23: German Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock, during her visit to Azerbaijan, engaged in a significant discussion with representatives of the country's civil society. The meeting covered a wide range of critical issues, including the state of human rights in Azerbaijan, crackdowns on activists, politically motivated prosecutions, the status of media freedom, government pressures on civil society, and human rights organizations.

03.11.23: Moscow is in contact with Baku and Yerevan to settle relations between them, a peace treaty is being prepared, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said, speaking at the marathon of the "Znaniye" society within the framework of the Russia exhibition-forum.

Baerbock focuses on territorial integrity

In a diplomatic foray aimed at advancing the resolution of the protracted Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock concluded a two-day visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan over the weekend. Her mission sought to convey the European Union's stance on settling the dispute, which centers on the mutual recognition of territorial integrity by both parties, thereby effectively removing the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's status from the negotiation table.

The backdrop for this diplomatic effort traces back two years, when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, endeavored to broker an agreement by synthesizing the principles of territorial integrity and the right of nations to self-determination. This approach aimed to grant Nagorno-Karabakh some form of independent status, at least within the borders of Azerbaijan. However, President Ilham Aliyev's steadfast refusal to concede such a status following the victorious 2020 war and the uncompromising stance of the Armenians, who insisted on full independence, ultimately led to a breakdown in negotiations and the resumption of hostilities. These hostilities resulted in the defeat of the self-declared regime in Karabakh and the mass exodus of Armenians from the region.

Baerbock's  visit to the region was initially scheduled for 10 days earlier but was postponed as Baku and Yerevan expressed readiness to engage in talks before her arrival, indicating a genuine desire to solidify their agendas for a peaceful settlement. On October 26, Armenian   Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ali Asadov held talks in Georgia, mediated by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Public statements from Pashinyan and Asadov indicated that both sides were prepared to sign a peace treaty recognizing the territorial integrity of their respective nations based on Soviet-era administrative borders. The closed-door discussions between Pashinyan and Asadov yielded additional outcomes, underscoring the potential progress made in these behind-the-scenes negotiations.

Baerbock's expedited visit to the region suggests that substantive progress has been achieved in the pursuit of peace, surpassing initial expectations. Both Germany and the European Union view the expeditious conclusion of a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia as essential for the realization of their long-term interests in the South Caucasus, a region characterized by its strategic importance as a key multifunctional transport corridor and a hub with a European orientation.

The prospect of a peace treaty being signed before the year's end now seems plausible, given the prevailing circumstances. Beyond the European diplomatic framework, the 3+3 initiative has gained momentum, facilitating consultations between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Tehran. Additionally, Russia has reasserted its role, with Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev signaling Moscow's intent to contribute to the expeditious conclusion of a peaceful Armenian-Azerbaijani treaty.

Both Brussels and Moscow appear to be taking coordinated steps to accelerate the treaty-signing process, complementing each other as intermediaries. Despite the ongoing confrontation between the West and Russia in Ukraine, this clash has not spilled over into the South Caucasus conflict, as evident from the trajectory of events surrounding Karabakh. The mutual interest in a stable and peaceful South Caucasus aligns with the goal of fostering a balance of interests in this pivotal region on the global stage.

Anti-American escalation

20.11.23: Azerbaijan has been waiting for a response from Armenia on proposals for a peaceful settlement since September 11, Head of State Ilham Aliyev  stated at  joint briefing with Iraqi President Abdullatif Jamal Rashid on Monday. "We are waiting for comments on our proposals from Armenia. We have repeatedly exchanged proposals on the draft peace treaty. But now, since September 11, we have been waiting for a response from the Armenian government for more than two months, but we have not received a response," he said.

21.11.23: The Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan made a statement due to the Law S.3000 (Act in Defense of Armenians), adopted earlier by the US Senate. The statement condemns the anti-Azerbaijani act and calls for taking an "objective" position in the South Caucasus processes.

26.11.23: The US Embassy has postponed the ceremonial meeting with graduates of American universities, scheduled for November 27 at the Marriott Absheron Hotel. This happened after reports in the pro-government resources Baku TV and Qafqazinfo that the embassy was organizing a meeting with its “spy network,” with people “recruited as American agents during their studying  in the United States.”

Echoes of the American-Azerbaijani tension in Yerevan

Following France, Azerbaijan's relations with the United States have taken a controversial turn due to concerns about a potential military invasion of Azerbaijan on the territory of Armenia

Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien, in his testimony before the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 15, regarding the future of Nagorno-Karabakh, assured American lawmakers that Washington has made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions, at the highest levels of contact, that the use of force against Armenia is wholly unacceptable. He stated, "The authorities in Baku have assured us that they have no such intentions, and we are closely monitoring troop movements and any indications of alternative plans. I am confident that the community will work more purposefully towards achieving a resolution."

President Aliyev, following the victorious 44-day war that resulted in the complete liberation of territories occupied by Armenia in the early 1990s, has laid claim to the historical homeland of the Azerbaijani people, which includes parts of present-day Armenia. On his birthday, December 24, 2022, during a meeting with a group of intellectuals from Western Azerbaijan (present-day Armenia), he stated, "The map displayed in this building from the early 20th century once again attests that Western Azerbaijan is a historical Azerbaijani region, and the names of cities and villages in this region have Azerbaijani origins. It is well-known that the Azerbaijani people have resided in the territory of present-day Armenia throughout history."

This statement follows his earlier assertive declaration when he raised the Azerbaijani flag in the liberated city of Kelbajar on August 17, 2021: "With the opening of the Zangazur corridor, we will return our citizens to Zangazur. Such a program exists, and it is natural. Our citizens were forcibly expelled from the territory of Armenia, not only from Zangazur but also from Sevan. They have the right to live on the land of their ancestors. We have left this for the next stage."

Official historical accounts draw attention to the status quo of the Caucasus region becoming part of Russia in the early 19th century when the Russian Empire coerced Azerbaijani khanates, including Iravan and Karabakh, into accepting the protection of the Russian Tsar. The toponymy and ethnic composition of that time indicate a 95% Azerbaijani presence.

Notably, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Iranian officials, particularly those of Azerbaijani ethnicity, raised the notion of reuniting the South Caucasus regions that separated in the 19th century with Iran. Baku, in response, has its own aspirations for the reunification of a significant portion of Iran, fostering the idea of a Greater Azerbaijan. While President Aliyev, who considers himself a descendant of the medieval ruler of Agk-Koyunlu, Uzun Hasan, whose grandson Shah Ismail Khatai founded the powerful Safavid state, a precursor to modern Iran, does not openly assert such claims, his administration underscores this historical connection through monument installations and exhibitions. These mutual claims continue to cast a shadow over Iranian-Azerbaijani relations.

But let us return to the heart of the matter: Is President Aliyev planning an attack on Armenia to reunify with Nakhchivan, which is separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by the 42-kilometer Zangazur corridor, and to regain enclaves in western Armenia, providing strategic control over communication routes emanating from Georgia? The question is rhetorical. If we extrapolate from the lessons of the 44-day war and the counter-terrorism operation on September 19, we can anticipate that these developments are a response to Yerevan's refusal to peacefully return the occupied territories to Azerbaijan and acknowledge its territorial integrity.

The consolidated calls and preventive warnings from the West about the undesirability of an Azerbaijani invasion likely stem from the reluctance to continue the military trajectory in the protracted Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute. Sequentially, France, Germany, the European Union, and now the United States are making concerted efforts to prevent the evolution of such an unwanted scenario.

In essence, if we carefully analyze Washington's diplomatic efforts and those of its allies to solidify the current territorial status quo and compel both sides to sign a comprehensive peace agreement, Armenia appears to be the primary focus. This is driven by the logic of events, as its territory is under the threat of invasion. Therefore, the message from the West can be interpreted as follows: "We will defend Armenia only within the framework of the established status quo, but we cannot guarantee this without a peace agreement."

This is evident in the reactions of the conflicting parties. Armenia, more than anyone else, has begun to discuss the historical milestone and the historical prelude to a peace treaty. The Armenian leadership used the OSCE PA platform in Yerevan to emphasize its commitment to peace. Baku, in the face of pressure from the United States and European partners, has adopted a demonstratively confrontational stance, which does not seem to cause much irritation in Washington, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin, as they delve into the intricacies of shaping a new long-term peace format for Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

Abzas Media Syndrome

20.11.23: In the morning, on the way to the airport in Baku, the director of the online publication Abzas Media Ulvi was detained by the police. In the evening, he was charged at the Baku City Police Headquarters under Article 206.3.2 (smuggling of foreign currency by a group of persons by prior agreement) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. This was reported to journalists by lawyer Zibeyda Sadygova. He has been brought in as a suspect and will be placed in a pre-trial detention cell. Hasanli pleaded not guilty and called the accusation unfounded.

21.11.23:  The Khatai District Court of Baku has arrested  Ulvi Hasanli , director of the online  Abzas Media.  The editor-in-chief of Abzas Media, Sevinj Vagifgyzy, was arrested for the same term as well both denied charges of foreign currency smuggling.

22.11.23: The Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly condemned the arrests Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgizi, the director and editor-in-chief of “Abzas Media” in Azerbaijan  on "false accusations of smuggling," as well as the detention of another member of this team, Mohammed Kekalov. The committee called on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop pressure on independent media and immediately release the detained journalists, the organization said in a statement on the social network X.

24.11.23: A large group of civil society activists and human rights defenders issued a statement condemning the persecution of "Abzas Media"online publication employees. It says that the criminal prosecution on charges of smuggling of the "Abzas Media" director and editor-in-chief Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgyzy, as well as activist Mohammad Kekalov, who collaborated with the publication, is unfounded. There is also a call to release Hasanli, Vagifgyzy and Kekalov.

"The government tries to suppress independent media and civil society at every opportunity"

In recent days, there has been a contradictory turn in Azerbaijan's relations with the United States.

After Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien's speech on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh before the foreign affairs committee of the Congress on November 15, the US government and politics were almost ripped to shreds in a number of Azerbaijani media outlets.

This time, the media controlled by the government went on the search for “US intelligence” in Azerbaijan and a "spy hunt".

What will all this lead to?

Political commentator Nasimi Mammadli answered ASTNA's questions on the topic.

* * *

Question: Nasimi Bey, after US Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien's speech on the future of Karabakh in front of the Congress foreign affairs committee on November 15, the US government and politics were almost ripped to shreds in a number of Azerbaijani media outlets. What is happening?

Answer: Azerbaijan has eliminated 30-year occupation, ensured its territorial integrity, and did not allow any ethnic cleansing. However, the approach of the United States to this issue is not adequate. The current behavior of the United States, which did not put any pressure on a state that occupied the territories of Azerbaijan for 30 years, causes regret and surprise. Such an open double standard will negatively affect the balanced role of the United States in the South Caucasus.

The arguments of independent media and socio-political organizations criticizing the USA are valid. But there are many people who abuse these cold relations. In Azerbaijan, circles with special sympathy for Russia and Iran are mostly hidden under the umbrella of the government. These groups actively emerge when there is a slight tension in the government's relations with the West. The current tension in Azerbaijan-US relations is caused by the unfair approach of the US to the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict.

This time, the media controlled by the government went on the search for “US intelligence” in Azerbaijan and a "spy hunt". What will all this lead to?

Answer: As I mentioned, this is an abuse. It seems that someone thinks that such "searches" will influence the United States. Most financial aid allocated by the USA was allocated to the state and government institutions in Azerbaijan. At the same time, there is currently no force in Azerbaijan that can pose a threat to the government. The authorities try to suppress independent media and civil society at every opportunity. Now it is trying to take advantage of the opportunity and silence the critical voices.

Question: Why did the authorities follow such a path? Are these steps in favor of Azerbaijan?

Answer: Azerbaijan's international image in the field of human rights and democracy is already bad. But it has been like this for 30 years. This factor did not negatively affect the normal economic and trade relations with the West. Currently, the West-Russia geopolitical competition has entered an active phase in the South Caucasus. Rapid and seasonal changes are observed in interstate relations. Azerbaijan can take advantage of the West-Russia competition, or it can suffer a heavy blow. It is not credible that the government does not take this into account. The government should respect the basic rights and freedoms of citizens in the country.

Question: Opinions in the government-controlled media mention RFE/RL, VOA, and USAID. Can these organizations expect some punishment?

Answer: It is harmful to stay out of the global information environment now. On the contrary, relations with such institutions should be further expanded. In these media organizations, one can object to cases of imbalance against Azerbaijan or criticize these media organizations. However, banning these media outlets in the country would be more harmful than the criticism they spread. I do not believe that Azerbaijan will completely break relations with such influential international media entities.

Question: Are the raids on AbzasMedia and the arrest of Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgizi steps happening within this process?

Answer: I don't think there is a direct connection. This is not the first time that the Azerbaijani authorities have taken such steps. It probably won't be the last. Such arrests are already regularly carried out. The goal is to create fear in the independent media, to force self-censorship. I evaluate the attacks on AbzasMedia from this point of view. According to my observation and analysis, the arrest of Ulvi Hasanli and Sevinj Vagifgizi is related to their investigations regarding corruption.

Question: Why does the government try to take revenge on its active citizens when it is angry with a country?

Answer: The government's official policy is not based on citizen satisfaction. The dissatisfaction of citizens with the government has consequences in democratic countries. The government keeps people and institutions that influence public opinion against their will under constant pressure. Whenever there is an opportunity, it takes preventive steps in this direction. There are individuals and groups in Azerbaijan who sympathize with Turkey, the West, Russia, and Iran. When there is a problem in the government's relationship with a country, it targets people and groups that sympathize with that country. It is as if it intimidates those countries and their citizens. Unfortunately, the government does not refuse this approach, which is a blow to the state and society.

Question: What is the promise of the events happening?

Answer: With the restoration of Azerbaijan's sovereignty in Karabakh, the position of the authorities in the society has strengthened significantly. There is no internal threat to the authorities in the country. It has tightened the "belts" even more and is taking full control of all platforms. Possible threats from abroad are also weak. An agreement was reached with Russia and Iran. Azerbaijan has a unique model of cooperation in its relations with the European Union and the United States. Taking advantage of the current geopolitical changes, it considers making this model accepted forever by the West. The reaction and position of the West will determine the nature of future relations.

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