Azerbaijan Newspaper Threatens West and Recognizes Political Motives for Mehman Aliyev's Arrest

Baku / 10.09.17 / Turan: The official state newspaper Azerbaijan published a lengthy editorial in its September 9 issue (Stereotypes of Obama Times in USA), which announced a "slander campaign" launched by "certain Western circles" against Baku.

In particular, the article expresses dissatisfaction with the publications in the Western press of the investigations of the international journalistic network OCCRP about the involvement of Azerbaijani companies and officials in money laundering, the statement of the US State Department representative demanding the release of the director of the Turan news agency Mehman Aliyev, the initiative of US Senator R. Durbin to impose sanctions in relation to persons involved in the criminal prosecution of the journalist, and criticism of official Baku by international human rights defender organizations.

As stated in the publication, "the Soros people and the Armenian lobby, taking advantage of this opportunity, went over to actions to undermine the US-Azerbaijan relations and strategic partnership".

The Azerbaijan paper complains that "official Washington still cannot get rid of the stereotypes of the Obama era, when various lobbying groups influenced the official policy of the state with strong levers."

The newspaper warns that "if the anti-Azerbaijani circles and the lobbying interests of the United States take the upper hand and the Global Magnitsky Act applied to Russia will spread to Azerbaijan, official Baku may review the policy of partnership with the West and take "adequate steps."

It is recalled that despite the pressure of large regional actors, Baku preferred a multi-vector, balanced policy and developed a strategic partnership with the United States and the European Union. However, as stated in the article, "sanctions and similar erroneous steps can force official Baku to reconsider its foreign policy and give preference to a one-sided choice." "And this will be a serious loss for the United States and Western countries that have great interests in the region," the article continues.

Another response of Baku, according to the editorial, may be repressive actions against activists and journalists, which the publication refers to as the "fifth column" (meaning traitors) and "friends" of the West.

"Those who sanction a new campaign against Azerbaijan today, naively believe that in this way they will be able to defend the "fifth column" and their friends. Over the years, official Baku tried to turn a blind eye to the tyranny of Khadija Ismail, Mehman Aliyev, Emin Milli and other similar anti-national elements, NGOs and the Western media network, although Baku saw that they specifically fulfilled a well-known mission, and patiently treated them. However, when the activities of this network began to shake the foundations of the state, there was a need to take preventive measures, and appropriate steps were taken. And the new demarche of the West can create a serious basis for further deepening of these steps," the article says.

The official newspaper actually confirms the political motives for the persecution of Mehman Aliyev. So, while according to law enforcement agencies Aliyev is accused of committing economic crimes, the Azerbaijan paper accuses the director of Turan news agency of an activity "shaking the foundations of the state", without specifying what it was.

The Azerbaijan paper's editorial was completely reprinted by many pro-government media, which gives reason to believe that it contains messages from official Baku. -06D--

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