Ali Karimli. Arxiv

Ali Karimli. Arxiv


- Nasimi bey, recently the pressure on a part of the opposition, in particular, the members of the National Council and the APFP, has increased. Ali Karimli's Internet was cut off, journalists visiting his home were harassed, Saadat Jahangir's house was searched and she was interrogated, several party members and supporters were administratively arrested, Tofig Yagublu was arrested, and so on. Why is all this happening? What are those who do this worried about?

Nəsimi Məmmədli - Although the government's repressive policy against the opposition has been going on for many years, it has become more severe in recent days. This is a manifestation of a systemic policy. Behaving differently is impossible for a government that does not hold democratic elections, stifles the independent press, does not allow freedom of assembly and expression, and destroys an independent civil society.

The government has always taken an uncompromising stance against those who protest against the concentration of power in one hand, gross violations of the law and lawlessness, as well as those who = criticize the government with arguments and courage.

The socio-economic and financial crisis caused by poor governance has more deepened as oil prices have fallen. Dissatisfaction and tension in society do not subside. Although the problems in the country are growing in all areas, their solutions are becoming increasingly difficult. The authorities are openly expressing their concern and anger in their own behavior.

On the one hand, it tries to divert the attention of the opposition from common problems, to hinder its organization, and on the other hand, to maintain a climate of fear in society.

- There are opinions that these steps are taken deliberately by some wing of the government in order to increase the prestige of the National Council, the APFP, specifically Ali Karimli. In other words, to form the opinion that they are the ones who are under the most pressure; therefore, they are the real opposition. How logical are these ideas?

- First of all, let us note that the government is completely monolithic. There is no one in the government who can oppose the will and policy of the President. The repressive policy pursued against Ali Karimli, the National Council, and the Popular Front Party cannot be an "amateurism" of any "wing" of the political government.

It is an undeniable fact that the reputation of any person or organization under pressure from the authorities is growing in society. In any society, there is growing sympathy among ordinary people for the forces fighting against the government, which forms an unjust, cruel, oppressive, ruthless image.

Although the pressure on Ali Karimli and his organization has increased their prestige, the aim is to obstruct and disrupt the activities of these organizations. The government is uncompromising towards any person or organization that sees a real threat to itself.

If you remember, at different times, there were many individuals and organizations that were subjected to the repressive policy of the government. A few years ago, the country's most professional and influential human rights defenders were arrested. Although they were released after severe international pressure, their activities in the country were virtually suspended. Many are still living as political immigrants.

Furthermore, well-known investigative journalists and civil society activists were also harassed and arrested.

At the same time, today, the same attitude still continues towards the opposition believers with increasing authority and influence in society, and the institutions to which they belong.

Arrests and repressions are not aimed at raising someone's prestige, but at cutting someone off, stifling and disrupting someone's activities.

- In his speech, the President says that no one will be persecuted for their political views. But on the other hand, we see the opposite of what the President said. Maybe those who do this are trying to make the president wrong?

- I would like to note once again that there is no mechanism or official in the country to distort and sabotage the will of the President. In fact, the explanation of this issue is very simple. In his speech, the President very clearly defined the framework of the "opposition" to his government. No one who adopts that framework is persecuted and will not be persecuted. However, those who do not adopt this framework, their political views are not accepted and their activities are seriously hampered. Voters do not determine the government and the opposition in our country. The guarantee of the continuity of the government is not a democracy, but the means of administrative force. It is still able to retain power in these ways. It sees the opposition, formed by dissidents and protesters, as an "out-of-system" opposition and seeks to disrupt it.

- It is also interesting that everything happened during the quarantine period. So what could have happened during this period that these steps were taken? Who benefits from suppressing the opposition in general?

- In general, in the post-independence years, we have not witnessed the normal government-opposition relations in the country. The opposition claims that the government was seized by force. And the government does not accept the existence of opposition beyond its control. The government sees the "quarantine period" as an additional opportunity to completely crush and weaken the out-of-system opposition. During the post-pandemic period, it is concerned about the existence of a force in the country that could be locomotive for possible mass protests. The success of democratic political processes in non-free countries depends on the mobilization of society around a single organization and a single leader. The government is trying to prevent this threat before growing.

- What can be done to establish a normal dialogue between this government and the opposition in Azerbaijan? What can be done to make them look at each other not as enemies, but as different-minded people of the same nation, and treat each other with respect?

- The government is not interested in the normal development of relations with real opposition. Without a severe social crisis, large-scale political activism, and a wave of protests in society, it will never tend to normalize relations with the real opposition. The government is so obsessed with authoritarianism that it has no idea when it will change. It does not take any steps that could cause the slightest hesitation or threat to its eternity. There has been no basis for dialogue between the government and the opposition in our country yet. One side has a very violent power and the other side is handcuffed under total pressure.

The government has created the environment it wants and is not interested in changing it voluntarily.

The active and independent part of society is still watching the socio-political processes from the outside. The scattered and unsystematic activities of public opinion leaders also have a negative impact on the organization and preparation of society. What is more important today than the dialogue between the government and the opposition is to achieve the mobilization of activists around human values such as justice, dignity, and freedom.

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