There is no point in talking to a person who claims that "while there is a dictatorship, there is also a democracy."..

Amid the geopolitical tensions of Azerbaijan's political life, President Ilham Aliyev's recent remarks underscore a growing sense of disillusionment with Western institutions and a pivot towards alternative geopolitical alliances. Against a backdrop of escalating tensions with the West, particularly in the aftermath of the Karabakh conflict, Aliyev's rhetoric signals a recalibration of Azerbaijan's foreign policy priorities and a reorientation towards the Turkic world.

Aliyev's pointed critique of Western double standards and perceived bias against Azerbaijan resonates with a broader sentiment of frustration among Azerbaijani officials. The failure to secure approval for the Azerbaijani delegation's mandate in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) serves as a poignant example of the perceived marginalization of Azerbaijan on the international stage. Aliyev's assertion that Azerbaijan's interests align more closely with the Organization of Turkic States than with Western institutions reflects a strategic realignment driven by geopolitical imperatives.

Hikmet Babaoglu, a deputy from the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party, in an interview with Turan gives a sober assessment of the West's approach to Azerbaijan, considering it in the context of Samuel Huntington's theory of the "clash of civilizations". According to Babaoglu, the West's attitude towards Azerbaijan is colored by a narrow-minded interpretation of "universal human values", which does not take into account the unique cultural and historical context of the region.

Although Aliyev's rhetoric may resonate in some segments of Azerbaijani society, it has caused controversy and disagreement among political analysts and experts. Azer Gasimli, head of the Institute of Political Management, in an interview with Azadlig Radio, disputes Aliyev's claim that Azerbaijan's interests lie outside the Western orbit, citing missed opportunities for closer cooperation with the European Union and other Western institutions.

Gasimli's critique extends beyond geopolitical posturing to encompass domestic governance issues, including concerns about political prisoners and monopolies. He argues that the existence of a dictatorship in Azerbaijan undermines claims of democracy and respect for human rights, casting doubt on the credibility of Aliyev's assertions.

The divergent perspectives highlighted by Gasimli's analysis underscore the complexity of Azerbaijan's geopolitical landscape and the challenges inherent in navigating competing interests and alliances. As Azerbaijan seeks to assert its place on the global stage, the tension between geopolitical pragmatism and democratic values will continue to shape its foreign policy calculus.

It should be noted that recent statements by President Aliyev reflect a broader trend of geopolitical recalibration in Azerbaijan, caused by a sense of disappointment in the West and a desire to establish closer ties with alternative partners. However, the implications of this shift extend beyond geopolitical maneuvering to encompass questions of democratic governance and human rights, underscoring the delicate balance between realpolitik and principled diplomacy in Azerbaijan's evolving geopolitical landscape.


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