On February 19, a web conference on the prospects for rapprochement between Azerbaijan and the European Union: “Participation and the possibility of dialogue in a new context of civil society” was held in Baku.
After the Karabakh war, the winner and the loser are undergoing cardinal changes, the host of the panel session Elchin Sultanov said.
Thus, the pressure on Azerbaijan from abroad increased, and the democratic forces of the country were subjected to pressure from the European partners defending the interests of Armenia. They were faced with a choice: either to protect the country’s territorial interests, or to strive for democracy.
Political scientist Ahmed Alili drew attention to the fact that the war was going on between the member countries of the Eastern Partnership, but the European Union did not reconcile, did not prevent the war.
“The configuration of economic and partly social integration of Nagorno-Karabakh into Azerbaijan in the next five years is being built by the method of “hybrid peace”. To develop this process, efforts of the civil society of Azerbaijan are needed, and for this, the country’s legislation should be changed to facilitate the work of NGOs with donors. Otherwise, Armenian NGOs will lead in the process, which is undesirable,” Alili said.
Political observer Shahin Jafarli agrees that Azerbaijan won the war, but the presence of Russian troops in Karabakh calls into question the country’s sovereignty. No one knows when the end of the conflict will come. Russia left the issue of Karabakh’s status to a later period, which remains the cause of tension in Azerbaijani society.
Jafarli linked the difficulties on the way of Azerbaijan’s integration with the EU with the presence of Moscow in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, Baku has repeatedly achieved its goals to the detriment of Moscow’s interests – the withdrawal of Russian troops from Azerbaijan, the elimination of the Gabala radar station. However, it is not known whether Baku will be able to repeat this in Karabakh this time.
He believes that not so much Azerbaijan will benefit from the opening of communications with Armenia through Meghri, as Russia, which has received direct ground access for its base in Armenia.
Armenia will receive a railway line to Iran. After the opening of the Megri railway, Moscow may insist on the inclusion of Azerbaijan in the Eurasian Economic Community. It should also be borne in mind that the railway through Gyumri will be controlled by the Federal Border Service of Russia and therefore this railway will be closed for Turkey and Azerbaijan when the actions of these two countries come into conflict with Moscow, he said.
Jafarli believes that it is necessary to withdraw the peacekeeping mission in Karabakh from under the Russian monopoly, transferring it, for example, to the European Union, but for this there must be a desire of Yerevan and Baku.
Leyla Aliyeva, chair of the Center for National and International Studies, prefers to talk not about victory in the Patriotic War, but about the restoration of justice.
“Azerbaijan has the task of withdrawing Russian troops. There is a serious danger that Russia’s presence in Azerbaijan will hinder Azerbaijan’s integration into Europe. The Euro-Atlantic forces in Europe and the United States support Azerbaijan, given the close relations between our country and NATO Turkey. But due to the suppression of liberal values in Azerbaijan, democratic-liberal Europe does not sympathize with the aspirations of Azerbaijanis, aimed only at restoring the country’s territorial integrity. The liberal community values the rights of individuals and peoples, pedaled by Armenians. But Azerbaijanis can also focus on this, because 700 thousand of our citizens were refugees,” she recalled.
According to Aliyeva, much in relations with Europe depends on the development of democracy in Azerbaijan, facilitating the activities of our NGOs. The Karabakh process should not be placed under the control of the OSCE Minsk Group, in which there are three co-chairs with different, their own national goals in the region. The process should be controlled by the civil societies of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Earlier in Europe, Azerbaijanis were not invited to the conference, more often Armenians and Russians participated. However, with the growth of the number of Azerbaijani students in Europe, the presence of representatives of our country at these events has increased. This means that in order to be reckoned with in Europe, we ourselves must change,” concluded Leyla Aliyeva.
Source: Turan News Agency