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Difficulties in protecting Azerbaijan's independence: 101 years ago and now - COMMENT

Difficulty protecting Azerbaijan's independence: 101 years ago and now
Professor said the source of danger for the independence of Azerbaijan still exists.

The threats to the sovereignty of the Azerbaijani state have increased even more compared with 100 years ago. 100 years ago, the state independence of Azerbaijan lasted 23 months, and despite the difficulties, in the current period, this independence has been preserved for 28 years. Having gained its independence in 1991, Azerbaijan as a result of its policy at a time of geopolitical problems managed to maintain its independence. Of course, preservation of independence is far more difficult than obtaining it.

Historians believe that independence of a country in a state of war, that has been subjected to oppression, passed through historic trials, depends on people-government unity.

The 101st anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic is coming. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has declared 2018 the 'Year of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic'.

The life of the First Republic lasted for 23 months. But 28 years have passed since its restoration.During this period Azerbaijan's position and influence in the context of state-building and international relations increased. Our country is not a part of any state. Just the other way round, the position of official Baku in terms of issues related to our region is leading.

At present, Azerbaijan plays a key role in world energy supply. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, TANAP, TAP gas pipelines, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA), the South-North transport corridor, designed to create fast and more profitable trade relationship between Europe and South-East Asia, are the projects that confirm our statements mentioned above.

Bu və başqa layihələr Azərbaycanın beynəlxalq aləmdə əhəmiyyətini və nüfuzunu artırır. Qərbin, xüsusi ilə ABŞ və onun müttəfiqlərinin bölgəyə yönəlik bir sıra planlarının da həyata keçirilməsinə Azərbaycan tərəfdaş ölkə kimi yardım edir.

Xalq Cümhuriyyətinin yaradılması dünya və bölgə üçün çox qarmaqarışıq dövrə təsadüf edirdi. Azərbaycanın müstəqilliyinin bərpası da oxşar tarixi proseslər zamanı baş verib. Hər iki hadisə şimaldakı ciddi dövlət böhranının nəticəsi kimi ortaya çıxıb. Çar Rusiyasının süqutu Azərbaycan Xalq Cümhurriyyətinin, SSRİ-nin çökməsi Azərbaycan Respublikasının yaranmasına təkan verib 

These and other projects increase Azerbaijan's importance and influence in the international arena. Azerbaijan, as a partner country, assists the West, especially the United States and its allies, in the implementation of a series of their plans. 

Creation of the People's Republic dated to a very complicated period for the world and the region. The restoration of Azerbaijan's independence took place during similar historical processes. Both events were a comsequence of a serious state crisis in the north.The collapse of Tsarist Russia, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the USSR gave impetus to the creation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The reputation of Azerbaijan during the first Republic was incomparable with the present time. At that time the goal was to get rid of Russia's colony and continue existence under the mandate of the US. Unfortunately, world powers, unfortunately, ignored Azerbaijan's independence because they considered Russia to be more important. The Bolsheviks occupied the People's Republic. Thus, the state building and works to become independent republic left unfinished.

As 101 years ago, today the friends and enemies of Azerbaijan have not changed. At that time, a state called Armenia was created  in Azerbaijani territories.The Armenians in Karabakh were assisted by their patrons just the way they do it today. In other words, those who assisted in the occupation of Karabakh 101 years ago have not changed. In recent years, threats from north and south to Azerbaijan are similar to those in the early twentieth century. Today, our country's independence, security is strengthened, regional and international importance has grown.

Azerbaijan participates in international peacekeeping missions and anti-terror operations, as it participates closely in the world's energy security.

Compared to 101 years ago, today there are many dangers that threaten Azerbaijan.It is no secret that Azerbaijani lands were occupied by patrons of Armenia. So, now, apart from Armenia there are hidden enemies of Azerbaijan. Therefore, one of the main goals to achieve national security, state independence, and territorial integrity is to neutralize or fight the hidden and known invisible enemies. There are numerous security challenges around the world. All issues from international terrorism to cyber attacks are a source of new threats to the country's independence and development.The fight against these threats has also turned into the main task of Azerbaijan.

The emergence of new information technologies and the launch of the Azerspace satellite into the orbit show that Azerbaijan is a modern state.

Compared to that time, the Azerbaijani society is now more complete. A phase of its statehood and nationalization has already come to an end.Azerbaijan's strategic targets have been identified. There is a tolerance and also a political opposition. The main guarantor of independence is the unity of the President with citizens. In the issue of sovereignty, territorial integrity, democratization and strong state of Azerbaijan, this unity is inviolable, and positions in this direction are unchangeable.

Deputy of Milli Majlis, corresponding member of ANAS, Professor Musa Gasimli told Report that in the difficult conditions after 1991, the loss of the state independence and the threat of splitting the country were real. He stressed that national leader Heydar Aliyev was the one who managed to overcome the threat:

"It would be wrong to compare the 1918-1920s and the post-1991 period because of the enoumous diffference."

At that time the state and government structures were created from scratch when the state independence was proclaimed. International conditions were not favorable for Azerbaijan's state independence. Relations between the Antanta countries, Russia and Turkey have led to geopolitical changes in the region. In 1920 Bolshevik Russia occupied Azerbaijan for many reasons, but formally the "Independent Azerbaijan SSR" was preserved. Although the state independence was abolished, some of the state attributes were preserved. For the first time in 1921 the Constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR was adopted. Although the foreign policy and other structures were abolished in 1922 when Azerbaijan was part of the USSR formally, Azerbaijan SSR was an allied republic forming the Soviet Union.

In 1991, the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was restored as the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which existed in 1918-1920. Most of the state and government structures existed at this time. The Defense Ministry was established. It was difficult to maintain the state independence in both periods. Collapse of state independence in difficult times after 1991, the threat of splitting the country was real. At the time of the Armenian military aggression, the occupation of our territories and the presence of refugees and internally displaced persons, the separatist movements supported from abroad were increased in the north and south and the people were on the verge of civil war. When the Azerbaijani authorities failed to cope with situation, the National Leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, who served as the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was invited to Baku. Just because of his firm will and public trust, the state of Azerbaijan and our nation have survived the above-mentioned disasters. "

Professor said the source of danger for the independence of Azerbaijan still exists.

"The source of danger was, is, and will remain for the independence of Azerbaijan. At that time, there was the Armenian military aggression against our country and it continues today. Then there were also the countries, which still do not want Azerbaijan's state independence. In modern conditions, the state of the Republic of Azerbaijan sees and destroys those sources in advance. Apart from Armenia, Azerbaijan has created good neighborhoods around it.”

Despite the continuing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, occupation of some of our territories, refugees and internally displaced persons, and double standards, Azerbaijan managed to survive the crisis owing to Heydar Aliyev's wise policy: “He introduced a new energy policy. He started building an independent, powerful state. Reforms were implemented. If any other state faced the situation through which Azerbaijan gone, perhaps it would have not existed now. If  the years 1993-2003 were the period of establishment and strengthening of an independent state, the post-2003 period was the period of Azerbaijan's transformation into a modernized state under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. Today there is a strong state of the Republic of Azerbaijan with a better future. "

The MP stressed the role of domestic and foreign policy carried out by President Ilham Aliyev in the last 16 years in the protection of our independence: “The foreign policy line of Mr. President is aimed at providing favorable international conditions for the state building within the country, strengthening its independence and creating equal opportunities for the further prosperity of our people. Many years in our history are directly related to the name of our President. Becoming a member of the Space Club, transformation of our country into a transport and communication hub, entering new markets, becoming a European energy supplier are just some of the items in a long list.Today Azerbaijan has a strong army. As a result of the policy aimed at ensuring the interests of the people, natural stability is prevailing in our country. An alternative to this policy is chaos, anarchy and disaster. People do not accept it for the second time since they saw such conditions in their life.The Azerbaijani people are wise.They know what the state building and stability mean. Therefore, they protect the policy pursued by Mr. President."

Dilqam Ahmad, a researcher of the Democratic People's Republic of Azerbaijan, told Report that there are some similarities between the conditions of 1918 and the 1991: "The similarity is that Azerbaijan has twice declared independence in the twentieth century, both of which were the result of the collapse of the Russian Empire. In 1991, we declared independence in the form of a state with borders and we were soon recognized in the world. But in 1918, the conditions were worse. When the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on May 28 in Baku, Baku was in the hands of Russians and Armenians, we could not control our actual historical territories. In that case, it was the Ottoman Empire that saved us. Had there not been for the Treaty of Batum and the Islamic Army of the Caucasus, our independence would have remained on paper in Tbilisi. On September 15, Baku was liberated by Azerbaijani and Ottoman forces, but in this period we fell into dependence on the Ottoman Empire.The National Council resigned, and actually Nuru Pasha ruled the country. As a result of the World War I, Ottoman left Azerbaijan and instead the British troops settled in Baku, based on the as a result of Mudros Agreement.

At that time our country had to agree with English general Thomson. However, the Azerbaijani government understood that the outcome of the First World War would be discussed at the table and it was necessary to be represented there.Therefore, the Azerbaijani Parliament was formed urgently and sent a delegation to Paris chaired by Alimardan bey Topchubashov. All this happened in such a situation that the Tsarist Russia was overthrown as a result of the revolution, the Ottoman Empire was defeated and former Tsarist General Denikin set new claims, and the Bolsheviks wanted to re-capture Baku.

That is, we were in a very difficult situation compared to 1991. But despite this our staff  overcame all the difficulties facing it, could go to Paris, and even on May 28, 1919 met with US President Woodrow Wilson. Although Wilson was against our independence, Denikin’s weakening, winning states changed their policies due to the threat of Bolshevism spread to Iran and India after Azerbaijan and, in January 1920, our independence was recognized de facto.

But, unfortunately, this joy did not last for three months, our country was occupied by the Russians.At that time, it was difficult to maintain our independence. As you know, during the Tsarist period the Azerbaijanis were not taken to the army. Our national army has just been formed. Baku was occupied as a result of the rebellion of the Armenians in Karabakh, Ottomans that turned blind eye on Russian troops that entered Azerbaijan, as well as some Turkish pashas stood beside Bolsheviks. In this regard, it is easier to maintain our independence in the present, because our strong army, oil contracts and geopolitical factors are the guarantee of our independence. "

Dilgam Ahmed, a researcher of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic

According to Ahmed, there were too many sources of danger for Azerbaijan at the times of the Republic: "The winners did not want the independence of Russia's colonies, there was Denik's and Bolshevik's threats, on the other hand, the Qajar state was opposed to us, and they did not recognize Azerbaijan.

There were conflicts inside the country.Even some parliamentarians openly supported Bolsheviks. It is no coincidence that Prime Minister Nasib bey Yusifbeyli, on May 28, 1919, addressed the public on the occasion of the first age of the state saying that the danger had not yet passed, dark clouds are flowing over our people and threaten our freedom. Nasib bey's idea, unfortunately, was true. Imagine that Soviet foreign minister Chicherin appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Hoyski, to create a united front against General Denikin.

Hoyski noted that the Republic of Azerbaijan neither involves anyone in it’s internal affairs, nor wants to interfere in domestic affairs of Russia.It was a pretty diplomatic and relevant answer. But Chicherin did not accept this answer, and later sent a harder note.As a result, Azerbaijan was occupied. Naturally, the geopolitical picture is the same though hundred years have passed. If in 1920 the Armenians rebelled in Karabakh, today they occupied Karabakh. If the Qajars did not recognize our independence in 1918-1920, and they were forced to recognize de facto under pressure, now the attitude of the Iranian state to our country is almost identical.

Attitude of some of the Iranian officials prove this. Russia did not want to recognize the independence of the Caucasus in the 1918-1920s,  and today it can not tolerate independence of these states.

That's why it has been and will be supporting the separatist movements in Georgia and Azerbaijan. But, of course, the dangers associated with our independence have been reduced dramatically compared with hundred years ago.

Azerbaijan is recognized by world powers, including super powers, it is a member of the United Nations, participates in NATO programs, and so on."

The researcher said that the double standards against Azerbaijan were reflected in the early years of independence: "The amendment to the Section 907 alone can be listed as an example. Even though we were those whose territories were occupied, we suffered from the Khojaly genocide, the Armenians were supported instead. Of course, we have made mistakes. We were not ready for independence, and the leaders of the state's main structures were killed as a result of the helicopter crash, and the conflict erupted in the country. All this caused us to lose power. We must admit that the Armenian lobby was stronger than ours a hundred years ago, and now as well.As a result of the pressure of the Armenian lobby against the US, decisions were made against our country.

"But to avoid these dual standards, we should not create reasons for such a state as well. Necessary reforms should be carried out and we should turn our country into a state where democratic traditions are preserved.

"Otherwise, these issues will be used against us, especially if the Karabakh conflict is resolved. "

Ahmed noted that the role of President Ilham Aliyev in the preservation of our independence in the last 16 years is indisputable: "Undoubtedly, our greatest success during President Ilham Aliyev's term was in April 2016. For the first time since the ceasefire was achieved, we have changed the status quo in our favor. As a result of the battles, some positions in the direction of the Talysh village of Terter region, the Lalatapa height and Jojug Marjanli village of Jabrayil district, Gulustan village of Goranboy region and some positions in Madagiz village of Terter region were liberated from the enemy. We know that the Karabakh conflict is for our independence. If we liberate the occupied lands, Azerbaijan's independence will be strengthened. The government's first function is to serve the people. The government that serves the people, works for its well-being, is supported by the people. The people therefore will work for the government that serves them longer, and will choose it during the election.

"Every nation wants it to be ruled by the worthiest people in the government or parliament. And the decent government elected by the people will, of course, be the guarantor of sovereignty. "

Sadraddin Ismayilov

Said Garib

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