Azerbaijan: New Stage In National Diaspora Building-Up

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Dec 16 16:35:42 UTC 2006

"Right of Choice": New Stage In National Diaspora Building-Up

The Azerbaijan nation, one of the very old nations worldwide, contributing
to the development of world civilization, because of cruel fate, was
deprived of chances to form state system traditions around a single
ideology, and guided by the national interests to unite till the 90s of
the last century. After the state independency obtained in October, 1991
Azerbaijan faced with disunity of society, lack of mobilization concerning
the national interests, unity and solidarity ideas that impeded the
national prosperity. In connection with that till the June 1993 Azerbaijan
had not have a civil peace and solidarity, and political confrontation
existing in society caused the terrible political crisis, and the country
was endangered to break-up and loss its independency.

That time incompetent forces which came to power did not attach importance
to such priorities of foreign policy as diaspora and lobby building-up,
and neglected the broadening of relations between compatriots living
abroad and Azerbaijan, using their broad chances in solution of national
problems. In 1991-1993 independent Azerbaijan, being at the loser to
Armenia at ideology and political and propaganda level, which exposed to
serious information blockade and failed to bring to the notice of the
international community the tragedy our nation were facing, were the hard
consequences of the negligence namely. The poor international influence
and position and lack of counter-attack against dirty propaganda of
Armenian lobby caused the adoption of unjust and inadequate resolutions
against Azerbaijan. Amendment 907 to the U.S. Freedom Support Act,
depriving Azerbaijan of the US aid for a long time, was a consequence of
failure and mistaken policy of incompetent leadership of 1992-1993. That
time Azerbaijan's relations with the major neighbor countries were
worsened, and the lack of steps for building-up of diaspora and lobby led
to the creation of many problems in foreign policy.

That terrible situation was withdrawn after coming of the national leader
Heydar Aliyev to power by the national will. He undertook a number of
measures for consolidation of our compatriots living abroad around a
single ideology and national-spiritual values, thereby concentrating their
strong potential for the solution of national problems. Now everyone,
regardless of their reason for policy, acknowledge that the national unity
got in Azerbaijan after Heydar Aliyev's coming to power by national will
is the most precious national and ideological wealth. During his second
leadership Heydar Aliyev as an embodiment of the single national leader
continued the line for strengthening of civil peace and national
solidarity. The national leader took a number of important steps for the
consolidation of society and transformation of Azerbaijanism ideology to
the determinating factor of national solidarity, and set forth political
and theoretical principles of national unity. The national leader became
absolutely political and spiritual leader of Azerbaijanis worldwide owing
to his policy line saying "The nationality for everyone is the source of
his pride. I have always been proud of and I am proud of being

The national leader Heydar Aliyev, with foresight and wisdom peculiar to
him, from the first days, outlining rightly the strategic tasks of foreign
policy, noted that the power of every state is measured not only by its
economic recourses, but also by its diaspora and lobby's power formed
abroad. To get serious achievements and also to settle national problems
at international level is impossible by neglecting this field. Because of
that Azerbaijan leadership for the last 10 years attempted to fulfill with
responsibility the historical mission for the achievement of
Azerbaijanians' solidarity and conducted systematic and regular policy in
this field. To establish multilateral relations with the compatriots
living abroad and mobilize them for national interests is one of the
priorities of Azerbaijan's foreign policy. The State policy pursues to
protect and develop national peculiarity of our compatriots living abroad,
to broaden their relations with Azerbaijan, and to meet other rights.

Grasping the gravity of Armenian expanded occupation policy at that
historic time and Armenian lobby's hypocritical efforts to confuse the
international community, the national leader brought the issue related to
formation of Azerbaijani diaspora and lobby to a focus of the State
policy. Heydar Aliyev's rapt attention to the building-up of diaspora and
lobby was derived from his high diplomatic and professional skills. Today
the national leader is called by right as a politician who was not
restricted within Azerbaijan and was able to lead the greatest geographic
space. It was true. Heydar Aliyev, as a great politician and charismatic
personality with high leadership skills and diplomatic talent, was
well-known in the world for a long time. Our national leader's greatness
was that he never forgot of being Azerbaijanian, and always demonstrated a
national spirit, self-knowledge and affection to cultural wealth. Heydar
Aliyev's rich and considerable life was devoted to Azerbaijan, to
recognition of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanism in the world. Throughout the
historic periods the greatest purpose of Heydar Aliyev's life was to keep
nationality, integrity and solidarity. The ideology securing our
compatriots' affection to Azerbaijan, founded by the national leader is
one of his indispensable serves. "One should keep his nationality whereas
he lives. At the same time the assimilation process is progressing in the
world. The people, i.e. Azerbaijanians, assimilating into country of
residence should hold the best positions for themselves. But they should
be always loyal to their national and spiritual values and national
origin. They are the factors consolidating us. The idea of Azerbaijanism
consolidates and unites us namely". By saying that, our national leader
Heydar Aliyev put forward an idea of Azerbaijanism aiming to consolidate
our compatriots living abroad, guided by a single idea, purpose and
principle. In his speech, he repeatedly underlined that Azerbaijanism is a
universal and national philosophic ideology that considers keeping the
nationality, national and spiritual values, and making use of universal
values and integration to advantage to everyone's prosperity.
Azerbaijanism is a predominant state ideology, derived from the
requirements of the time and today's realities. This idea, as a
cornerstone, caused the speeding of Azerbaijan diasporas' work, and
contributed to the strengthening of different public unties, communities
and circles with relation to ideology and policy for the last 10 years.

The national leader Heydar Aliyev became the leader whose key goal was to
work for the sake not only of people living within Azerbaijan, but also
for Azerbaijanians worldwide. Undoubtedly, all Azerbaijanians, whereas
they live, guided by the state system ideas, should unite closely for the
sake of keeping state independency and demonstrate their solidarity. Our
every compatriot should take care about the destiny of Azerbaijan and all
Azerbaijanians, following the Azerbaijanism ideology, should be patriot
and feel sincere love of their historic land, motherland and national
heritage. Putting forward the issues the national leader Heydar Aliyev
said with wisdom peculiar to him: "We think that each of Azerbaijanians
worldwide lives in their residence country as they want. They are citizens
of their residence country and must follow their laws. But at the same
time while Azerbaijanians have one independent state, maintaining close
relations among Azerbaijanians living in different countries,
demonstrating their solidarity and establishing relations with independent
Azerbaijan state become urgent. Our task, the Azerbaijan state's task is
to show concern of Azerbaijanians living abroad, to show interest in their
life and to develop relations among Azerbaijan communities in different
countries. Right now Azerbaijanians living abroad should establish close
relations with independent Azerbaijan. They are key conditions for the
provision of unity and solidarity of all Azerbaijanians."

The national leader's speech proves once more that Azerbaijan national
will to keep independency which was gained with great difficulties and its
desire to provide the continuity of this historic achievement caused the
advance with confidence and holding a worthy place in international
community. Today every Azerbaijanian acknowledges the national leader's
merits were directed for the establishment of national state system,
sovereign institutions and rehabilitation of national historical memory.
For Azerbaijan's citizens, Heydar Aliyev is the author of national state
system and 34-year glorious history of Azerbaijan. One of the obvious
truths is that the national leader's contribution to Azerbaijan history is
not limited only within strengthening of independent state system and its
political and economic foundations. Heydar Aliyev also played an exclusive
role in the establishment of national unity of Azerbaijanians worldwide.
The key strategic line of our national leader's national state concept is
solidarity and integrity ideas namely. He did his best for the formation
of national state and traditions for the welfare of the national
interests. According to Heydar Aliyev's governance philosophy, a keystone
of Azerbaijanism idea, as the most perfect form of keeping, developing
national spirit and its' transferring from generation to generation, is
the national state. The national state implies to protect not only
territory and material resources, but also national values and cultural
wealth, and solidarity.

During his leadership in Azerbaijan, H. Aliyev always fought for the
rehabilitation of national state traditions and national spirit. H. Aliyev
considered a mother tongue as the greatest national wealth and repeatedly
underlined that one of the important conditions of national state
building-up is to form a special official language based on national and
literary language. According to the presidential decree on "Constitution
of the day of Azerbaijan alphabet and the Azerbaijan language", signed by
the national leader on 9 August, 2001, one more day was included in
national holidays. Under the decree, 1 August is celebrated as the day of
Azerbaijan alphabet and the Azerbaijan language, and since the date a new
alphabet based on the Latin type of Azerbaijan alphabet has been applied.
One more step taken by the national leader for the development, enrichment
and perfection of the Azerbaijan language was the decree on "Improvement
of the application of the national language", signed on 18 June 2001. The
ways of development, role and function of the Azerbaijan language, as an
independent attribute is embodied in the decree.

Heydar Aliyev's broad activity focused on such social-linguistic issues
as, first of all, the native language, language and state, language and
culture, language and nation, language and history, language and
literature, language structure. Like all great political leaders, Heydar
Aliyev took care of improvement of the economy and national wealth and
attached importance to the development of common cultural values. The
national leader recommended seriously our compatriots living abroad not to
forget the national language namely.

The estimation of national and spiritual values from the view of the
national state is of great importance for the keeping and developing
Azerbaijanism in our country. Heydar Aliyev made a synthesis of morality
and national state, by including all integrated parts of Azerbaijanism in
national ideology. One of the key components of Azerbaijanism is the
national state, and others are national values and cultural wealth.

The celebration of 31 December as the Day of Solidarity of World
Azerbaijanians proves once more how foresight and great leader Heydar
Aliyev was. The Resolution on "The day of solidarity and unity of World
Azerbaijanians", initiated by Heydar Aliyev, and adopted by the Supreme
Assembly of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic on December 16, 1991
contributed to the strengthening of national solidarity idea in

In 1994-1995, when Azerbaijan faced new threats, by the national leader
Heydar Aliyev's call, thousands of our compatriots gathered around him and
backed him up. Since 1996 the reforms progressing in our country have
resulted in the establishment of public and political stability, formation
of market economy, building-up of lawful state and development of social
field and laid the foundation for the strengthening of independency of the
Republic of Azerbaijan. Independent Azerbaijan is a national pride and
spiritual support for our compatriots living in different countries.
Azerbaijan's worldwide recognition and development of inter-state
political, economic and cultural relations increase the chances of each
Azerbaijanian and give additional chances. By taking an active part in
public and political and economic life of their residence country and
contributing to the development of science and culture, they, the
representatives of material and immaterial values, native language,
history, culture and progressive traditions of Azerbaijan nation, get new
chances to meet worldwide recognition.

Azerbaijan Government attaches importance to the concentration of
potential chances of Azerbaijanis worldwide, focusing on tackling of
various problems faced the building-up process of independent national
state, and establishment of close relations, by gaining national unity and
well-organized power. I Congress of World Azerbaijanians, held on November
9-10, 2001 in Baku, in compliance with the presidential decree, signed on
May 23, 2001 contributed to the strengthening of relations between our
compatriots living abroad and the Republic of Azerbaijan, securing unity
and solidarity of Azerbaijanians worldwide, and also coordinating
Azerbaijan's communities, society and unities' activity. 403 compatriots
involved in over 200 organizations, living in 36 countries worldwide and
63 guests attended I Congress. The delegates from the United States,
Germany, Australia, Austria, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Estonia,
Georgia, the Netherlands, Israel, Switzerland, Finland, France, Canada,
Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Romania, Russia, Turkey and the
Ukraine attended. In his speech made in the Congress, the national leader
Heydar Aliyev focused on the provision of national unity and solidarity of
Azerbaijanians worldwide, enhancing relations between Azerbaijan
Government and our compatriots, consolidation of efforts for the tackling
of the problems, keeping and developing the Azerbaijan language and
national values and cultural wealth. I Congress was focused on growing
Azerbaijan's international influence, high-level propaganda of the
Azerbaijan language, history and culture in the world, unmasking Armenian
aggression policy and organizing systematic and regular counter-attack
against the Armenian lobby.

After I Congress Azerbaijan's diaspora movement entered a new phase.
Aiming at implementing systematic state policy Heydar Aliyev signed a
decree on "Setting up of the State Committee for the Work with
Azerbaijanians living abroad" in 2002. The newly-established Committee
created broad chances for centralized coordination of Azerbaijan
community, unity and circles, and for showing state concern of them. The
Committee laid the foundation for new phase in the consolidation of
Azerbaijanians worldwide and transformation of diaspora to lobby.
Azerbaijanians worldwide have already headquarters in the residence
countries, wherein they can discuss their problems.

The 2002 Milli Majlis Law on "State concern of compatriots living abroad"
determines the legal principles of state concern of Azerbaijanians living
abroad. Under the law, the rights of compatriots living abroad are
protected by the Azerbaijan Government. The Law is of great importance,
determining the legal principles of building-up of diaspora and lobby.

Today over 200 unities, communities and associations of Azerbaijan
diaspora operate in the world. The Federation of Azerbaijan Societies of
Germany, Ukraine Azerbaijanis Congress, All-Russian Azerbaijan Congress,
and Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Russian Azerbaijanians can be
exemplified. Under UNESCO estimates, 30 million out of 40 million
Azerbaijanians live in Iran, 2.5 million - in Turkey, 2 million - in
Russia and 1 million - in the United States. Generally, in most countries
of Europe, Asia and Middle East the dynamic activity of our diaspora is
evidence. Our compatriots play an important role on the path of prosperity
and development. The successful internal and external policy of
independent Azerbaijan enhances their national mind, self-knowledge and
affection to the historic land.

Today the national leader Heydar Aliyev's policy is successfully continued
by Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and his
worthy political heir. President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly noted that the
nations having strong diaspora achieve important successes in foreign
policy, protect national interests properly in the world, strive for
solution of national problems and propagandize their language, culture,
art and history. There are such diasporas that are formed and
well-organized before the establishment of the state, and can have serious
impact upon public and political situation of the country where they
operate. For instance, today Israel, particularly owing to strong Jewish
lobby and well-organized diaspora, holds the leading position on the
international scene. "Sohknut", the well-known Jewish organization's
annual budget is about $US 600 million and it assists Israel.

As far back as 27 July 2004 at the conference held at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs with the presence of Azerbaijan's diplomats President
Ilham Aliyev estimated the building-up of diaspora as one of the
priorities of foreign policy and focused on its broadening. The Head of
State underlined that our compatriots living abroad bear a great
responsibility for the protection of national interests on the
international scene, and for the bringing impartial and comprehensive
information about the true situation in Azerbaijan, and recommended to be
well-organized and make a joint fight for the common purposes.
Azerbaijan's President intends to bring diaspora's activity to the new and
highest level. At the conference Ilham Aliyev put new tasks before the
diaspora organizations: " Azerbaijanians living abroad can assist
Azerbaijan's diplomatic missions in some issues. Actually, I've met with
members of Azerbaijan diaspora in the countries which I visited. On the
one hand, we have to protect them that they could be represented in all
fields of their residence country, i.e. executive and legislative bodies,
business. This is our task. At the same time they must assist and serve
for their Motherland. That's why Azerbaijan's diplomatic missions should
maintain close relation with the State Committee for the Work with
Azerbaijanians living abroad and high-level work should be established
with out compatriots. I know that our diplomatic missions are working and
that will give its results."

Currently the strategic political line pursued successfully by President
Ilham Aliyev is a real guarantee for the continuance of the works. Ilham
Aliyev attaches always importance to the building-up of diaspora and lobby
in his political activity: when he was the head of Azerbaijan delegation
to PACE, he established close relations with a number of MPs, owing to his
sincere communication skills and diplomatic talent. For the last 5 years
Azerbaijan, making use of PACE efficiently strived for the recognition of
Armenia as an aggressor state. Ilham Aliyev considers important
Azerbaijan's cooperation with close strategic allies. He has initiated to
coordinate Azerbaijan and Turkish diasporas' activity.

It is appropriate mention that after Ilham Aliyev's first official visit
to Russia in 2004, Azerbaijanians living there began to be well-organized,
and new regional divisions of All-Russian Azerbaijanians Congress were set
up. At II Congress of All-Russian Azerbaijanians Congress held in October
2004 in Moscow the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and
Ilham Aliyev, attended together that proves high level Azerbaijan-Russian
relationship and strategic cooperation. It demonstrates once more that the
Congress as a main organization of Azerbaijan's diaspora in Russia is a
federal organization serving for the interests of two countries.

The setting up of American-Azerbaijan Working Group at the US Congress in
2005 should be regarded as an important diplomatic achievement of official
Baku. In addition, President Ilham Aliyev attaches importance to holding a
meeting with compatriots living abroad during his visits, and calls them
to be more active concerning the bringing true facts of Azerbaijan to the
international community. He focuses to enhance propaganda concerning the
true essence of Nagorno-Garabagh conflict, and also progress in democracy
and protection of human rights, and also economic development. Today
Azerbaijan has got so high economic level that all its successes should be
widely agitated on the international scene.

In addition, the realities show that more steps for the wide use of
Azerbaijan diaspora's chances abroad and also provision of its efficient
part in tackling of country's problems should be taken. For this purpose
President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on holding II Congress of World
Azerbaijanians in Baku scheduled for 8 February 2006. Under the decree II
Congress held on March 16 aimed to analyze problems of Azerbaijanians
living abroad, the situation of their unity and organizing, and to discuss
the issues related to strengthening of their relations with the Republic
of Azerbaijan, and tasks for the improvement of diaspora building-up. The
Congress, determining new tasks for the well-organizing of Azerbaijanians
living abroad is of great importance for Azerbaijan's development and new

Elshad Abdullayev,

Chief of the Heydar Aliyev International Center of Strategic Studies and
Forecasting, Doctor of Law, Professor, Academician of the Russian
Education Academy


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