Armenian experts comment on situation in Azerbaijan and international response

13:16 * 30.11.14

The situation involving human rights, development of government and
democratic institutions is getting worse in Azerbaijan day by day, and
Azerbaijan's society is facing serious challenges, political scientist
Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan told

"The country has turned into a clan tyranny, which is impossible to
conceal," he said.

With respect to international reaction, Mr Melik-Shahnazaryan said:

"Official Baku is turning a deaf ear to international response or
criticism. The Aliyev regime must believe Azerbaijan is of much
greater interest to the international community in other respects and,
using its oil and gas reserves and communication network, can hope
that the international community will not focus its attention on the
domestic developments in that country."

Azerbaijan's calculations sometimes prove correct.

"However, Azerbaijan is running out of this resource, and public
discontent is growing far beyond official Baku's expectations. So
Azerbaijan is going to see changes sooner or later," Mr
Melik-Shahnazaryan said.

The international community has no sufficient means of pressing
Azerbaijan. Criticism does not force Azerbaijan to change anything.

"That is, in Great Britain or Belgium society demands that their
authorities stop cooperating with tyrannical regimes. And the pressure
is growing. If Azerbaijan considers the developments, European states'
leaders cannot ignore public pressure, which is the reason for growing
criticism, while Azerbaijan is running out of its resource to counter
the criticism," the expert said.

Azerbaijan has not the sufficient political resource to dampen down
public discontent on the one hand, and deceive the international
community on the other hand, doing so for years.

"I am sure that the Aliyev regime will sooner or later find itself in
international isolation," Mr Melik-Shahnazaryan said.

Expert in Azerbaijani studies Sargis Asatryan believes that the
international criticism over human rights protection is now a means of
pressing Azerbaijan.

"That is, certain circles in the West are making use of it to exert
even greater pressure on Azerbaijan. It is no secret that the human
rights situation is Azerbaijan is poor. But we should not forget
Azerbaijan is a very important partner for the West, especially in oil
and gas cooperation and, to an extent, in the context of anti-Russian
policy," he said.

International organizations are implementing a "stick and carrot
policy" toward Azerbaijan.

"It is common knowledge that the international community has always
turned a blind eye to different things if it meets its interests," Mr
Asatryan said.

He does not see any possibility of sanctions against Azerbaijan now.

"Any small structure may turn into a 'hot spot' in Azerbaijan. The
country is facing such problems as indigenous peoples, Islamists, a
grave social situation. The authorities appear to be able to control
the situation now, but further developments will show if they will
succeed," the expert said.