Farhad Mehdiyev

Thu 28 June 2012 05:51 GMT | 6:51 Local Time

News.Az interviews Farhad Mehdiyev, political scientist and chair of
international law at the Caucasus University.

Azerbaijan and Armenia are in the information war, at times no less
fierce than the war on the battlefield in Karabakh in the early
1990s. How far has Azerbaijan gone in this war?

I should note that we have succeeded more than they did. They have
sometimes criticized themselves that they have little diplomatic
positions in the information war. However, sitting in Azerbaijan, it is
difficult to objectively assess the situation, but there are a number
of facts that say that we have succeeded in this area. The campaign
carried out by the diaspora in the U.S. within the 20th anniversary
of Khojaly tragedy, where posters and photos were placed in the subway
and other public places in New York, is enough to mention.

This is a manifestation of the very offensive war. And this is natural,
we just have more resources. Considering this important fact, we
can be more successful than them. However, due to their lobby in
countries such as USA, Armenians are also strong, but the position
of their diaspora is not strong in all countries. There are countries
in which Armenia cannot even ensure its diplomatic presence at least
in low level, to open a consular office.

For Azerbaijan, having sufficient resources, it's not a problem. We
everywhere open our diplomatic mission, are establishing information
work. Financial crisis leads to the fact that the Armenian side is a
step behind us. But we shouldn't rest on our laurels, we need even
more initiative. The enemy cannot be underestimated. For example,
there are so many websites about Karabakh. There is no need here for
more resources, and the Armenians are very active in this direction.

If you search word "Karabakh" in search engine, the results will show
resources mostly created by Armenians.

They are very strong with respect to the largest online encyclopaedia
Wikipedia. On this resource Armenians appropriate so many things that
actually belong to Azerbaijanis. And no wonder, since Wikipedia is
an open source, where anyone can bring any information.

Moreover, these Armenian assignments are not limited to Azerbaijani
lands and generally policies but extend right up to dolma and bozbash
(laughs). But Wikipedia's materials come in the worst case in the
fourth most popular place, and often one of the first, when you
ask any term in the search engines. Although in academic environment
Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source, its materials are often
used by regular Internet users. Therefore, the Azerbaijani side must
be activated in this direction.

Many of my colleagues who are actively involved in these kinds of
wars with Armenians on the Internet complain about not feeling the
support of the state, while the opponents enjoy such support. Do not
you think that this misunderstanding should be corrected?

Of course I do.

During Eurovision, Azerbaijan faced a powerful anti-Azerbaijani
campaign in the Western media, among which the most distinguished
were German media. How can this be explained?

During such events on the international scale, the attention
is attached to previously evaded matters in the host country of
Eurovision. This is natural. On the other hand, in the case of
Azerbaijan, politics also stood behind this criticism. Problems with
the implementation of gas project Nabucco gave rise to politically
motivated articles, behind which stood German circles disappointed
with the gas policy of Azerbaijan. This version is quite real.

Armenians in their information war have been recently activated on the
theme of national minorities of Azerbaijan. Armenian media carries
out an extensive campaign of the alleged infringement of the rights
of Talysh, Lezgins and other people. Anti-Azerbaijani resources in
languages [email protected]~K[email protected]~Kof these peoples are created in Armenia etc. What
should be done to stop this activity?

The purpose of the Armenians is clear - they want to crush the
Azerbaijani government, to make it weaker. Our state in this context
should reinforce the care of national minorities. It must show that
their rights are not discriminated in any way. It is necessary to
emphasize the fact that we are a multinational secular state which
has chosen the path of European standards, we do not discriminate
people based on ethnic division. And what is also very important is
that every state should have one language. Take the example of the
USA, where, despite the multi-ethnic population, the state language
is one and no one raises the question of national minorities.

It's the same with us. Anyone who does not understand this needs an
explanation that the state must have one language for its stability
and to facilitate the resolution of questions, even at the household
level. At the same time, minorities have the right to protect their
language and culture, the law does not prohibit them to open their
own schools and the media. According to the European Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the national
minority has the right to study in his own language, but the state
has no obligation to open a school in that language.

We are not violating the rights of the minority and adhere to this
convention because the national minorities themselves prefer to study
in Azerbaijani. Another thing - the mono-ethnic is Armenia which has
always been hostile to all who do not have Armenian blood. And the
criticism of that country against the state which in this respect is
all right is a typical Armenian shamelessness.

From: A. Papazian