Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Erdogan flaunts his power in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

BAKU/JUNE 15 2021 (The Bulletin) — Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed off the influence he has built up in the region by visiting a town captured by Azerbaijan in a war against Armenia last year and by hosting Kyrgyz Pres. Sadyr Japarov for only his second visit to a foreign leader outside Central Asia since grabbing power in October.

With Azerbaijani Pres. Ilham Aliyev by his side Mr Erdogan toured Shusha, Azerbaijan’s biggest trophy from its victory over Armenia for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, in what some analysts described as a victory lap.

Turkey helped Azerbaijan in the war, supplying drones and military advisers. In return, it now has a permanent military presence in Azerbaijan and can count on Baku’s staunch loyalty.

“We call on everyone, who has an influence on the region, to see the facts, acknowledge the Azerbaijani people’s victory and look to the future,” Mr Erdogan said after signing the ‘Shusha Declaration’ with Mr Aliyev. Armenia criticised his visit to Shusha as provocative.

On June 9, Mr Japarov, the Kyrgyz president, had flown to Ankara to meet with Mr Erdogan. Other than two meetings with Russia’s Pres. Vladimir Putin, this was his first trip outside Central Asia since taking power last year. At their meeting, the two leaders talked up relations and the threat from Gulenists, followers of an exiled cleric that Mr Erdogan blames for a failed coup in 2016. 

There was no mention, though, of Orhan Inandi, a Kyrgyz-Turkish Gulenist businessman and educator who disappeared in Bishkek in May. His wife has said that Turkish security forces abducted him and are holding him in the Turkish embassy in Bishkek.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Azerbaijan to open embassy in Sarajevo

JUNE 14 2021 (The Bulletin) — Azerbaijani Pres. Ilham Aliyev ordered his government to open an embassy in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina. Bosnia Herzegovina has become something of a geopolitical battleground for influence and Mr Aliyev may want to support his key ally, Turkey. Turkey wants to extend its influence in Europe through one of the continent’s only Muslim countries.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Swede charged with paying massive bribe to Azerbaijani railway exec

JUNE 13 2021 (The Bulletin) — Prosecutors in Sweden charged Thomas Bimer, a former executive at engineering firm Bombardier, of corruption linked to a $350m signalling project that the company won in Azerbaijan in 2013. According to press reports, Mr Bimer was part of a scheme to pay a $100m bribe to a mid-ranking official at Azerbaijani Railways for the contract. Mr Bimer and Bombardier deny any wrongdoing.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Azerbaijan swaps POWs for Armenian landmine map

JUNE 12 2021 (The Bulletin) — In a deal brokered by Georgia and the US, Azerbaijan exchanged 15 Armenian POWs for a map from Armenia of landmines laid in one part of Nagorno-Karabakh during a six-week war last year. Armenia has said that Azerbaijan holds 200 POWs, although Azerbaijani officials have said that the number is far smaller. Last week, a landmine killed two Azerbaijani journalists and an official.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Port of Baku to build fertiliser terminal

JUNE 9 2021 (The Bulletin) — Baku Port said that it had started construction work on a fertiliser terminal. The plan is to have the terminal up and running by the end of 2022 to ship fertilisers from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan across the Caspian Sea, the South Caucasus and the Black Sea to Europe. 

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

BP agrees to build wind farm in Nagorno-Karabakh

BAKU/JUNE 7 2021 (The Bulletin) — BP has signed a deal to build a 240MW wind farm in Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed region that Azerbaijan captured from Armenia last year, Azerbaijan’s energy ministry said.

BP declined to comment when contacted by The Bulletin but Gary Jones, the BP regional head, was quoted in the Azerbaijani energy ministry’s press release.

“We believe the collaborative work we are commencing on this solar opportunity can lead to a new area of partnership through which BP can make an important contribution to Azerbaijan’s energy transition,” he said.

For Azerbaijan signing a deal with BP to develop an energy project in Nagorno-Karabakh is something of a PR coup. It has rushed to invest in the region since a peace deal was agreed with Armenia in November, ending a six-week war that killed 6,000 people, but, although Turkish companies have signed deals, BP is the first Western company to invest.

And Azerbaijani energy minister Parviz Shahbazov appeared to recognise the importance of the deal.

“I do hope that our active cooperation with BP on the 240MW solar energy project will pave the way for foreign investments in Karabakh,” he was quoted as saying.

BP is a major investor in Azerbaijan. It runs the country’s biggest oil and gas projects including the Shah Deniz project and pipeline infrastructure which pumps gas to Europe. 

BP’s deal to invest in Nagorno-Karabakh also comes after a visit to Baku last month by Britain’s export minister, Graham Stuart.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Spaniard wins Baku F1 GP

JUNE 6 2021 (The Bulletin) — Spain’s Sergio Perez, driving a Red Bull-Racing Honda, won the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Baku after championship leaders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both crashed out. The Baku circuit has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting Grand Prixs with drivers racing through the city’s streets.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Landmine kills Azerbaijani reporters in Nagorno-Karabkakh

JUNE 4 2021 (The Bulletin) — A landmine blew up and killed two Azerbaijani journalists and a local official in Nagorno-Karabakh. The men were travelling in a truck when it hit the mine. Four other people were injured. Azerbaijan has blamed Armenia for the deaths because it said that it had not handed over maps showing areas that it had mined during a war for control of Nagorno-Karabakh last year.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Lukoil expects to be named Dostluk operator

JUNE 3 2021 (The Bulletin) — Lukoil expects to be named as the operator of the Caspian Sea’s Dostluk oil field which Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan said earlier this year that they want to exploit, the TASS news agency quoted Lukoil chairman Vagit Alekperov as saying. Dostluk sits midway between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and had been the focus of a long-running row between the two countries.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Azerbaijan waives coronavirus restrictions for Euro2020

JUNE 3 2021 (The Bulletin) — Azerbaijan said that it would waive coronavirus quarantine rules for football fans travelling to Baku for the delayed European Championship 2020. Baku hosts four games, including a quarterfinal match. For the first time, the European Championships matches are spread across the continent.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021