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CrisisWatch Azerbaijan

Unchanged Situation

Dozens detained during opposition-organised protests in capital 8 and 19 Oct, prompting criticism of excessive police tactics and govt reshuffle. Umbrella opposition group National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) 8 Oct organised demonstration in Baku calling for freedom of assembly, reportedly attended by several hundred people; authorities had sanctioned rally attended by up to 50 people; police reported seventeen protesters detained. NCDF 19 Oct organised unsanctioned protest in central Baku, calling for release of political prisoners and lower energy prices; before and during rally, police detained opposition leaders and some 300 protesters and forced others out of city centre. Amid reports that two opposition leaders were tortured by police, EU and U.S. embassy criticised excessive use of force by police – denied by govt – and called for investigation. Pro-govt news channel 20 Oct distributed leaked recording of conversations about protests between opposition member Gultekin Hajibeyli and EU and U.S. diplomats, prompting govt criticism of outside interference, and accusations that govt had violated Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Responding to anti-govt sentiment, President Aliyev 21 Oct dismissed two deputy PMs and called for all officials over the age of 70 to step down; also dismissed influential head of Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev; opposition called changes cosmetic. Aliyev also dismissed PM Mammadov 8 Oct, replacing him with economic adviser Ali Asadov.

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Reports & Briefings

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A Listening Tour of the Azerbaijani Front Lines

A new communication channel has sparked hope for negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. But as Crisis Group Analyst Zaur Shiriyev found talking to Azerbaijani soldiers and villagers living near the front, decades of conflict mean that the path to peace will be rocky.

Armenia Elections Boost Hopes for Peace with Azerbaijan

With his party’s victory in the snap parliamentary elections and a new calm on the frontlines with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s leader Nikol Pashinyan and his team will have more space to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Also available in Русский
Op-Ed / Europe & Central Asia

Rare Summit Meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh Peace

A rare meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on 16 October 2017 could lead to a breakthrough. But the two countries have very different ideas on how to reconcile their competing narratives and goals in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Originally published in JAM News

Also available in azərbaycan, Հայերեն, Русский and other languages

Nagorno-Karabakh: New Opening, or More Peril?

Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in early April killed up to 200 people, forcing international attention back to resolving the generation-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The time has come for a decisive push for progress in the peace talks. Both sides are on an unprecedented war footing, and any new clashes risk dragging outside parties into a wider war.

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Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus