In an unprecedented move in recent history, Azerbaijani opposition parties have unanimously stood behind President Ilham Aliyev's government in the war against Armenian forces.
“Political parties in Azerbaijan unanimously support all political and military measures taken by President Ilham Aliyev to protect the territorial integrity and security of our citizens and prevent large-scale (Armenia-backed) provocations against our country,” the Presidential Administration's Department for Relations with Political Parties and Legislative Authority was quoted as saying in a statement by the state-run Azertaj news agency on 3 October.
It came after the presidential administration held a video conference meeting with the of leaders of 50 political parties functioning in Azerbaijan.
Representatives of only two parties out of the 52 political parties did not join the call entitled “National Solidarity – the result of political dialogue.”
Musavat chairman Arif Hajili, despite the invitation, did not participate in the meeting, saying he was satisfied with his face-to-face meeting on 2 October with Adalat Valiyev, head of the Presidential Administration's Department for Relations with Political Parties and Legislative Authority.
Shortly after the meeting, Hajili said that there were no disagreements with the government on the necessary measures recently taken to ensure the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
“We have once again clarified our position on the importance of demonstrating a common political will on the Karabakh issue, which is important for the fate of our state and people,” Hajili added in his Facebook post.
Tofig Yagublu, a deputy chairman of the opposition Musavat Party and a senior politician in the National Council of Democratic Forces, who was recently on a hunger strike in protest against what is viewed as a politically-motivated conviction, has extended his full support to President Ilham Aliyev in his strategy in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“I fully support all the conditions and demands voiced by Ilham Aliyev against Armenia. These are the rights of Azerbaijan!” the 59 year-old politician, who frequently criticizes the government and authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev, said.
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Natig Jafarli, a high ranking member of the Republican Alternative (ReAL) Party, confirmed to the Turan news agency that the party took part in the meeting. A document depicting a common position on Nagorno-Karabakh and the liberation of the occupied territories had been adopted, Jafarli added.
“The document states that the government and oppositional parties have the same position in the political arena up until the territories are liberated. In fact, it is impossible to take a different position on this issue,” Jafarli was quoted as saying by Turan.
Party chair Ilgar Mammadov's proposal was that the information war is also important during clashes. Therefore, foreign agencies and human rights organizations, which in recent years have not been allowed to operate in Azerbaijan since 2013, after which the government-led savage crackdown on press and opposition started, must be returned to the country, and the policy regarding them must change, Jafarli added.
According to Jafarli, it is important that the international agencies can report on civilians affected by strikes by Armenian forces.
The main opposition Azerbaijan People's Front Party (AXCP) was the only party that was not invited to the government-sponsored event.
Nevertheless, the party extends it solidarity to the government.
“As Azerbaijan, we are united as one, like a fist. The Azerbaijani government, opposition, civil society, all the people living in our country, together with the diaspora, are one,” Ali Karimli, the party chair said in his social media post on 5 October, adding that Azerbaijanis living all over the world must be active in the information war.
“We have no right to lose the victory, that our soldier is gaining at the risk of his live, in the war of diplomacy and information. We are right and we must win, and we will win. Victory belongs to Azerbaijan!”