Ongoing geopolitical processes in the world, particularly in the South Caucasus region, and the United States` position on them are what necessitated the writing of this appeal. Let\'s leave aside the processes happening in the world. Looking at Azerbaijan, where this message is written, its position, accomplishments and finally the United States` attitude towards the country is enough to realize the essence of the issue.
Looking at history one can see clearly that Azerbaijan, one of the countries located in the South Caucasus, historically has contributed to building the region`s geopolitical environment. Azerbaijan`s relations with Western countries played an important role in the formation of the Azerbaijani people’s national and political thinking based on secularism and liberalism.
The liberalization processes in Azerbaijan date back to as early as the 19th century when the country was part of the tsarist Russia. The existence and growth of mass trends towards modernization within the Azerbaijani society was what caused protests against the imperial government.
The people began to closely learn Western culture and science as early as the 19th century, which resulted in their giving new values to the world, which reflected national customs and traditions. The intelligentsia brought Western thinking, cultural, philosophical and political thoughts to their country as early as previous centuries.
As a result of the assimilation of Western cultural values, Azerbaijan became home to the first opera ballet in the East. The first secular professional theatrical art in the Muslim East was founded in Azerbaijan in the second half of the 19th century. The intelligentsia of that time even wrote novels and scientific works in French, English, Russian, Turkish and other languages. Thus, at the same time Azerbaijan played the role of "transmitter" in the export of Western culture to the East.
Built on parliamentary values and liberal thinking, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first secular republic in the East. The first parliament, founded on May 27, 1918 and called the Azerbaijan National Council, laid the foundation of a new constitutional and political society. It was the first parliament in the East built on best democratic principles of that epoch.
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which largely ensured democracy and human rights, is where women were granted the right to elect and to be elected for the first time in the East. In this respect, Azerbaijan left behind the majority of modern advanced countries, such as the United States (1920), France (1944), Switzerland (1971), Japan (1945), South Korea (1948), Portugal (1931) and Spain (1931). In order to ensure and develop the right to equality, a school for girls was opened in the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the late 19th century.
Even after gaining independence Azerbaijan set Western directions as its key foreign policy priorities. The signing of "The Contract of the Century" in 1994 under national leader Heydar Aliyev marked a new era in the deepening of Azerbaijan`s relations with the West, with the country setting itself the goal of shipping cargoes mostly through the Western routes. Despite strong pressure, Azerbaijan built its energy policy based on the Western direction and realized the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum energy projects. The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which, somehow, the West does not want to support, is continuing at a quick pace.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev rapidly continues the course of integration into the West. Azerbaijan enjoys high level cooperation with the Council of Europe, OSCE, European Union, NATO and other organizations. The President always says that Azerbaijan has contributed and is ready to contribute to successful solution of the issues regarding energy security of Europe. Azerbaijan’s transport infrastructure, in particular gas pipelines, provides all the opportunities for the realization of the Nabucco and the "Southern corridor" projects.
The Azerbaijani people are today building their own political life, along with national customs and traditions, in accordance with European models, creating the harmony of the two cultures. The country carries out internal legal reforms in accordance with European traditions. And this policy is confirmed by the fact that Azerbaijan was the first country in the East and CIS to abolish the death penalty in February 1998. The execution of the death penalty was suspended before the country joined the Council of Europe, in fact, in the summer of 1993. For comparison it is necessary to take into account that contrary to the human principles the death penalty is currently being applied in a number of Eastern European countries and even in such advanced countries as the USA and Japan.
Azerbaijan is very sensitive to international peace and security, and was one of the first countries to join the anti-terror coalition following the September 11 events. The day after the 9/11 events in the USA the Azerbaijani President signed an executive order on commemoration of innocent victims of the terrorist attack. Despite being a Muslim country and despite pressure from the Muslim world, Azerbaijani servicemen have been contributing to the anti-terror war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Azerbaijan, which has always respected international legal norms in its internal and foreign policy, attaches great importance to the observation of these norms in regional and international relations. Although a victim of aggression, Azerbaijan has preserved its peacefulness and has not yet lost confidence in the West, which is considered the champion of democracy, human rights and justice, and in the OSCE Minsk Group, co chaired by the United States, with respect to the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
However, Azerbaijan has not been properly rewarded for what it has done for the Western world. If we look at history and modern world order and analyze the things more justly, we will clearly see that no other country has done more for the West than Azerbaijan.
Nevertheless, reports of US state bodies criticize Azerbaijan instead of praising it. Azerbaijan is a young state, and, surely, there are problems. It would not have been right to expect a country, whose statehood traditions are just 20 years old, to achieve what a country with 200-year-old traditions had achieved. The problems must, surely, be emphasized and solved on the basis of constructiveness. However, it is important that Azerbaijan`s achievements are highlighted in these reports at least for justice. At the same time, Azerbaijan`s problems, foreign pressure and the fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the country`s most painful problem, has not yet been resolved must be reflected in these reports as well. The conflict saw the occupation of 20 per cent of Azerbaijan`s lands, including the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.
Armenia conducted the policy of ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan`s occupied territories, with over a million people becoming refugees and IDPs. In these territories, ancient cultural monuments, schools, museums and mosques were destroyed, graves were vandalized, and rare pearls of world civilization were wiped off the face of the earth.
Counting on its patrons, Armenia continues to disregard conflict-related resolutions and decisions, in particular four resolutions of the UN Security Council and those of UN General Assembly, OSCE, the Council of Europe, NATO, European Parliament, OIC and other international organizations. And the United States, an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, has never pressed Armenia to end the occupation, withdraw from the occupied lands and return refugees and IDPs to their homelands.
The West, in particular the United States, is considered the world power, leading the rest of the world from both the political, economic, scientific and technological points of view. But the major sign of development is ensuring justice.
History has given the US a chance to be a global leader. Leaders are not appointed, they are chosen and accepted due to special features. Leaders have something holy, and everyone respects this holiness. But to achieve and preserve this holiness is a very tough task. And wisdom, foresight and justice, the qualities everyone expects from a leader, are what guarantees this holiness. Those who do not have these features lose their holiness, and the leaders who lose their holiness lose their leadership.
It`s no coincidence that US President Ronald Reagan said back in 1983 that "America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great".
People once supported the USSR, believing its promises on equality and brotherhood. The world split into two poles. But shortly afterwards the Soviet totalitarian regime fell for the sake of democracy, constitutional state, rule of law and justice, because everyone aspired to build a democratic regime, which was led by the United States. However, if we conclude that this democracy is just a semblance, a veil over reality, then the Soviet regime`s fate awaits it too. Today not only Azerbaijan but the entire world expects this justice from the United States. South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and even Europe expect the US to justify its leadership, justify that high position it holds. Otherwise, this will definitely lead to the emergence of new blocs and a new world order, which will see the United States suffer the most.
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