Silent Turkey

Why has Turkey – including its media, government and civil – society – remained so conspicuously silent on the situation in Azerbaijan?

Başbakan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, AK Parti Genişletilmiş İl Başkanları Toplantısı’na katıldı. Başbakan Erdoğan, partilileri ”Rabia” işareti yaparak selamladı. (Evrim Aydın – Anadolu Ajansı)

Azerbaijan has always paid close attention to events in Turkey, given the close ties between the two nations. The smallest of events in Turkey are reported on immediately. Azerbaijanis love to discuss Turkish politics, culture and, of course, football. Many in Azerbaijan feel a close connection to Turkey. In recent years, more and more concern has been voiced about Erdogan’s policy in Azerbaijan from those engaged in societal activism, who actively tweet and use Facebook. The media has begun more and more to report on the destruction of democracy and human rights violations in the country.

But why has this ‘fraternal country’ been so weak in reporting on events in Azerbaijan?

The Turkish Media

The authoritarianism and mass violations of human rights will continue for many years in Azerbaijan. I always hope after that after activists, human rights lawyers, politicians and journalists are arrested, the Turkish media will write about these events. However, after long research, I have realized that most events in our country concerning this topic are looked over if not flatly ignored. The Turkish press is even rather indifferent to what is happening in Azerbaijan. I’ve come to terms with that, however, despite the fact that the USA and the European Union are ultimately much more active in discussing events in Azerbaijan. But shouldn’t it be the other way around? The Turkish media should pay much more attention to events in Azerbaijan.

Turkish Political Parties

The phenomenon of political power in Azerbaijan is well know to everyone. We have become dependent on a handful of people for more than 20 years now. These individuals in question allow themselves whatever they can, giving themselves the green light to do whatever they want in the country. A person’s home and property can be taken away from them in the blink of an eye. These individuals are slowly destroying the Caspian Sea, depleting it of fish and caviar and depositing the income of oil wells into their pockets. In one word, they have created a country akin to a cartoon.

The opinion of the political parties in Turkey (whether it be the government or the opposition) is that Azerbaijan is their brotherly country and that they should not interfere in their internal affairs, at the risk of losing their ‘affection.’

But what kind of ‘fraternal country’ is this, a country that ignores the fate of 9 million people? After all, this is not a matter of simple everyday events, but rather of geopolitical and economic issues. Turkish politicians refuse to comment on events in Azerbaijan. And because of that, societal, political and other activists seek support not from Turkey but from the US and the European Union.

Turkish Human Rights Defenders, Civil Society

Civil society in Azerbaijan has been rendered obsolete and weak. There are few independent institutions in the country capable of listening to the voice of the people, and to enact serious reforms based on the desires of the nation at large. More surprisingly, even Turkey’s civil society is indifferent to events in Azerbaijan, and is conspicuously silent about the horrors happening to its ‘brothers’ in Azerbaijan.

Of course, in writing this article, I thought about issuing counter-arguments. But this is an entirely different article.

What is important to underline here is that despite a close and shared linguistic, religious and cultural heritage, the relationship barely seems to move beyond pragmatic politics.

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