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Are you sure the world won't collapse?

"The world will not collapse if Azerbaijan leaves the Council of Europe," says Samad Seyidov, the chairman of the international relations and interparliamentary ties committee of the Milli Majlis and the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE).

He made the statement on 14 September while responding to the proposal by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland that Azerbaijan should be expelled from the organization.

In his speech on 13 September during the session of the Council of Europe, Jagland demanded that clear legislative action be taken against Azerbaijan for its failure to comply with ECHR rulings and specifically for its refusal to release political prisoner Ilgar Mammadov.

Meydan TV asked Azerbaijani politicians to comment on Seyidov's statement.

Yadigar Sadigov, deputy chairman of the Musavat party, believes that “Samad Seyidov’s rhetoric is intended for a domestic audience.”

“I don’t think that the government doesn’t understand how serious the situation is and is talking to the Europeans in the same tone. After all, other sanctions may follow its expulsion from the Council of Europe. If Azerbaijan becomes a pariah state, that will make it completely dependent on Russia. That is not in line with national interests nor the interests of the government. Therefore, I am confident that the government will do all it can to make sure that there are no sanctions. This will include making concessions regarding the issue of political prisoners,” the politician stressed.

Said Nuri, who is a political analyst and an activist from the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party residing in the United States, made the following comment:

“I personally do not consider Samad Seyidov's comments to be serious. They are more like a reaction of an offended petty official. Besides, Seyidov is not the official in Aliyev’s regime to make those kinds of decisions.

"If Aliyev’s corridors of power really did not regard departure from the Council of Europe as the end of the world, then what was the point of spending millions on different lobbying organizations, on ‘caviar diplomacy’ and on bribing deputies? That is good, old-fashioned, low-level blackmail by the regime. Each time when it comes to democracy, reforms and corruption in Azerbaijan, they try to blackmail the West using these kinds of methods,” Said Nuri concluded.

Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council of Europe since 2001. In April 2002, the country signed the European Convention on Human Rights.

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