Baku, Azerbaijan, May 26
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
The decision to hold the first ever European Games in Azerbaijan shows the country's authority on international arena, said Arzu Naghiyev, the deputy director general at the Trend news agency and political analyst.
He made the remarks at a roundtable meeting dedicated to the Baku 2015 European Games, which was attended by heads of the influential human rights organizations of Azerbaijan.
"The holding of the first ever European Games in a Muslim country tells of the authority of Azerbaijan," said Naghiyev, adding that of course such confidence towards Azerbaijan worries some international circles.
"Thus, as the beginning of the Games is approaching, the campaign of discrediting Azerbaijan intensified," he said. "The attempts are made to cast a shadow on these games. However, despite all this, more than 6,000 athletes will take part in these games, hundreds of thousands of tourists and tens of thousands of volunteers will join them."
"The circles, leading a campaign to discredit Azerbaijan, are making the statements that the human rights, freedom of speech are allegedly violated in the country," he said. "These circles' statements are just a pretext."
"A free society was formed in Azerbaijan long ago," he said. "The free activity of a large number of the press organizations was ensured. There are no restrictions on using the Internet and social networks."
"In such circumstances, the use of such arguments to accuse Azerbaijan is absolutely groundless," Naghiyev said.
He said that such attempts, as always, will not yield any results. "Azerbaijan is an independent and strong country, and it is impossible to provoke it by such absurd accusations," he said.
He recalled the London Olympics, reminding that some 4,000 complaints have been received before the Olympics, various rallies and protests were organized, however despite that, the Olympics were organized at a high level.
Talking about the advantages of the European Games for Azerbaijan, he said that these Games are a large-scale event of international significance. He added that the main purpose is to improve the country's reputation and popularize it on the international arena.
He also gave an example of how the holding of major events turns to be useful for a country.
"Before, 1992, that's to say, before hosting the Summer Olympic Games, Barcelona was not so well-known," he said. "However, following the Olympics, Barcelona turned into a large world sports center and the most expensive sports clubs are now located there."
A round table dedicated to the First European Games was held at the initiative of influential human rights organizations of Azerbaijan and with information support of Trend Agency.
The round table was attended by the heads of humans rights organizations holding various positions, including, the heads of Azerbaijan Foundation for Democracy Development and Human Rights Protection, Oil Workers' Rights Protection Organization, Society for Humanitarian Research in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan and Legal Assistance Public Union.
The appeal adopted following the discussions condemned the campaign to discredit Azerbaijan on the eve of the First European Games.
Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place on June 12-28, 2015.
There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.
Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
Edited by SI