Why Azerbaijan is important for Europe, or where in the world is Baku?

Why Azerbaijan is important for Europe, or where in the world is Baku?

By Claude Salhani - Trend:

Some foreign visitors to Azerbaijan might misinterpret the signals and walk away with the notion that Azerbaijan suffers from an identify crisis. Geographically, the country is situated in Caucasus. In the South Caucasus to be precise. And where are the Caucasus, geographically speaking? In Asia.

Azerbaijan, for the geographically challenged, borders Iran to the south (that's Asia), Russia to the North, and Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, across the Caspian Sea, that's Central Asia.

Yet ask Azerbaijanis where they think they belong and almost to a man and without hesitation they will answer that Azerbaijan belongs where it is: in Europe. The former Soviet republic, one of the first countries in the world to discover oil, is not in Europe, at least not as far as any self-respecting cartographer would venture to state his reputation upon.

But if their bodies are not physically in Europe, you can bet on the certainty that their heart are well incrusted in Europe, and as far as the folks in Azerbaijan are concerned, that's where they should stay and that's also where they want their country to go.

A little over a decade ago Turkey, a friend and ally of Azerbaijan, who share a common heritage, and a root language, wanted to become part of the European Union, and applied to Brussels, but Ankara's motivation was twofold; economic and prestigious.

Ask a Turk, whose country is situated much closer to Europe, and of which a tiny portion - five percent -- is actually situated in Europe, where he thinks he belongs and with few exceptions he will very likely reply, Asia, which indeed is where Turkey is (Asia Minor to be exact). This is five percent more than Azerbaijan can claim, yet the Azerbaijanis feel more European than their Turkish cousins, with whom they share much, including a religion.

Still, Azerbaijanis look towards Europe with attachment and identify with Europeans far more than Turks do.

Why is that?

Though not a scientific study by any means, it would however be safe to venture that what makes the Azerbaijanis feel closer to Europe is perhaps the structure of this amazingly interesting multicultural, multi-ethic, multinational, multi-lingual society.

Sitting on the fringe of Central Asia, in the heart of the Caucasus, geographically in Asia but emotionally in Europe, some people mighty say this has all the markings of a national identity crisis. This analyst would venture to say that if such is the desire of Azerbaijanis to be closer to Europe, then by all means, bring Azerbaijan into Europe.

Azerbaijan can play the role of bridging East and West, of bringing moderate Muslims into the fold of emerging democracies. It is the role that Turkey should have carried out but never did and where finally out of frustration, moved eastwards and closer to the former Ottoman Empire and away from Europe.

Bring Azerbaijan into Europe if this is where it wants to be. And to all those who will raise red flags and accuse Baku of not meeting the European Union's accepted standards on the rights of individuals, an invitation from Brussels to join the mainstream European movement should address any qualms any and all sides may have about the issue.

Claude Salhani is a senior editor with Trend Agency.

You can follow Claude on Twitter @Claudesalhani

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Georgia’s main oil exporters disclosed
Georgia’s main oil exporters disclosed
Georgia’s fuel prices remain relatively low
Georgia’s fuel prices remain relatively low
Georgia names main trading partners by export destinations in 2021
Georgia names main trading partners by export destinations in 2021
Loading Bars
Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in car accident
Germany's minimum wage hike will not cost jobs - labour minister
Canadian tourist killed, 2 others wounded in Mexico resort shooting
Iran says gas flows to Turkey resume after being cut due to technical fault
Student shot at Maryland school, suspect in custody
France: Former aides to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy jailed for opinion poll fraud
WHO recommends reduced dose Pfizer COVID vaccine for under 12s
Islamic State jailbreak in Syria, army barracks attack in Iraq leave at least 39 dead
U.N. chief condemns deadly Saudi-led coalition strike in Yemen
Amirabdollahian: new chapter in Iran-Russia ties to unfold
Trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan increases (COPY 2022.01.21 22:37)
Dozens killed in Saudi-led coalition air raid on Yemen prison
Price of fuel and lubricants in Kyrgyzstan increased by 70% over past year
Airbus cancels Qatar Airways order in escalating dispute
Turkey wraps up in-person semester with success against pandemic
Azerbaijan may toughen punishment for domestic violence
Azerbaijani Xalq Bank's profits increase
Azerbaijan names most profitable non-oil fields in terms of tax revenue growth
Kazakh oil and gas company to purchase variable speed drives
Кazakh Electricity Grid Operating Company opens tender to buy hydraulic press
Turkmenistan-Belarus trade turnover fell in 11M2021
Crime rate in Azerbaijani Armed Forces decreases - military prosecutor general
Size of consumer market in Azerbaijan increases - minister
Price indexes of financial, trade sectors at Uzbek stock exchange rise
Government focuses on subsidizing production rather than import – Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers
Azerbaijan is one of countries with best conditions for training - Australian gymnast
Azerbaijan's parliament discusses lifting of visa regime with Serbia
European Azerbaijan School hosts return of World Scholar's Cup to Baku (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan and Oman eye joint projects in transport sector
Schlumberger's profit jumps as higher oil prices spur drilling demand
Kazakhstan to strictly fulfill all investment obligations - President Tokayev
Global inflation crisis intensifying: what will Azerbaijan do?
Kazakhstan needs new tax policy - president
Georgia’s main oil exporters disclosed
Uzbekistan discloses level of assimilation of investment in fixed capital
Kazakhstan’s banking sector sees increase in total assets
Uzbekistan sees increase in volume of foreign trade turnover for 2021
Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan trade turnover increased in 2021
Iran eyes establishment of joint bank with China
Azerbaijan continues searching for servicemen gone missing during Karabakh war
UAE bourses end higher on financial, telecom boost
Kazakhstan's president orders to audit all local deposits
Turkmenhimiya opens tender to purchase chemical products
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,068 more COVID-19 cases, 551 recoveries
German health min sees possible tripling of COVID infections by mid-Feb
Kazakh government must develop new modern approaches to public-private partnership - president
Kazakhstan unveils its TOP-3 trade partners for 11M2021
Azerbaijan launches working group to prepare measures to combat inflation
Israel's defence chief isolates at home after positive COVID test
Former ambassador sentenced to 10 years in prison in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani holding training session for reservists (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Rising influence of limited elite groups in Kazakhstan becomes serious security threat - Tokayev
Turkmen factory discloses construction materials production data
Azerbaijan enters new stage of strategic development - official
Georgia’s fuel prices remain relatively low
Kazakhstan to create secondary market for distressed asset purchase and sale
SOCAR Turkey eyes capacity expansion for STAR Refinery
Russia reports 49,513 daily COVID-19 cases, a new high since start of pandemic
SOCAR’s STAR Refinery expands its list of oil grades
Kazakhstan needs tough policy to demonopolize economy - president
Iran reduces electricity subsides for high consuming users
Azerbaijan unveils value added growth in non-oil industry in 2021
Georgia names main trading partners by export destinations in 2021
Azerbaijan discloses state budget expenditure growth in 2021
Turkmenistan-Turkey trade volume increased in 11M2021
Goals of Advisor to French President's Cabinet, EU Special Representative for S.Caucasus's visit to Azerbaijan named (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan-Armenia border demarcation is priority - Russian MFA
Greenhouse sector in Georgia may soon get needed backup from USAID, UNDP, ADB
Russia is consistently making efforts to resolve situation on Azerbaijan-Armenia border - MFA
Nar supports the biggest platform of Azerbaijani audiobook library
Kazakh National Bank to ensure balance of foreign exchange market until full restoration of confidence in tenge
SOCAR Turkey updates on Merkury project
Turkish officials visit Azerbaijan’s pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 (PHOTO)
Intel plans $20 bln chip manufacturing site in Ohio - sources
Uzbek Central Bank shares data on volume of cash in circulation
Turkmen Health Ministry opens tender to purchase medical oxygen cylinders
Ukraine discloses volume of Azerbaijani investments in economy
Number of employment contracts increases in Azerbaijan - minister
Georgia sees increase in producer price index
India to help Sri Lanka with USD 2.4 billion to overcome financial crisis: Report
‘Mauritius prime example of India’s approach to development partnership’, says PM Modi
World Bank to launch co-op program with Uzbekistan for 2022-2026
Azerbaijan considers extending term of suspension of inspections in field of business
Turkmenistan is primary supplier of jet fuel to Georgia - Union of Oil Product Importers
Turkmenistan intends to supply electricity to third countries via Uzbekistan and Iran
SOCAR reveals volume of gas exports to Europe
Azerbaijan commissions new military facilities in liberated Kalbajar district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Oil production up at Azerbaijan’s Bahar-Gum Deniz
Kazakhstan failed to create diversified economy – President Tokayev
Uzbekistan eyes implementing projects with Japan in leather and footwear industry
Bahar Energy shares data on well fund in Azerbaijan
Kazakh president calls on local business circles to jointly build new economic policy
Number of active oil wells in Azerbaijan’s Bahar-Gum Deniz block down
Georgia publishes COVID-19 data for January 21
Central Bank of Azerbaijan acts prudently to curb inflation - Gazprombank
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Bahar Energy reveals figures for natural gas wells
Uzbekneftegaz JSC reveals volume of production planned for 2022
Kazakhstan reduces production of diesel fuel
All news