Monday, September 22

Is Azerbaijan Becoming a Hub of Radical Islam?

This was the topic of my first published article in an Istanbul based journal, focusing on Turkish politics, foreign policy and economy- Turkish Policy Quarterly. Each issue is dedicated to a certain topic and this was the issue on the Caucasus. The article itself, focused mostly on trying to explain the leading factors behind grow in Islamic influence in Azerbaijan. 
On the outside, Azerbaijan, an ex- Soviet Republic appears to be a rather remarkable example of progressive and secular Islamic state. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early '90s, the newly formed Azerbaijani government immediately proclaimed itself a secular nation. The main inspiration was the secular ideology adopted from Turkey as a result of accession to power of the Azerbaijani Popular Front led by Abulfaz Elchibey. It was during Elchibey's short lived presidency between 1992 and 1993 in which he pursued a Turkey- leading stance that the notion of secularism began to gain a stronghold. During this period Turkey moved swiftly to fill the religious and ideological vacuum left by Russia. Elchibey's positive attitude towards Turkey not only strengthened economic and political ties with the country but also played an important role in adopting the Turkish model of strong nationalism and secularism [...]

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