An article that appeared today on News.az [ENG] talks about importance of elections in Azerbaijan but more so, it highlights importance of Ilham Aliyev's re-elections for another term. The article is a reference to another piece that appeared in a Turkish paper Takvim [TR].
The author of the article Bulent Erandac claims Aliyev's re-election to be crucial for Turkey- Azerbaijan relations. According to the author, "In these [upcoming elections, scheduled for October 16] election of President Aliyev for a third term is closely linked to Turkey's place in the faith of the Caucasus. Ilham Aliyev played an important role in mutual relationship of the two countries sharing the same language, religion and history".
Erandac reminds its readers of Aliyev's recent speech where the incumbent President spoke of close ties between the two countries. "Our hearts beat the same. Turkey is our important sibling, friend, and partner in the world. I am certain, that for Turkey too Azerbaijan is number one friend, sibling, and partner in the world".
These are some very strong words. But it is for the people of Azerbaijan to decide who will be their next president. Especially taking into the account corruption, deeply embedded issues with democracy and human rights that overshadowed development of Azerbaijan in the past decade under the current president.
Perhaps someone also needs to remind Erandac of the past elections (both presidential and parliamentary) and the many violations during the election period in the past.
And then there is a debate around the "friendly" relations between the two countries ["one nation, two states" motto]. A reality check- there isn't much going on apart from business relations. When was the last time Turkish and Azerbaijani civil societies done something together? Or when was the last time Turkey reacted to the arrests of journalists, political activists and the approach to the overall state of freedom of the press in Azerbaijan?
The upcoming presidential elections will determine the faith of the country over the next presidential term. Surely, Erandac and many others in Turkey would appreciate to deal and develop more mutually friendly relations with a more democratic country. This would also play a bigger role in the region at large.
But perhaps old friendships and habits are hard to break...