In recent days, Nakhijevan has been restless. According to the Azerbaijani press, Aliyev started ‘cleaning’ in Nakhijevan.
Taron Hovhannisyan (Azerbaijan affairs expert) - Recently, structural changes are taking place around Nakhijevan, committees are being created, that is, these structures are placed under direct subordination by Azerbaijan.
The Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, which has the highest status of autonomy in Azerbaijan, received its status in 1921.
Taron Hovhannisyan - Derived from the Moscow Treaty of 1921, by which Nakhijevan was handed over to Azerbaijan, and this was preserved during the Soviet years and also after the independence of Azerbaijan.
Ruben Safrastyan (Turkologist) - Soviet Armenia did not participate in the signing of that treaty.
Taron Hovhannisyan - Before that it was part of the first republic of Armenia and was never part of Azerbaijan.
As part of Soviet Azerbaijan, however, a depopulation policy was consistently implemented in Nakhijevan, which was also accompanied by the destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage of Nakhijevan.
Taron Hovhannisyan - The basis for maintaining autonomy was the Moscow Treaty, the parties of which were Moscow and Turkey, in which it was written that it should not be transferred to a third party. In other words, Armenia and Turkey, taking into account that it will remain part of it in the end.
According to experts, Azerbaijan has currently started a plan to deprive Nakhijevan of its autonomy step by step. Last week, the State Security Service started searches in the building of the Customs State Committee of Nakhijevan, and the arrests of 1 dozen customs officials from Nakhijevan were not late. According to the Azerbaijani Turan agency, the head of one of the departments, Mansur Askerov, is among those arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $70 million. The next noisy criminal case was related to the Minister of Finance of the Autonomous Republic, Rafael Aliyev, who was also arrested. The latter is accused of embezzling about $85 million.
Baku, however, was not limited only by arrests. According to the decree of the President of Azerbaijan, the Customs State Committee of Nakhijevan was dissolved. According to unconfirmed information, the State Security Service of Nakhijevan was also dissolved.
Taron Hovhannisyan - In fact, the level of independence of many structures is lowered and brought under the subordination of the relevant central structures of Azerbaijan. In fact, it is a downgrade.
According to Taron Hovhannisyan, before these recent developments, few structures of Nakhijevan were subject to the central authorities of Azerbaijan.
Taron Hovhannisyan - One of them was the army, whose commander is the deputy of the Ministry of Defense and is subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, the others are mostly subordinate to the head of the autonomous republic, which is also subordinate to Aliyev.
As to what is the cause of this behavior of Baku, various hypotheses are circulating in the Azerbaijani press: weakening of the Russian factor, intra-clan struggle, Aliyev's decision to end the era of ‘Nakhijevani Khan’ rule. Many expert groups associate it with Vasif Talibov, the leader of the autonomous republic for 26 years, the chairman of the local parliament, who, by the way, was one of the closest people of Ilham Aliyev's father, Heydar Aliyev.
According to the German-based Azerbaijani opposition Meydan TV, the total value of the foreign property belonging to the family of the head of Nakhijevan, which is considered one of the poorest regions of Azerbaijan, reaches $63 million.
Azerbaijan affairs expert Taron Hovhannisyan does not rule out the possible scenario of reducing the status of Nakhijevan, linking it to the Artsakh issue.
Taron Hovhannisyan - Azerbaijan can lower the status of autonomy, and in the future, maybe eliminate it, showing that there is no other autonomous unit in Azerbaijan and there cannot be in Artsakh either.
Ruben Safrastyan also reminds the provisions of the Moscow Treaty.
Ruben Safrastyan - If the status is violated, then the 3 countries of the North Caucasus and Russia must give their consent: Georgia, Iran, Armenia and Russia. Otherwise, the agreement will be violated.
According to the Turkologist, the reason for Aliyev's new policy may also be the uprisings that started in Nakhijevan.
Ruben Safrastyan - We see another process: the Shiite minority has become active and they are announcing that they should join Iran.
In any case, according to Azerbaijani opposition media, Baku will continue the started process.