On the day of the election, the mass flow of voters trickling into the polling stations along with the high level of activity was confirmed by the majority of local and foreign observers and was also reflected in the statements of the representatives of international organizations.
In particular, several well-known politicians made statements about the snap presidential elections held in the country and published several news and analytical articles on the websites of the world’s leading media agencies. However, among the shared news and statements, we did not miss the mention of anti-Azerbaijani opinions. Now they can’t have a fair approach to the historical political campaign in Azerbaijan. The reality is that these forces cannot accept the operation of polling stations in the regions liberated from occupation.
The most prominent critic regarding this historical event was the German MP Frank Schwabe, who initiated discussions on limiting the powers of the Azerbaijani delegation at PACE. The German deputy called the process “fake” even before the end of the elections. However, it seems that the non-professional politician does not understand that one cannot make any assessment about the election process before it is over. It is no secret that Armenian propaganda is behind the anti-Azerbaijani speeches in PACE, who are attempting to show themselves as devotees of democracy. However, the opinion of one deputy should not have been the conclusion of a parliament in general.
Schwabe and other biased individuals have had enough of social media. Their prejudices about Azerbaijan are nothing but their initiatives, rightly or wrongly. Unfortunately, the expression of such opinions is not limited to theirs, as I’ve already mentioned, it also appears in the bulk of Western media.
Let’s start with the most absurd of them.
The Washington-based analytical portal “Rane Networks” claimed the following opinion: “Early presidential elections in Azerbaijan may portend further threats to Armenia.”
At the beginning of the article, it briefly explained the comment by saying, “The re-election of the president of Azerbaijan will pave the way for the country to continue pressuring Armenia to accept the peace agreement based on the terms of Baku and will make the next threat of aggression a reality.” Apart from that, for the sake of defending the absurd idea being put forward, he continued criticizing the political line of the Republic of Azerbaijan and noted that the result of the ongoing political campaign would increase the influence of the country.
Another publication is the Frankfurt newspaper. The German publication wrote the following, “There were elections in Azerbaijan, but the president remains unchanged. Ilham Aliyev still does not have to fear any opposition. As expected, the current president of authoritarian Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, was presented as the clear winner of the early presidential elections. However, according to critical observers, the voting was neither free nor fair, taking into account the harsh repressions.”Seçkidən bir gün sonra fevralın 8-də Azərbaycan baş tutan bütün seçkilərdə tənqidi, qərəzli və təhqir dolu hesabatları ilə yadda qalan ATƏT – in müşahidəçi missiyası mətbuat konfransı keçidi. Hərçənd onlar belə sadəcə bir sıra texniki problemlə bağlı iradlarından savayı seçki prosesində aktivlik müşahidə edildiyini dilə gətirdilər.“
By the way, it’s noteworthy that the snap presidential election was observed by 7 international and regional organizations: the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Bureau of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM), Organization of Turkic States (TDT), Youth Organization of the Non-Aligned Movement (QHGT). In addition, thousands of local observers also surveilled this process.
A day after the election, on February 8th, the press conference of the OSCE observer mission is remembered for its critical, biased, and insulting reports on all the elections held in Azerbaijan. However, they expressed that activity was observed in the election process, except for their remarks regarding the many technical problems that have plagued the event.
Agencies reporting such biased and unfounded opinions include the German global publication DW, the Tagesschau newspaper, the London-based Arabic-language publication Al-Arabiya, and Eurasia.net (run by several ex-employees of Radio-Free Europe), which shares this election under the heading “Same Old, Same Old”).
Of course, it would be ridiculous to expect neutrality from the media where global organizations and political power centers take a strongly biased position. It is no secret that the media is used as a tool in the hands of the same organizations and political power centers. However, this is a clear example of the absence of any substantial fact in addition to being absurd.
However, in addition to such negative, biased, and unobserved publications that express their opinions, it is also worth noting that there are also reporters and publications who were close witnesses of the real situation.
Shazia Anwer Cheema, who is an analyst and columnist in several leading world agencies, is a good example of this. In her opinion, the analyst recorded the process she witnessed with the eyes of a real international observer.
She visited more than 10 polling stations and was surprised by the transparency of the process and the active participation of the Azerbaijani citizens. She stressed her joy regarding the fact that the current election was held in the entirety of the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan. This is one of those examples. Which I believe to be a solid response to agencies making biased statements and not participating in the process.
Akbar Novruz is a journalist from Azerbaijan. He is the editor of ED News in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mr. Novruz has authored many OpEds with a focus on International Politics and the Geopolitics of Southern Caucasus.