(ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE–Photo Optique Video CSG, S. Martin, 2013)
AZERBAIJAN’S FIRST COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE BLASTS OFF Also in this issue: Proposed Khojaly Airport reopening condemned across Europe Khojaly Massacre to be musically commemorated First artificial heart transplant in Azerbaijan World Bank gives positive report on Azerbaijani growth TEAS Business Forum to he held in Paris www.teas.eu
02 / 2013
www.teas.eu February 2013
Welcome to The European Azerbaijan Society The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) is a pan-European organisation dedicated to promoting Azerbaijani culture, business and public affairs to international audiences. TEAS is also actively involved in helping create a sense of community amongst expatriate Azerbaijanis. TEAS was launched in November 2008, having initially been established as the London Azerbaijan Society four years earlier. The organisation now has offices in the UK, Belgium, France and Germany, together with a representative office in Azerbaijan. TEAS has three main façets to its operations: • • •
Culture – TEAS raises awareness of Azerbaijan’s rich and vibrant culture to a worldwide audience by organising cultural events and operating as a networking centre. Business – TEAS supports its membership of European and Azerbaijani businesses. It provides a platform for organisations to establish links and strengthen their existing business relationships via a programme of networking opportunities across the region. Public Affairs – TEAS works to increase awareness about Azerbaijan amongst key opinion formers, key decision-makers and other political, academic and civil society stakeholders.
TEAS is focused on achieving the following: • • • • •
The establishment of strong links between key Azerbaijani and European stakeholders, thereby helping Azerbaijan to integrate fully into the European family of nations. Strengthening ties between Azerbaijan and key economic, political and social structures across Europe. The promotion of Azerbaijan as a modern, secular, Western-facing country with tremendous economic opportunities and a strong cultural heritage. Creating a community spirit amongst expatriate Azerbaijanis in Europe. Increasing awareness of the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the plight of the 875,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
TEAS is always bringing the latest news, views and interviews on all aspects of Azerbaijan, and is launching a biweekly free e-newsletter. To find out more, please sign up at www.teas.eu.
Forthcoming Azerbaijani events
For full details and instructions on how to RSVP for these free TEAS events, go to www. teas.eu/upcoming-events 21 February Khojaly Commemoration Concert (France) Eglise St Roch 296, rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris The Orion Orchestra, conducted by Laurent Petitgirard, featuring Sabina Rakcheyeva (violin) and Shirzad Fataliyev (balaban). Organised by TEAS in remembrance of the 613 Azerbaijani civilians who tragically lost their lives in February 1992. Works will include music by Edward Elgar,
Fikret Amirov and the world premiere of Khojaly 613 by Pierre Thilloy, commissioned by TEAS. 26 February Khojaly Commemoration Concert (UK) St. John’s, Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HA The Orion Orchestra, conducted by Laurent Petitgirard, featuring Sabina Rakcheyeva (violin), Shirzad Fataliyev (balaban), and the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School Choir. 7–17 March Azerbaijan Through the Lens Espace Beaurepaire, 28 rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris This exhibition was premiered in London
Outreach and Engagement
The TEAS Facebook page is your chance to learn about the latest TEAS news, events, campaigns and other items of interest to the Azerbaijani community. Please ‘like’ the page at http://bit.ly/TEASFB
in November 2012. It showcases 100 photographs submitted for a competition, run by TEAS, whereby photographers from across the world sent in their representations of many facets of Azerbaijani life, landscapes, culture and architecture. 14 March TEAS Paris Business Forum 2013: Azerbaijan – Locomotive of the Caucasus Hôtel de l’Industrie – Siège de la Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, 4 Place Saint Germain des Prés, 75006, Paris Topics will include energy technologies; water and sanitation; agribusiness; large-scale infrastructure projects; and telecommunications and aerospace.
TEAS offers a range of corporate and individual membership packages, providing such benefits as advertising, networking, travel discounts and assistance with visas. To find out more, e-mail: email@example.com
Media Partner printed by www.turquoisemedia.eu
Please see website for more members February 2013
Politics and News (Photo: (ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE–Photo Optique Video CSG, S. Martin, 2013)
Azerspace-1/ Africasat -1a was blasted into orbit aboard the Ariane 5 rocket
A z e r b a i j a n i communications satellite in orbit
On 7 February, Azerbaijan’s inaugural communications satellite, Azerspace-1/ Africasat-1a, was launched into orbit from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The satellite was designed and constructed by the US-based Orbital Sciences Corporation. This was the first Ariane 5 heavy-lift mission of the year and also launched the Amazonas-3 satellite into its orbit. The lift-off took place at 21.36hrs, and Azerspace-1/Africasat-1a was launched 27 minutes later. Azerbaijan will use only 20 per cent of the satellite’s potential, and provide a wide range of telecommunications services for Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Azerspace-1/Africasat-1a was commissioned by the Azerbaijani Ministry for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) during June 2010 under a contract worth $205m (£130.7m). It will transmit from an orbital location at 46° East longitude, according to Orbital. During a cabinet meeting, Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijani ICT Minister, recently announced that an Azerbaijani low-orbit sounding satellite would be launched in 2015. He also said that a second telecommunications satellite would be launched during 2016.
Black January victims commemorated in London
This year, on 18 January, a solemn ceremony took place at the Azerbaijani Embassy in the UK. Following a one minute silence, Ambassador Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, said: “The people made their sacrifice to achieve the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The action of the Soviet army contravened the constitution of the Soviet Union and of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). The Soviet military, which included many soldiers of Armenian ethnicity, were sent to Baku to shoot their own citizens, just prior to the Soviet collapse. Uprisings were simultaneously taking place in the Baltic republics, and it can be said that Azerbaijan played a key role in the breakup of the Soviet Union. The people who died sacrificed their lives for a better future, and we are thankful to all those who gave their lives on 20 January. “Following the massacre, a State of Emergency was imposed in Azerbaijan, and this remained in force for a while. However, this did not cure Azerbaijan’s desire for independence. In order to reduce international condemnation, Azerbaijan’s main television station was put out of action by the Soviet forces. Information on the uprisings could only be spread by radio, relayed via foreign stations, and it took a long time for the international community to find out what had actually happened. The final Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the order to send the troops to Baku, later recognised that this decision was the worst that he ever made. In fact, the uprisings in Baku came in the wake of nationalist movements in Tbilisi and Minsk. Despite having introduced the concepts of perestroika and glasnost, Gorbachev regarded these movements as representing a threat to Moscow, and that it is the reason why such disproportionate force was used. “The people who perpetrated these acts remain unpunished, and we need to bring the truth to the attention of the world. Following the suppression of the uprising, the Azerbaijanis living in Armenia were heavily persecuted.” Following the screening of a moving documentary, the writer and poet David Parry commented: “One person who dies for freedom
is a loss. I have been to Martyrs’ Alley in Baku, and saw recognisable faces on the gravestones of those who died during Black January. The pain of the Azerbaijani people is omnipresent. These people will never die in our hearts and minds, and all acts of giving are rewarded.” Farida Panahova, Board Member, Azerbaijan House was in Baku at the time, and recalled: “This was a turning point in the story of Azerbaijani independence, and the country was transformed overnight. Due to the impact of Gorbachev’s policies, which were giving Soviet citizens a degree of freedom, the collapse of the Soviet Union was imminent. Since 1985, several uprisings had taken place in various Soviet Republics prior to those in Baku. In 1988, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh declared their independence, and the Kremlin supported this continuation of their policy of divide and rule. Prior to the entry of the Soviet troops into Baku, arms were removed from the police stations, and hospitals were emptied so they could receive the expected casualties. Basic human rights were suspended, and a State of Emergency was declared to assist with the restoration of law and order in the country. The Kremlin tried to keep the outside world ignorant of what happened, but reports in the Washington Times and by Human Rights Watch, amongst others, spoke of the disproportionate violence that had been used. In fact, this was a warning to nationalist movements, particularly following the humiliation of the Soviet forces in the Baltic Republics. “We all remember those who gave their lives. On 20 January 1990, the fate of the Soviet Empire was sealed. This was also our first step on the path towards becoming a nation state, and helped create a sense of national identity. On Black January, members of many ethnic groups represented in Baku were killed. Azerbaijan finally achieved its independence in 1991, but a byproduct of its struggle – the ongoing occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions – continues to this day. We call for international pressure to be exerted on Armenia to bring an end to this situation.” The victims of Black January were commemorated in reverent silence
Commemorated on 20 January, Black January is the name given to one of the most important dates during the Azerbaijani struggle for independence from the Soviet Union. On 19–20 January 1990, Soviet troops fired upon an estimated one million civilians who were protesting in central Baku. Official figures estimate that over 130 civilians were killed, and more than 700 were injured.
Politics and News
(Photo: Houston Green Photography)
(from left) Michael Copeland MLA; Peter Robinson, First Minister, Northern Ireland; H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK; and Emil Agazade, Head of Media, TEAS, at the event in Stormont
Azerbaijan–Northern F i r s t artificial Ireland relations enter a h e a r t t r a n s p l a n t e d new level in Azerbaijan The burgeoning development of Azerbaijan– Northern Ireland relations was outlined during a meeting at the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont, Belfast. Around 60 people attended the event, organised by TEAS, including 10 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Following an introduction by Michael Copeland MLA, who facilitated the meeting, H.E. Ambassador Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, said: “Azerbaijan only gained its independence from the Soviet Union 22 years ago this year, and was one of the first former Soviet republics to achieve this. Our economy is quickly developing, thanks to our natural resources, but we are also looking for further investment in the non-oil sector. I look forward to the growth of bilateral relations between our countries.” Peter Robinson, First Minister, Northern Ireland Assembly, continued: “Northern Ireland has been in a state of conflict for centuries, but we are now working hard to develop a peaceful, stable society. Issues of identity are an issue, and I am certain that our Azerbaijani friends can empathise with this. Despite this, investment has increased, and we now have more prosperity than before. We have very low taxation, and a considerable level of change is happening on the ground. We look forward to future reciprocal visits.” Emil Agazade, Head of Media, TEAS, said: “I was born in Azerbaijan, and expected to experience some conflict when I first visited Northern Ireland some years ago, but this was not the case. I have friends from Ulster in London, and I know that we share the same outlook. Azerbaijan looks forward to developing a successful relationship with Northern Ireland.” Local businessman Michael Doran, Executive Director, Action Renewables, focused on his personal experiences in Azerbaijan: “I have worked in Baku and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR). I undertook training of the local population, and have discovered that the people are bright, hardworking and inspiring.” February 2013
During a press conference alongside hospital staff, Dr Kamran Musayev, Head Physician, Central Clinic Hospital, and Chairman, Azerbaijan Cardiovascular Surgery Association, revealed that the first artificial heart transplant in Azerbaijan has taken place. He explained that many artificial hearts have been transplanted in recent years across the world, and that these devices represent one of the most effective methods of extending life. Dr Musayev said that the 44-year-old patient underwent the operation at the Central Clinic Hospital. He explained: “There were serious problems in all of the patient’s organs, and he was taking strong medication. The patient had suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) for years. He was examined by experienced cardiologists, and the implantation of an artificial heart was recommended.” Dr Musayev said that the artificial heart, called the HeartMate II, manufactured by the US-based Thoratec Corp. was implanted in the patient, and it is thought he will retain the device in the long-term. He commented that the patient’s postoperative condition is normal.
NEWS FROM BRUSSELS
On 30 January, TEAS, in co-operation with Inese Vaidere, Latvian MEP, organised a meeting in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, entitled Europe 2020: Focusing on the Energy Partnership with Azerbaijan. A cross-party debate, the conference attracted members of the European Popular Party (EPP) group, the Socialists, The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and the Greens. Speakers included leading MEPs and other important stakeholders, including H.E. Fuad Isgandarov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the European Union (EU), and Brendan Devlin, Advisor, Gas Policy,
Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission (EC). During the meeting, the latest developments in the South Caucasus energy sector were discussed, and there was constructive dialogue between EP policymakers. The participants discussed the evolution of EuropeanAzerbaijani co-operation in the energy field, and outlined the opportunities for greater collaboration by 2020. Roman Huna, Head, TEAS Belgium, said: “TEAS Belgium has established itself as a credible platform for information with regard to the South Caucasus. Therefore, we encourage the exchange of opinions in order to provide major stakeholders in the European institutions in Brussels with first-hand, reliable information on Azerbaijan, which is one of the EU’s strategic partners.” Inese Vaidere MEP commented: “Energyrelated issues have become extremely important for the EU. We need to act now, if we want to secure future energy supplies. What we discussed today is line with our intention of achieving European energy independence by 2020.” The EC was represented by Brendan Devlin, who outlined the existing European energy partnership with Azerbaijan, and the EC’s long-term objective of decarbonising the EU’s economy by 2050. He underlined the importance of Azerbaijan’s role as an investor in Europe, concluding: “We welcome Azerbaijan’s ability to innovate.” Since the infamous Russo-Ukrainian gas rows, Azerbaijan has begun to play an integral role in ensuring European energy security. Ambassador Isgandarov reiterated this fact, saying: “Azerbaijan has always expressed its willingness to work with Europe to contribute towards its energy security.” The meeting brought together some leading MEPs, facilitating a frank and constructive exchange of views. Vytautas Landsbergis MEP, former President of Lithuania, stressed the importance of such debates, saying that co-operation with South Caucasus countries in the energy sector could also assist in bringing about the resolution of unresolved conflicts, including the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions.
Politics and News Delyan Dolbrev, Bulgarian Minister for Energy and the Economy, indicated his country’s support for a gas link with Turkey
Nabucco West’s legal and regulatory framework confirmed
The Nabucco Consortium has acknowledged a political declaration confirming the validity of the Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement and Project Support Agreements to the Nabucco West pipeline, according to Delyan Dobrev, Bulgarian Minister for Energy and the Economy, speaking at the Nabucco Political Committee in Sofia. This declaration went on to encourage Nabucco shareholders regarding the swift installation of a Bulgarian-Turkish gas interconnector. Reinhard Mitschek, CEO, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, said that the ministerial declaration of support reaffirms the legal and regulatory security for Nabucco West. He continued: “We welcome this message of support, and look forward to working with state parties to ensure freedom of choice and energy security for the European consumer.” In June 2012, the Shah Deniz Consortium selected Nabucco West over the South-East European Pipeline (SEEP) for the potential export of gas from Shah Deniz II to Central Europe. The final decision between Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will be made later this year.
Montenegro and Azerbaijan strengthen economic cooperation
During a meeting in Podgorica, Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic and H.E. Eldar Hasanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Montenegro, agreed that relations between the countries had achieved remarkable progress over a brief period. They went on to reconfirm the two countries’ willingness to continue deepening their mutual co-operation, particularly with regard to investment in ports and infrastructure. Emphasis was placed on finalising agreements regarding the lease of the Orijen Battalion barracks in Kumbor, Montenegro, for a period of 90 years by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR). It is thought that SOCAR will invest €258m (£220.2m) during the next eight years on transforming the premises into a holiday resort. Dukanovic also acknowledged Azerbaijan’s recent donation of €2m (£1.7m) for the www.teas.eu
reconstruction and expansion of the kindergarten in the Bijelo Polje municipality.
SOCAR reception held in Davos The annual SOCAR reception has taken place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, entitled SOCAR – Energy of Azerbaijan. Initially, Rovnag Abdullayev, Director, SOCAR, welcomed the guests. Following this, Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy took the floor and spoke about the work of the Nobel Brothers, whose work in Baku pioneered the development of the oil sector in Azerbaijan and of mechanised oil extraction and transportation.
During the reception, two Memoranda of Understanding were signed by Shahmar Movsumov, Executive Director, State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) and Jin Yong Cai, CEO, International Finance Corporation (IFC). The parties agreed to deepen co-operation regarding private sector investment in emerging markets. SOFAZ has already invested $100m (£64.2m) in the IFC’s African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund. The parties also reached an agreement to allocate an additional $50m (£31.9m) for investment in a new global fund by SOFAZ. Negotiations on future investments are ongoing.
that they mainly visit Washington and New York, although the number of those connected to the oil sector travelling to Texas has grown. Vafa Guluzade, Azerbaijani Political Scientist, said: “Relations with the US are very important to us, and I believe that the current state of US-Azerbaijani relations is satisfactory. Azerbaijan is successfully co-operating with the US in the energy sector, and both economically and militarily.” He also said that Azerbaijan is hoping to become a fully-fledged NATO member in the near future. Commenting on Azerbaijan’s plans for 2013, the expert noted that further integration with Euro-Atlantic structures is a primary objective.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Demarcation of Russian border to be formalised Garib
State Land and Cartography Committee, has revealed that the Azerbaijani-Russian state border is to be determined and formalised. He
border with Georgia: “The border between Georgia and Azerbaijan is 480km, of which 300km has been agreed. An 180km-long stretch is currently being considered by the commission and documented. We will liaise with Georgia through diplomatic channels.”
Azerbaijani–US defence co-operation under discussion
Colonel-General Safar Abiyev, Azerbaijani Minister of Defence, has received a delegation headed by Dr Kathleen Hicks, Principal Deputy under the US Secretary of Defence for Policy. ColonelGeneral Abiyev informed the guests about the military situation in the region, and the reasons for the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. H.E. Richard Morningstar, US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, also attended the meeting.
Azerbaijan offers free higher education for orphans Free higher education is offered to Azerbaijani orphans living in children’s homes. According to the APA news agency, a new law will be implemented to this effect, the details of which will be made public by the Social Policy Committee of the Azerbaijani Parliament in the near future. The draft law will be submitted for
Domestic violence to be analysed Taliya Ibrahimova, Head, Law Department, Azerbaijani State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs, has revealed that a
After expressing her satisfaction with Azerbaijani participation in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and in the fight against terrorism, Dr Hicks emphasised that the US is intending to continue its strategic co-operation with Azerbaijan with regard to several significant issues.
database on domestic violence in Azerbaijan is to be introduced. She explained that information on the topic is currently being collected from across the country, and that database software for the resource is under development. The database will contain information on cases of domestic violence, ongoing investigations, convictions,
Firming up Azerbaijani– US relations Following his re-election, US President Barack Obama has expressed his wish to continue cooperation and ties between Washington and Baku, according to the Azerbaijani media. Obama voiced his confidence that Azerbaijan and the US would overcome future global challenges through joint efforts.
care orders, and accredited care centres.
Azerbaijan gives support to prevention of chemical weapons Mirhamza Afandiyev, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Netherlands, has presented his credentials to Ahmed Uzumcu, Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). According to the AzerTAg news agency, Uzumcu acknowledged the ongoing co-operation with Azerbaijan. Ambassador Afandiyev reaffirmed that Azerbaijan would continue to be active in outlawing
Azerbaijani citizens received 5,600 US visas in 2012, and sources in the US Embassy stated
such weapons, and invited Uzumcu to visit Baku.
Culture The concert will feature French composer Pierre Thilloy’s musical tribute to the Khojaly victims
Free tickets – Khojaly concerts in Paris and London
As part of its annual commemorations of the Khojaly Massacre, which occurred during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over NagornoKarabakh, TEAS is organising two concerts in Paris and London, respectively. The first of these, on 21 February, will be held at Eglise St Roch 296, rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris at 20.30hrs, and the second will be on 26 February at St. John’s, Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HA at 19.00hrs. Tickets for both concerts will be free, and RSVPs can be made at www.teas.eu/upcoming-events. Both concerts will be given by The Orion Orchestra, conducted by Laurent Petitgirard, featuring Sabina Rakcheyeva (violin) and Cultural Advisor, TEAS; and Shirzad Fataliyev (balaban). The Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial Choir will also participate in the London concert. The concerts will both feature Fikret Amirov’s Nizami Symphony for strings, written in 1947, featuring the ‘symphonic mugham’ style that he developed, and Sir Edward Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings. However, the centerpiece of both concerts will be Khojaly 613, by the contemporary French composer Pierre Thilloy, who has visited Azerbaijan on numerous occasions. The world premiére of this chamber piece will take place in Paris, and the UK premiére will follow in London. This new piece includes an improvised section for the balaban, an Azerbaijani wind instrument, which will be performed by Shirzad Fataliyev, one of the leading virtuosi on the instrument. When discussing his motivation for the piece, Pierre Thilloy said: “There is a mechanism, commonly called ‘memory’, which, far from providing vulgar pathos, is a bulwark against oblivion, and operates as a timeless sentinel of dignity. ‘Memory’ has always been a creative banner for composers and artists, who, beyond any political or revolutionary context, are able to remind others of milestones, troubled moments, and dramas, which touch the very depths of their soul. February 2013
“By writing Khojaly 613, I wanted to pay a unilateral tribute to the men and women whose flesh and spirit suffered during this terrible night, and to those who lost everything, even hope. By paying tribute, I wanted to share a little peace and serenity with them. “This terrifying event touched me during my first trip to Azerbaijan in July 2001 through some sort of negative miracle by which you appropriate another person’s pain, as a vague and indefinable sense of tragedy that no words can explain. Since then, I have been constantly attempting to compose a work in tribute to the victims in order to be at peace.”
Fidan Hajieva and Gochag duetted during the recording at the BBC Radio Theatre
Gochag Askarov to be BBC mentor
The BBC Radio 3 World Routes programme is the leading ‘world music’ programme on UK radio. Launched in 2010, the World Routes Academy is aimed at supporting and inspiring UK-based young musicians from specific traditions by pairing them with an internationally-renowned musician who is an acknowledged exponent of that tradition. Over the course of a year, the young musician receives extensive tuition from their mentor, both in the UK and in the homeland of the relevant musical tradition. Previously, music from India, the Middle-East and Colombia have been the focus of the academy. On 25 January, a concert was recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, London, before a capacity audience of 300 people, during which it was announced by leading UK singer-songwriter P.J. Harvey that 17-year-old London resident Fidan Hajieva would be this year’s protégé. Her mentor will be Gochag Askarov, who has previously performed at the World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) festivals in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, and the International Mugham Festival in Baku, amongst others, in addition to recording several CDs. Gochag came across Fidan when she performed informally for him in London, and has already begun to give her tuition via Skype. Fidan then went on demonstrate her considerable talent with a passionate performance of Sari Gelin (Blonde Bride), accompanied by the Khary Bulbul Ensemble, comprising the leading instrumentalists Mirjavad Jafarov (tar and ud), Elnur Mikayilov
(kamancha), Kamran Karimov (nagara drum) and Shirzad Fataliyev (balaban and zurna), who will be the balaban soloist in Pierre Thilloy’s TEAS-commissioned new piece Khojaly 613, to be performed at both the Khojaly Commemoration Concerts in Paris and London. This was followed by Gochag’s solo performance of Ninna Yaram (My Sweetheart), and then the voices of Fidan and Gochag combined for an impassioned rendition of Mugham Bayati Shiraz.
The ‘Land of Fire’ in the ‘City of Lights’ As many friends of TEAS will be aware, the Azerbaijan Through the Lens exhibition was premiered in London in November 2012. This showcased 100 photographs submitted for a competition, run by TEAS, whereby photographers from across the world sent their representations of Azerbaijani life, countryside, culture and architecture. The exhibition is now travelling to Paris, where it will be displayed from 7–17 March at the Espace Beaurepaire, 28 rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris (Metro: Jacques Bonsergent or République). On weekdays, the exhibition will run from 12.00–20.00hrs (Sundays 12.00–18.00hrs). Entrance is free, and for more information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madness in great ones
Professor Elchin Afandiyev is one of the leading Azerbaijani authors and playwrights, and is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan. His work was first published in 1959, and he has written over 100 books, which have bee translated into many languages. Professor Elchin’s work is subversive, absurdist and always entertaining, transcending linguistic and cultural differences. He was also the chair of the Vatan diaspora organisation, established in 1987, which focuses on cultural awareness amongst the diaspora and the creation of cultural understanding with other countries. Set in Baku, his farcical play My Favourite Madman dates from 1995, and ranks amongst his foremost works, focusing on a search for an escaped asylum inmate where the demarcation lines between sane and insane characters are deliberately blurred. Directed by Matthew Gould, the play has recently been translated into English by Sanan Aliyev, and will receive its inaugural run as the premiere production of ALOFF Theatre from 9–13 April at the Tristan Bates Theatre, The Actor’s Centre, 1a Tower Street, London, WC2H 9NP. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions), and to book call +44 (0)20 7240 6283 or go to www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk. www.teas.eu
Culture Since her Eurovision experiences in Baku, Anmary became entranced by Azerbaijani music
Blonde on blonde
Classically-trained Anmary ranks amongst the leading Latvian pop singers. Following her graduation from the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, her launch to stardom began when won a television talent show. Since that time she appeared in a production of West Side Story, sung the solo part in Magnificat by Dr Christoph Schönherr, which toured Europe with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, and was the lead singer in the Latvian groups Sunny Sense and Mash Mash. In 2012, she won the Latvian Eurovision National Selection Contest and performed the entry Beautiful Song in Baku. Although the Latvian entry was knocked out in the semi-finals, Anmary developed an appreciation of Azerbaijani music, and gave her first solo concert in Azerbaijani on 27 November, followed by a performance at the Gochay Pomegranate Festival. She has subsequently recorded a CD, which includes such well-known favourites as Sari Gelin (Blonde Bride), Gel ey Seher (Come Morning) and Üzüyümün Qasi (The Gemstone of My Ring), which will be released in the near future. Anmary’s promotional film for Sari Gelin may be viewed at http://bit.ly/sarigelinanmary.
Eurovision keys transferred to Sweden
The keys to the Eurovision Song Contest were formally presented by Hajibala Abutalibov, Mayor of Baku, to Kent Andersson, Mayor of Malmö, on 17 January. Sweden won the 2012 contest, hosted in Baku, with the song Euphoria, performed by Loreen, and the 2013 contest will be hosted in Malmö, with the final taking place on 18 May. Following the transference of the keys, the Azerbaijani entry was selected to perform in the Second Semi-Final against Latvia, Malta, Ireland, San Marino, FYR Macedonia, Finland and Bulgaria. Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor, European Broadcasting Union and Thomas Niedermeyer of Digame, the official voting partner, oversaw the selection process. Altogether, 39 countries will participate in the contest. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan is earnestly seeking its second Eurovision win with an extensive selection contest. Broadcast on Ictimai Television, the contest comprises qualification rounds spanning five days a week for eight weeks, concluding with a final of eight qualifiers. www.teas.eu
Altogether, 79 artists are involved in the competition this year. Every qualification round spans five days, and each of the competitors performs a different song each day, performing Eurovision hits on Monday, Azerbaijani music on Tuesday, international hits on Wednesday, and demonstrating their stage skills on Thursday. On Fridays, the candidates can perform a song of their own choice, followed by repeating one of the songs performed previously during the week. The winner of the heat is then announced. In 2012, Sabina Babayeva achieved an impressive fourth position in the final with the song When The Music Dies.
The Eurovision key is ceremonially passed by Baku Mayor Hajibala Abutalibov to Malmö Mayor Kent Andersson
Florence and Baku united in harmony
The International Mugham Centre in Baku has played host to the premiére of a musical evening jointly composed by the Azerbaijani Günay Mirzayeva and Italian Francesco Maggio. This project was implemented in collaboration with the International Mugham Centre, the Italian ensemble Contempoarte, and the support of the Italian Embassy in Azerbaijan. Entitled Il Fiore del Fuoco (The Flower of Fire), the concert comprised a synthesis of Azerbaijani and Italian music, performed by Contempoarte, under the baton of Vittorio Ceccanti, in collaboration with a mugham trio. This featured Miralam Miralamov (singer), Ogtay Sharifov (tar) and Kamal Nuriyev (kamancha). Maggio’s composition Ateshgah (Fire Temple) was based on the Chargah mugham, whereas Mirzayeva’s Alovun Sesi (Sound of a Flame), used the Shur mugham as its foundation. The concert was complemented by a video, directed by Francesco Ritondale, which showcased some of Azerbaijan’s historic sites, including Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain) and Ateshgah, all of which emphasised the role of fire in Azerbaijani heritage. H.E. Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi, Italian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, stated that the concert re-emphasised the importance of developing cultural relations between the two countries, with the composers and musicians closely collaborating. He stated that fire plays an inherent role in the heritage of both Italians and Azerbaijanis. The concert was repeated on 4 February at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi
in Florence. Both concerts were extremely successful, and the combination of Azerbaijani mugham and Italian music left a lasting impression upon the audience. The composers have expressed a wish to participate in several music festivals, and are currently planning the most extensive festival of Azerbaijani music to take place in Italy. This project became viable after Mirzayeva won grants from the Azerbaijan Youth Foundation and the Azerbaijani Ministry of Youth and Sports, which are the main sponsors of the Il Fiore del Fuoco project. Other sponsors included the Municipality of Tuscany, the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Azerbaijan Embassy to Italy, and the Made Group Florence Consortium.
Evening Standard jazz reviewer applauds Amina
The latest CD by Azerbaijani pianist Amina Figarova, now resident in New York, has received a glowing review from Jack Massarik, the longstanding jazz critic for London’s Evening Standard, which has a circulation of around 700,000. Reviewing the CD, called Twelve, on the German In+Out label, he wrote: “Her all-European sextet was a revelation at Ronnie Scott’s during the recent London Jazz Festival, and its rhythm section sounds equally impressive on record. So do the frontline soloists. Flautist Bart Platteau, trumpeter Ernie Hammes and saxman Marc Mommaas all swing with panache. Figarova sets the tone with a sophisticated range of tenderness and urgency at the keyboard and each of her compositions and arrangements has an admirable sureness of touch. She’s a major artist.” To order a copy, go to http://bit. ly/aminafig.
International literature festival to be held in Ganja
The Nizami Ganjavi International Centre in Ganja will host a global book forum and literature festival on 3–5 May, celebrating 900 years since the emergence of works by Mahsati Ganjavi, the renowned poetess. The Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival 2013 will be opened by Roza Otunbayeva, former President, Kyrgyz Republic. It will bring together international, regional and local authors, publishing companies, government departments and agencies, educational institutions, retailers, and readers, its objective being to develop the publishing industries in Azerbaijan and across Central Asia. The festival, organised by the London-based Silk Road Media, will include book launches and readings. To find out more, go to www.ocabookforum.com. February 2013
Personalities – Nazaket Teymurova Nazaket’s performances and recordings have attracted acclaim in Azerbaijan and internationally
(Photos: Agdes Baghirzade)
Nazaket Teymurova – the mugham nightingale
Bor n in 1972, Nazaket Te y m u ro v a r a n k s amongst the best A z e r b a i j a n i f e m a l e mugham singers of h e r g e n e r a t i o n , and has achieved gre a t p o p u l a r i t y w i t h listene rs to this un i q u e A z e r b a i j a n i ar t for m. Following h e r s t u d i e s a t t h e Asaf Zeynalli Colleg e o f M u s i c a n d Baku Music Academ y, s h e b e c a m e a mainstay at the A z e r b a i j a n i S t a t e Academic Opera and B a l l e t , w h e re s h e regularly appears in m u g h a m o p e r a s , such as Leyli and Ma j n u n a n d K o ro g l u by Uzeyir Hajibeyli a n d N a t a v a n b y Vasif Adigezalov. Da t i n g f ro m 1 9 0 8 , Leyli and Majnun wa s t h e f i r s t o p e r a of the Muslim East , a n d w h e n i t s centenar y was celebr a t e d i n 2 0 0 8 , s h e par ticipated in a hist o r i c p e r f o r m a n c e of this seminal work a t t h e U N E S C O Headquar ters in Paris . Nazaket has also g i v e n m a n y s o l o public concer ts, both i n A z e r b a i j a n a n d across Europe and A s i a . P e r f o r m i n g alongside the Khar y B u l b u l E n s e m b l e , she has released seve n C D s o n v a r i o u s labels, and was award e d t h e P e o p l e ’s Ar tist of Azerbaijan t i t l e i n 2 0 0 5 . In 2011, Nazaket w a s a w a rd e d t h e UNESCO Most Beau t i f u l Vo i c e p r i z e at the Melodies of t h e O r i e n t ( S h a rq Tarona lari) Festival i n S a m a rq a n d , Uzbekistan. Last ye a r, s h e g a v e a n acclaimed concer t a t t h e Wo r l d o f Music and Dance (WO M A D ) F e s t i v a l a t Charlton Park, Malm e s b u r y, W i l t s h i re , sharing the bill with s u c h i n t e r n a t i o n a l stars as Jimmy Cliff, R o b e r t P l a n t , t h e Tokyo Ska Paradise O rc h e s t r a , a n d Indian band Manga n i y a r S e d u c t i o n .
I n 2 0 1 2 , I t a l i a n l a b e l F e l m a y re l e a s e d a CD simply entitled Mugham, which S i m o n B ro u g h t o n , E d i t o r, S o n g l i n e s described as: “One of the best re c o rd i n g s o f A z e r b a i j a n i m u g h a m I h a v e h e a rd i n a l o n g t i m e . ” T E A S s p o k e t o N a z a k e t a t h o m e t o f i n d o u t m o re on her art, spirituality and thoughts on development of her music: At what age did you become aware of mugham music? I was bor n in Nagor no-Karabakh, and many people from this region become interested in the ar ts at some point of their life. Some become singers, whereas others opt for composing or poetr y. This is the land of ar tistic people, and I have been surrounded by mugham since the age of three or four years. How did you discover the suitability of your voice for mugham performance? My wide vocal range became evident during ver y early childhood. My parents recognised the suitability of my voice for mugham, and I was subsequently sent to music schools. Following this, I became deeply involved in mugham. Did you learn about the mugham ‘modes’ – determining scale, key, outline and form – from a ‘mugham master’, or did you attend a conservatoire? Those who aim to become mugham singers should study the techniques of all professional mugham singers, as mugham comes from oral music traditions. In my case, I lear ned about mugham in my childhood, in addition to studying at the Asaf Zeynalli College of Music and Baku Music Academy, where I graduated from the school of mugham, having received lectures from some of the best singers in the countr y.
Did you experience any challenges as you undertook your studies? Mugham is a complex discipline with ancient roots, and I feel a sense of responsibility when per for ming such music. It is necessar y for the singer to constantly improve their skills, and integrate the influences of other mugham per for mers. Throughout my studies, I did not face any challenges, and my immersion in the music facilitated the discover y of new techniques. In addition to concentrating on performance technique, did you gain an insight into the spiritual aspects of mugham? All mugham singers and instrumentalists represent their subjective world. Mugham encompasses all living expectations and feelings. The singer is unable to influence listeners if they do not explore the moral depths of mugham. Yo u r e c e n t l y a p p e a r e d a t t he WOMAD F e s t i v a l i n t h e U K a n d c u t a CD for the I t a l i a n ‘ F e l m a y ’ l a b e l . H a v e you been s u r p r i s e d b y t h e p o s i t i v e r esponse to mugham in the west? I n f a c t , t h i s d i d n o t c o m e a s a surprise t o m e , a s t h e d e p t h o f o u r mugham is s o a t t r a c t i v e t o f o re i g n l i s teners that t h e p i e c e s a re w e l l - re c e i ved in all c o u n t r i e s . I f l i s t e n e r s a l s o understand t h e w o rd s ( t e x t ) o f t h e g a zals (poetic s t a n z a s ) , t h e m u s i c i s o f e ven greater i n t e re s t . D o y o u p e r f o r m a d i f f e r e n t repertoire for western audiences? I n f a c t , I p e r f o r m t h e s a m e reper toire f o r a l l a u d i e n c e s , a n d s i n g alongside A l i a g h a S a d i y e v ( t a r ) , S h i r z ad Fataliyev ( b a l a b a n ) a n d K a m r a n K e r i mov (nagara drum).
Personalities – Nazaket Teymurova Nazaket performing alongside some of Azerbaijan’s greatest mugham instrumentalists, comprising the Khary Bulbul Ensemble
of Mugham Festival, which incorporates the Inter national Mugham Contest (2009, 2011). My hope is that Nagor noKarabakh is freed from occupation, and that new singers will emerge from this region. To order the CD Mugham by Nazaket Teymurova, go to http://bit.ly/ nazaketmughamcd
In which foreign countries have you performed? I have sung in numerous countries, including Belarus, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, the US, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. When did you first appear at the Baku State Opera? Have the majority of your roles been in operas by Uzeyir Hajibeyli, such as Leyli and Majnun? My first role was as Leyli in 1996. Subsequently, I have performed as a mugham singer girl in Koroglu by Uzeyir Hajibeyli; Shahsenem in Ashiq Gerib by Zulfugar Hajibeyli; Gulbahar in Gelin Qayasy (The Tower of the Bride) by Shafiuga Akhundova; as a mugham singer girl in the Natavan opera by Vasif Adigazelov, and in the Vagif opera by Ramiz Mustafayev. How did it feel to perform Leyli and Majnun at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris? I felt proud that Leyli and Majnun was staged at the UNESCO Paris office and that I, of all Azerbaijani female singers, was selected to perform the role of Leyli. Which role or recording led you to receive the award of People’s Artist of Azerbaijan in 2005? When I became a mugham singer, I did not think such recognition would be possible. However, it is necessary for a mugham performer to continuously develop their skills, represent their country on an international stage, and develop a high level of professionalism. I have always taken these factors into account, and the state honoured me with this title in 2005. Last year, you received the Most Beautiful Voice award at the Sharq Taronalari Festival in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Which melodies did you perform? I performed the Shur mugham, lasting
some 20 minutes. Throughout, I made ever y effor t to optimise the beauty of the mugham, using my vocal range to demonstrate the rhythms and lyrical elements in the most exquisite manner possible. My per for mance was wellreceived by the audience.
open enrollment starting jan 14
Have you ever performed ashiq music? I am a great admirer of ashiq music, and often incorporate this in my reper toire. At the WOMAD Festival, I included the ashiq piece Misri in my programme.
What are your thoughts on jazzmugham? Generally, if professionals under take the fusion of different music genres, the results are successful. The reason behind the achievements of Vagif Mustafazadeh – the founder of Azerbaijani jazz – was that he incorporated mugham elements into his work. I have also employed this technique, although not in jazz. I par ticipated in three concer ts in Azerbaijan that combined European chamber music instruments and the Azerbaijani national instruments. The same group per for med in a range of countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Russia, Belarus and Georgia. To date, I have not par ticipated in concer ts where jazz-mugham was per for med, although I would like to do so.
Music bridges the gaps
Do you believe that mugham has evolved since the regaining of Azerbaijani independence? What do you regard as its future direction? It is true that the per for mance of mugham has developed considerably since Azerbaijan regained its independence in 1991. For years, mugham had survived, due to public interest in the music, but the post-Soviet period saw the Azerbaijani gover nment issuing decrees on mugham development and its promotion. The music now receives considerable state suppor t, including organisation of the Inter national World
concerts: oslo | tallinn | reykjavik | helsinki | moscow | göteborg | riga kirill karabits conductor truls mørk cello khatia buniatishvili piano
Focusing on the cultural and musical heritage of Eastern Europe, the I, Culture Orchestra (ICO) is a young ensemble that has gained plaudits across the world. Its mission is to optimise the talent of its musicians, respect cultural diversity, and bridge political and ethnic differences between musicians and audiences. The orchestra comprises musicians from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. In 2011, one of these concerts took place at the Royal Festival Hall, London. In 2013, ICO will tour a range of leading concert halls around Europe, including those in Oslo, Riga, Moscow and Reykjavik. The orchestra will perform under the baton of Kirill Karabits, the exceptional Ukrainian conductor, and concerts will feature the Georgian concert pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk. Auditions are open to all musicians aged 18–28 years, and will take place in London on 20 March and Baku on 25–26 March. To apply, go to www. orchestra.iam.pl/en.
Nagorno-Karabakh The prospective opening of Khojaly Airport has caused great controversy across Europe
Khojaly Airport impact assessed in House of Lords Lord Kilclooney has asked a question regarding the UK Government’s stance on the proposed reopening of Khojaly Airport and its possible ramifications for the achievement of a negotiated peace in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions.
Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, replied: “The Government are in touch with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on a regular basis about issues related to the NagornoKarabakh conflict. We welcomed the fact that, at their meeting in Paris on 28 January, the Co-Chairs had the opportunity to discuss the issue of flights from the airport in Nagorno-Karabakh with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Co-Chairs recalled their statement of 13 July 2012, which noted that they had received renewed assurances from the sides that they will reject any threat or use of force against civil aircraft; reaffirmed that the operation of the airport in NagornoKarabakh cannot be used to support any claim of a change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh; and urged the sides to act in accordance with international law and consistent with current practice for flights over their territory. The Government supports the position of the Co-Chairs and continues to call on all sides to resolve this issue through diplomatic steps and to refrain from politicising it.”
Politicians across Europe condemn airport reopening A threat by Armenia to reopen Khojaly Airport in Nagorno-Karabakh has unleashed a wave of protest from politicians across Europe and the political spectrum. French Senators,
members of the German Bundestag, British Parliamentarians and members of the European Parliament have warned that the Armenian move is provocative, illegal, and threatens the already fragile peace process in the South Caucasus.
Russian Lieutenant-General Yuri Netkachev explained: “Eventually, Russia will set its face towards Armenia, which is its main and strategic ally in the South Caucasus. Strengthening Armenia’s military potential is a guarantee of stability in the region.”
Their protests follow statements from the French, Russian and US Co-Chairs from the OSCE Minsk Group, tasked with achieving a negotiated peace. Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian Foreign Minister, who recently visited the region, said that: “Norway condemns carrying out flights from this airport. Armenia must not resort to provocative actions.”
Azerbaijan and Armenia hold talks in Paris
The European politicians are united in their opposition to statements made in the runup to this month’s Armenian Presidential election by President Serzh Sargsyan, suggesting that Armenia will reopen Khojaly Airport. The airport has remained closed since the Armenian occupation in 1992. Armenia’s plans have provoked swift and broad opposition from key politicians in France, Germany, the UK and the European Parliament. Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS, said that the wave of opposition to Armenia’s threat from across Western Europe should act as a wake-up call to governments that there is a real danger of a rapid escalation of tension in the area, caused by an unravelling of efforts by the international community to peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He added that the Armenian moves demonstrated particular insensitivity, coming just weeks before the 21st anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, when 613 members of the local population were murdered by invading Armenian armed forces.
Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, met Edward Nalbandian, his Armenian counterpart, in Paris for talks on Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the OSCE Minsk Group, the one-day talks represented a new attempt to advance the peace process. In a statement, the Group’s Co-Chairs from France, Russia and the US said: “The Foreign Ministers reiterated their support for a peaceful settlement and their determination to continue negotiations ... (They) agreed to a further discussion of the peace process in the coming weeks.” Speaking to Reuters, an Azerbaijani diplomatic source said he did not think talks were moving closer to a resolution, although his country remained committed to negotiations. He said: “We are trying to find a solution to this impasse, giving a high degree of autonomy for the Armenians, but Nagorno-Karabakh has to remain as Azerbaijan territory.”
NEWS IN BRIEF Soldier and Lieutenant killed by sniper fire In an Azerbaijani Defence Ministry statement on 5 February, it was revealed that Sanan
Russian Defence Minister Shoygu visits Armenia
Sergei Shoygu, the newly-appointed Russian Defence Minister, has concluded his first official visit to Armenia, according to the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The media did not report on whether Shoygu spoke about the possible opening of Khojaly Airport during his meetings with Armenian President Sargsyan and Seyran Ohanian, Armenian Defence Minister. However, Russian Ministry sources stated that Russian delegation members advised Armenians against undertaking such a move. Special attention was simultaneously paid to discussions on details regarding the draft agreement on Russo-Armenian military-technical co-operation. The heads of the two countries are expected to sign the agreement in the near future.
Dovlat Alizadeh has been killed by Armenian sniper fire. The 19-year-old had been posted near the Kuropatkino village in the Khojavand region, having been drafted from the Jalilabad region. On the same day, a sniper also claimed the life of Lieutenant Tural Nadir Asgarov.
Euronest Co-Chair requests bloodless resolution During a press conference, Jiri Mastalka MEP, Co-Chair, Committee for Energy Security, Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, spoke of the need to peacefully resolve the NagornoKarabakh conflict. After acknowledging the work of the OSCE Minsk Group, he said: “It is necessary to move forward and not to tolerate new bloodshed. We have obtained experience in this issue across Europe, and know how to settle the problem so that both countries are satisfied and the rights of both parties are secured. As politicians, we are obliged to search for peaceful methods of settling problems. New bloodshed cannot be tolerated, and everything can be settled peacefully.”
Nagorno-Karabakh Paruyr Hayrikyan recovers from the assassination attempt
Armenian election hopeful Hayrikyan shot
Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), has expressed concern over the shooting on 31 January of Paruyr Hayrikyan, a candidate in Armenia’s forthcoming presidential election. He said: “This attack is deeply distressing, in view of the electoral process already underway, and I urge all stakeholders to refrain from any actions that might further aggravate the situation. We also urge the relevant authorities to pursue a robust investigation of this crime and prosecution of the perpetrators.” Lenarčič went on to call for calm in the lead up to the election. Hayrikyan was shot and wounded by unknown assailants, leaving him hospitalised. On 7 February, the candidate’s campaign headquarters co-ordinator explained that Hayrikyan’s health had deteriorated, and a petition was made to delay the election. However, his condition subsequently improved, and this request was cancelled. Dennis Sammut, Director, LINKS, commented: “I agree that this was not simply an attempt against a person, but rather against a process. Russia wants to see Serzh Sargsyan re-elected as president. So much is clear to everybody. However, Hayrikyan does not provide a serious challenge to Sargsyan, so why would they want to kill him? I don’t think I should speculate further on this. I hope the investigation is comprehensive and transparent. The Armenian people deserve answers.”
Fleeing Armenians from Syria encouraged to illegally resettle in Nagorno-Karabakh
A report from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has revealed that some Armenians fleeing the conflict in Syria are receiving incentives to resettle in NagornoKarabakh. Robert Matevosyan, Head of the Resettlement Department in Gubadly, located in the Lachin Corridor of the unrecognised republic, said that 25 families had been relocated since the civil war began in Syria. He
said: “The first families to come to Kovsakan already have their own houses, an apartment block has been restored, and others have been given homes. Those who moved to Berdzor are currently living in a guesthouse without paying any rent.” Elman Abdullayev, Spokesman, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, said: “We have informed the UN and OSCE about the situation. This isn’t the first time that Armenia has carried out illegal settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh. This is a provocation, and hinders the peace process.” Although Gudably (Armenian: Kashatagh) is the largest district in NagornoKarabakh, its population stood at just 8,500 in 2011, as all its Azerbaijani residents are now internally displaced persons (IDPs). The occupying forces welcome any new arrivals that can increase the population. Homes are constructed or restored for the incomers, and Matevosyan said jobs were being found for the Armenians from Syria, who were also receiving food supplies. He commented: “We are giving farming families large patches of land.” Abdullayev said: “Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani land. It is unacceptable to settle Armenians from Syria there without the permission of Azerbaijan. It violates international law, and also the rights of the Azerbaijanis who were forced to leave Nagorno-Karabakh. It is also disappointing that the international community is opting to remain silent about this.” Mines and other unexploded ordnances have been cleared from this area in NagornoKarabakh
HALO Trust reports on unexploded mine threat
The HALO Trust, which focuses on the safe removal of the explosive remnants of war (ERWs), has issued a report on the ongoing threat to the public posed by mines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnances. The report states that Nagorno-Karabakh has one of the world’s highest per capita rates of accidents caused by such devices, with minefields covering more than 50km² of land. A particular feature was the extensive use of antitank mines, which were used on roads, tracks and on verges, causing many accidents and deaths during the past two decades. These were also used in the fertile valleys of NagornoKarabakh. In addition to the minefields, more than 180km² of land was contaminated with unexploded ordnances (UXO), principally cluster munitions.
Since 2000, HALO has been the sole organisation in Nagorno-Karabakh undertaking the clearance of mines and cluster munitions, together with the disposal of UXOs. Additionally, HALO has established a Mine Action Centre (MAC) to collate all information concerning mines, ERWs and safe routes, going on to disseminate this information. To date, HALO has cleared an area covering more than 270 km², during which over 67,000 landmines, cluster munitions and other ERWs were destroyed. In 2012, $12.5m (£8m) was spent on clearing mines and UXOs in Azerbaijan, according to the Azerbaijani National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), $10.4m (£6.6m) of which was allocated by the Azerbaijani government, with $300,000 (£191,253) being supplied from the UNDP and $784,733 (£500,274) coming from the NATO/Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund.
PACE discussion Strasbourg
A trilateral meeting has taken place in Strasbourg between Jean-Claude Mignon, President, Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACE); David Harutyunyan, Head, Armenian Delegation to PACE; and Samed Seyidov, his Azerbaijani counterpart. Harutyunyan declined to answer questions on the dialogue that had taken place, saying: “We do not release information about such meetings: as agreed, any information we release should be co-ordinated with the three sides.” Mignon explained that such trilateral meetings regularly take place in Strasbourg or Paris, and that the previous meeting was held in Turin. He said that such meetings remain unofficial and are not public, commenting: “I do not want to restore the activities of the Subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh for the reason that the OSCE Minsk Group does a very important job in conflict settlement.” The ad hoc PACE Subcommittee had briefly resumed its operations under Mevlut Cavusoglu, former PACE President.
ECO countries urged to exert greater pressure on Armenia
Cemil Cicek, Speaker, Turkish Parliament, has urged member countries of the Economic Co-operation Organisation (ECO) to protest against the ongoing occupation of Azerbaijani territories. The comments were made in Islamabad at a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of ECO (PAECO). The meeting was attended by speakers from the parliaments of Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, together with MPs from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
TEAS Business Forum comes to Paris
Following two successful events in London in 2011–12, the next TEAS Business Forum will take place in Paris on 14 March. Entitled Azerbaijan – Locomotive of the Caucasus, this will be held at the Hôtel de l’Industrie – Siège de la Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, 4 Place Saint Germain des Prés, 75006, Paris. The conference has been organised with the participation of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in collaboration with The Azerbaijani Embassy in France and the France-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce. Topics will include energy technology, water and sanitation, agribusiness, telecommunications and aerospace, and large-scale infrastructure projects. The forum will also serve to outline the investment and business potential of Azerbaijan; highlight existing projects in the country, providing the latest information; indicate unexploited economic sectors; and act as a platform for representatives of business and governments to deliver key messages to potential investors and partners. To find Elshad Nassirov revealed that the Shah Deniz PSA would be extended for five years
extend the production-sharing agreement (PSA) behind the Shah Deniz gas project for an extra five years.
demonstrating TAP’s relatively advanced position, when compared to alternative pipeline routes.”
Shah Deniz remains Azerbaijan’s most extensive gas field, and is one of the largest in the world. It began producing gas in 2006, and has an annual production capacity of 8bn m 3 (bcm). Its second phase will start to produce in 2018, resulting in another 16bcm in annual output. Nassirov said: “We have agreed to extend the Shah Deniz PSA from 2031–36, and the Shah Deniz Consortium will now proceed with Phase II, which will come on-stream by 2018.” He also said that talks regarding an extension to the Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli (ACG) field production-sharing agreement beyond 2024 were continuing. He added: “There is a green light for building the pipeline for Shah Deniz II.” In mid-2013, the Shah Deniz Consortium will decide if the gas from Shah Deniz II and Central Asia will be transported via the proposed Nabucco West pipeline into Austria or the rival Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) into Italy.
According to the company’s website, TAP will potentially incorporate an option to develop natural gas storage facilities in Albania to provide additional supply security during the inevitable operational interruption of gas deliveries. In the meantime, the Azerbaijani media quoted Reinhard Mitschek, Chief Executive, Nabucco, as saying that he expected Nabucco Gas Pipeline International to eventually form a joint venture, comprising nine or ten shareholders. He said that the equity option in Shah Deniz II is currently being executed by four partners – SOCAR, BP, Statoil and Total – and they will join the project. He mentioned that Germany’s RWE will leave the project in the near future.
TAP offers half its shares to the Shah Deniz Consortium
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Industry and
The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) group has agreed to offer up to half its shares to the Shah Deniz Consortium. The deal follows the rival Nabucco pipeline’s recent decision to give the Consortium the chance to acquire half of its shares. In a statement, TAP and its shareholders – Axpo, Statoil and E.ON – said that they have concluded a shareholder agreement with three members of the Shah Deniz Consortium, in which BP and Norway’s Statoil currently hold 25.5 per cent stakes. The other shareholders include SOCAR and Total.
NEWS IN BRIEF $7bn boost for renewable energy by 2020 Energy has revealed plans to increase renewable energy capacity in the country, aimed at generating around 20 per cent of total power demand by 2020, following the investment of $7bn (£4.5bn). Ramiz Rzayev, Department Head, Azerbaijani Ministry of Industry and Energy, explained that
already initiated a strategy that, after eight years, would produce 2,000MW, for which the majority of funds will come from private investors. Azerbaijan has spent about $90m (£57.4m) on pilot renewable energy projects during the past four years.
Azerbaijani–Swiss energy cooperation on the agenda Natig of
Steinmann, Director, Swiss Federal Office
The shareholder agreement will come into effect once the partners decide to exercise their options to join the TAP Joint Venture, taking a combined stake in the pipeline of up to 50 per cent.
of Energy, during a visit to Baku. During the meeting, they explored ways of increasing energy co-operation. Mr Steinmann went on to praise Azerbaijan’s role in ensuring the future of European energy security, and they discussed development of the
out more, go to teasbusinessforum@teas. eu.
Shah Deniz PSA extended to 2036
Speaking to Reuters during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Elshad Nassirov, Vice-President, State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) announced that Azerbaijan is to
Kjetil Tungland, Managing Director, TAP, said he was pleased that members of the Shah Deniz Consortium, TAP, and its shareholders were able to agree on the principles of a future joint venture. He explained: “Having SOCAR, BP and Total entering the TAP Joint Venture will considerably strengthen the shareholder constellation of our pipeline project, and I look forward to this becoming a reality in the future. The TAP shareholder agreement is yet another important milestone,
Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA), currently under construction, which
Non-oil investments increase by 18 per cent during 2012 According Statistics the
cent during 2012, with non-oil sector investments developing by 18.3 per cent.
Business Shahmar Movsumov, seen speaking at the TEAS Business Forum 2012, has revealed SOFAZ’ plans to diversify its investments
SOFAZ invests in gold and Asian real estate SOFAZ has revealed plans to double its gold holdings this year to 30 metric tonnes and invest in real estate in Asian capitals as part of its programme of diversification. Speaking to AzTV, Shahmar Movsumov, Executive Director, SOFAZ, announced plans to spend $1.5bn (£956m) on purchasing 30 tonnes of gold during 2012– 13. In addition to acquiring properties in London, Paris and Moscow last year, Movsumov outlined plans to focus on real estate in Asian capitals during 2013. He said: “SOFAZ experts visited Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia to explore the markets last year. We plan to visit China and Australia this year.” SOFAZ was established in 1999 to manage Azerbaijani hydrocarbon revenues. Its coffers expanded by 2 per cent last year, reaching almost $700m (£446.2m).
World Bank gives its verdict on Azerbaijani growth
The World Bank has published a new report on the Azerbaijani economy, entitled Azerbaijan: Inclusive Growth in a Resource-Rich Country, written by Harun Onder, which is readable online at http:// bit.ly/worldbankaz. The report states that Azerbaijan experienced a ‘golden age’ during the last decade, when average growth reached record high levels and poverty significantly decreased. The economy grew by an average of 15.3 per cent per annum in real terms, and poverty declined from 49.6 to 15.8 per cent from 2001–08. The report investigates the sources of growth in Azerbaijan, focusing on sectoral composition and structural transformation, and outlines how oilfinanced social transfers and real wage growth, made possible by oil revenues, has served to reduce poverty. However, the author acknowledges that structural transformation towards achieving economic diversification and balanced growth has stalled. He also claims that recent growth has not been conducive to www.teas.eu
employment creation. It recommends a greater level of economic diversification and improvement in the labour market. This study goes on to identify areas where policy adjustments could result in further inclusive growth of the non-oil economy, including the promotion of greater economic integration into world markets, and the initiation of long-term systematic policies that smooth the domestic absorption of oil revenues, removing skills mismatches and distortionary tax incentives, and improving institutional aspects of the business environment.
Azerbaijan approves law on TANAP agreement with Turkey The Azerbaijani government has ratified a law regarding the agreement with Turkey in relation to the proposed construction of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline Project (TANAP). The Presidential website stated that the two sides had signed the legal protocols required to approve agreement on the project, which will carry Caspian Sea gas across Turkey to Europe, previously endorsed during a meeting in Istanbul on 26 June. It is expected that TANAP will be commissioned during 2018, carrying 16bn m 3 (bcm) of gas per annum from the Shah Deniz 2 field, 6bcm of which will be supplied to Turkey, with 10bcm going to Europe. It is anticipated the capacity of TANAP will reach 31bcm per year by 2026. It is estimated that TANAP construction will require $7–10bn (£4.5–6.4bn) of investments.
placed along irrigation canals, rivers with unregulated flow and water reservoirs. In particular, these will be used to supply electricity to factories, communities located far from power transmission lines and to electricity substations in the national grid.
Indian OVL to purchase Azerbaijani assets
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the International Petroleum Company of India, is to acquire the US-based Hess Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in upstream and midstream Azerbaijani oil and gas assets. In September, OVL announced the ratification of definitive agreements for acquiring Hess Corporation’s 2.7 per cent participating interest in the Azeri–Chirag– Guneshli (ACG) oil fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea and 2.4 per cent interest in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline (BTC) for $1bn (£637.4m). An official statement by the Indian Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) stated that it: “Authorised OVL to incur expenses so as to keep the total exposure up to the approved amount of $1bn at all times.” This acquisition will mark OVL’s entry into Azerbaijan. The statement said: “Acquiring a stake in the strategic BTC pipeline will provide OVL with the opportunity to enhance its portfolio around the region and transport crude oil from assets that the company may acquire in the Caspian Sea in the future.”
Japanese–Azerbaijani ICT Forum to be held Over 60 small in late February hydropower plants to Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and Information Technologies (ICT) met Shusuke Vatanabe, be constructed The Azerbaijani State Company for Alternative and Renewable Energy is claiming that the power of Azerbaijan’s rivers will be harnessed to generate up to 5bn kWh of electricity in the near future. The source stated that preliminary assessments indicated that the hydropower potential of rivers in Azerbaijan is 40bn kWh, of which it would be feasible to capture 16bn kWh. A spokesperson stated: “The construction of hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) will play an integral role in addressing issues such as flood control, clean electricity production and the construction of new irrigation systems.” The company will construct 60 small HPPs in the near future, and these will be
Japanese Ambassador to Azerbaijan, and noted the continuing development of Azerbaijani–Japanese relations. The year 2013 has been declared at the Year of ICT in Azerbaijan, and Ambassador Vatanabe acknowledged that this provides unprecedented opportunities for ICT development, with the launch of Azerbaijan’s first communications satellite, Azerspace-1, being of primary importance. He explained that the Japanese state and private sectors, including nearly 40 private companies, would attend the forthcoming ICT forum. Abbasov underlined that Japanese experience in the technology sphere remains significant for Azerbaijan, and that knowledge transfer is of great importance.
Personalities – Fidan Hajiyeva Fidan is interviewed by Lucy Duran, Presenter, BBC Radio 3 World Routes Programme
Fidan Hajiyeva – putting Azerbaijan on the World Routes map in 2013
Living in Enfield, North London, 17-year-old Fidan Hajiyeva is the daughter of Neman Hajiyev, previously a nagara drummer and now a sound recording expert. Fidan was recently selected by the producers of the BBC Radio 3 World Routes programme for tuition under the World Routes Academy scheme, being the youngest participant in the initiative, to date. This pairs a leading musician in a traditional discipline with a young UK-based musician, who is focusing on the same musical genre. During 2013, Fidan will study mugham under the tutelage of Gochag Askarov, the leading Azerbaijani mugham singer, which will include frequent visits to Azerbaijan. Singer P.J. Harvey announced her selection as this year’s protégé on 25 January during a concert at the BBC Radio Theatre, attended by audience of around 300 people, which was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Following the concert, Fidan visited the TEAS offices to discuss what the year holds in store: Your grandmother was a mugham singer. Did she have any influence on you? My grandmother was born in Ahjebedi, Nagorno-Karabakh, which was the cultural hub of Azerbaijan. However, my grandmother still lives in Azerbaijan, so she had negligible impact. The person who had most effect on me was Neman, my father. He was always playing mugham recordings in the house, exposing me to the music, particularly playing the songs of Alim and Fergana Qasimov. Was your father a musician? Actually, he was a musician around 25 years ago and played the nagara drum and other instruments, but stopped performing when he relocated to Russia. However, we still have plenty of Azerbaijani national instruments in our house. Neman plays at family gatherings, and has tried to pass his appreciation of Azerbaijani music to his children.
Did your exposure to mugham recordings result in your decision to sing mugham? Yes, it did, but I still listened to Western pop music a great deal whilst growing up in the UK. When I heard mugham for the first time, I released what had been missing. Mugham made me feel extremely emotional, as most mughams are about Nagorno-Karabakh. This had an impact on me, and I realised that I needed to listen to more music that came from my own culture. Mugham is so intense and emotional, and I get goosebumps when I hear the poetic, dramatic, lyrics and performances. The mugham singers are trying to tell us a story from the past. Have you previously studied mugham? Not at all – this is the first time that I have studied the music. My performance at the BBC Radio Theatre was the first time that I had properly performed in public, and I had to be pushed on the stage, as I was so nervous. Gochag has been teaching me via Skype since October, when he first came to know that I was the protégé. On the day of the concert, I was taught the mugham parts for my solo song and the duet that we performed together. Gochag was surprised that I picked up the mugham style so swiftly. How did you come to the attention of the producers of the BBC Radio 3 World Routes programme? Lucy Duran, the main presenter for World Routes and lecturer in African Music at the School for African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) has known Gochag for some years, since they recorded two programmes in Azerbaijan. She had been involved in organising his appearance at the World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Lucy approached Gochag, who knows my father, with the idea of finding a protégé who was resident in London who could sing in the Azerbaijani language. In turn, Gochag approached my father, and he explained that I had already developed some mastery of mugham. I sang for both Gochag and Lucy at home in Enfield, and they were both very appreciative. This represented the very first time that I had performed with a mugham ensemble.
with my father. I then heard his recordings and realised what an excellent singer he is. What do you personally hope to gain from the year of study with Gochag? More than anything, I hope to gain some experience of performing. This is a great opportunity for me – it provides a wide range of options. It could enable me to continue with mugham singing and become a professional musician. I will be visiting Azerbaijan for a fortnight in April and a week in May. I believe I will be receiving some mugham lessons along with other students at the International Mugham Centre in Baku. What coverage will you receive from the BBC World Routes programme during 2013? To my knowledge, I will regularly appear on the radio programmes and also appear at the WOMAD Festival. Last year, I saw Nazaket Teymurova perform, but the audience will be watching me this year on the BBC Radio 3 stage. Do you aim to be a professional singer in due course? I am currently studying business, so it would initially appear that I am heading towards a career outside of music. However, I would love to become a professional musician, despite the fact that I become so nervous before a concert. I know that I could become professional if I continue studying. I will see how the year progresses, and whether my nervousness reduces and performance technique develops. As a young Azerbaijani who has grown up outside of Azerbaijan, what does mugham mean to you? It certainly represents home to me, as my family originates in Nagorno-Karabakh. As I grew up here, many people think that I know little about my country’s music and culture. They are often surprised by my enthusiasm for Azerbaijani music. Many of my friends, who come from a variety of backgrounds, know little about the music of their culture. It is important to know, appreciate and understand this music. I have heard other forms of Azerbaijani folk and ashiq music, but my preferred form remains mugham. Fidan’s natural talent is admired by Gochag Askarov, her mentor
Had you previously met Gochag? I only knew about him through his friendship
Personalities – Niyaz Najafov Niyaz stands in the shadow of Enemas (Clinical Death), one of his paintings
What prompted you to transfer from being a soldier to becoming an artist nine years ago? In fact, I have been a soldier and I am still a soldier, and it is my desire to remain so for the rest of my life. I have just changed the battleground. Did you receive formal artistic training? In my opinion, there is no such thing as formal training. I believe that my training will never end.
Niyaz Najafov – Enfant terrible of Azerbaijani contemporary art
Born in Baku in 1968, Najafov initially trained as a soldier and only began to paint in 2004. Just five years later, his work was selected for the Azerbaijan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Most recently, some of his paintings were included in the Fly to Baku exhibition at the Phillips de Pury Gallery, London, and there was a solo exhibition of his paintings in Paris. Altogether, 27 exhibitions have featured his work, including the London Art Fair in 2011, Cairo International Biennale in 2010, and the Azerbaijani Pavilion at the Basel Art Fair in 2009. Dancing on Bones comprises a new selection of oil paintings that emphasise his distinctive and dark style. Populated by mysterious, violent figures, his challenging works reflect the disturbing and humorous elements of the human condition. Throughout, Najafov is able to transform scenes from contemporary existence into disturbing depictions of underlying emotion. The unflinching gaze of Najafov lifts the lid on the most intimate moments of his subjects’ lives, making the viewer feel both fascinated and uneasy. Although his works can feature sinister subject matter, they reflect a spectrum of emotion. Najafov takes a prime position amidst a generation of artists who have found support on the Azerbaijani contemporary art scene. TEAS caught up with Najafov at home in Paris to find out more on his work and artistic motivation.
All the figures in the Dancing on Bones exhibition appear to be crippled and there is a latent sense of violence. Is it true that you are aiming to represent sports injuries? The injured characters in my paintings remain smiling, and continue behaving in an altruistic manner. They are all optimists, and so am I. Why is red the predominant colour in your paintings? Semaphores also have a red light. The use of red is a signifier; a stop sign representing danger. Has the violence of combat affected your work? The aggression in everyday life is more severe than in any battle.
What are your thoughts on the work of the UK’s best-known contemporary artists, who are also active in conceptual art, such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin? I have seen some of their work around Europe. I like the work of Damien Hirst very much, but fail to understand that of Tracey Emin. Were you pleased by the reaction to the opening of the Dancing on Bones exhibition? I always enjoy witnessing the reaction of the audience to my paintings. Bodies, another unique and upsetting vision from Niyaz
(Photos; Gazelli Art House)
The first solo exhibition in the UK by the Paris-based Azerbaijani artist Niyaz Najafov opened on 17 January at the Gazelli Art House, 39 Dover Street, London W1S 4NN, attended by around 150 people. The Founder and Director of Gazelli is the Azerbaijani Mila Askarova. Najafov is currently at the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Azerbaijan, and his expressive oil paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in shown in fairs and exhibitions across the world, resulting in a fast-growing international reputation.
What led you to live and work in Paris? I came here as a result of a struggle. I fought to come here, and achieved my objective.
Telephones (Anticipation) undeniably encapsulates the angst of modern technology
Do you aim to represent suffering in your depiction of body parts? Sometimes it does, but on other occasions it is more symbolic. Did the discipline that you learned during your military career have any impact on the creative process? Not at all – I do not have any specific creative process. I just have the urge to create, and start working.
Niyaz’ sense of humour in omnipresent in his work, such as Les Mouches
The pictures entitled Telephones (Anticipation) and On a Chair appear to focus on different themes to the remainder of your works in the exhibition. Was this the case? In fact, this is not the case. The concepts are mixed, as is the case in all the other paintings. When you are painting, to what extent do you take the viewer’s reaction into account? Of course, the opinion of the audience is very important to me, but I do not feel the need to take this into account when I am painting. Put simply, I believe that there is no-one to reckon with.
The Dancing on Bones exhibition continues until 7 March. For opening times and more information, go to www. gazelliarthouse.com. February 2013