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Also in this issue: Armenians assault Azerbaijanis in the French National Assembly Azerbaijani doctors to undertake first bone marrow transplants French public experience Azerbaijan Through the Lens Salakhov’s portrait of Shostakovich on sale at Sotheby’s Christopher Pincher MP explains the relevance of Nagorno-Karabakh resolution to Europe

03 / 2013 March 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

Forthcoming Azerbaijani event

For full details of all TEAS events, go to 18 March Novruz Celebration Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX 19.00hrs. Free admission. To celebrate Novruz, a reception will be held for the Young Azerbaijani Artists exhibition, showcasing some of the latest artworks to come out of Baku. The evening will also feature dancing, music, poetry and food and drink. The event is organised by The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UK, TEAS, the Dirchelish Youth Centre (Baku) and Azerbaijan House Culture and Friendship Centre. Please RSVP to

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

Latest Members


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:

Media Partner printed by

Please see website for more members March 2013

Politics and News Lionel Zetter has recently been appointed as TEAS Director

Lionel Zetter appointed as new TEAS Director TEAS has announced the appointment of Lionel Zetter as its new Director. He will work out of the London office, which is the headquarters of TEAS, and co-ordinate activities across Europe.

Zetter was formerly President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and a Senior Counsel at APCO Worldwide. He has published books on lobbying, political campaigning and the Conservative Party, and he has won numerous awards for his work in the field of political communication. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and of the Royal Society for the Arts, and a member of the National Union of Journalists. For over four years, Lionel Zetter has been associated with TEAS as its Public Affairs Advisor. During that time, he has visited Azerbaijan on numerous occasions, and escorted groups of politicians around the country, introducing them to many of its leading business, political and cultural figures. On his appointment, Lionel Zetter said: “It is a great honour to be entrusted with the task of directing the activities of TEAS throughout Europe. Azerbaijan has a good story to tell in terms of its western stance, rich cultural heritage, and long tradition of religious tolerance. The country’s substantial oil and gas reserves provide the resources to invest in education, infrastructure and other industries, such as tourism, financial services and ICT. This, in turn, provides opportunities for Western European countries to invest in Azerbaijan, forging strong trading links. “However, Azerbaijan also has huge challenges. First amongst these is the ongoing conflict with Armenia, and the illegal military occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions. This, in turn, has imposed the burden of having to look after 875,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country. I look forward to the opportunity of highlighting those positives, and to trying to help to resolve the long-running issues faced by Azerbaijan and the entire region.”

Rathmer’s stark images of Khojaly IDPs displayed on UK railway billboards

Philipp Rathmer, leading German photographer, is probably best-known for his fashion and celebrity photographs of such people as Luciano Pavarotti, Jay-Z and Sophia Loren. However, a different side to his work is currently on display on billboards at railway stations across England and Wales, in a TEAS initiative. These feature two IDPs from the town of Khojaly in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. On the night of 26 February 1992, Armenian forces, supported by the No. 366 Soviet Infantry Regiment, killed 613 civilians as they tried to escape the town. During July 2012, Philipp spent one week photographing IDPs and refugees in camps in the Azerbaijani towns of Takhtakorpu and Gunzali, near the Armenian border, and Darnagul and Gizilgum, located north of Baku, for a TEAS initiative entitled Five Roads Back Home. Throughout, he represented the suffering of these people by focusing on their faces in extreme close-up, against a black background, lit in indirect sunlight, emphasising their private tragedies through their facial expressions. Altogether, 50 of these photographs were later displayed at Epicentro, Berlin in October, and were also published in a catalogue (see TEAS Magazine November 2012, pp.6–7). Nazrin Khanlarova, aged 10, and Mahira Ibrahimova, aged 48, were both photographed in the Gizilgum IDP camp. Philipp remembered: “Mahira looked very sad – she had lost many family members due to the war, including her father and only brother, who were taken as prisoners of war. Their health deteriorated, and they died soon afterwards. By comparison, Nazrin, the little girl, was quite open and strong. She has never been to Khojaly, but heard about it from her parents. I photographed 160 IDPs and refugees altogether, capturing the different age groups represented in the camps. All the IDPs told their own stories. There were many massacres during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions, and each of them told me about their hometowns and their experiences as their land was occupied.” The posters urged UK citizens and residents to sign a petition to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, asking him to publicly condemn the massacre and the ongoing occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions, which flout four UN Security Council resolutions. This may be signed at petitions/45878.


Liberal MEP urges the EU to upscale peace efforts

Whilst hosting an event to commemorate the Khojaly Massacre in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE, Estonia) said: “The EU has a historic opportunity to become more involved in seeking peaceful resolution of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. For more than two decades, Azerbaijan has suffered from an illegal occupation of its territory by Armenia and has had to accommodate 875,000 IDPs and refugees. The massacre in Khojaly was a terrible milestone in the conflict, which showed the kinds of atrocities to which such conflicts can lead. The EU should demonstrate that it deserves its Nobel Peace Prize by acting immediately to seek a peaceful end to this conflict.” The EP roundtable was organised by TEAS Belgium to mark the 21st anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre. H.E. Fuad Isgandarov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Belgium and the EU stated: “The events that occurred in 1992 remain an unrecognised atrocity, and those responsible have to be brought to justice. At the same time, after more then two decades, the EU has to fully recognise what took place.” Bruno De Cordier, Professor of Ghent University, commented: “Khojaly is the Azerbaijani equivalent of Srebrenica. It continues to live in the memory of Azerbaijanis as no other issue does. This crime against humanity is currently the strongest civil issue, and has become an inescapable element of Azerbaijani life.” Since then, a whole generation of young people have grown up who have never seen their homeland, after their families were forced to flee Nagorno-Karabakh. Speaking at the Brussels roundtable, one of them, Ulfat Hajiev, told MEPs, academics and fellow Azerbaijanis: “The lives of 613 people should not be forgotten. I am from Nagorno-Karabakh and belong to a generation that has since grown up, but still faces the sadness of conflict. It is very important that we never forget what happened at Khojaly, and remember why it matters.” Philippe Cuylaerts, Public Affairs Manager, TEAS Belgium, commented: “Today’s discussion reminds us of a terrible tragedy, but at the same time it can serve as a lesson. It should teach us that dreadful things can happen when conflicts remain unresolved, and should act as a catalyst for Europe to do more to seek a peaceful and sustainable settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, respecting the international legal framework.” March 2013


Politics and News Christopher Pincher MP, speaking at the London Khojaly Commemoration Concert, is a staunch proponent of the Azerbaijani perspective in the UK Parliament

British MP acknowledges Azerbaijan’s geopolitical significance

Christopher Pincher MP, Chair, Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, has written an article for Parliamentary Brief, the UK-based political magazine. In the article, he commented that Azerbaijan is a crossroads between Europe and Asia, and is developing into a crucial supply and transit country for energy. Pincher writes: “Some observers may ask the question, ‘why does Azerbaijan matter?’ Concerning its simmering conflict with Armenia, they may borrow from Neville Chamberlain by saying it is ‘a quarrel in a far- away country between people of whom we know nothing.’ I think such attitudes are short-sighted. They fail to recognise the interconnected world of economics and geopolitics in which – like it or not – we now live.” He goes on to state that the Caspian and Middle East region are estimated to contain in excess of 88tn m 3 (tcm) of gas reserves, dwarfing Russia’s reported estimates of 43tcm, acknowledging: “And since the Shah Deniz natural gas field was turned on in 2007, Azerbaijan has become a gas exporter, shipping increasing amounts of natural gas via Turkey to Europe. Indeed, Azerbaijan supplies gas to the EU through the only current gas pipeline that avoids Russian territory.” Pincher particularly emphasises the importance of energy security, saying: “The historic lack of competition and necessary transport and transmission infrastructure westward has inhibited the development of a secure energy landscape to the heart of the EU. Most of our own gas supply comes from Norway, but we are increasingly energy-dependent on foreign imports, which could rise from 30 per cent now to 70 per cent by 2020. So we are not immune from the negative consequences of a continental energy crisis. Whereas a decade ago we were an energy exporter, we now face a clear and present challenge in securing reliable energy supplies for the future, particularly of natural gas. And our March 2013

biggest market place – Europe – faces an even greater challenge.” “As Azerbaijan’s largest foreign investor, the UK is in pole position to help develop these abundant resources, develop its potential in other sectors, especially telecommunications and banking, support its booming construction industry, and promote relations with this small, but strategically positioned state.” “The country is changing. Cash from the hydrocarbon bonanza is funding massive infrastructure investment. Roads, telecommunications, water and power supplies are linking cities and towns together. A nascent leisure industry, including a new winter sports airport at Gabala and luxury hotels, is beginning to attract foreign tourists. Ministers, MPs and Peers should work together to encourage the authorities in Baku to continue to look West. Sandwiched between the power players of Russia to the North, and Iran to the South, and with Nagorno-Karabakh as a bruise that just will not fade, there remains the possibility that Azerbaijan might choose a different route. And that would be a mistake for all.”

This new book showcases Baku’s early economic success during the first oil boom

personal collection of editor Nicolas Iljine, who has developed a passion for discovering and sharing these impressions of an antiquated city with the public. To order, go to

Azerspace–1 to broadcast Azerbaijani television channels

Following the launch on 7 February of Azerspace–1, the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite, it has been revealed that Azerbaijani television channels will be beamed from the satellite from April. Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and Information Technologies (ICT), explained that, from 1 March, Azerkosmos OJSC has controlled the satellite. On 15 February, the solar arrays of the satellite were opened, and the reflectors became operational. The satellite will be controlled by the specialists of Azerkosmos from the Main Home Ground Satellite Control Centre, located near Baku. The Alternative Ground Satellite Control Centre is situated in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Abbasov has also revealed that Azerspace–1 will be used to ensure the safety of such projects as the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) and other pipelines. Previously, the Turkish satellite, Turksat, has been used for this purpose. Azerspace–1 will be used for surveillance over all existing Azerbaijani oil and gas pipelines.

NEWS IN BRIEF A minute’s silence for Khojaly

Memories of Baku’s early opulence

The new book Memories of Baku (publisher: Marquand Books) by Fuad Ahkundov, Farid Alakbarli, Professor Tadeusz Swietochowski and Jahangir Selimkhanov provides a visual retelling of the Azerbaijani capital’s rich history, and the country’s rise to power as one of the world’s largest oil-producing nations. This showcases the unique socio-economic and political situation of Baku in the late 19th–early 20th centuries, presented alongside aspects of Bakuvian culture, including music, theatre and the visual arts. Embellished with photographs, advertisements and postcards depicting the glories of the city, Memories of Baku reaches beyond the classical stereotypes of Azerbaijan and the city as ‘The Land of Fire’. Many of the postcards included in this collection are derived from the

On 26 February at 17:00hrs, local time, Azerbaijan memory

honoured of






victims with a moment of silence. At this time, the movement of vehicles on the streets and underground trains was suspended. were


Commemorative across





thousands of people in Baku visited the memorial to the victims in Khatai District.

Sheffield Azerbaijan Society holds Khojaly Commemoration The (SAS)

Sheffield organised

Azerbaijan a



event regarding the Khojaly Massacre, supported by TEAS. Its objective was to raise awareness of this tragedy amongst Azerbaijani




500 students were informed about the massacre, some of whom participated in a video, where they indicated their support for the Justice for Khojaly campaign.

Politics and News Eliza Pieter, Head, TEAS France, introduces the three winning photographers, including Asim Talib, first place winner (centre)

France embraces Azerbaijan Through the Lens On 6 March, more than 150 people attended the opening of a stunning new photography exhibition at the Espace Beaurepaire, located in the tenth arrondissement of Paris. This exhibition, organised by TEAS, showcased 100 photographs of contemporary Azerbaijani people, culture, landscapes and architecture.

Originally presented in London in November 2012, these photographs were selected from around 750 submissions entered for a TEASrun competition, received from photographers based in Azerbaijan and across the world. The exhibition succeeded in capturing the very essence of this fascinating country, which sits on the Caspian Sea. All of those who attended were entranced by the views of this country and the remarkable quality of the images. In her introduction, Eliza Pieter, Head, TEAS France, said: “This competition reached out to both amateur and professional photographers. It provided an opportunity to present the many diverse aspects of Azerbaijan, in terms of architecture, portraits, nature and elements of culture. I hope that this exhibition will encourage those who have never visited Azerbaijan to travel there, and those who have been to the country to return and see its new face.” Renowned royal photographer Henry Dallal, who sat on the judging panel and also was present in Paris, said: “I was very honoured to be asked by TEAS to help judge the competition and to attend the exhibition when it was first shown in London. The other judge was Caroline Metcalfe, Photographic Director, Condé Nast Traveller magazine, who knows a great deal about how to present a country photographically. I have been to Azerbaijan several times, and these images certainly represent the variety of the nation. Even Azerbaijanis often do not take time to travel outside their home region and explore their own country. I believe these remarkable photographs provide an inspiration to experience more of the beauty of Azerbaijan.”

At the London opening of the exhibition, the three winning entries were revealed, and these photographers attended the Paris opening. The winner was Asim Talib for his delightful photograph Old Men, taken in 1985 in Kelbajar, Karabakh (currently occupied by Armenia). Second prize was taken by an amazing representation of the ceiling of the Bibi Heybat Mosque by Etibar Jafarov. Originally constructed in the 13th Century, and visited by Alexandre Dumas in the 1840s, this was blown up by the Bolsheviks in 1936. Following the regaining of Azerbaijani independence, the reconstructed mosque was reopened in 1997. Asim Talib commented: “I took the winning photograph nearly 30 years ago. If you add the ages of the people in the photo when it was taken, this would equal more than 500 years. I recall that the elderly men in the photograph were discussing their anecdotes of childhood and the lady was joining in the laughter.” Fuad Babayev took the photograph that received the third prize – The Flames and the Needle. This focused on the Flame Towers, a new icon of Baku, juxtaposed against the telecom tower. A keen amateur photographer, Fuad has embraced social media and currently has more than 10,000 followers on Google+. The exhibition closed on 17 March.

Azerbaijani doctors to undertake inaugural bone marrow transplants

Elsever Agayev, Azerbaijani Deputy Health Minister, has revealed that Azerbaijan is to witness its first bone marrow transplantation (BMT) surgeries. Contained inside bones, the marrow is a spongy tissue containing stem cells that generate blood cells, fight infection, and carry oxygen to and remove waste products from organs. BMT is a relatively new medical procedure used to treat diseases once thought incurable, and can be used to treat patients suffering with leukaemia; aplastic anaemia; lymphomas, such as Hodgkin’s disease; multiple myeloma; immune deficiency disorders; and some solid tumours, such as breast and ovarian cancer.


Agayev stated that preparations are currently being undertaken in the Thalassaemia Centre regarding BMT surgeries. Musa Guliyev, Member, Social Policy Committee, Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament) said that additional legislation needs to be developed regarding organ donation. According to the existing transplantation law, the usage of organs and tissues is permitted if a person grants written permission for donation after death, or by agreement with the next of kin or legal representatives. Guliyev stated that Azerbaijan is also to establish a commission for brain death confirmation, and special facilities will be constructed to enable organ extraction and storage. He went on to explain that currently no donor banks exist in Azerbaijan, but there are no legal hurdles impeding their development. Azerbaijani legislation on human organs and tissue transplantation allows persons over 18 years old with a health certificate to become a donor. The sale of transplantation organs and tissue is banned in Azerbaijan.

Lithuanian minister to discuss Azerbaijani EU integration Linas Linkevicus, Lithuanian Foreign Minister, visited Azerbaijan as part of his regional visit to the South Caucasus on 5–6 March. According to the news service for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, Linkevicus discussed bilateral relations with Lithuania, the co-operation between South Caucasus countries and the EU, and the plans and priorities of the forthcoming EU Lithuanian Chairmanship during the second half of this year. Vilnius is to host the Eastern Partnership in November, which will involve representatives of all three South Caucasus countries who are actively co-operating with the EU in the Eastern Partnership programme.


TEAS experts speak in Finland

TEAS experts have delivered a series of presentations




conflict for Master’s degree students in the Aleksanteri




specialising in history, economy, translation and other disciplines. Initially, Ian Peart, Editor, Visions of Azerbaijan welcomed the guests and provided an introduction to Azerbaijan and the roots of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. He was followed by Professor Karim Shukurov, Head, Azerbaijani Studies Scientific Research Centre, TEAS, who gave an in-depth historical perspective on the current situation. The event concluded with a lively question-and-answer session.

March 2013


Culture Violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva performs an impassioned solo at the London concert

TEAS-commissioned piece Khojaly 613 moves audiences in Paris and London

An audience of more than 500 people, including Lords, MPs, diplomats and music-lovers, attended the Khojaly Commemoration Concert on 26 February at St. John’s, Smith Square, in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament. The concert was organised by TEAS in order to commemorate the 613 civilians killed 21 years to the day in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, Nagorno-Karabakh, when it was forcibly occupied by Armenian armed forces, supported by the No. 366 Soviet Infantry Regiment. The evening featured the Londonbased Orion Orchestra under the baton of the leading conductor and composer Laurent Petitgirard. The centrepiece of the evening was the UK première of a moving new piece, Khojaly 613, composed by Pierre Thilloy, dedicated to the victims of the Khojaly tragedy. The work was written for violin, balaban, percussion and string orchestra. Featured was the evocative sound of the balaban, an Azerbaijani wind instrument, performed by the internationally-acclaimed virtuoso Shirzad Fataliyev. The violinist was Sabina Rakcheyeva, the first Azerbaijani graduate from the Juilliard School in New York and Cultural Advisor, TEAS. This outstanding work ably captured the horror of the Khojaly Massacre, featuring Azerbaijani folk tunes, including Lachin and Sari Gelin, set against a rich orchestral backdrop of military march rhythms and the sounds of conflict. The violin and balaban – which has a plaintive quality, akin to the human voice – represented the soul of the Azerbaijani people that fateful night, with the violin solo section gradually reaching a furious tempo until coming to a sudden, unexpected halt. Writing about the piece, the composer said: “The Khojaly Massacre ranks amongst one of the most vivid and nightmarish visions in the collective memory of the Azerbaijani people, stemming from the dark, insidious NagornoKarabakh conflict that continues to harm an entire people. March 2013

“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.” H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, said: “The tragedy happened exactly 21 years ago today. At that time, the conflict between Azerbaijan and

“All those who died were someone’s husband, wife, daughter, or son. The Nagorno-Karabakh war has a continuing impact. The great English philosopher Edmund Burke said that: ‘Those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it.’ We must never repeat the horrors of 26 February 1992. It is the responsibility of those who seek greater friendship with Azerbaijan to remember this, to play their part in remembering the victims and ensuring that it never happens again.” The programme also included the Nizami Symphony by the Azerbaijani composer Fikret Amirov (1922–84), which was inspired by the work of the 12th century Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi. This piece demonstrated his synthesis of western classical techniques and glorious, passionate Azerbaijani mugham, known as ‘symphonic mugham’. It is generally acknowledged that mugham music originated in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which remains occupied by Armenia. This ongoing occupation has caused the camps housing 875,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to be spread across Azerbaijan. This emotional evening also included the angelic sound of the Schola Cantorum of the The emotive sound of the Azerbaijani balaban, as performed by Shirzad Fataliyev, gave a poignant dimension to Khojaly 613

Armenia was taking place, and we still remain at war, although a ceasefire was declared in 1994. The Khojaly Massacre was one of the blackest pages in the history of our nation. It is apt that this concert is taking place in a former church. Whether it is a church, mosque or temple, these are the houses of God. Human beings are the creatures of God, who gave us life, and only God has the right to take away life. Those people who took away the lives of these 613 people have never been brought to justice. International law forbids the killing of civilians, and this was a crime. Such terrible occurrences must never be repeated.” Tale Heydarov, Chairman, TEAS commented: “The UK has been through two world wars, which were the biggest in the history of mankind, and Europe lost millions of people. Today, we see a stable Europe. Those wars have taught people a big lesson. Those people who committed crimes were brought to justice. This was not the case with the perpetrators of the Khojaly Massacre, which was a planned offensive against civilians.” Christopher Pincher MP, Chair, Azerbaijan AllParty Parliamentary Group (APPG) continued:

Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School Choir, performing two pieces dedicated to Christ’s suffering on the Cross – Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Also on the programme was Sir Edward Elgar’s elegiac Introduction and Allegro for Strings, a multilayered symphonic poem, featuring polyphonic interwoven themes and a fragment of a Welsh traditional song. As an encore, the string orchestra performed a piece of meditative music by Laurent Petitgirard, written for a section of the film Ecrire contre l’oubli (Lest We Forget). Five days earlier, Khojaly 613 received its world premiere at the Baroque Église St-Roch in Paris, located in the first arrondissement. The programme was identical to the London concert, other than the choral works, which were not performed. Eliza Pieter, Head, TEAS France commented: “One has to forgive in order to be able to rebuild peace, but one should never forget. It is imperative to remember, without having the desire for revenge. This has been achieved by the people of France and Germany, in order to restore peace. Surely music is the best way of remembering the Khojaly victims?”

Culture ‘Severe style’ pioneer Tahir Salakhov’s 1987 portrait of Shostakovich is on sale for $500,000

Salakhov’s portrait of Shostakovich most expensive in Sotheby’s show

The new Sotheby’s exhibition At the Crossroads, which opened on 4 March, focuses on nearly 50 artists from Central Asia and the Caucasus, c§omprising a range of nonconformist, socialist realist, and contemporary artworks from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Joanna Vickery, Head, Russian Department, Sotheby’s, commented: “We wanted to portray a very broad range of the kind of art that was being produced throughout from the 1960s on in these countries. With the last 20 years since perestroika and glasnost, and the breakdown of the Soviet Union, we can see in all of these countries that there’s a sort of search for their own national identity in art, something which, of course, was eradicated in many ways by the Soviet Socialist Realist school.” One of the major works is by Azerbaijani painter Tahir Salakhov, whose 1987 portrait of composer Dmitry Shostakovich, sitting in profile against a severe, snowy background, is listed at $500,000 (£334,829), making it the most expensive painting in the exhibition. Vickery described Salakhov’s work as “very collectible” and “incredibly difficult to find.” She continued: “This piece is an amazing portrait of Shostakovich. The artist painted him a few times. It’s just a fantastic work and would appeal to our very traditional Russian collectors. And it’s very much priced taking that marketplace into account.” The work of younger artists, many still in the early years of their career – including Azerbaijani conceptual artist Mahmud Rustamov – are also showcased. For more information, go to

Transparency of Simplicity appropriates the commonplace The Transparency of Simplicity exhibition by photographer Sanan

Aleskerov, organised by the YARAT! Contemporar y Ar t Space, has taken place in the Yay Galler y in Baku. The exhibition comprises 25 colour photos, developed through a combination of ar tistic composition and technical exper tise. Throughout, Aleskerov pays attention to the elements of life that are unremarkable for ordinar y people, such as suddenly cast sunshine, shadows on a road, the branches of an old creaking tree, or a children’s neglected playground. All these serve to provoke new thoughts, connotations, and feelings. To find out more, go to www.yaygaller

The anguish of Käthe Kollwitz’ sculptures provided inspiration for reflection on the Khojaly Massacre

Khojaly remembered in Germany .

On 25 February, a literary evening entitled Karabakh – Tales from the Lost Home, took place at the Käthe-KollwitzMuseum, Berlin, held to commemorate the Khojaly Massacre. This was organised by the European Congress Azerbaijan, supported by the Diaspora Committee of Azerbaijan, and attended by around 150 people. In her welcoming remarks, Samira PatzerIsmailova, Chair, European Congress Azerbaijan, underlined the importance of developing a literary perspective on the events of 26 February 1992. She remarked that it was apt that the commemoration took place in the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, as that artist is still honoured in Germany, due to her courageous acts of pacifism during the interwar period. Mrs PatzerIsmailova expressed her deep gratitude for having been invited to remember the massacre in these surroundings. H.E. Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Germany, went on to outline the importance of the NagornoKarabakh region as the hub of Azerbaijani culture, the ongoing intransigence of Armenia, and the importance of ensuring Azerbaijani territorial integrity as the ultimate goal of Azerbaijan‘s foreign policy.


Mrs Fritsch, wife of the director for the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, explained that Käthe Kollwitz was affected throughout her life by the knowledge that she sent her child into combat in World War I, from which he never returned. She had previously been under the delusion that fighting in the war would be heroic, and Mrs Fritsch displayed photographs of Kollwitz’s monument to mourning parents. Professor Dr Fuhrmann criticised Armenia, saying that the murder of one child can never be justified, either by claims to the right for self-determination, nor any other reason. He explained that this represents a mockery of international law and every other human right. Professor Dr Furhrmann explained that the destruction of the city of Shusha was an act of unparalleled Armenian barbarism. He also condemned the planned reopening of Khojaly Airport. Following this, Ronald Granz read two short stories entitled The Father and Shusha, both of which deal with childhood memories of Nagorno-Karabakh, written by Günel Anarkysy who based the stories on her own memories of visiting the region during holiday periods. She explained that she still regards NagornoKarabakh as paradise, and looks forward to the day when she can return. The final discussion was led by Dr Michael Butz.

Khojaly Massacre art exhibition opens in Berlin

An exhibition entitled Khojaly – For Peace, Against War has opened at the Berlin-Baku-Galler y in Berlin. The exhibition showcased ar tworks by young ar tists from the Azerbaijan Ar tists’ Union, Azerbaijan State Painting Academy and Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Ar t, who had submitted ar tworks for a competition commemorating the tragedy. H.E. Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Ger many, spoke on the impact of the Khojaly Massacre and Nagor noKarabakh conflict. Attendees also viewed a shor t film about the massacre. Speakers included Ar t Temuchin Afandiyev, Principal, Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Salhab Mammadov, Pro-Rector, Azerbaijan State Painting Academy, who commented on the objectives of the competition. One of the ar tists, Ruhangiz Islamova, presented a carpet reflecting the tragedy to the Azerbaijani Embassy in Ger many. March 2013


Nagorno-Karabakh Mirvari Fataliyeva was cruelly beaten in the attack

Armenians assault Azerbaijanis in French Assembly

On 26 February, during a conference organised by the French Bureau of the Armenian Cause at the National Assembly in Paris entitled 25 Years after the Sumgait Pogroms, the Present Situation and Future Perspectives for the People of Nagorno-Karabakh, two Azerbaijanis were horrifically beaten up. Mirvari Fataliyeva, a French woman of Azerbaijani descent, and who is the President of the Maison de l’Azerbaïdjan in Paris, and Vusal Huseynov, a young Azerbaijani student, were assaulted when they tried to point out that 26 February is the 21st anniversary of the tragic events at Khojaly. None of the audience, including the MPs present, tried to help the two Azerbaijanis and prevent them from being attacked. TEAS strongly condemns all such acts of violence, and this particular incident was all the more shocking because it occurred within the precincts of the National Assembly. Both victims were hospitalised as a result of their injuries, where Huseynov was treated for a cracked rib. The incident was subsequently reported to the police. Eliza Pieter, Head, TEAS France, said: “It is regrettable that the Armenians, who always claim they want peace, in reality, react with violence when their version of history is challenged. This incident also sadly shows that Armenians and Armenian supporters in France are not yet ready to openly discuss the massacres that happened in the past. The events at Sumgait were indeed tragic, with both ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis being killed. However, the incident was investigated, and the individuals who perpetrated the killings were convicted. Nobody has ever been brought to justice for the massacre at Khojaly. “H.E. Elchin Amirbeyov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to France, and several French Senators have already condemned the

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violence and injuries inflicted on Mirvari and Vusal. TEAS hopes that the President of the French National Assembly will speak up and join in the condemnation. France is the Republic of liberty, equality and fraternity and such acts of violence should never have occurred.” Nathalie Goulet, French MP, subsequently condemned the incident, commenting that it contravened moral and democratic principles. She said: “Such issues cannot be solved by rioters, especially when they represent the diaspora in an official place.” She explained that such occurrences create a bad image for the Armenian diaspora, and concluded: “I hope the people responsible will be severely punished.”


Writing in New Europe magazine, several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have expressed their concern regarding the proposed reopening of Khojaly Airport. Inese Vaidere MEP (EPP, Latvia) said the move: “Would seriously harm the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Firstly, the Armenian initiative to open the Khojaly Airport can be seen as the claim of a change in the status of NagornoKarabakh that is in clear contravention of the Madrid Principles. Secondly, the opening of air traffic between NagornoKarabakh and Armenia could be seen as a violation of Azerbaijani airspace, and thus might cause a counter-reaction. Therefore, the opening of Khojaly Airport should be considered a provocation, and an obstacle to conflict resolution, endangering mutual confidencebuilding. Instead, both sides should continue to comply with current practice regarding flights over their territory.” The MEP went on to note the symbolism associated with the Khojaly Massacre in 1992, commenting that this could potentially lead to further increased tensions across the region. He continued: “The plan for opening air traffic between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia has already caused a knock-on effect from the Azerbaijani side, which has announced its readiness to destroy aircraft deemed to enter their airspace. Any provocative action from either of the sides that has a potential to make the situation more precarious must be internationally condemned. Furthermore, the reopening of Khojaly Airport by the Armenian authorities could be perceived

as disrespecting both the EU and the OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts in the whole peace process. “The EU can certainly do more to help resolve conflicts in the region, in particular through Action Plans with each of the countries and also by means of the office of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus. Yet another way for the EU to become more engaged in the conflict resolution would be to replace France in the OSCE Minsk Group. Not only would it counterbalance the key regional players – Russia and the USA – but would also improve the mediation approach. It is necessary to reach a breakthrough after 20 years of stalemate in the conflict resolution in order to establish a lasting peace so that thousands of IDPs are able to return to Nagorno-Karabakh.” Boris Zala MEP (PES, Slovakia) revealed that there is a clear concern in Brussels that the airport reopening could reignite the conflict. He said: “I still hope it will not come to that. My instinct tells me that the situation will calm down following the Armenian presidential elections. The issue certainly impedes conflict resolution, and complicates the work of the OSCE Minsk Group and the EU. There is no other way for the airport to operate but in accordance with international and standard flight practices – in other words, only with the authorisation of the Azerbaijani authorities. Any other mode of operation would pose risks for the planes and their passengers – and violate international law.” When quizzed about EP actions being undertaken to prevent the opening of Khojaly Airport, Zala said: “If the situation grows more serious, I expect the EP to adopt a resolution, mounting pressure on both sides to avert escalation of the conflict, and on the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission, and the Council of Europe to get more involved. And let‘s not forget that the EU is not without political and economic leverage over Armenia – after all, we are entering the final stages of negotiations on a new trade agreement. So, even if not directly involved in conflict mediation, the EU is not powerless. And, for that matter, neither is the European Parliament, which will need to give its consent to closer political and trade association with Armenia.”


Nagorno-Karabakh Opposition candidate Raffi Hovannisian has publicly queried the Presidential election result

Armenian election disputed by opposition

On 18 February, it was revealed by the Armenian Central Election Commission that Armenian President Sezh Sargsyan had been re-elected with 59 per cent of the vote, with the main opposition candidate, Raffi Hovannisian, coming second with almost 37 per cent. Third place was occupied by Hrant Bagratyan, another opposition candidate, who attracted just 2.2 per cent of the vote. Sargsyan’s re-election was widely anticipated during the campaign period as the main political forces of Armenia – the opposition alliance Armenian National Congress, Prosperous Armenia, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation parties – decided not to participate in the election. They collectively stated that it would be impossible to hold a free and fair vote, and that changing the Armenian government through elections has effectively become impossible, due to vote-rigging by the authorities. In 2008, Sargsyan came to power, following deadly clashes in Yerevan between opposition supporters and the authorities, which claimed the lives of ten people on 1 March 2008. Sargsyan is also the president of the ruling Republican Party, which holds 70 seats in the 131-member National Assembly. Hovannisian’s 37 per cent share was surprising, as the 53-year-old US-born lawyer served as the first Foreign Minister of independent Armenia and now leads the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, which has only four parliamentary seats. This is the first time he has participated in a presidential election, having been previously ineligible to run for president as he failed to meet the 10year citizenship requirement for candidates.

for a deeper strengthening of democracy and democratic credentials. However, in the broader context, both the May 2012 parliamentary elections and this presidential election were an improvement, when compared to previous elections. The scale and scope of the improvement in the conduct of the election, however, was insufficient and not enough to meet rising expectations.” Hovannisian is now challenging the CEC figures with regard to alleged cases of election fraud, mostly comprising ballot stuffing, the misuse of administrative resources, and pressure exertion on voters. Giragosian continued: “I think the only significant part of the election is the beginning of a political transition where, in many ways, although re-elected to a second term, the president has no successor and is the last of a specific political elite; the last of an elite that came to power from Nagorno-Karabakh and acquired political power because of Nagorno-Karabakh as an unresolved conflict. We will see the transition post-Sargsyan in the next presidential contest for a leadership that is no longer from Nagorno-Karabakh and probably defined by a new generation of younger people who rose through the Armenian government, and not because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” Members of the UCL Azerbaijan Society stand alongside Fuad Mustafayev, UK Correspondent, ANS (third from left) before the premiere at BAFTA

New film on Khojaly receives UK premiere

The new feature film Xoca, directed by Vahid Mustafayev and produced by the ANS Group, has been premiered at the Princess Anne Theatre, BAFTA in Mayfair, London, in an event organised by the University College London (UCL) Azerbaijan Society and the Azerbaijani Embassy to the UK, attended by around 80 people.


Fuad Mustafayev, UK Correspondent, ANS Group and son of Chingiz Mustafayev, a journalist who filmed the aftermath of the Khojaly Massacre and lost his own life in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, commented: “When I was only a few months old, my father, Chingiz left us with his life’s work, recording the brutality and violence of the war. His footage of the Khojaly Massacre provided the evidence of this crime to the international community. My uncle, Vahid, who directed Xoca, was aware of what was happening in the buildup to the Massacre. It is based on fact – on the memories of those who died in Khojaly and my Uncle’s memories. It was made because we cannot forget those who died in Khojaly.”

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs meet in Paris

The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, tasked with peacefully resolving the ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, met in Paris on 2 March, together with Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative, OSCE Chairperson. The current representatives are Igor Popov (Russian Federation), Jacques Fauré (France), and Ian Kelly (USA). They initially met Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, and the following day had dialogue with Edward Nalbandian, his Armenian counterpart. The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs repeated their concerns regarding the issue of civilian flights to Nagorno-Karabakh via the proposed reopening of Khojaly Airport and the recent violence on the ‘contact line’. They also discussed ideas regarding the strengthening of the ceasefire. During the next few weeks, the Co-Chairs will travel to the region to discuss peaceful conflict resolution with the respective Presidents.


Obama recognises need for meaningful movement Following




President Sargsyan received a message from US President Obama stressing the

Richard Giragosian, Director of the Yerevanbased Regional Studies Centre, said: “Hovannisian has emerged as the opposition leader in the Armenian post-election context. He is probably not the most natural opposition leader, but in many ways it is more of a reflection about anti-government discontent, unhappiness in general and the dissatisfaction with the political system, than it is about the direct support of Hovannisian personally. We saw a missed opportunity

Telling the story of a couple that are betrothed to be married on the day of the Khojaly Massacre on 26 February 1992, this was an extremely moving depiction of the events of that night. It clearly showed the confusion amongst the Azerbaijani troops, the way that the ferocity of the Armenian and Soviet forces was seriously underestimated, and the breakdown in communications that impacted adequate reporting of the massacre.

need for swift conflict resolution in the Caucasus. The letter stated: “We will continue to strongly support progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, which towards lasting

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March 2013


Corporate Profile – Akkord Industry Construction Investment Corporation currently becoming involved in construction projects with the Baku Metro Authority to build new lines and stations in collaboration with Bouygues Travaux Publics. Khagani Guluzade, Chairman and General Director, Akkord

Khagani Guluzade has been heading the Akkord Industry Construction Investment Corporation since August 2010, and previously held various management positions at leading Azerbaijani banks for 15 years. He received the Top Manager of the Year award from the Europe Business Assembly in Oxford, UK in June 2011. Khagani is a graduate of the Azerbaijan State Economic University with a Master’s degree in Finance and the Faculty of Law at the Baku State University, both with honours, and holds a doctorate in Economics. He spoke to TEAS about the current objectives of Akkord: How has Akkord contributed to the development of the local construction sector and the Azerbaijani non-oil sector? Within a short period, Akkord has become a leading company in the construction sector, particularly in the development of large-scale road infrastructure projects. Currently, Akkord is implementing five projects of this type in Azerbaijan, with a total contract value of approximately AZN314m (£268m). Previously, in Azerbaijan and abroad, the corporation has completed infrastructure projects with a total contract value of over $1.7bn (£1.1bn). Akkord has continuously developed the other two lines of its core business: the construction of real estate and public facilities, and the production and processing of construction materials. This positions Akkord as an important supplier of construction materials, such as ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete, asphalt, gravel, sand, bricks and fabricated metal products. Akkord is currently finalising its brand-new cement plant in the Gazakh region that, together with a second production line, will result in an annual manufacturing capacity of 3m tonnes of cement. The corporation owns and operates 39 cement plants across Azerbaijan. The corporation has also constructed and commissioned 10 residential complexes in Baku, covering more than 775,000m2, and has developed 56,000 m2 of commercial area. It has recently become involved in constructing water supply and sewerage infrastructure systems across six regions of Azerbaijan, worth almost AZN300m (£256m). Akkord is

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In which countries is Akkord active, and what is the scope of these activities? At present, there are several foreign markets where Akkord is present, including Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Germany. Akkord has established a representative office in Frankfurt, and has operational subsidiaries and branches in the other countries. The current portfolio of six ongoing overseas road infrastructure projects have a total contract value of more than $390m (£261m). Such international exposure strengthens its experience, and intensifies business contacts with foreign partners, including such companies as Salini, Todini, and the subsidiaries of Vinci Group – Freyssinet and Freysas. In international markets, the company gives priority to projects funded by such international financial institutions as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ABD), and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). In the future, Akkord is planning to enter the Russian construction market, due to the significant infrastructure projects being undertaken in relation to the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup. Which of Akkord’s many projects would you consider to have been the most challenging? There is no project without a challenge, and this leads us to research and improve. Nonetheless, there are some projects I would like to mention. One of these is the longterm conceptual development scheme for the Baku Metro System, where the AkkordBouygues Joint Venture has been established in relation to this expansion project. On 7 November 2012, the Joint Venture signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Baku Metro Authority for the initial two projects, including the reconstruction of the 28 May station and the construction of the new Khatai-Azi Aslanov-2 section of the green line of the Baku Metro. It is envisaged that the construction of more than 50 metro stations and the laying of 165km of metro tunnels will occur over the next two decades. Another of our projects is the Gazakh Cement Plant in Western Azerbaijan, for which Deloitte and Touche prepared the feasibility study. This plant will go some way to towards fulfilling 75 per cent of the needs of the expanding domestic market. An annual capacity of 1m tonnes will be achieved at the beginning of 2013, with the second stage providing a further 2m tonnes. The development of the Gazakh Cement Plant is being undertaken by CBMI, a subsidiary of the world-renowned SINOMA of China. Cement production will be undertaken using the dry process and the

latest environmentally-friendly technologies. The plant will employ around 1000 local workers. Another essential project is a road tunnel complex in Galaba Square, Baku, designed by Surbana International Consultants of Singapore, with architectural design developed by Venezia Design of Italy. This comprises six tunnels, eight pedestrian crossings, and two new exits at the Ganjlik metro station. This is currently the most extensive ongoing road infrastructure project in Baku. What have been the company’s biggest achievements in recent years? Akkord has managed to establish a good team of professionals from Azerbaijan and such countries as Italy, Germany, the UK, the UAE, China, Turkey, and Georgia. It has organised various training and educational programmes for its employees, and is heavily investing in human capital. Good governance, strengthened internal control, and internal audits and risk management systems have been implemented at Akkord, and it has diversified financing sources, thereby optimising financial stability. In 2012, the corporation’s charter capital increased to AZN84m (£71.7m), enabling it to ensure the required cash flow for investments through internal sources. Akkord has strengthened its financial reporting standards, based on IFRS, and contracted Deloitte and Touche as external corporate auditors. PwC has been contracted as a ratings advisor for the first time rating of Akkord by Fitch Ratings. This rating will be renewed and, in 2013, the company is planning to relaunch its Eurobond project to gain access to low-cost international financial markets, raise funds, and maintain diversification of financing sources. Notably, Akkord intends to continue its commitment towards corporate social responsibility, complying with stakeholders’ interests and demands. How would you evaluate the future economic prospects of Azerbaijan? It is noteworthy that in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2012– 13, Azerbaijan raised by nine positions and ranked 46 among 144 countries. Over several years, the country’s high growth rates have demonstrated many years of consecutive, clear and consistent investment programmes, with continuous support to development of the non-oil sector.

Akkord Industry Construction Investment Corporation, 20 H. Javid Avenue, 520th Estate, Ysamal District, Baku, AZ1073, Azerbaijan Tel: +994 12404 7777 Website:

Business News The EP Friends of Azerbaijan Group discussed the increasing relevance of Azerbaijan as a trade partner

EP Friends of Azerbaijan Group discuss trade relations

On 5 March, TEAS Belgium organised a stakeholders’ meeting in the European Parliament in Brussels in co-operation with Hans Van Baalen MEP (ALDE, the Netherlands). This provided an opportunity for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the European Commission to discuss the prospects for EU trade relations with Azerbaijan. The participants included Farah Gozalova, Deputy Head of the Azerbaijani Embassy to the European Union (EU), and Luc Devigne, an expert from the Directorate-General of Trade for the European Commission. Roman Huna, Head, TEAS Brussels, said: “As one of the most important trading blocs in the world, the EU has many interests in developing trade with Azerbaijan. By organising this event, TEAS aims to contribute towards the increased development of mutual commercial cooperation.” Hans Van Baalen, MEP, expanded: “The EU actively supports closer trade and economic integration with the EU through the European Neighbourhood Policy, which provides the framework for Azerbaijan and the EU to work together for mutual benefit. This is particularly important in the case of Azerbaijan, which is the most important economy in the South Caucasus.” Farah Gozalova continued: “The EU has become Azerbaijan’s main trade partner, with around a 46 per cent share in its overall external trade during the past few years. There is great potential for further expansion of this relationship. In any case, Azerbaijan will continue to be a reliable trade partner of the EU.” Luc Devigne concluded: “Trade and investment are, in my opinion, a catalyst for increased future co-operation between the EU and Azerbaijan. It is important that the EU continues its efforts to help Azerbaijan to secure membership of the World Trade

Organisation. Azerbaijan ranks amongst the most interesting trade partners for the EU, as there are still considerable opportunities for the further development of the trading relationship, to the benefit of both parties.”

The Lifan 620 – one of the Chinese company’s CUV range

Car production to be upscaled in NAR Polad Sadikhov, Deputy Director, Nakhchivan Automobile Plant has revealed that he is in talks with car manufacturers from China, Korea, Turkey and some European countries regarding the production of some models at the factory. He stated said that the talks had been organised to rationalise the production strategy, particularly regarding the licensed manufacturing of vehicles for the Lifan company of China. Sadikhov commented: “This is about the production of all car types, including saloons, crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) and hatchbacks.” Sadikhov stated that there was opportunity for the considerable upscaling of production, up to 5000 vehicles a year. Currently only 10–20 per cent of the plant’s production capacity is being used.

Bryza stresses need for even-handed pipeline selection

Matthew Bryza, Director, International Centre for Defence Studies, and former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, has stated his belief that Azerbaijan will be even-handed when selecting between the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Nabucco West pipeline schemes. These will bring gas from the Shah Deniz full-field development and Central Asia to Europe. During an interview in Athens with New Europe, he said that


the Azerbaijani government’s policy will be even-handed, saying: “This is not only because that’s politically fair, but because that’s smart negotiating. The decision will not be made on the basis of politics; it will be made by the Shah Deniz Consortium.” The final decision on the pipeline route will be made in June 2013. TAP will transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into western Europe. Its initial capacity will be 10bn m 3 (bcm) per year, but this could potentially be expanded to 20bcm. Nabucco West is a reduced version of the now-defunct Nabucco project, and will carry gas from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria. The maximum capacity will be 31bcm per year. When quizzed on the Russian-backed South Stream project, he commented that this is intended to intimidate investors away from backing the Southern Corridor. Bryza said: “But I don’t think that’s going to succeed. I think that strategy is going to fail, because the Southern Corridor is going to be a reality. So then probably [there] will be both pipelines.” Bryza said that the supporters of South Stream are more concerned about Nabucco West than TAP, because it will serve those eastern Balkan and central European countries that are currently dependent on Gazprom. Bryza commented: “So it will dilute Gazprom’s monopoly, and so Gazprom wants to try to stop that by going ahead with South Stream. I think both South Stream and either Nabucco West or TAP will be built.”

Azerbaijan welcomed by the Global Forum on Tax Transparency Azerbaijan has become the 119th Member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, being admitted at the same time as the Kingdom of Lesotho. Both countries will now participate in the peer review process, which encourages all countries to adopt an effective exchange of information regarding matters of taxation. Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said: “We are delighted to welcome Azerbaijan and the Kingdom of Lesotho as new Global Forum members. They will now be sitting at the table with countries from every continent and all jurisdictions that are determined to make tax systems transparent and fair to all. The growing membership of the Global Forum indicates that all regions of the world value their efforts to strengthen global tax co-operation.”

March 2013


Personalities – Focus on Khojaly 613

The centrepiece of the TEAS concerts that took place in Paris and London during February to commemorate the victims of the Khojaly Massacre was a TEAScommissioned piece entitled Khojaly 613. Written by French composer Pierre Thilloy, one of the featured solo instruments was the balaban, played by Shirzad Fataliyev. In both instances, the Orion Orchestra performed under the baton of Laurent Petitgirard. TEAS interrupted rehearsals to speak to all three musicians:

Pierre Thilloy – inspired by tragedy

Composer Pierre Thilloy began his musical studies at the age of 20 in Nancy, France, going on to study composition at the Luxembourg Conservatorium and the International Academy of Salzburg. Pierre’s international career began in 1999 with a commission for a large-scale orchestral work to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Arsenal Concert Hall in Metz, France. The piece was L’Homme Apocalyptique, written for two accordions and over 100 musicians. He has since written eight large-scale symphonies, around 20 symphonic poems, the opera Hamlet and an oratorio. Pierre has won numerous awards, including the Olivier Messiaen Prize from the Berlin-based Guardini Foundation in 1998. In 2001, Pierre Thilloy became the only European laureate of the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation in New York for his fifth symphony, entitled L’arche d’Alliance, and his fifth string quartet, named Lapsit Exillis. Pierre was the Musician-in-Residence at the Abbey of La Prée, Berry, France, from 1999–2002, and at the French Embassy in Baku from 2003–05. His experiences in Azerbaijan were shown in a television documentary entitled Pierre Thilloy, la Montagne de Feu, broadcast on the France 2 and Mezzo channels. He worked in Uzbekistan from 2005–08, and has repeatedly returned to Baku since 2008. He is currently the Musician-in-Residence at the French Embassy in India. Pierre is a professor of composition, orchestration and film music at the National Conservatory of Nancy. Where did you study, and which instruments do you play? I turned to music at the age of 20 years, which is comparatively late, so I had to learn very quickly. I am particularly fascinated by music from the East, far more so than French music. I love the sounds of this region, and of the indigenous instruments from these

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Composer Pierre Thilloy, flanked by Eliza Pieter, Head, TEAS France (left) and Senator Nathalie Goulet, at the world première of his composition Khojaly 613

countries. At the beginning, I studied trombone, double-bass, piano, singing and conducting. However, I eventually began to focus on composition, including fugal writing, harmony, and orchestration. I had initially aimed to become an aircraft pilot, and would still like to be an astronaut. However, when composing, I enter a universe of my own creation, which is excellent, although thankfully it is unnecessary to take responsibility for passengers’ lives. Many of your works feature augmented orchestras and choirs. Did Mahler and Sibelius particularly influence you? Of course – Mahler wrote specifically for augmented orchestras, and Sibelius brought another world into his music. There are other composers, such as Carl Orff, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev and Vasif Adigezalov, who have a lasting impact on my technique. Of French composers, my favourite is Hector Berlioz, who used extremely large orchestras. I enjoy writing for such orchestras, as they have a sound that is akin to an earthquake. What prompted your interest in ethnic music traditions? You are particularly active in India, and have written for indigenous instruments. I have been fortunate to travel a great deal, and experienced many different cultures. It is important to understand that there is no hierarchy of culture. I have integrated many elements from Azerbaijani and ethnic music in my music, and this serves to enhance its richness. This is more than can possibly be derived from the didactic nature of academic study, which is designed to ensure that a single culture is promoted. Our lives are enriched by travel and the experience of other cultures. Ethnic music is deeply reliant on subjective interpretation. Sometimes, when I am composing, I realise that my music comes from Azerbaijan, as I have now been involved with the country for 12 years. I derive a great deal from mugham and Indian music – these cultures are interwoven in my music, integrated with a western vision.

How did you come to be appointed as Musician-in-Residence for the French Embassy in Baku? When I was in the US, I applied for a Foundation Residency, and met a representative of the French Consulate, who explained that a project was being initiated that would focus on Asian and African countries. I wrote for a trial project, and was surprised to receive a call from the French Embassy in Baku to say that they had received my project and I had won the residency. The objective was to mix the cultures in the final work, and I initially stayed for one month in Baku. Towards the end of this period, the Ambassador asked if the work was complete, and I replied that this was only the beginning. He offered me extra time, and suggested that this could be a residency for three years. During this period, I visited Baku four or five times per year, staying for one or two weeks at a time. To date, I have not travelled outside of Baku, although I know the musical traditions from Nagorno-Karabakh and Gobustan, and understand that each region has developed its own variant on mugham or ashiq music. Were you aware of Azerbaijani mugham prior to visiting Azerbaijan for the first time? I did not specifically know about Azerbaijani mughan, although I knew about Turkish makam. When I heard mugham for the first time, I immediately realised the connection between the two musical genres. Although I wasn’t a mugham specialist, this was not a strange world for me. I subsequently made the connection with Persian, Central Asian and Indian music. For example, there are similarities between Azerbaijani mugham and Indian raga. This could be attributable to the Zoroastrian connection and its impact on cultural development. What was your first reaction to the music? Who were the first performers that you heard? The first mugham performance that I heard ‘live’ in Baku was by Alim Qasimov. The second concert I heard was of symphonic

Personalities – Focus on Khojaly 613 music, featuring the work of Gara Garayev, Uzeyir Hajibeyli, and Niyazi. My first experience of symphonic mugham was the Azerbaijan Capriccio by Fikret Amirov. However, Hajibeyli was the first composer to combine mugham and western classical music, and I heard his opera Koruglu at the Baku Opera House. The following day, I visited the Hajibeyli Foundation, where I was presented with the score to Koroglu. Currently, it remains very difficult to obtain scores from Azerbaijani composers, and these are often inaccurately reproduced. Many people are curious about Azerbaijani classical music, but they have issues in obtaining scores and recordings, unless they visit Baku. The TEAS initiative to publish definitive scores for the most famous pieces of Azerbaijani classical music is long overdue. Have you studied the mugham modes and Azerbaijani national instruments? I have not studied the national instruments, although I have researched and read a great deal about them. I initially focused on the balaban, then the kamancha, although in order to really study mugham, it is necessary to play it. However, reading the book The Basis of Folk Music in Azerbaijan by Uzeyir Hajibeyli was invaluable to me. This brings an insight into folk music and its integration into symphonic music, and was extremely useful to me. You have issued a statement about your new piece Khojaly 613, in which you say the work was composed for the victims so you ‘can be at peace’, after empathising with them and their families. What did you try to achieve by writing this work? During my first visit to Azerbaijan, I experienced folk, ethnic, symphonic and jazz music. Whilst I was there, I was shown a photo of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich performing for some children who were Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Nagorno-Karabakh. The fact that Azerbaijan remains at war with Armenia was then explained to me. Previously, I knew nothing of this situation, so researched and read about this issue. Six months later, I returned to Baku for a concert organised by the French Embassy, where my string quartet entitled The Tears of the Inferno was performed. I was most moved by the stories I heard about the Khojaly tragedy. I needed to express my reaction to this outrage, and to indicate my revulsion and emotional response to the events that had occurred. It astounds me that, in France and across Western Europe, so few people are interested in understanding the reasons behind the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In France, it was not publicised at all, and we have a large Armenian diaspora that stops the voice of both sides from being heard. By

using the orchestra, I am trying to raise awareness that the conflict needs to be resolved. Did you incorporate any themes from Nagorno-Karabakh in the piece? There are certainly some elements – it incorporates three folksongs from Azerbaijan – Sari Gelin, Lachin, and Shusha. I also wrote a musical anagram, and the beginning of the piece comprises the word ‘Khojaly’ in musical notation. Was the section for the balaban entirely improvised? Not totally – some parts were improvised, but there was a combination with the written score. I deliberately left some bars empty so he could be free to improvise, as would be the case when playing mugham in Azerbaijan. It is necessary for everyone to be free – I am free to write, and Shirzad Fataliyev, the balaban soloist, is free to play. You have also worked in Uzbekistan. Do you notice any similarities between Azerbaijani and Uzbek music? There are certainly similarities with the modes in both types of music. If you are interested in world music, Radio France has issued a famous collection. They have released around 20 CDs of Azerbaijani music, whereas there is considerably less for other countries. Mugham is a powerful form of music and is present in everyday life in Azerbaijan. In Uzbekistan, there is a tradition of ‘nomadism’, so there are different influences to those in Azerbaijan, where people tend to remain in one place. You have also composed music for a number of silent films, including Phantom of the Opera and Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Ahmed. Would you like to compose scores for any Azerbaijani silent films, such as Sevil or Maiden Tower? I would be delighted to consider this for the future. What is your assessment of the oeuvre of Fiket Amirov, who developed the ‘symphonic mugham’ style? The work of Hajibeyli is the basis of Azerbaijani symphonic music, but it is difficult to perform his operas and operettas in the West as it is necessary to bring many musicians from Azerbaijan. However, orchestras anywhere in the world can perform Amirov’s work. His work is an excellent combination of western techniques and Azerbaijani music. Do you believe that Azerbaijani music has had a major impact on the development of your compositional style? Naturally – many listeners have commented that there is an oriental influence in my work, but I correct them and say that it


is specifically an Azerbaijani influence. I love this music so much – maybe I am developing into a ‘symphonic mugham’ composer myself? Its impact on my work is becoming increasingly apparent, and I am currently working on a project with Alim Qasimov.

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Laurent Petitgirard – a passion for Azerbaijani music

Born in 1950, Laurent studied the piano with Serge Petitgirard, his father, and composition with Alain Kremski. To date, he has composed more than 20 pieces of symphonic music and 160 film scores. Laurent has conducted some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Paris Opera Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, de Bordeaux, de Lille, Berliner Symphoniker, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, National Orchestra of Spain, and the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. In 1989, he founded the Orchestre Symphonique Français, which he conducted until 1996. Laurent Petitgirard has made over 30 recordings, notably of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher and several world première recordings, including Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit in the orchestration by Marius Constant. He has recorded his Cello Concerto, featuring the cellist Gary Hoffman and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and Le Légendaire for violin, chorus and orchestra, with, as soloist, the work’s dedicatee, Augustin Dumay. Laurent Petitgirard’s first opera, Joseph Merrick dit Elephant Man, was premiered in 2002 at the Prague State Opera. His most recent composition is an original score for The Little Prince, staged at the Opéra-Théâtre d’Avignon. The première recording will be issued on the Naxos label in August 2013. During 2010–12, Laurent conducted a series of concerts in Budapest, Moscow, Strasbourg, Beijing, Nice, Seoul, and Kiev. Earlier in February 2013, he conducted the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra in a concert of his own music at The Orchestrion Concert Hall. Laurent Petitgirard has received numerous awards, including ‘Commandeur des Arts et Lettres’ and ‘Chevalier de La Légion d’Honneur’. TEAS met Laurent just prior to the Khojaly Commemoration Concert in London. March 2013


Personalities – Focus on Khojaly 613 French conductor and composer Laurent Petitgirard inspired the Orion Orchestra to give an impassioned performance of Khojaly 613

What interested you most about conducting the Khojaly Commemoration Concerts in Paris and London? My initial interest was solely musical – Khojaly 613 is a new piece, and I am always open to new music. I am aware that when composers are inspired by an emotionallycharged subject, this frequently results in an excellent piece of music. I already know several Azerbaijani people, and am good friends with H.E. Elchin Amirbeyov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to France. Last year I conducted a concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris with two orchestras – my orchestra from Paris, named l’Orchestre Colonne, and the Baku Philharmonic. This celebrated the 20th anniversary of FrancoAzerbaijani diplomatic relations. The first part comprised Azerbaijani music, performed by the Baku Philharmonic Orchestra. This programme included Uzeyir Hajibeyli’s Koroglu Overture, Soltan Hajibeyli’s Caravan, two parts of Gara Garayev’s suite from the Seven Beauties Ballet, and Fikret Amirov’s Azerbaijan Capriccio. I conducted the second half of French music, which included the first movement from Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, featuring Azerbaijani pianist Murad Huseynov and Claude Debussy’s La Mer. My orchestra includes some Armenian musicians, and I ensured that they performed some Azerbaijani music at the concert, commenting to the First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva, that this should represent the future. During these concerts in Paris and London, I have been delighted to collaborate with the young English musicians of the Orion Orchestra. I also respect composer Pierre Thilloy for his work – I had not conducted his music before, but I had heard some of his pieces. It was also great to collaborate with Sabina Rakcheyeva and Shirzad Fataliyev, who were the violin and balaban soloists, respectively. During the Paris concert, I stressed to the audience that the balaban is found across the region, under different names, and this proves that the music is stronger than national borders. March 2013

Have you previously had any experience of conducting Azerbaijani music? I previously conducted Fikret Amirov’s Piano Concerto in Paris, featuring Murad Huseynov. However, I was more impressed by the writing for strings in the Nizami Symphony. What was your reaction to the Nizami Symphony by Fikret Amirov when you first heard it? It sits very well amongst the music of the immediate post-war era, such as that by Bohuslav Martinu and Zoltan Kodaly, yet he remains insufficiently well-known in the West. The music of the Nizami Symphony is really wonderful, and virtuosic for the strings. This is one of the masterpieces of Azerbaijani music, yet the parts are photocopies of hand-written scores and clearly full of errors. I am pleased to hear that a TEAS project is underway to publish definitive editions of leading Azerbaijani classical music. It’s good to be able to work on such music for a young orchestra, as they will come to know the piece and hopefully recommend it to other orchestras. Which tonalities would you describe as specifically ‘Eastern’ or ‘Azerbaijani’? It becomes undeniably ‘oriental’ in the slow movements, but Amirov manages to avoid replicating such music. Composers residing in a country with a very strong heritage of traditional music must find their own way. Bartok and Kodaly were surrounded by Hungarian folk music, and some of their music was beautiful, although other pieces of music fall into a trap. It’s great to be inspired by folk music, and Amirov’s Nizami Symphony is rhythmically extremely inventive. What is your opinion of music by other great Azerbaijani composers, such as Uzeyir Hajibeyli, Gara Garayev or Asaf Zeynally? Whilst listening to the programme performed at the Salle Pleyel, I became aware that much of the music was composed 60–70 years ago. However, there seems to be a lack of living contemporary Azerbaijani composers that have developed since the fall of the Soviet Union. If we want a new

generation of Azerbaijani composers to evolve, they must be receptive to all kinds of new music. However, the worst scenario would be for new composers to go towards the extreme avant-garde and totally reject the past. I tried to help organise a performance of Hajibeyli’s operetta Arshin Mal Alan (The Cloth Peddler) in Paris this year to commemorate its centenary. It was performed at the Garnier Opera in 1925, but not since. However, I was not interested to present a show with limited appeal that was just for the diaspora or for those interested in exoticism. It is necessary to showcase the work of contemporary Azerbaijani composers and look back at their heritage. You are conducting the world premiere of Pierre Thilloy’s Khojaly 613, commissioned to commemorate the civilian victims of the Khojaly Massacre. How would you describe this work? It’s a meditation, and Thilloy has incorporated the musical modes of Azerbaijani mugham. The problem was related to the use of the balaban. In one passage, Shirzad Fataliyev, the balaban player, is supposed to answer the violin soloist. As Shirzad does not read music, I have to conduct differently for him, than for the orchestra. When the piece leaves Shirzad free to improvise, it works very well, and this is also the case when the piece is closely written. However, there were some challenges when Shirzad has to answer the violin, so we had to replace him with the principal viola. There are two places where the principal viola plays what the balaban should play. I am fascinated by the incredible sound of the balaban, and it would be interesting if players of this instrument could read music. Composers could then incorporate it in their works, disconnected from mugham. You have also composed extensively for the cinema, including collaborations with such leading directors as Jacques Demy and Otto Preminger. Would you ever consider composing a score for an Azerbaijani film? It would be a pleasure – I haven’t composed film scores for two or three years as the rules have changed. Too many directors are musically ignorant, and it is impossible to watch the rushes without pre-existing music nowadays. I prefer carte blanche, and to watch the film mute. I think I would have more freedom to work with directors from Azerbaijan. For more information, visit

Personalities – Focus on Khojaly 613 The pathos of Shirzad Fataliyev’s improvisations on balaban added a new dimension to Khojaly 613

Shirzad Fataliyev – maestro of the balaban

Azerbaijani soloist Shirzad ranks amongst the foremost players of the balaban, a double-reed wind instrument of around 350mm in length, with a bore of 15mm and one thumb hole, made from mulberry or hardwood. When performing, the player uses the circular breathing technique, retaining air in his cheeks whist inhaling. The balaban is a fundamental element of Azerbaijani mugham music, and Shirzad is also a renowned exponent of the zurna, another Azerbaijani wind instrument. Shirzad has recorded extensively, and performed on the balaban around the world, particularly as a soloist in the Khary Bulbul Ensemble. He recently participated in the Cultural Values of Azerbaijan – Pearl of the Caucasus festival in Romorantin-Lanthenay, France, and at the World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) festivals in the UK and New Zealand. Recordings featuring Shirzad have been played on BBC Radio 3, and he has accompanied some of the leading contemporary mugham singers, including Alim Qasimov, Gochag Askarov and Nazaket Teymurova. TEAS spoke to him between rehearsals for the Khojaly Commemoration Concerts in Paris and in London, where he was a featured soloist in Pierre Thilloy’s new piece Khojaly 613. What initially attracted you to performing on the balaban and zurna? My father also played both instruments, and performing on them runs in my family. I was aware of the instruments from the very beginning of my life. In which Azerbaijani region is your ancestral homeland? I am from Shamakhi in Central Azerbaijan, the historic capital of the Shirvan region, which was formerly the capital of Azerbaijan. In this town, there are regular gatherings of mugham musicians and singers, and many musicians were involved, playing balaban, tar, kamancha and saz.

Did you learn from a mugham master, or did you study the instruments academically? I started performing during my childhood, when I acquired my skills on the instrument, and participated in numerous gatherings with musicians of all ages. I then attended a music school, and am currently taking some classes at the National Music Conservatory of Azerbaijan. What are the major differences between the balaban and zurna? Do they have the same fingering and technique? The balaban is most appropriate for performing aesthetic pieces of mugham, and its name even indicates that it is a fragile or lyrical instrument. In my opinion, the sound of the balaban is akin to that of the human voice. On the other hand, the zurna is loud and very different, being suitable for military band music. The balaban is originally an Azerbaijani instrument, but is also found in other countries in the region, although in Turkey it is known as the ‘mey’, and in Armenian as the ‘düdük’. The 11th century author Qatran Tabrizi referred to the instrument as a balaban, providing irrefutable proof that it is an Azerbaijani instrument. Are there any similarities with Western instruments? Not at all – the balaban is unique to Azerbaijan, and its key is akin to the kamancha, another Azerbaijani instrument. To what extent are pieces on the balaban and zurna improvised? This is determined by the context and type of music being performed. When performing with a symphony or chamber orchestra, there is little opportunity for improvisation, as it is impossible for the performer to go beyond the confines of the piece. When performing mugham or jazz, there is plenty of room for improvisation. It is a matter of inspiration and, when this is received, it is enunciated via the instrument. With which mugham singers and instrumentalists have you collaborated? I have collaborated with many of the world’s leading mugham singers, including Alim


Qasimov, Nazaket Teymurova, Gochag Askarov, and Aghakhan Abdullayev. I have performed in many European countries. Alim Qasimov is Azerbaijan’s foremost ambassador for Azerbaijani music, and I have performed with Gochag Askarov on the BBC Radio 3 stage at WOMAD and appeared on the Radio 3 World Routes programme. I will perform at concerts in London in March and June. At which overseas festivals and concerts have you appeared? I have performed in many countries since 1989 – it is easier to say that I have been to all the countries of the world, with just a few exceptions. These have included tours of South America, Japan, the US, Italy, France, Spain, and Greece. You are here to perform in the TEAScommissioned piece Khojaly 613 by Pierre Thilloy. Is this your first experience of performing against the backdrop of a chamber orchestra? I have played with symphony and chamber orchestras in Germany and Italy. The technique of performing with such ensembles is different – there is plenty of room for interpretation in mugham, which is determined by inspiration, whereas with symphonic compositions, the instructions are very clear. Have you ever performed any jazz-mugham? I performed with the pianist Jamil Amirov in Chicago, who is the son of Fikret Amirov. I also played in France at UNESCO alongside the pianist Rashad Ashimov, who is based in France. What does mugham mean to you, as an Azerbaijani? The singer Haji Baba Huseynov, who taught Alim Qasimov, said: “Mugham is a great asset. You can take a small portion, or many things – it depends on what you are capable of extracting from this asset.” No-one is able to explore mugham in its entirety because it is too deep, and there is also a spiritual element that cannot be ignored. In 2000, I performed in Tolyatti, a Russian city, as part of a KVN intellectual competition, dubbed The Final of the Twentieth Century. When I performed on the balaban, the Russians were very receptive to the passion of my music, and were brought to tears. After a concert in Germany, one man asked to see the balaban, and said that he was amazed that such a small instrument had a voice of this kind. He explained that he had not cried when his father died, but was about to cry now. Finally, I would like to thank TEAS for organising this concert and continuing to promote the music and culture of my homeland. To hear Shirzad Fataliyev performing the folksong Sen Gelmez Oldun, go to sangolmezoldun.

March 2013

March 2013