(Photo: Rena Effendi by Maria Lonova-Gribina)
Culture | Public Affairs Business | Philanthropy
RENA EFFENDI – CAPTURING LIFE’S EXPERIENCES Also in this issue: Achievements highlighted in Davos NATO role to the fore Peace and tolerance exhibited at European Parliament Upsurge in violence on the ‘contact line’ Remembering Fiona Maclachlan – a friend of Azerbaijan www.teas.eu
Please see inside for how to win £100 of Amazon vouchers
2 / 2014
www.teas.eu February 2014
Welcome to the TEAS Magazine The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) is a UK-registered pan-European organisation dedicated to raising awareness of Azerbaijan and fostering closer economic, political and cultural links between that country and the nations of Europe. As well as promoting the positive aspects of Azerbaijan, TEAS also highlights the plight of the 875,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within the country. These people are unable to return to their homes and lands because of the illegal occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts by Armenia’s armed forces – in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions. TEAS has three main facets 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 regions. • Public Affairs – TEAS works to increase awareness about Azerbaijan amongst key opinionformers, key decision-makers and other political, academic and civil society stakeholders. In pursuit of its objectives TEAS: • Organises meetings with interested parties, opinion-formers and decision-makers • Arranges roundtables, seminars, lectures and conferences • Publishes pamphlets, reports, bulletins, books and produces films • Facilitates fact-finding trips by politicians and business people.
TEAS is always bringing the latest news, views and interviews from Azerbaijan. Sign up to our mailing-list to receive the latest information straight to your inbox: www.teas.eu
The TEAS Facebook page is your chance to learn about the latest news, events, campaigns and other Azerbaijan-related items. Visit and ‘like’ our page at: http://bit.ly/TEASFB.
Membership and Sponsorship
TEAS offers a range of corporate and individual membership packages, providing such benefits as advertising, trade missions, networking, business sector advice and hotel discounts. TEAS also offers numerous sponsorship opportunities throughout the year for its events and conferences. To find out more, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Win £100 of Amazon vouchers!
Congratulations to Anar Guliyev of BP, who won the January 2014 competition! To win £100 of Amazon vouchers, simply answer the following 10 questions, the answers to which can all be found in this issue of the TEAS Magazine. In the case of a tie, a draw will be made. The winning entrant will have their name and photo featured in the March 2014 issue. Please send all entries to email@example.com by 10 March: 1. What percentage growth did the Azerbaijani ICT sector achieve in 2013? 2. How many Azerbaijani athletes have been sent to the Sochi Winter Olympics? 3. What is the population of Azerbaijan according to recent figures? 4. During Black January, how many civilians were killed? 5. When will Azerbaijan chair the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers? 6. When was composer Tofig Guliyev born? 7. What profession was undertaken by Rena Effendi’s father? 8. How many people attended the Azerbaijan – The Land of Peace exhibition? 9. In which London venue did the European Energy Forum take place? 10. Where did Mammad Amin Rasulzade die?
full details of all TEAS events, including Khojaly Commemoration Concerts in Paris and London, go to Upcoming Events For www.teas.eu/upcoming-events 12 March CD launch: Dreams King’s Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG 19.30hrs. Free admission. RSVP through EventBrite at http://bit.ly/dreamscdlaunch Violin phenomenon Nazrin Rashidova and renowned guitar virtuoso Stanislav Hvartchilkov mark the UK launch of Dreams, their debut duet album. This showcases a collection of 20th century Azerbaijani song classics composed by Tofig Guliyev.
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LE MAGAZINE DE CEUX QUI BOUGENT
Politics and News
Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS
From the TEAS Director
Recent events have highlighted Azerbaijan’s continued integration into Europe and its wider global role. When Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Brussels, he met Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO General-Secretary, who expressed NATO’s gratitude for the contingent that Azerbaijan sent – and still maintains – in Afghanistan. He also acknowledged the vital role that the country has played in ensuring the resupply of forces on the ground. Azerbaijan’s role, in this respect, will become even more vital as the NATO drawdown gathers pace, and troops and heavy equipment are withdrawn to within NATO’s borders. Azerbaijan also had a strong presence at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The President was again in attendance, and there was a strong contingent of Azerbaijani businesses, headed up by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR), which is now the 68th biggest company in the world. The growing maturity of the Azerbaijani economy has been highlighted by the awarding of a ‘stable’ rating by Standard & Poors, the global agency. Azerbaijan has no need to borrow money abroad, but having a strong rating with the credit agencies sends a strong signal to putative overseas investors. Sadly, despite all the good news, the conflict with Armenia is never far from the thoughts of Azerbaijanis, their friends and allies. Recent flare-ups and clashes on the Nagorno-Karabakh ‘contact line’ in recent weeks have seen a number of casualties – including fatalities – on both sides.
Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS
Presidential Aliyev takes centre-stage amongst other Eurasian leaders in Davos
Davos showcases Azerbaijani developments Azerbaijani achievements in the political and economic spheres have been presented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, during a session entitled Eurasia: The Next Frontier? Addressing the session, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev explained: “As you know, Azerbaijan has initiated energy projects across the South Caucasus, and these contributed towards greater regional co-operation. First of all, I want to mention the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. This project connected Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey as regional partners and, following completion of the project, the Central Asian states began to use its transit opportunities.
“All states are accessing new markets and export routes. In fact, following the restoration of independence across the South Caucasus and Central Asia, energy has gained added importance in terms of regional co-operation. We have succeeded in speeding up this work and are currently working on transport infrastructure.” President Aliyev also said that Azerbaijan is aiming to enhance economic cooperation between the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia. President Aliyev went on to comment on the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) projects, which will bring Caspian gas from the Shah Deniz field to Europe. He said: “One of the biggest challenges facing us, in terms of regional
co-operation, is completing this project in a very short time, i.e. within five years. Two South Caucasus countries – Georgia and Azerbaijan – are working hard in this direction. In the future, Central Asian states will also be able to connect to the built infrastructure, as this presents more opportunities to diversify energy supplies.” He also spoke on the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars (BTK) railway: “This is a project which will connect Europe and Asia, and can be considered as a new Silk Road. Construction work is underway, and I hope the railway will become operational in 2015. This will provide transport and energy communication, and stimulate mutual investment. Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Central Asia represent ideal investment opportunities, as they have emerging markets, are experiencing rapid population growth, and provide the potential for dynamic economic development. New ideas related to transport, energy and trade can become leading trends this year.” When speaking during a reception entitled South Caucasus and Central Asia: Path to a Global Economy he remarked: “Today, Azerbaijan is not solely a supplier of energy resources, but also operates as a transit country. Central Asian countries are transporting their natural resources via our infrastructure, and this project has created favourable conditions for energyproducing countries, consumer countries and transit countries.”
Politics and News The Azerbaijani and NATO delegations discussed their developing relationship in Brussels
Rasmussen on Azerbaijan’s NATO role During his visit to Brussels, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary-General of NATO, who acknowledged the strength of NATO– Azerbaijani relations. He made particular reference to the country’s role in the ISAF coalition’s mission, as it provides multimodal transit for roughly 40 per cent of its Afghanistan transit. Mr Rasmussen also commented on the country’s current and future role in ensuring the energy security of Europe and peace and security in the Caucasus. President Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan considered its relationship with NATO to constitute a crucial element in its Euroatlantic integration. Speaking at a press conference, President Aliyev said: “This is my fifth visit to the NATO headquarters, and this is indicative of our level of co-operation. Today, we will continue our discussions on a broad range
of issues, including those related to our ISAF participation. We will continue to be committed to the security of Afghanistan during the post-2014 period. Our participation in the NATO peacekeeping operations forms an essential element of our co-operation.” President Aliyev explained that Azerbaijan is co-operating with NATO regarding counterterrorism measures, and that his country is grateful to NATO for supporting the reform of its armed forces during their transformation to NATO standards. He also remarked: “With the assistance of NATO, including financial, Azerbaijan is implementing de-mining projects in the country. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains a major threat to stability and security in the region. We need to find a swift resolution to the conflict, based on international law and the relevant
Visa facilitation finalised
Speaking at the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC), Malena Mard, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, revealed that the Azerbaijan–EU visa facilitation agreement would be implemented from Autumn 2014. She explained: “This will permit travel for Azerbaijani citizens to the countries of the Schengen area and EU citizens to Azerbaijan. Additionally, finalisation of this agreement will contribute to the development of relations between EU and Azerbaijani citizens.” The move comes after Azerbaijan and the EU signed a visa facilitation agreement in Vilnius during the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2013. The signatories were Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister; Stefan Füle,
The figureskating duo of Alexei Sitnikov and Julia Zlobina
UN Security Council resolutions.” The President went on to explain that, in December, Azerbaijan and the BP-led Shah Deniz Consortium signed an agreement that he considers to be the “project of the 21st century. The construction of the transportation infrastructure to bring Azerbaijani gas to Europe starts soon, and the country will take the responsibility and initiative to implement this project in a timely manner. This is aimed at ensuring energy diversification, security and co-operation, and is the biggest infrastructure project in Europe. This project will necessitate the co-ordination of the participating countries and companies. The Secretary-General and I have discussed the future prospects for this co-operation, and how this relationship can be deepened in the future. We want to be a close and reliable partner for NATO in the future. I am sure that will be the case.”
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy; and Linas Linkyavichus, Lithuanian Foreign Minister. The agreement still requires ratification in the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament) and the European Parliament. Ms Mard went on to comment: “We are currently negotiating with Azerbaijan to sign the strategic partnership agreement. This document covers a number of areas, including economy and the rule of law. I think that this document and association agreement will complement each other. The EU has a great potential, and we intend to further expand economic and trade ties with Azerbaijan. The EU is going to co-operate with Azerbaijan not only in the oil sector, but also in the non-oil sector.”
Five athletes sent to Sochi
Five Azerbaijani athletes have been sent to compete at this year’s Winter Olympic Games in the Russian resort of Sochi. The team features the figure-skating duo of Alexei Sitnikov and Julia Zlobina, and alpine skiers Patrick Brahner, Cedric Notz and Gaia Bassani Antivari. Kenul Nurullayeva, Executive Director, Azerbaijani Delegation to the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics, commented: “Azerbaijan is not known for its Winter Sports. The main objective is the participation of Azerbaijan in this prestigious event.”
Azerbaijani population reaches 9.5m
According to the Azerbaijani State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs, the Azerbaijani population has now exceeded 9,477,000. Altogether, 172,600 children were born during 2013. Divorces reached the level of 11,849, and there were 86,594 marriages.
Politics and News
Vusal Abdullayev, First Secretary, Azerbaijani Embassy to the UK, recalls how the Baku uprising played a major role in the Soviet collapse
Black January victims commemorated in London 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 134 civilians were killed, and more than 700 were injured. This year, on 17 January, a solemn ceremony took place at the Azerbaijani Embassy in the UK. Vusal Abdullayev, First Secretary, Azerbaijani Embassy, said: “We have gathered to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the Black January tragedy. There were peaceful demonstrations in Azerbaijan against the Soviet policy in the region, and the Soviet Army launched an operation against civilian Azerbaijanis. As a result, Azerbaijani civilians – adults, children, elderly people and even doctors in ambulances – were killed by the Soviet troops.” Dr Ali Tekin Atalar, Chairman, Azerbaijan House, remarked: “This tragic day should be remembered as a honourable day, as it was the beginning of the journey towards achieving full independence. The actions of the Soviet Army were planned in the dying days
of the Soviet Union to crush the will and power of the Azerbaijani people. This action was directed by Mikhail Gorbachev, the final Soviet President, and was aimed at discouraging any dissent. That night, the heavily-armoured Soviet army quashed the uprising in Baku. After the deaths, almost the entire Baku population went into the main square to pay their respects to the martyrs. This failed to destroy the will of the people to fight for their freedom and liberty. In fact, it spurred them into continuing their struggle. We promise never to forget their sacrifice – they lost their lives for a free and independent Azerbaijan.” Farida Panakova, Azerbaijan House, outlined the chronology of the events, and concluded: “On 20 January 1990, the Soviet Army was trying to rescue the totalitarian regime and the rule of the Communist Party, maintaining the Soviet Empire. “In 1991, Azerbaijan became an independent country, and by April 1993 it became the first former Soviet republic to be without Russian troops or foreign military bases on its soil. In fact, 20 January unified the country in its grief and brought about the rebirth of the nation.”
130th anniversary of Rasulzade remembered Following a Presidential Decree, the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mammad Amin Rasulzade (1884–1955), President of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) (1918–20), has been celebrated in London with an event at Azerbaijan House. Dr Ali Tekin Atalar, Chairman, Azerbaijan House, said: “Mammad Amin Rusulzade was one of the founding fathers of our nation. He was a great leader, visionary and reformer, and the ADR achieved a great deal during its brief existence.” Vusal Abdullayev, First Secretary, Azerbaijani Embassy to the UK, recalled: “About 96 years ago, Azerbaijan was proclaimed as an independent republic. It was the first secular democratic republic in the Islamic world, and one of the earliest countries where all women received the franchise and could be elected as MPs. One of the prime fighters for Azerbaijani independence was Mammad Amin Rasulzade, who actively participated in the Azerbaijani democratic movement. He was initially part of the Russian Social
Democratic Party, but he left to establish the Musavat Party. He was briefly exiled to Turkey, when the Russian government tried to stop his political activities. The ADR unfortunately only lasted just under two years, ending when the Red Army invaded Azerbaijan and established a Soviet Republic that espoused values that differed to those of Mammad Amin Rasulzade. “He left Baku, went into hiding and was arrested and interrogated. He could have been killed, but Joseph Stalin saved him and sent him to Moscow, recognising his brilliance. Stalin offered Rasulzade many positions, but he always refused these, remaining loyal to his ideas. Rasulzade then left the Soviet Union and went into exile in Turkey, Poland and Romania. Rasulzade was committed to his ideas and the democratic movement. Whilst in exile, his heart was always in Azerbaijan, and he never doubted that his country would regain its independence, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mentioning
the name of Rasulzade was forbidden during Soviet times. He made a great contribution to the identity of the nation.” Following this, there was a live skype lecture and question-and-answer session via Smart TV with Professor Yavuz Akpinar of Izmir University, Turkey, who explained how Rasulzade foreshadowed the work of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. A PowerPoint presentation and film, containing archive footage, outlined the developments of the ADR. There was live music and poetry in celebration of Rasulzade’s life, and the event ended with traditional Azerbaijani cuisine.
The audience at Azerbaijan House recalled the legacy of Mammad Amin Rasulzade
Politics and News
NEWS FROM BRUSSELS
Azerbaijan’s peace and
tolerance showcased at the European Parliament Azerbaijan: The Land of Peace – a remarkable free exhibition of 100 photographs showcasing Azerbaijan’s traditions, life, culture and history – opened on 11 February at the European Parliament. The opening networking cocktail was organised by TEAS Belgium in collaboration with Niki Tzavela MEP (EFD, Greece). The selection of images provided an overview of everyday life in this western-facing, cosmopolitan, secular country, which is renowned for its religious tolerance. Over 400 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Council members, diplomats, European Parliament researchers and journalists attended the opening. Fiorello Provera MEP (EFD, Italy) said: “I welcome all of you to this unique and beautiful exhibition. This will introduce many of you to Azerbaijan, a country that is becoming increasingly relevant to Europe. In December, the EU and Azerbaijan signed important agreements during the Co-operation Council covering political dialogue, energy, policy, trade, investment and cultural collaboration. “Azerbaijan and the EU are coming closer, mostly on energy issues, and my country – Italy – has now become a very important partner to Azerbaijan. However, the country should not solely be regarded as a source of gas and oil. You will also see that it is a wonderful historical land with beautiful landscapes, mountains and cities. Mrs Tzavela organised this exhibition to showcase Azerbaijani peace and tolerance, and this is evident in many of the photos. You will also see that Azerbaijan is home to many races and religions, and is a bridge between East and West – in short, a land of peace.” H.E. Fuad Isgandarov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Head of the Azerbaijani Mission to the EU, commented: “It is a great pleasure to introduce our country to MEPs and other friends. In December 2013, the final investment decision (FID) was signed between the Azerbaijani government and the BP-led Shah Deniz Consortium that will make construction of the Southern Gas Corridor a reality. During the next few years, Azerbaijani gas will be piped to Europe through some of the most expensive infrastructure in the world. Development of
Fiorello Provera MEP listens to Ambassador Isgandarov at the opening
the Southern Corridor will help drive down gas prices for EU consumers. “Azerbaijan and the EU countries share many common values, and it aims to integrate with the EU family of nations. It should be remembered that Azerbaijan has managed to retain its stability and to develop, despite the ongoing Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the worst atrocity of which occurred on 26 February 1992, when the Khojaly Massacre claimed the lives of 613 men, women and children. Azerbaijan enjoys excellent relations with many countries, and seeks to bring about resolution to this conflict, based on goodwill.” Dr Asim Mollazade, Azerbaijani MP and Chairman, Democratic Reforms Party, said: “It is most apt to be in the European Parliament, as Europe is an important destination for Azerbaijan. We share common values with the EU, including democracy, human rights and the rule of law. A huge proportion of Azerbaijani territory remains under Armenian occupation, and it should be remembered that February is a very hard month for the Azerbaijani people due to the remembrance of the Khojaly Tragedy. Azerbaijan is represented in Brussels as it respects justice and rule of law. All international documents support the Azerbaijani perspective on the NagornoKarabakh conflict, and we expect the EU to pay attention and to seek justice.” Ambassador Arif Mammadov, Head of EU Mission, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said: “When I was walking into this exhibition, I was struck by the colours. However, colours do not fill every
aspect of our world – there is necessarily some black and white, and suffering is often portrayed in black and white. Those who suffer should be recognised, and the Khojaly Massacre should be remembered alongside other instances of ethnic cleansing.” Dr Roman Huna, Head, TEAS Belgium, concluded: “These pictures exemplify the peace in the country, which is an inescapable element of the Azerbaijani mentality, traditions and values. In Brussels, Azerbaijan is being brought to the European stage. The Khojaly Tragedy on 26 February 1992 was extremely serious and this exhibition helps us recall the sacrifice of the victims.” During the opening, vibrant music was performed by Azerbaijani violinist Dr Sabina Rakcheyeva, Cultural Advisor, TEAS, who was the first Azerbaijani graduate from the Juilliard School in New York. Playing alongside the Londonbased Deco Ensemble, she performed a range of works by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, jazz-mugham pioneer Vagif Mustafazadeh and arrangements of Azerbaijani traditional pieces.
More than 400 people experienced the photos
An operatic celebration of Novruz
The internationally-renowned Azerbaijani mezzo-soprano Fidan Hajiyeva is to give a free concert on 7 March, sponsored by the Azerbaijani Embassy to the UK and Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Entitled Sounds of Spring, this will celebrate Novruz, the ancient festival that celebrates spring, new life, peace, solidarity and the importance of family. Born in Baku, Fidan initially studied piano at the Bulbul Music School and transferred to the vocal faculty of the Baku Music Academy. She also studied at the Music Academy of Chigiana, Italy where she won first prize in the final international competition. Since 1996, Fidan has been a leading opera soloist at the
Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theatre. Her repertoire includes leading roles in Carmen, Aida and Il Trovatore. She has also performed in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto and La Traviata. Fidan recorded Jealousy and Love, her first CD, in 2003. This contained songs from Azerbaijan and overseas in seven languages. Fidan has also performed Azerbaijani music in many countries, including Germany, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and Italy. In 2006, Fidan received the Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan award from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. To hear Fidan, go to www.fidanhaciyeva.com. Tickets are free, but ticketed – please register at http://bit.ly/soundsofspring to book your place.
Dreaming in London Nazrin Rashidova (Photo: Mark Whitehouse)
The London-based Azerbaijani violinist Nazrin Rashidova and renowned guitar virtuoso Stanislav Hvartchilkov will launch Dreams, their debut duet album at King’s Place, London, on 12 March with a TEAS-sponsored concert. They will perform their own arrangements of 20th century Azerbaijani song classics by the prolific Azerbaijani composer Tofig Guliyev (1917–2000). He composed songs for more than 40 films during his lifetime, and these achieved extreme popularity across the former Soviet Union. Tickets are free – to reserve seats, go to http://bit. ly/dreamscdlaunch.
Azerbaijani film old and new in the spotlight The Cinema of Azerbaijan (Bu Kino Çox Gözal) festival, organised by TEAS Turkey and the Pera Museum – one of Istanbul’s leading cultural institutions – opened on 23 January with a gala screening to an audience of around 80 invited guests of Arshin mal alan (The Cloth Peddler), one of Azerbaijani cinema’s greatest triumphs. This has recently been digitally restored and colourised with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and ATA Holding. Featuring the dashing Rashid Behbudov, the legendary Azerbaijani lyric tenor, the film was made in 1945. Based on Uzeyir
Hajibeyli’s world-famous comic operetta of 1913, it features some outstanding melodies, which synthesise western writing with Azerbaijani mugham, graceful national dances and amusing comic sequences. It was popular across the entire Soviet Union and Turkic-speaking world, and remade in 1965. Tale Heydarov, Chairman and Founder, TEAS said: “I am delighted that we are beginning this festival of Azerbaijani cinema with the restored version of Arshin mal alan. The Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli is an
important figure in the history of music, for he composed Leyli and Majnun in 1908, the first opera in the Muslim world. The songs and dances from Arshin mal alan remain very popular, and this film exemplifies how Azerbaijani culture remained alive and vibrant, even during the Soviet period.” The remainder of the festival focused on some of the country’s recent cinematic successes, including Steppe Man (Shamil Aliyev, 2012), Azerbaijan’s Official Submission for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 2014 Academy Awards.
Personalities – Rena Effendi
Sunset over Havana Bay (Photos: Rena Effendi)
Rena Effendi – capturing the real Born in Baku in 1977, Rena Effendi is one of the leading contemporary Azerbaijani photographers. After initially studying at the Azerbaijan State Institute of Languages, she began her professional photographic career in 2001, and became a full-time photographer in 2005, having made the decision to leave her position as an Economic Development Specialist at the US Agency for International Development in Baku.
Ms Effendi’s first monograph, entitled Pipe Dreams, focused on the lives of ordinary people in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey living along the Baku–Tbilisi– Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. This stemmed from a commercial assignment from BP, but evolved into an independent project. She also photographed life in post-nuclear disaster Chernobyl; transgender people in Istanbul; captured village life in Khinaliq, Azerbaijan; the Russo–Georgian war of
2008; and youths in Tehran, Russia, Cairo and Afghanistan. To date, her work has been published in the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Financial Times, Time, National Geographic Magazine, Marie Claire and Le Monde, amongst others. TEAS caught up with Rena at the Istanbul edition of Azerbaijan Through the Lens and interviewed her at home in Cairo: Did your late father, Rustam Effendi, a famed entomologist and occasional photographer, influence your decision to become a photographer? My father, although being absent throughout most of my childhood, is somehow responsible for the choices I made as an adult. Before I found my outlet in photography, I envied him and his passion for science and for his work, which led to a very special lifestyle. That image of him, being away and alone, chasing butterflies in remote parts of the Caucasus, made me
Part of Rena’s Between Here and Paradise series, shot in Havana, Cuba
feel restless and inspired me with a sense of yearning for something that I lacked in my life at the time. I realised I needed to do something creative, yet I did not know how this would be manifested until I started taking pictures. Where did you study photography? I studied linguistics at university and, in reality, I feel as if I lack proper training in the art of photography. I picked up bits and pieces of knowledge that I found interesting or relevant, as opposed to forming part of an organised academic discipline. I did not receive any formal training in photography, but I spent a couple of years attending the studio of Sanan Aleskerov, an artist and photographer in Baku. We discussed books, and critiqued my photographs. I worked a lot in the darkroom, making my own silver prints. I then realised that I was mostly drawn to street photography, and observing life beyond the studio walls. What were the first photographs that you had published or exhibited? My pictures were first published in the Zerkalo newspaper in Baku in 2003. I offered them to the editors for free, and insisted that they should be run as a special photo essay page in the back of the paper. Publishing a social interest story through a series of pictures was very much a novelty for any local newspaper in Azerbaijan at the time. My photo story focused on a former Russian army pilot, who turned blind when his family died in an aeroplane crash. He was an elderly man, who spent his days sitting on the street and reciting passages from the Bible and Koran. People gave him food and money, and he walked to and from his house using a string that was tied to the wall of his home. Before Zerkalo, I offered my photos to a different magazine in Baku, but the editor had asked how much I was willing to pay to publish my pictures.
Personalities – Rena Effendi Your portraits are outstanding in capturing ordinary people in their homes and local surroundings. How do you get your subjects to behave naturally? How do you get them to trust you? I try to make people feel at ease with me by spending time with them and gently establishing the commonalities between us. Even in the most spectacularly different cultures, environments and upbringings, we can find common humanity. For instance, when I was in Zambia, we were talking to women in a village about the most challenging aspect of their lives. It transpired that this was not the fact that they had to walk for an hour under the scorching sun to the nearest well, nor the absence of normal human amenities and comfort, or disease and poverty, but it was boredom! They said that boredom was something that they simply could not cope with. I can very much relate to that! At the end of the conversation, we all ended up dancing on the street with village musicians drumming wildly. How long do you spend with your subjects before you start to photograph them? This is dependant on the situation. Time is variable, and can stretch from two seconds to two or more years. There is never a set-in-stone rule for interaction with your subject. Sometimes it’s not even a picture that matters in the end – it’s the interaction. This all adds up to being part of one’s life experience, and everyone I meet plays a part in enriching my life. Are your shots set up in any way? I try to concentrate on taking ‘observed portraits’, rather than actually setting up the shots. Some of my favourite portraits are taken when people just choose to ignore me and go about their own business, or are engrossed in their own thoughts. But, occasionally, I also like it when people look back at me, as if opening a dialogue. I then become just an invisible layer between the person, whose portrait I’ve taken, and the viewer. I like having that ghostly presence. I sometimes ask people to pose in better light, in or outside their homes. However, the portrait is always taken in their environment. I don’t think I’ve ever extracted anyone from his or her natural A 100-yearold women in the Terter IDP settlement
surroundings to take a photograph. It could be an interesting experiment to do so one day. You have continued to shoot on film. Why is this? Do you undertake any retouching in the darkroom or apply electronic methods?
the various temperatures of these and how they interact with light. I learned not to be distracted by colour, but to use this for the advantage of the photograph. The regions of the world in which you have taken series of photos are diverse – the Congo, Cuba, Romania, Chernobyl,
A IDP child from Nagorno-Karabakh, housed in an unfinished building in Baku, aims his toy pistol in this striking image from the Pipe Dreams book
I am still enamoured by film and its ability to interpret light and colour in surprising ways. Each time I bring back a batch of film and look at the scans, I see a new colour palette. It’s very seldom what I had expected. This element of surprise, and the sweet turmoil of expectation, is something that I miss with digital photography. In addition, film forces me to shoot less, become more disciplined, and focus on what I do. If you have less bad pictures to look at, the editing also becomes much easier. I undertake very minimal retouching. Your book Pipe Dreams was shot entirely in black and white. What determined your decision to dispense with colour for this particular body of work? Some images in Pipe Dreams date back to Baku in 2002. I started photographing around this time, and was very much inspired by the humanistic tradition of photographers from the previous century – such as Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and later Diane Arbus. They were all primarily black and white photographers, and I saw everything in black and white. It was a kind of emotional filter, as if no other form of expression was possible or necessary. By looking back, I also see that I used black and white to study form and surfaces, facial features and light, just as the drawings with pencils and charcoals are undertaken prior to starting a painting. Later on, I discovered colour and
Turkey and Iran. What prompts you to select a place or to concentrate on a specific people? I am often assigned to go to a certain place by a magazine or an institution. However, I research my own projects in some cases. If I come across a subject that interests me, I start looking further, and eventually go there. What are the political or social objectives of your various series? My main objective is to show humanity, and be respectful towards the people I photograph, together with ensuring their story is told to the public. The political or social consequences of the work are often beyond my control. I know that photography and journalism can inspire and drive social change, and I am always responsible for the photographs I take. However, I cannot guarantee any particular outcome, as the public’s reaction is often unpredictable. Which series presented you with the most technical, physical or emotional challenges? A recent challenge was to photograph female Syrian refugees at the Za’tari camp in Jordan. Most of the women I encountered there came from conservative backgrounds and were generally ‘camera shy’. Initially, it was very difficult for me to win trust, and put the people at their ease. All of the women I met had undergone the major trauma of
Personalities – Rena Effendi
war and loss, and it was only because of their natural hospitality and kindness that I finally managed to connect with them. People in Za’tari were also exhausted from all the media attention. Journalists come and take their picture, then turn their backs and walk away, and the Syrians are forced to deal with their everyday reality of living in a makeshift refugee camp with an uncertain future. I also sensed that the people were tired of being portrayed as victims. Many Syrian women I met in Za’tari were proud and beautiful, and becoming a refugee was a social stigma with which they had to cope. You have also worked in conflict zones, most notably during the Russo-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia in August 2008. What was this like? Were you viewed with suspicion? In Georgia, during that one week in midAugust 2008, there were more than 400 journalists covering the conflict. At some point, I felt that the crowd of journalists sandwiched between the Russian troops and the Georgians on the frontline outnumbered both armies. I don’t think anyone was viewed with suspicion. It was my first (and last) time on the frontline. In spite of the fact that it was a spot news situation, I worked at my own slow pace, with my usual medium-format film camera. I went on my own, without an assignment, so I focused on trying to find a personal way of portraying an event that was very much in the media’s spotlight. You have produced two series of photos in Azerbaijan – one in the Xinaliq Village, the other about the impact of the BTC pipeline. Why did you choose to focus on these aspects of your homeland? I decided to follow the BTC pipeline after a three-day trip with BP, the pipeline operator, along the route across Azerbaijan. It was a commercial assignment for a corporate calendar, and I was supposed to take pictures showing the positive impact of the pipeline on the communities. We travelled in a company car, and stopped only at project sites. However, in between the stops, I saw life that I wanted to capture on my own, without any corporate or public relations agenda. I set out to document social disparity in my country, especially in the rural areas, as I had witnessed that the general population was not benefiting from the oil wealth. For instance, although the city of Baku had exploded with progress, very little had trickled down to the villages along the oil pipeline. The contrast between the poverty of the people living above a pipeline carrying almost $100m per day to the west was very stark. Such projects might be for the greater good of the country, but there is always a human cost, and this is something I wanted to focus on.
Playing dominoes in the Culture Club, Xinaliq, Azerbaijan by Rena Effendi
I came across Khinaliq village while I was travelling in the north of Azerbaijan. I had heard a lot about the magical village of 1000 shepherd families that speak the dying language of Khinaluq. The village also features the part of the country that is highest above sea level, being located on top of the mountain, where each house’s courtyard forms the roof of another. The people wake up early and go onto their neighbour’s rooftops and, whilst sipping tea in the morning mist, exchange greetings, rumours and news. I always wanted to go and see Khinaliq and hear their strange language. There was no road to get there, and the legendary status of the village had developed further for that reason. When I visited the village for the first time in 2002, it took more than seven hours to travel from Baku. I hired a driver in a UAZ (Soviet military jeep) and we twice became stuck in hurling muddy waters trying to cross the mountain streams. On one occasion, a bride and groom became trapped on the road to their village on the way to
celebrate their marriage. The wedding started without them, and wild dancing followed. When the couple finally arrived in the middle of the night, the electricity went out. The musicians hooked up their system to the engine of the military jeep, and the party continued until the next morning. I subsequently returned every year until 2009. In 2006, a new road was constructed to improve traffic access for the village, and I wanted to see if this would have an impact on the culture of Khinaliq. What are your current projects? I have just completed an assignment for the National Geographic Magazine about the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi on contemporary India. I am also planning to work in North Dakota at the Spirit Lake Native American reservation, documenting the lives of the native Sioux community there. To see more of Rena Effendi’s photographs, go to www.refendi.com.
Eulogy – Fiona Maclachlan
Fiona’s favourite places included the magical Karavanserai in Sheki, and the spectacular mountains of Qabala. In 2009, she met Dmitry Yablonsky, the world-renowned cellist and conductor and one of the artistic directors of the Qabala Music Festival, who was to become a close friend. Fiona greatly enjoyed these fabulous concerts, and took every opportunity to share her enthusiasm and passion with her friends. The year 2011 was particularly special, and started with the excitement that the Eurovision Song Contest was coming to Baku. Fiona was there to simply enjoy the moment. Fiona enjoys Azerbaijani cuisine and hospitality during one of her many visits to the country
Eulogy – Fiona Maclachlan (1958–2013)
Fiona first arrived in Baku on a cold wintery night in January 2004 with her husband and daughter. This was a short trip preceding their planned move to the country with BP. She arrived with a warm and open heart, willing to embrace whatever this new culture had to offer. They happily lived in Baku until October 2008, when Fiona was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and they returned to the UK. On 15 November 2013, she lost her battle with the cancer in her hometown in Scotland. TEAS lost a much loved and respected colleague. Her family lost a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Azerbaijan lost a ‘true friend’. She leaves a legacy that will last for many years to come, founded upon a simple love for Azerbaijan and its people. Fiona had a varied career, including positions as a technical writer, ecological investigator, and working in a primary school. She quickly fell in love with Azerbaijan, the people and the culture. Fiona travelled extensively whenever she could, always recording her observations and experiences as she went, making many friends on the way. While having a lot of fun, she also pursued her two passions – exploring the nature and diversity of the country and helping the stray animals of Baku.
Later that year, Fiona was given an award by the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (ENPI FLEG) organisation for an article entitled Fighting for the Forests. This focused on protecting the unique forests of Azerbaijan, and creating sustainable forest management with ENPI FLEG and the international community. She also supported efforts to develop Community Based Tourism (CBT) across the Azerbaijani regions, whereby a network of families would provide local hospitality to tourists so they could experience the real Azerbaijan. She received written acknowledgement from CBT Azerbaijan for her work in their successful development. In stark contrast, she had the privilege to meet and interview Khojaly Massacre survivors, and was deeply moved by their stories and their strength. A book is being published containing some of her impressions of that tragedy. Fiona’s new life near London presented opportunities to attend events in which TEAS participated. The most notable of these was the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2012, which featured Karabakh Horses and a marquee celebrating Azerbaijan. Fiona took great delight in regaling a fascinated public with stories of Azerbaijan.
She was upset by the poor condition of the streets cats in Baku and felt she could help. In 2005, with a fellow expat, they founded Baku PAWS, the first-ever animal welfare charity in Azerbaijan. They established feeding stations and a veterinary clinic to maintain the health of the street cats. They promoted animal welfare within the city, and this legacy lives on today. In 2006, she started providing her travel articles and photos to an expat magazine entitled InBaku, promoting both Baku and its attractions, but also the regions and sites outside of the city. In 2007, she met Taleh Baghiyev of Visions of Azerbaijan, initially writing articles about the regions and the rich culture. However, with support and encouragement from Visions, her influence extended further. Her travels took her far and wide, to corners where few expats have ever had the privilege to visit. Such places included the spectacular villages of Xinaliq, Lahij, Sarabash, the tea-growing region of Lankoran, the wonderful fruits of Quba and Nabran, such national parks as Absheron, Altiaghaj and Ag-Gol, the vineyards of Ivanovka, and the old capital cities of Qabala and Ganja. After returning to the UK due to ill-health in 2008, Fiona underwent a successful operation and resumed her visits to Azerbaijan from the UK, working with TEAS on Visions magazine, covering an increasingly diverse range of subjects.
Fiona meets Orkhan Amashov, TEAS, in the Azerbaijani Pavilion at the Royal Windsor Horse Show
Following each visit to Azerbaijan, Fiona would return home to her family, full of fabulous tales and ideas. She infected everyone with her excitement and the wonder of Azerbaijan, and of the dramatic changes that were occurring there with each and every trip. Her family was constantly reminded of the warmth and kindness of the people and her friends. When she was ill they sent presents, and they came to stay. In Spring 2013, she was invited to become a board member for the Azerbaijan World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This clearly recognised the respect that she had attained for her work. Although she was delighted by this invitation, it was an opportunity that was not fulfilled. Fiona was a remarkable lady and a true friend to Azerbaijan.
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict UK Ambassador Irfan Siddiq speaks to journalists in Ganja (Photo: Sami Suleymanli; www.ganca.az)
Ambassador Siddiq: Nagorno-Karabakh resolution must respect territorial integrity and self-determination
Speaking to journalists during a visit to Ganja, H.E. Irfan Siddiq, UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan, commented: “The UK believes the conflict should be resolved peacefully with respect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and according to the general principle of self-determination.” Ambassador Siddiq said: “This conflict hasn’t been resolved for a long time, the parties are suffering, and this issue should be solved soon. We support the meetings that have recently taken place between the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of the two countries. We are ready to provide any support, as a party interested in resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
Upsurge in ‘contact line’ violence
Armenian sniper fire killed Sabuhi Azizov, an Azerbaijani Lieutenant, on the ‘contact line’ near the village of Agdam, in the Tovuz region. His bravery was subsequently acknowledged by Zakir Hasanov, Azerbaijani Defence Minister, who awarded him with a Third Class Medal for Distinguished Military Service regarding personal courage in the battlefield.
In a separate incident, Eshgin Guliyev, an Azerbaijani soldier, was killed by sniper fire. He also received a Third Class Medal for Distinguished Military Service. Previously, the Armenian army shot Captain Elnur Jafarov, an Azerbaijani officer. A village resident was also wounded near the ‘contact line’, due to Armenian shelling of the Tovuz region.
The Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Affairs Ministers exchanged valuable dialogue at a time of heightened tensions
Head of EU Delegation stresses EU engagement
Speaking at a press conference, Malena Mard, Head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan, stated: “We are concerned over the recent tension on the ‘contact line’ between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops. The EU has always kept this issue at the focus of attention.” She said that Philippe Lefort, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, had recently visited Azerbaijan. Ms Mard continued: “In the first instance, the OSCE Minsk Group should assist with conflict resolution, and EU representatives have already organised meetings with the Co-Chairs. The EU is ready to hear the proposals of the parties and Co-Chairs.”
Foreign Ministers meet in Paris
Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs has discussed the NagornoKarabakh conflict with Edward Nalbandian, his Armenian counterpart, in Paris. Both sides also met the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs – Igor Popov (Russian Federation), Jacques Fauré (France), and James Warlick (US). According to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Mr Mammadyarov explained that if Armenian armed forces were swiftly removed from the Azerbaijani occupied territories, the sooner the conflict would be resolved, in accordance with international law. The sides also agreed to continue discussions with the OSCE Minsk Group. Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, briefed the Co-Chairs on recent developments on the border and the ‘contact line’. The Co-Chairs expressed their deep concern over continued violence in the region, stressing that recent incidents serve to undermine negotiations and diminish the prospects for peace. They called on both sides to fully and unconditionally respect the ceasefire terms.
Kerry – the US is working on Nagorno-Karabakh
US Secretary and OSCE representative remain optimistic
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, commented on the work currently being undertaken to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to the US State Department, he said: “You’re not hearing about it. We’re working on Nagorno-Karabakh – the Caucasus.” During the same conference, Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, met Lamberto Zannier, OSCE Secretary-General, where he outlined the ongoing attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict. Mr Zannier expressed his concerns over the recent ceasefire
violations. Mr Mammadyarov replied that, to achieve peaceful conflict settlement, Armenian armed forces must be withdrawn from the occupied territories. More than 20 heads of state and government and over 60 foreign and defence ministers attended the conference. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General; Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary-General and Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, also participated at the forum.
ICRC estimates that 3765 people remain ‘missing’ The Baku office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has calculated that 3765 people were registered as ‘missing persons’ during the NagornoKarabakh conflict. Deniz Duran, Head, ICRC Baku, explained: “The frontline communities are those living around 3km from the ‘contact line’. The ICRC has many opportunities to visit these people.” She noted that the establishment of the relevant state commissions by Azerbaijan and Armenia was indicative that both sides are interested in clarifying the fate of the ‘missing persons’.
She explained: “Currently, the State Commissions from both sides are without direct contact. The ICRC, as a neutral party, mediates between them, and we hope that these Commissions will liaise directly in the future.” She commented: “We are working to achieve data preservation. We hope that, in the future, the sides will conduct exhumations and families will be given information about their loved ones, based on this collected information.” Ms Duran explained that the
ICRC implements programmes for civilians living in areas located close to the frontline, and persons whose relatives went missing in the conflict. Ms Duran deplored the frequent ceasefire breaches on the contact line, saying: “We are in contact with representatives from the communities and government agencies. These territories will be visited once the situation becomes stable. For safety reasons, we do not currently have representatives in the areas where shootings have occurred.”
Swiss OSCE Chair to focus on protracted conflicts
Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Foreign Minister, and new OSCE Chair, has outlined the priorities for the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE. Speaking during his first Permanent Council in Vienna, he said: “Protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the consequences of the August 2008 conflict in Georgia, and the Transdniestrian settlement process are also high on the agenda. We are well aware that progress may not come overnight, and that no settlement will be feasible unless the parties are committed. However, we firmly believe that it is not an option to simply wait and see.”
Didier Burkhalter, the new OSCE Chair, recognised the need to resolve protracted conflicts across the OSCE space
Mr Burkhalter later received in Bern the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, during which he expressed his appreciation for their efforts to mediate a settlement. They subsequently met Yves Rossier, State Secretary of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Production from West Chirag begins
The BP-operated Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) has announced the inception of oil production from the West Chirag platform as part of the Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli (ACG) field development in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. This completes the Chirag Oil Project (COP), construction of which began in 2010.
Production from the West Chirag J05 predrilled well began on 28 January. The oil will initially pass through the newly-installed processing facilities on the platform and then be exported to the Sangachal Terminal via a new in-field pipeline linked to a subsea export pipeline. During 2014, production will increase, as other predrilled wells are brought on-line.
The West Chirag platform under construction
Gordon Birrell, Regional President: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, BP, commented: “The start-up of the COP constitutes a major milestone in the development of the ACG field. West Chirag is the eighth world-class offshore platform in the Caspian that we have built and operated in a safe and efficient manner.
world-class reservoir for many decades. As operator of the ACG field, BP and its partners are committed towards achieving production optimisation. We believe COP represents a big step forward towards stabilising ACG’s production and maximising recovery, as more wells will be drilled from the new West Chirag facility.”
“To date, the ACG field has produced over 2.3bn barrels of oil. Due to the continual investment in new technologies and facilities, such as that inaugurated today, ACG will continue to operate as a
The West Chirag platform is located at a depth of around 170m between the existing Chirag and Deepwater Guneshli platforms. The daily capacity of the new platform is 183,000 barrels of oil and 8
S&P: ‘stable’ Azerbaijani economy
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) has affirmed its ‘BBB– /A–3’ long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings for Azerbaijan with a ‘stable’ outlook. On 31 January, S&P reported that the ‘stable’ outlook reflects the agency’s view that the development of large oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan will support economic growth, resulting in a budget surplus at the same level as previous years. S&P noted that Azerbaijan maintains strong net general government and external asset positions and acknowledged that these assets continue to provide substantial buffers against potential shocks. The agency estimated economic growth at around 5.8 per cent in 2013, equating to the fastest pace of expansion since 2009. S&P said: “The oil sector is just emerging from recession. Public spending, especially on infrastructure, is contributing to higher growth rates in the non-oil sector. We expect GDP growth to average
Caspian Corridor Conference 2014
Coming at a pivotal time, following the signing of the $45bn (£27.4bn) final investment decision (FID) between the Azerbaijani government and the BP-led Shah Deniz Consortium, the second Caspian Corridor Conference will take place at the London Stock Exchange on 7 March. During the conference, government ministers and stakeholders from various sectors will join business and industry leaders from the banking, energy and infrastructural sectors. They will explore the opportunities and changing economic dynamics of the area and its impact on Europe. It is anticipated that the Caspian region will maintain high future growth rates.
million m 3 of gas. The COP is a $6bn (£3.6bn) further development plan for the ACG field. Over $4bn (£2.4bn) of the total project capital expenditure has been used in the construction of facilities and the pre-drill programme, with the remainder being spent on platform development well drilling. This major investment will contribute towards optimising recovery from the ACG field. West Chirag platform fabrication work was entirely undertaken in Azerbaijan.
about four per cent in the medium-term, which is equivalent to long-term GDP per capita growth of 3.6 per cent.” The S&P GDP growth prediction is slightly above the figure cited by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) of 3.5 per cent in 2014 and below the World Bank estimate of 6.6 per cent. S&P believes annual oil production volume will remain at approximately the same level until 2017, but the growing volume of gas production will support economic growth. The report said: “We expect the development of the Shah Deniz II gas field to remain on track for 2018, now that the Shah Deniz Consortium has chosen the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the connecting grid to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), the latter being the initial carrier of Azerbaijani gas toward Europe.”
This conference will bring together leaders from business, academia and the media to examine the potential for Caspian corridor countries, identifying the key policy recommendations and business best practices applicable to the region. The conference will also offer an opportunity to network with key figures from the UK and Caspian region. The conference will be followed by an evening concert of Azerbaijani classical music, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the Central Hall, Westminster. Tickets for the conference and concert are free of charge – register via EventBrite at www.caspiancorridor.uk.com.
European Energy Forum focuses on Azerbaijan
The International Business and Diplomatic Exchange (IBDE) and European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) organised the European Energy Forum at King’s College, London. TEAS was one of the co-sponsors, and the forum brought together delegates from academia, business, the media, and government officials, with the Shah Deniz II development – where Caspian gas will be piped to Europe through the proposed Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) – taking centre-stage. The first panel comprised H.E. Konstantinos Bikas, Greek Ambassador to the UK; H.E. Emil Brix, Austrian Ambassador to the UK; and Vusal Abdullayev, First Secretary, Azerbaijani Embassy to the UK, together with Jacqueline Minor, Head, European Commission to the UK. The second panel discussed the topic of how Europe can achieve a diverse, secure and sustainable energy supply, whilst the third dealt with the opportunities for Europe, following development of the Southern Gas Corridor. Michael Fallon MP, Minister for Business and Energy, stressed the need for affordable energy prices, the increase in economic growth and competitiveness, and the creation of sustainable, lowcarbon energy systems. Ambassador Bikas outlined the potential impact of a common European energy market on the Greek economy and highlighted the direct and indirect effects of TAP on the Greek job market. Ms Minor acknowledged that diversification of energy resources is an essential element of energy security. Mr Abdullayev outlined the current and future role of Azerbaijani Caspian gas in ensuring European energy security. Ambassador Brix concluded the first panel by considering those aspects hindering effective European energy security, including the lack of a unified energy policy amongst the 28 EU member states. The speakers on the second panel discussed both the opportunities and challenges emanating from newly-discovered energy sources, together with infrastructural matters within the EU.
Vusal Abdullayev, First Secretary, Azerbaijani Embassy to the UK, explained the role of his country in providing future European energy security
Dorian Ducka, Deputy Minister, Albanian Ministry of Energy and Industry, focused on the benefits of TAP. This will integrate Albania into the European gas network and transform the country into a South-East European energy hub. John Baldwin, Group Political Adviser, BP, spoke on the difficult, yet successful, integration process. He outlined the current state of negotiations and the final investment decision (FID) agreement between the BP-led Shah Deniz Consortium and Azerbaijani government, placing particular emphasis on the economic viability and political acceptability of the project. Dr Frank Umbach, Associate Director, EUCERS, explained that 80 per cent of the output from the Southern Gas Corridor would enter the Italian, rather than Balkan, market. He recognised the uncertainty of gas demand in Europe, and questioned the economic rationale behind the proposed Russian South Steam project. Brendan Devlin, Advisor, Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission, stressed the fact that the Southern Corridor was primarily a connector to supplying countries, rather than an inter-European pipeline. He also explained how the project exemplifies how international diplomacy can balance the interests of industries and countries. Michael Hoffmann, External Affairs Director, TAP, made reference to gas distribution through TAP within Europe. He also investigated its potential extension to Bulgaria and Romania, and the possibility of pumping gas further north towards Germany, Belgium and the UK through the EU’s reverse-flow system, resulting in an optimised end-market.
AzerSpace–2 construction tender on the launchpad
The largest satellite operator in the Caucasus – Azercosmos – has said it will soon announce the winner of a tender to construct AzerSpace–2, the second Azerbaijani communications satellite. According to Azercosmos, the results of the tender, restricted to US companies, will be made public by the end of February. Azercosmos has received more than $1.5m (£912,000) from the US Trade and Development Agency to realise its second satellite. Azerbaijan put AzerSpace–1, its first communications satellite, into orbit on 7 February 2013. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, a US company, it was launched from Kourou in French Guiana from the Ariane 5 rocket. It covers Europe and significant sections of Asia and Africa, providing television, radio and internet services.
Amec-led consortium lands £590m deal
FTSE 100-listed Amec is the latest UK company to become part of the multi-billion pound project to bring Shah Deniz II gas to Europe. An Amec-led consortium has been awarded a $974m (£587.5m) contract by BP. The Amec–Tekfen–Azfen consortium comprises Amec, a Turkish company and a smaller local player, with Amec’s share estimated at around 12 per cent, equating to $117m (£71.1m).
The Amec–Tekfen–Azfen consortium has recently played a major role in fabrication of the West Chirag platform
Construction work began in January, and is scheduled for completion in 2018. Richard Rippon-Swaine, Director, Oil and Gas, Amec’s Growth Regions, said: “This latest award reinforces our successful longstanding relationship with BP and our partners Tekfen and Azfen. We have developed a strong track record in Azerbaijan, applying our global skills locally to deliver projects and engineering services in a safe and effective manner.”