Alwaght- Whereas large numbers of Muslims across the world have reacted to the brutal Israeli attacks on Palestinian residents in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as well as bloody airstrikes on Gaza, Azerbaijan government has remained silent just against its people's feeling of solidarity with the Palestinians, and even worse, some media and political reports say it bans comments on the Palestinian developments.
Hamid Hamidov, an Azerbaijani journalist and blogger in his Telegram channel wrote: "Many of our people are banned from commenting on the foreign policy, especially on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute."
This issue has unexpectedly become a dispute between the government and society. Local social media platforms are flooded with messages of popular support for Palestine. The vast majority of Muslim Azerbaijanis consider the Palestinians as their religious brothers.
In recent years, the Azerbaijani government has taken the Israeli regime as one of its regional allies and, despite all domestic criticism, strengthened its relations with Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv openly supported Baku in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and played a role in last year war as one of the main suppliers of weapons to the country, including Harop drones. In addition to the Nagorno-Karabakh war cooperation, there is a drone factory in Baku built in collaboration with Israeli defense companies.
On the other hand, since the early 1990s, the main factor determining the attitude towards foreign countries in the Azerbaijani society is the view to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The slogan "the friend of my enemy is my enemy” reflects the opinion of majority of the Azerbaijanis on the foreign countries. This issue, due to the close relations between the Armenian government and the Israeli government, has further caused the Baku government to be silent about the crimes and occupation of the Israelis in the Palestinian developments.
Karabakh crisis and the Baku strategic alliance with the Israelis
As it was mentioned, the dispute with Armenia over Karabakh region has been shaping the Azerbaijani foreign policy in the past three decades. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, it is estimated that 60 percent of the weaponry purchased by Azerbaijani government came from the Israeli regime. In reciprocation, Baku provides 40 percent of the Israeli oil imports, delivered through the Turkish Cihan Port on the Mediterrean coast. While the Israeli regime is close to Azerbaijan only to achieve its economic and especially geopolitical interests in opposition to Iran, and competition with Russia and Turkey, and basically the advancement of the project of destabilization and fragmentation in the regional environment, the government of President Ilham Aliyev has been building close ties with Tel Aviv driven by the Israeli arms sales to Baku, ignorant of the detriments this important factor can carry to the national Azerbaijani interests.
Such factors as the Azerbaijani internal unity, the determination to retake the occupied territories from Armenia, stronger Azerbaijani military forces, Armenian internal crises, the suitable international conditions, and Russian passiveness have been crucial in the Baku victory over Yerevan and thus there is no reason for Aliyev to pay ransom to the criminal Israeli regime. Otherwise, Azerbaijan can be a scene to gaps between the pro-Palestinian people and the pro-Israeli government.
What makes things worse for Baku is the way Turkey reacted to the Palestinian developments in the recent days. While the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments signaled bilateral strategic relations through their substantial military cooperation in Karabakh war, their stances separated in the past few days.
Following the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan immediately voiced backing to the Palestinians.
Erdogan, who has shown a tendency to de-escalate tensions with the Israeli regime in recent months, said with a sharp tone “we condemn the heinous Israeli attacks on our first qibla Al-Masjid al-Aqsa, which unfortunately takes place every month of Ramadan. “We, as Turkey, "in any case, will stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters."
A couple of days later, Erdogan tweeted: “I asked the whole world, topped by the Muslim countries to resolutely stand in the face of the Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Quds, and the Palestinians.” After this call, Ankara’s demand is that Baku approve of the Turkish leadership in the Muslim developments under Erdogan.