“Catalonia referendum was one of events that were huge support to Azerbaijan in respect of Karabakh problem”
The Catalonia referendum was one of the recent events that were huge support to Azerbaijan in respect of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Elnur Soltanov, dean of the Faculty of Public and International Affairs of ADA University, told APA.
He was commenting on the illegal independence referendum held in Spain’s Catalonia region on Oct. 1.
Soltanov said that autonomous powers in the middle of Europe, in a respectable country of the European Union, should be subject to the central government, the country's Constitution, the law, and the country's supreme judicial body, and that they should not take such steps.
"The Spanish government used all possible means. The Constitution and the court verdicts are plain and simple. However, these legal demands were not respected, so the Spanish government prevented it in a legal way,” he said.
According to Soltanov, in general, the overall message is that the law should be respected.
“Many states and international organizations have made clear statements that it is a domestic affair of a state. Issues related to police behavior are a little technical. But the behavior of a respected EU country shows that the referendum held in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan was illegitimate and all the steps taken by Azerbaijan were lawful. Although the Spanish government took more drastic action, the law ultimately came out victorious,” he said.
Soltanov said he thinks the Catalonia problem most likely will be resolved on a legal sphere, and the EU bodies will also emphasize that this issue is an internal matter of Spain.
“There will be probably some criticism on the behavior of the police, but the legal steps taken by a democratic country such as Spain will ultimately determine the overall atmosphere,” he added.
Elkhan Shahinoglu, director of the Atlas Research Center, told APA that the referendum held in Catalonia is illegal and runs contrary to the Spanish Constitution.
“If the referendum was agreed with Madrid, there would be no controversy. Some say that a referendum was held in Scotland too, but why there was no interference? There is a big difference between the Catalonia and Scotland referendums. The referendum held in Scotland was agreed with the UK government. Therefore, there was no interference in the referendum in Scotland. The vast majority of Scots voted against independence. However, the autonomous government made a decision without agreeing with Madrid and held such a referendum in order to split the state. Of course, the central government could not allow it,” he said.
He pointed out that the curious situation has developed in Europe.
“It is true that the European Union supports Spain's territorial integrity. But the point is that some observers from Europe participated in this referendum. Although the current chairman of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, called the referendum on independence in Catalonia illegitimate, Deputy Chairman of the European Parliament, Chairman of the Austrian Green Party, Ulrike Lunacek made a statement expressing support for the independence initiatives of Catalonia,” he said.
Shahinoghlu went on to say: “Although some people call the referendum illegitimate, they do not think it is correct for the police to use force against voters. This, in fact, speaks of Europe's double standards. That is, on the one hand they support the territorial integrity of Spain, while on the other hand, they secretly support Catalonians in some countries. They do not understand that the support given to the Catalonians could cause Spain's fragmentation and boomerang effect in the future, even creation of these problems in countries that support it.”
Shahinoglu also touched upon the comparison of the Catalonia problem with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The difference is that although the referendum in Catalonia was criticized, the Catalonians have not yet set their self-determination as a nation, while Armenians have already created a state called Armenia. Azerbaijan can never allow the establishment of a second Armenian state on its territory. We urge Europe to support territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as well as Spain," he added.
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