Lala Shevket: “Musavat’s Chairman has delivered a heavy blow to the unity of the opposition” – INTERVIEW

Lala Shevket: “Musavat’s Chairman has delivered a heavy blow to the unity of the opposition” – <font color=red>INTERVIEW </font>
# 02 February 2010 12:48 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Elnur Mammadli – APA. Interview of the Leader of Azerbaijan Liberal Party Lala Shevket to APA

- How do you assess the Musavat Party Chairman Isa Qambar’s accusations of working with Iran, Russia and the government against some of the oppositional parties? In your opinion, how close to truth are these accusations?

- This debate is on the whole unfounded. I am surprised at how some politicians are seriously trying to discuss this matter. Why so? First, it is well known that an agent, a spy working for foreign nations, a person selling his own country’s national interests for personal benefit, is not only a lowly scoundrel, but also a criminal. If a person is in possession of some proves or documents in this respect, it is his duty to present them immediately to the National Security Ministry. Not doing so is a serious criminal offence in itself. Not only politicians, every educated person knows that this is reflected in the Azerbaijani law, which is also the case in every country of the world. This matter is not for politicians, but a direct duty of the National Security Ministry. Discussing this matter by politicians resembles surgeons discussing quantum physics. In one word, if one has proves, he must present them to the National Security Ministry. This matter is not a topic for discussions.

Second, this topic is not new. In the last years it has been brought to the daily agenda precisely by some functionaries of the Musavat party, directly or indirectly. Many politicians have been named, including me. Almost no politician in Azerbaijan is left without being accused of being an "agent". At one time in 1990s young functionaries of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party have used this method against the opposition. I remember clearly at that time the Minister of National Security Namiq Abbasov making a statement to the effect, that everyone should mind his own business and leave the matters of national security to professionals. In the last several years even the ruling party’s functionaries have somewhat matured and rejected this primitive method. It’s quite regretful that this topic is still a problem of today within the opposition.

Third, it was two most villainous parties, the Bolsheviks and the Nazis, to use this method of labelling "agents" and "people’s enemies" in the recent history. Goebbels said: "Repeat lie a thousand times and it will be believed". They have destroyed all the intellectuals and progressive people opposing their policies by this method. Stalin has destroyed millions of innocent people in Siberia by labelling them "agents", including the greatest Azerbaijani intellectuals, progressive personalities, the cream of society, such as Huseyn Javid, Ahmed Javad, Mikayil Mushfiq and many others. Modern historians even call this "agent" brand the "Bolshevik label". Using this Bolshevik method by the Musavat Party today is the greatest betrayal of Musavat’s history. I want to stress here specifically that there are many noble and selfless people within the Musavat Party. These people have joined this party precisely on the account of its historical name. I have a deep respect for them, and I know that their majority is displeased with this occurrences.

-What do you think how are these accusations true?

- On the whole, in the last 17 years there have been many campaigns against me, campaigns full of slander and insults, from the ruling party and some opposition activists alike. I can somewhat understand the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party – after all they were attacking opposition, although insults and slander do not bring pride to anyone. But I could never understand some of the representatives of the opposition. I have sued functionaries of the ruling party many times. But I have never sued any of the opposition activists, who were carrying out even dirtier campaigns against me. Even when they labelled the Liberal Party, me and Avaz Temirkhan "agents", I advised Avaz Temirkhan not to sue, because as opposition we were all in one camp. There are unwritten rules for relations within a camp. These people cannot throw stones at each other, and I have always respected these rules with my own position. This, however, doesn’t mean that my patience is inexhaustible. I remember that in the end of 1990s Elchibey in his interview to ANS TV’s "Point of View" has said that "in Azerbaijan it is me and Lala Shevket, who are under attack from both the right and the left". I regret it sincerely that today in Azerbaijan nobleness is considered a weakness.

Recently the Azadliq Radio has published in its website an article by Uzeyir Hajibeyov called "Alarmism". In it Uzeyir bey tells about people slandering to no purpose. In my opinion, Uzeyir bey has given a much better answer to these people.

- There are different proposals concerning unity of the opposition in the year of parliamentary elections. How do you value these proposals?

- On January 7 I have put forward a proposal on the unity of the opposition. Its essence was that in such a difficult time the opposition should have created a wide coalition and participated in the parliamentary election with a single list of candidates. In these grave conditions it could be the only successful tactics. And it is my opinion that the majority of that single list of candidates should be renowned intellectuals, public figures, journalists and young people. Regretfully, Musavat’s Chairman with his statement has delivered a heavy blow to the unity of the opposition by spreading discrimination and confusion. It is not accidental that the Executive Secretary of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party Ali Ahmedov has greatly supported Isa Qambar’s statement. It is the first time in Azerbaijan’s history that the ruling party openly supports opposition. Now, let everyone think for themselves, who needed that statement and for what ends?!

In the end I would like to note that in Azerbaijan no party is given the right to classify other parties or speak to them with conditions. First, it is undemocratic; second, it is incompatible with political culture. We often accuse the public of being passive, but those in the opposition, who carry on attacks within the opposition, should know that by that they are destroying faith in opposition, including themselves.