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Main » 2009 » December » 2 » “Azerbaijanizm” against Turkism
“Azerbaijanizm” against Turkism
There is an interesting phenomenon observed in the Azerbaijan Republic - the search for ethnonym. The fact that the searchers in their suppressing mass still didn’t determine with the same ethnicity, to which it is necessary to give (to devise or to compose) the name is even more interesting. We can say that Baku pundits undertook the task with a lot of unknowns. And, nevertheless, the continuous process of the search for ethnonym for the unknown ethnicity already began to lead the tectonic shifts in the citizens’ consciousness of this republic. Today the inhabitant of Baku does not actually know what nationality he represents. It means, at the level of his own understanding of the object, he probably solved the task for himself, but here is the problem, his own brother wouldn’t agree with it. It turns out that children of the same parents could be Muslim (in the Azerbaijan Republic it is an ethnonym), they also could be Azerbaijanians, Turk-Azeris, simply Azeris or simply Turks each individually… Herewith, each of them is completely confident in his rightness and he even can prove it "on the fingers”.

The process of the universal ethnonym search for the Transcaucasian Turks (Azerbaijan Turks, Caucasian Tatars, and Moslems) began not today. This phenomenon counts already almost centuries-old history. However, after the acquiring of the independence in 1991, these disputes became more topical. Especially, taking into the account the fact that "independence” is the result of the usurpation of power by representatives of the prevailing in Azerbaijan Turkish tribes.

It is necessary to say that the search for same ethnonym for all of the Turkish tribes in Azerbaijan during the Soviet era had command-administrative nature and at the beginning pursued purely political purposes. Until the moment they hoped in Moscow that Turkey will join the socialist camp, the Turk- speaking residents of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic were accepted as Azerbaijan Turks. As soon as Turkey finally faced the West, there arose the "need” for the exclusion of them from the Anatolian Turks. At that time appeared the word "Azerbaijani” for the Turks of Azerbaijan Republic.

The paradox of the situation that not the nation gave its name to the republic, but the republic – to the tribes didn’t confuse anyone. Well-known Baku professor of that time wrote: "Comrade Stalin named us Azerbaijanians, and it means that we are Azerbaijanians”. However, it was not enough to call. It was necessary to contribute the gap of ethnic ties. By the way, during the Second World War when Turkey came out as the secret ally of Hitler it detained the process; however, immediately after the Second World War the "azerbaijanization” of Turkish tribes renewed with the new energy.

The leader of Azerbaijan Communists M. J. Bagirov, coming out on the XVIIIth congress of the Azerbaijan Communist Party had described Turk-nomads without spare of black color "Bandits, robbers, killers, he said, have just few matches with the ancestors of Azerbaijan people”. Under the disgrace was even an "oral creation of wild barbarian-nomads” Turkik epic called "Kitabi Dedem Korkut”. The problem pierced the Turkish language of Azerbaijan tribes, that is why the Communist authority of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic had been forced "to allow” that at the beginning of 12th century Turks from the Altai steppes migrated to the region and (naturally) they were then banished or assimilated, but they left their language that became their legacy.

The failure of this "theory” had been understood even by the Communists, in consequence of that during all postwar years in Azerbaijan was conducted the work on the composition of ethnogeny of the Turkish tribes of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. We will not stop on the multiple versions and proofs. We have 2 reasons: 1. they all pursued political purposes and were directed toward the incongruous combination - proof of the indigenous of Turkish population in Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic; 2. examination of all these theories exceeds the scope of this article. Let us point only the fact that: the composition "of ethnogeny” of the Azerbaijan Turks acquired the nature of socialist competition - who is more agile to "age up” Azerbaijanians roots, and at the same time to "to preserve” their attachment to the Turk language. The "winner” in this contest proved to be historian who called Noah… the great Azerbaijani scientist-astronomer. There were also added to Azerbaijanians the tribes of Scythians and Saka, Medes and Sumerians…

Nevertheless, the above mentioned "treatises” left their track in the consciousness of the Turk- speaking inhabitants of the Azerbaijan Republic and in certain way it even contributed the alienation of Anatolian Turks. After the independence the problem of the identification of the Turk- speaking segment in Azerbaijan acquired special political significance. During the president elections in 1992 major candidate Abulfez Elchibey (Aliev) carried out his pre-election campaign under the slogan "Islam, turkism, democracy”. At the same time his main opponent E. Mamedov used the slogan "Turkism, azerbaijanizm, national identity”. There are no doubts, that this was one of the first attempts to separate azerbaijanizm from turkism, which did not have any chances "to survive” under the pressure of "azerbaijanizm” and "national identity”.

Abulfez Elchibey (Aliev) won and within the short time of his administration Azerbaijani language had been legislatively renamed on the Turkish. He also remembered by several declarations on this theme, with the ardor of the gold miner he added to Turks not only Turk- speaking tribes, but also some Dagestani nations and Kurds.

As we know it was not destined for Elchibey to rule for a long time: Heydar Aliyev became the authority after the armed revolution in Azerbaijan; his policy to a question was characterized let’s say by flexibility, if we don’t say, by discrepancy. People love to assign the saying of passed-away Turkmenistan President to Heydar Aliyev about the Turkey: "One people - two states”. At the same time the new advertisement of H. Aliyev had obtained widespread: "I am proud of the fact that I am an Azerbaijanian”. The tendency to overcome this contradiction in the statement of the "general national leader” of Azerbaijan Republic gave birth to the new designation of the Turk- speaking inhabitant: Azeri-Turk.

The new perception of the national identity, ease involuntarily imposed by H. Aliyev endangered the new distemper in the souls of Azerbaijan inhabitants. The far-reaching consequence of the new term is the rejection from "Azerbaijan organism” of the radical representatives. If Lezghians, Talysh, Avars and others somehow could be subdued to the term "Azerbaijanian”, treating it as "the inhabitant of Azerbaijan”, then Azeri-Turk leaves no chances for the their individual perception as the equal citizen of Azerbaijan. Azeri-Turk is the beginning of the differentiation Republic’s population.

Attention is drawn to the interesting fact: in the role of the most zealous adherents of azerbaijanizm and those who deny Turkism appeared (and now appear) leaders of republic who ethnically don’t belong to the Turkish tribes. That how it was in the period of M.E. Rasulzade administration, the first leader of the Azerbaijan republic of 1918-20 (actually talking about the name "Azerbaijan” it appeared with Rasulzade). We already mentioned that enormous anti-Turkish campaign had place with M. J. Bagirov. Less noticeable, but not less zealous is conducted politician azerbaijanizm with Heydar and Ilham Aliyevs. It is interesting that Rasulzade and Bagirov belonged to the ethnic group of Tati (Parsis), and Aliyevs - are Kurds.

The indicated regularity is not completely random. And the problem is not in the fact that Tati and Kurds are not in quite friendly relations with the Turks. It is seemed that Rasulzade, Bagirov, Aliyevs and other apologists of Azerbaijanizm logically receive the word "Azerbaijanian” as a safe shelter for their own nation. They correctly perceive history and realize that nations were added in the process of fight, violence and defense. They also understood that this is an eternal process and the organism that doesn’t resort to force is doomed to the unavoidable extinction. Another organism would come to change it, another nation.

The adherents of Azerbaijanizm try latently to avoid this fight. They feel the weakness of their ethnicities and nations in front of the aggressive nationalism of Turkism and they realize the futility of the survival fighting under the conditions of aggressive turkism. Aliyev understands that the victory of Turkism within the limits of Azerbaijan Republic will lead to the extrusion from the power structures of all of the representatives of not-turkish ethnicity. And hence all of the Aliyevs themselves.  

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