Azerbaijani nationalism

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Azerbaijani nationalism (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan milliyətçiliyi), also referred to as Azerbaijanism (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycançılıq), started out as a cultural movement among Azerbaijani intellectuals within the Russian Empire during the second half of the 19th century. While initially cultural in nature, it was later developed further into a political ideology which culminated in the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918.[1]

Compared to Armenian and Georgian nationalism, a specifically ethnic nationalism was rather slow to develop among Azerbaijanis, partly due to their self-identification as part of the larger Muslim world rather than as a singular ethnocultural nation.[2] Following the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its declaration of independence in 1991, however, Azerbaijan has witnessed the ascent of a particularly strong Azerbaijani nationalism, including various types of Pan-nationalism and irredentism.[3]


Irredentist claims by Azerbaijani nationalists would mainly seek to incorporate large sections of Iran as well as parts of Armenia, Russia, Georgia and Turkey within a proposed enlarged territory known as Whole Azerbaijan. Iran hosts a larger number of ethnic Azerbaijanis than the independent nation of Azerbaijan, and prior to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918 the name of "Azerbaijan" was exclusively used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran.[4][5][6]

Azerbaijani consciousness is also central to wider cooperation with ethnically affiliated populations through Pan-Turkism. [7]

Nagorno-Karabakh War[edit]

During the Soviet era, Armenians and Azerbaijanis coexisted peacefully. When the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out, however, this changed radically. The initial Armenian claims to Nagorno-Karabakh, in Azerbaijan, yielding from Armenian nationalism, were laid in late 1987.[8]

From 1998, Armenia began accusing Azerbaijan of embarking on a campaign of destroying a cemetery of finely carved Armenian khachkars in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.[9] On May 30, 2006, Azerbaijan barred the European Parliament from inspecting and examining the ancient burial site. Charles Tannock, British Conservative Party foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, stated, "This is very similar to the Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban. They have concreted the area over and turned it into a military camp. If they have nothing to hide then we should be allowed to inspect the terrain." Hannes Swoboda, an Austrian Socialist MEP and member of the committee barred from examining the site, said he hoped a visit could be arranged in the autumn. He stated that "if they do not allow us to go, we have a clear hint that something bad has happened. If something is hidden we want to ask why. It can only be because some of the allegations are true." He also warned: "One of the major elements of any country that wants to come close to Europe is that the cultural heritage of neighbors is respected."[10]

A key advocate of Azerbaijani nationalism is Farida Mammadova, who has made anti-Armenian statements.[citation needed] In response to desecration of Azerbaijani holy sanctuary Agadede south of Yerevan in 2005, Mammadova said that "it is known, that on whole planet exactly the Armenian people is distinguished by the absence of spiritual and other human values. And it is them who are used to appropriate the cultures of other nations while living in another state".[11]

According to Thomas de Waal, Mammadova has grasped the Albanian theory after studying the history of Caucasian Albania and used it to push the Armenians out of Caucasus altogether. She has placed Caucasian Albania on the territory of modern Armenia: all the territories, churches, and monasteries in Armenia have appeared Albanian. Mammadova had visited the Gandzasar monastery in 1975 and read the inscription on facade "I Hasan-Jalal, built this church for my people of Aghvank..." referring to an ancient name of Albania.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Najafov, Etibar: The evolution of Azerbaijani nationalism: Enlightenment, ADR, and Azerbaijanism, Azerbaijan in the world. ADA Biweekly Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 12, July 2008.
  2. ^ The Forsaken People: Case Studies of the Internally Displaced - Page 257 by Roberta Cohen, Francis Mading Deng
  3. ^ Hirose, Yoko: The Complexity of Nationalism in Azerbaijan, International Journal of Social Science Studies, vol. 4, no. 5, p. 136-149, May 2016.
  4. ^ Atabaki, Touraj (2000). Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and the Struggle for Power in Iran. I.B.Tauris. p. 25. ISBN 9781860645549.
  5. ^ Dekmejian, R. Hrair; Simonian, Hovann H. (2003). Troubled Waters: The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region. I.B. Tauris. p. 60. ISBN 978-1860649226. Until 1918, when the Musavat regime decided to name the newly independent state Azerbaijan, this designation had been used exclusively to identify the Iranian province of Azerbaijan.
  6. ^ Rezvani, Babak (2014). Ethno-territorial conflict and coexistence in the caucasus, Central Asia and Fereydan: academisch proefschrift. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. p. 356. ISBN 978-9048519286. The region to the north of the river Araxes was not called Azerbaijan prior to 1918, unlike the region in northwestern Iran that has been called since so long ago.
  7. ^ Fishman, Joshua; Garcia, Ofelia (2011). Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity: The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts. 2. Oxford University Press. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-19-539245-6. It is commonly acknowledged that pan-Turkism, the movement aiming at the political and/or cultural unification of all Turkic peoples, emerged among Turkic intellectuals of Russia as a liberal-cultural movement in the 1880s.
  8. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2003). Black garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war. New York: New York University Press. pp. 15–20. ISBN 0-8147-1944-9. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  9. ^ World Watches In Silence As Azerbaijan Wipes Out Armenian Culture.
  10. ^ PanArmenian.
  11. ^ "Фарида Мамедова: "Разрушив захоронение "Агадеде", армяне в очередной раз пытаются посягнуть на историю Азербайджана"" [Farida Mamedova: "Having destroyed the Agadede sanctuary, Armenians are again trying to lay claims on Azerbaijani history]. January 6, 2006. Archived from the original on November 17, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  12. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2003). Black garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war. New York: New York University Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-8147-1944-9. Retrieved July 19, 2010.