AZERBAIJAN SHOULD CHANGE ITS POLICY ON DIASPORA
Leyla Tagiyeva News.Az
May 21 2010
News.Az interviews Tofig Hajili, co-chair of Azeriunited, organization
of the Dutch Azerbaijanis.
I know that you have voiced your disagreement with some statements of
Irada Ulukhanly, chairman of the Dutch Society "For single, undivided
and democratic Azerbaijan", posted on our website. What has caused
I would like to note that there is a great difference between
Azerbaijani organizations and diaspora organizations in Holland. In
particular, their first category was created by the compatriots, that
is without the support of the State Diaspora Committee. They are the
only ones who are dealing with the patriotically positive propaganda
of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, the second category organizations usually do
not deal with any serious lobbyist affairs, as they are working only
for public and for getting big grants from the State Committee. These
are they who can often be met in the reports of the newspapers and
television, however, almost everything that they say does not meet
Returning to the question, I would admit that I cannot specify the
group that Ulukhanly’s organization belongs to, since it is the first
time I hear about it. But judging by her words, her organization
belongs to the second category I have indicated.
As for disagreement with some of her statements, we do not agree
that the organizations are mostly active in the north of Holland. I
think Irada khanum or mistaken in geographical concepts or she does
not know what she is talking about.
Irada khanum is mistaken saying that everyone is passive here,
that they are only active in the north (there is only one official
organization in the north) and that there is not a single book
in English, not speaking of Dutch which means they are out of the
question. Below, I will explain the whole structure and activeness
The main organization which is quite independent there is TurkAzNed
which locates in Hague, Den Haag, city of parliament, international
court etc locates in the south of Holland. The memorial to Khojaly
which was also organized by TurkAzNed, which has been functioning
for already 20 years, is also here. The organization is created by
Azerbaijanis from Turkey, Igdir and it is regulated by 90% by Igdir
residents. This is the only organization which has been celebrating
all holidays of Azerbaijan, propagating throughout Holland and even
had people on the level of the parliament who partake in almost all
holidays and meetings.
Thanks to the same people we received permission for the establishment
of the monument to Khojaly. The organization also advocates through
sport. Azerbaijanis from Holland play football in Holland and Belgium
and teach Dutch in the building of the organization for integration.
As you have said, earlier all well-known holidays as well as black days
of our history are held by this organization every year. In addition,
different other meetings and protests are held. They have recently
gathered for a meeting outside the parliament of Holland against
the request of Armenians to set a monument to "Armenian genocide"
in the center of the city.
Could you please tell something about the activity of the Azeri United
Foundation and its main directions?
Azerunited was created by Ali Hajili and Tofig Hajili in Rotterdam
in 2005. Azeriunited started its activity in 2000. At that time
Azeriunited was the only Azerbaijani portal at (the
website is not ours now). Initially, it was dealing only with the
online propaganda, we sent different leaflets by emails, participated
in most international forums, dealing with positive propaganda of
Azerbaijan. After the official registration in 2005, we continued our
activity in the Internet and added physical activeness. We distributed
information packages, in these packages we distributed information
about tourism in Azerbaijan, about the beauty of the country, etc,
as well as about Khojaly, Garabag, refugees and so on. At the same
time, we took part in all official meetings, organizations that are
connected with Azerbaijan at our own expenses. Now our organization
consists of about twenty Azerbaijanis, we have no office, we are
working online in the internet and organize different informative
meetings, unless we have enough funds for this.
Two years ago after seven months of working we could publish the first
and the only book about Azerbaijan on the highest level. The book was
prepared in cooperation with the Dutch and it is still sold in almost
every shop throughout Europe. The book partially consists of our
receipts and the second part is about Azerbaijan, culture, history,
traditions, photos etc. This book is written in Dutch. The book was
also sent free of charge to the officials of the parliament, as well
as several universities and many other important persons. We are still
settling them and distributing them free of charge where necessary.
Thus, I can disappoint Irada khanum, organizations like ours are
engaged in business and have even written a book. And if only we knew
her address, we would be happy to send her a couple of samples. By
the way, I regret that neither the Azerbaijani embassy nor the State
Diaspora Committee have demonstrated the due interest to this book
or helped either financially in its publication or distribution.
Azerinited has demonstrated itself towards the Azerbaijani people. We
have proven quite patriotic and having competence to deal with this
issue. The effect of our long-year activity is clear. Our aim now
is to release more physical editions in European languages, physical
editions mean books, films, brochures, magazines and so on. But now
we have problems with finances, as our state does not support us and
we can only hope for ourselves.
It is not a secret that Armenians have not only falsified history but
also misappropriate the works of Azerbaijani culture, art and cuisine.
Is this problem actual in Holland?
Holland does not have this problem at all, since Armenians do not work
like we do. Armenians work in secret but once in several years they
suddenly attain serious results. Speaking about the Armenian lobby, I
would like to note that this is a lie, there is no lobby at all, which
is working days and nights. But they have the support of their state,
while we do not have it. For example, Armenians pay everything to the
lobby, they have a subscription system, every Armenia give a monthly
fee and make serious projects, for example they gain recognition of
genocide in the parliament, they have even managed to write something
about Armenia and genocide to the Dutch school textbooks. Naturally,
this requires the support of the state and finances and Armenians get
this. We hold concerts, dance and sing every 3-4 month, but they do
not act like this, nothing is heard about them, while their business
is advancing. Armenians make films and broadcast them on Dutch TV,
they prepare dolma and then say with the pride that this is their
national Armenian meal, while Azerbaijani mugam is perform on this
background also in Armenian. In the past few years Armenians have
released several films that have been distributed in Europe in several
Are our compatriots active in the sociopolitical life of Holland and
which are the main problems on this way?
No, there is no political activeness and there are no problems on this
way, as there are no sufficient qualified Azerbaijanis. Azerbaijanis
in Holland live by the same rules like in Azerbaijan. The principle of
our compatriots is "to get something for free, not to attend school
and drive mercedes". Most of them have come here for social support,
90% of all get allowances after receiving documents, they do not learn
the language, do not attend schools. In addition, 80% of those whom
I know have left school before finishing and started working on the
markets. Moreover, there is a small number of Azerbaijanis here. There
are many Turks that are smart, they try to gain something and they
achieve their goals. Turks even have a minister in the parliament,
for example, now the Minister of Emigration and Justice is a Turkish
woman Albayrak by surname. But here we can find positive things too,
for example a dentist of the minister is our Azerbaijani from Baku.
As far as I know, the leader of the Talish separatist movement Alikram
Humbarov migrated to Holland after serving his prison in Azerbaijan
and continues the anti-Azerbaijani activity. What can you say about it?
There is an opinion that Alikram Humbatov was just used in smeary
political games. I am not a politician and I do not want to get
involved. I am doing everything possible to present our homeland in a
positive light to the world. But I would like to note that our people
from Azeriunited visit the monument to Khojaly in Hague every week
and every time when someone from among ours comes to the memorial
to clean the area around it and sit down there, they see Alikram,
who takes care of the memorial. He waters flowers around, cleans the
dust and so on. We have not seen anyone except us and Alikram near
this monument in the past three years. Igdir Azerbaijanis come here
on the day of Khojaly, maximum 5 Azerbaijanis from Azerbaijan come
here. This is a shame.
What do you think should be done for the better information of ordinary
Dutch about Azerbaijan and the problems facing the country?
It is primarily necessary to appoint a group of people to the
State Diaspora Committee that are currently connected with existing
organizations to raise effectiveness of use of funds for the diaspora
needs. Further, it is necessary to invest into physical editions
and media, books, TV, radio, magazines and improve tourism potential
for Azerbaijan to be viewed as a tourism country where one can see
historical and cultural wealth. Now we do not see it all. There are
just a couple of tourism firms who answer phone calls half-heartedly.
Then the state must invest in all organizations regardless of their
personal political views. In the end, we all want to help Azerbaijan
and Azerbaijan must recognize Khojaly as genocide of Azerbaijani
people. Thus, we will be able to put pressure on Armenians. It will
be very difficult without it.