Azerbaijan “Investigates” The New York Times for Karabakh Story
Azerbaijan recently became a no-fly zone for moon-walking American astronaut Charles Duke and Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier after they had the indiscretion to set foot in separatist Nagorno Karabakh without permission from Baku.
Last week, The New York Times' travel section offered a tip to other explorers about how to visit Karabakh and still be able to hop over to Azerbaijani-controlled territory later -- namely, just “ask for the visa to be put on a separate piece of paper that can be removed from your passport.”
The trick is hardly a secret. And one that prudent visitors quickly learn, with or without a how-to in the American "newspaper of record."
But the Azerbaijani government, its temper taut from jousting with Karabakh's protector, Armenia, over President Ilham Aliyev's pardon of axe-murderer Ramil Safarov, charged that sharing this advice was illegal and has tasked its US embassy to investigate the case.
It is unclear what means are at Baku’s disposal to punish The New York Times should the government decide that its "investigation" so warrants it.
This time, the well-tested domestic method of arresting troublesome journalists will not work.