Kerry Accused of Meddling in Azerbaijan’s Internal Affairs
An investigative report published by an Azerbaijani government-connected news agency alleges US Secretary of State John Kerry is orchestrating a campaign to discredit the government in Baku.
The report, published April 28 by the APA news agency, places Kerry “in the forefront” of a broad effort to undermine the Azerbaijani government during the run-up to the European Games, an Olympics-like event to be held in Baku in June.
Kerry, the report asserts, is known for “his Islamophobic mindset [and a] special closeness to Armenians, and supports pro-Armenian initiatives in the United States.” It also hints that the US government would favor regime change in Baku. Documents obtained by APA relating to the campaign put “an end to the statements expressed at the highest level that the United States does not interfere in the internal affairs of independent countries and develop coup plans,” the article says.
A group of Western non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy and the New York-based Open Society Foundations (OSF), was also cited in the report as participating in the campaign. [Editor’s Note: EurasiaNet.org operates under OSF’s auspices].
“These forces are realizing a plan of politicizing the first European Games, creating one-sided vacuum of information, directing the attention of the international community to the internal affairs of Azerbaijan in a distorted way,” the APA report alleges. On April 30, APA published documents that it said were obtained from a reliable source, that outline the objectives of the campaign, dubbed Sports for Rights. The documents that were published do not make a connection between the State Department and an NGO coalition.
The APA report hints that the campaign, which NGO participants say is designed to call attention to Azerbaijan’s dismal human-rights record, could prompt Baku to alter its present geopolitical orientation.
US Embassy in Baku issued a statement April 29 that sought to reassure President Ilham Aliyev’s administration. “Claims that the United States is working to overthrow the Azerbaijani government are patently false and do an injustice to more than two decades of close cooperation between our countries,” the statement noted. “There should be no doubt that the United States remains committed to partnering with Azerbaijan to achieve the most independent, stable, prosperous, democratic future possible.”
Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi, and author of Tamada Tales.
Sign up for Eurasianet's free weekly newsletter.