Azerbaijan’s efforts to host the European Olympic Games and other high-profile international events show that Azerbaijani leaders yearn to be taken seriously in European Union capitals. But that doesn’t mean Baku is willing to listen to Brussels.
When the EU foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton and the enlargement and neighborhood commissioner Stefan Fule criticized the Azerbaijani government for the recent arrests of an opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov and journalist Tofiq Yaqublu, President Ilham Aliyev retorted that Azerbaijan had no obligations toward organizations of which it is not a member. EU representatives "had no right to interfere in Azerbaijan's internal affairs," Aliyev stated bluntly.
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Eldar Mamedov is a political adviser to the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament, who writes in his personal capacity.