Will Azerbaijan Change Its Name?
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The country of Azerbaijan
may answer to a different name in the future, if local lawmakers go to town with a proposal to rename the oil and gas-loaded country the Republic of Northern Azerbaijan.
The idea, pitched by minority lawmakers and applauded by representatives of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party, spells trouble for the already less-than-neighborly relations between Azerbaijan and Iran. The name Northern Azerbaijan emphasizes the fact that the Azeri nation is split between an independent state, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and a province in northern Iran, known to many Azerbaijanis as Southern Azerbaijan.
Things have not been too chummy of late between Iran and Azerbaijan, both majority Shi’ite Muslim countries, and the proposed name change for Azerbaijan is unlikely to improve matters.
Or to calm concerns within Azerbaijan about what trouble with Iran might mean for their country. But some lawmakers still like the sound of Northern Azerbaijan.
And why not?, asked Yeni Azerbaijan Party parliamentarian Siyavush Novruzov. We already have the examples of North and South Korea, North and South Cyprus, so “Azerbaijan, as a divided state, should be called Northern Azerbaijan,” he argued, Trend reported. The lawmakers have proposed to hold a national referendum on the name change.
Iran, so far, is not known to have responded.
Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi, and author of Tamada Tales.
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