Celebrating the 106th anniversary of first Azerbaijani Democratic Republic
    Reflections on past achievements and prospects

    ANALYTICS  27 May 2024 - 09:17

    Fuad Muxtar-Agbabali

    On May 28, Azerbaijan commemorates the 106th anniversary of establishing the first Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR) in 1918. This significant occasion marks the inception of the first secular and democratic republic in the Muslim East, a short-lived yet profoundly influential period that laid the foundations for modern Azerbaijani statehood.

    The first democratic republic: A brief historical overview

    The ADR emerged from the collapse of the Russian empire, with Azerbaijan declaring its independence on May 28, 1918. Despite its brief existence - lasting until April 1920 when Bolshevik forces invaded, the ADR implemented several pioneering reforms that underscored its commitment to democracy, secularism, and progressive governance.

    Among its most notable achievements was establishing a parliament based on universal suffrage, including voting rights for women, making Azerbaijan one of the first Muslim-majority countries to grant such rights. The ADR also prioritized education, founding Baku State University in 1919, which became a vital institution for higher learning in the region. Other reforms included the development of a national army, the establishment of a state bank, and efforts to foster economic independence.

    Congratulatory messages & current diplomatic relations

    As Azerbaijan celebrates its independence, it receives congratulatory messages from world leaders, reflecting its strategic importance and the robust international relationships it has cultivated. Notably, messages from US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, to mention a few, underscore Azerbaijan’s significant geopolitical role.

    Joe Biden’s message: Highlighting strategic cooperation

    In his congratulatory message, President Joe Biden underscores the enduring partnership between the United States and Azerbaijan, rooted in shared interests such as energy security and regional stability. He highlights the collaboration in Afghanistan and the development of the Southern Gas Corridor, a critical infrastructure project enhancing European energy security by transporting Caspian gas to Europe.

    Biden’s message also acknowledges Azerbaijan’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia, illustrating Azerbaijan’s proactive role in global humanitarian efforts. Looking forward, Biden emphasizes the US commitment to deepening cooperation on regional and international issues, including climate change and green energy, while encouraging democratic reforms and human rights protections in Azerbaijan. The upcoming COP29 in Baku is anticipated as a pivotal event for advancing shared climate goals.

    Vladimir Putin’s message: Emphasizing allied relations

    President Vladimir Putin’s message reflects the historical and strategic ties between Russia and Azerbaijan. Putin commends Azerbaijan’s socio-economic achievements and its respected position on the international stage.

    He expresses confidence in continued bilateral cooperation across various domains, emphasizing the importance of regional security and stability in the South Caucasus and the Caspian region. This message highlights the pragmatic aspects of the Azerbaijani-Russian relationship, which balances cooperation with careful navigation of complex regional dynamics.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s message: Celebrating brotherhood & strategic partnership

    President Erdogan of Türkiye highlights the deep-rooted fraternal ties between Azerbaijan and Türkiye, encapsulated in the phrase “One nation, two states”.

    Erdogan’s message celebrates Azerbaijan’s recent restoration of territorial integrity and expresses pride in its progress and regional influence. The emphasis on high-level strategic relations and mutual support in both joyous and challenging times underscores the close alliance and shared vision for the future.

    Xi Jinping’s message: Strengthening economic & political cooperation

    Chinese President Xi Jinping’s message underscores the dynamic development of China-Azerbaijan relations, particularly within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

    Jinping emphasizes the strategic importance of the Middle Corridor, which passes through Azerbaijan, enhancing connectivity between Asia and Europe. The focus on deepening bilateral cooperation across various fields, including political mutual trust and international collaboration, reflects the expanding scope of Sino-Azerbaijani relations.

    Energy security & economic development

    As Azerbaijan marks its historic anniversary, it stands at a crossroads of regional and global significance. The congratulatory messages from global leaders not only celebrate past achievements but also point to future opportunities for collaboration and development.

    Azerbaijan’s role as a key energy supplier is critical to its strategic relationships. The Southern Gas Corridor is a cornerstone of Baku’s energy diplomacy, enhancing its importance to European energy security. Continued investment in energy infrastructure and exploration of renewable energy sources will be pivotal for sustaining economic growth and fostering environmental sustainability.

    Regional stability & peacebuilding

    The recent steps towards peace with Armenia, including confidence-building measures and border delimitation, are crucial for regional stability. The international community’s support, as reflected in Biden’s and Putin’s messages, underscores the importance of a durable and dignified peace. Sustained diplomatic efforts and international mediation will be essential to resolving long-standing conflicts and fostering lasting peace in the South Caucasus.

    Azerbaijan’s strategic location makes it a vital link in global trade and transportation networks. The Belt and Road Initiative, supported by China, and the close alliance with Türkiye enhance Azerbaijan’s geopolitical significance. Bolstering these partnerships, while diversifying its international relations, will enable Azerbaijan to navigate the complexities of regional politics and global economic trends.

    Conclusion

    As Azerbaijan celebrates the 106th anniversary of the first Democratic Republic, it reflects on a legacy of pioneering reforms and visionary governance. The congratulatory messages from global leaders underscore Azerbaijan’s strategic importance and the robust international relationships it has cultivated.

    Building on its historical foundations, Azerbaijan is poised to enhance its role on the global stage, fostering energy security, regional stability, and sustainable development. With a commitment to democratic governance and human rights, Azerbaijan can navigate future challenges and opportunities, reinforcing its position as a key player in the region and beyond.

    Caliber.Az

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