Chapter 5. Entry ban to Azerbaijan
An extraordinary manifestation of armenophobia and incitement to hatred take form of
banning the entry for ethnic Armenians who are not Armenian residents or nationals.
The practice of banning entry is quite common worldwide. Thus, certain conflicting, warring
or ideologically opposed countries impose similar bans (Israel and Muslim countries),
significantly complicate the entry visa issuing procedure (India and Pakistan) and sometimes
go as far as imposing fines or arresting the person concerned (Georgia and Abkhazia or
Azerbaijan, in its turn, has mimicked the practices of other countries amalgamating their
methods into an arrangement that above all is in contradiction with its commitment to the
principles of tolerance avowed domestically and internationally. The emotional character
of this decision along with its chaotic application and insufficient elaboration made the
enforcement of this mechanism quite perplexing. This latter circumstance frequently leads
to scandals and some singular incidents.
First, the self-ascribed commitment to the principle of tolerance prevents Azerbaijan
from placing a legislative ban officially proscribing the entry of ethnic Armenians into the
country. Second, the absence of an unambiguous regulatory document such as a law or
a sublegislative act lends absurdity to the actions of the Azerbaijani officials. Third, the
citizens of Azerbaijan themselves and the officers of international agencies have hard time
pinpointing where the denied entry, removal, detainment or deportation of a specific
person is legitimate and where it is not so.
Two football players from the Russian club Torpedo of Armavir were deported from
Azerbaijan immediately upon their arrival at the airport of the city Ganja in July
2011 on the account of their Armenian origin. Mehman Allahverdiev, the head coach
of the Azerbaijani football club Kapaz, had invited Armenian football players for
an audition, however, it was reported that he had had no prior knowledge of the
Armenian origin of the Russian players. Their arrival drew a great uproar at the
airport of Ganja. The officers of the State Border Service returned the Armenian
football players who held Russian passports on the same plane in which they had
In 2010, the Armenian delegation was unable to board a plane from Moscow to Baku
to attend the 64th General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union due to the
wrongful acts of the Azerbaijan's representative office of Aeroflot Air Company.
The representatives of the Armenian delegation were about to board the plane when the representative of the Azerbaijani side asked the passengers if there were
any Armenians among them. Hearing an affirmative answer, she asked Armenians
to hand over their boarding passes and step aside. After all passengers including
numerous participants of the EBU General Assembly boarded the plane, the
boarding passes of the Armenian representatives were shredded, and they were told
that passenger seats in the plane were complete which by definition could not make
any sense as the tickets of the Armenian delegation members were in the business
class. Moreover, the boarding pass indicates a seat assigned to a specific passenger;
therefore, it is virtually impossible to register two passengers for the same seat.
In November 2011, the officers of the passport control service at the airport of Baku
denied entry to the interim head of the Public Relations Department of the company
Beeline Kazakhstan, Mr. Bayram Azizov on the ground that he had previously been
to Yerevan on a working visit; incidentally, he was a citizen of Kazakhstan and
an ethnic Azerbaijani. The aggrieved person had to spend 48 hours in the transit
zone of the Baku airport before his deportation to the country of origin. It is worth
mentioning that Mr. Bayram Azizov tried to seek assistance from the head of the
Azerbaijani state by posting a message on the Twitter account of the president Ilham
Aliyev: "Good day! Please, help me! I'm a citizen of Kazakhstan. It's almost 48 hours
since I have been in the transit zone of the airport of Baku. Border guards have
seized my passport, and I don't understand the reason of my detention. I have to
sleep on the floor and feed myself on instant noodle! I'm running out of money!
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan has been made aware
of the situation". Unfathomably, both postings somehow disappeared from Aliyev's
In reply to a remark from a journalist of Vesti.az news agency to the effect that a
person who had visited Armenia would face difficulties in entering Azerbaijan, the
aggrieved person said that he had traveled into Georgia approximately a year prior
to that and could easily cross Georgian-Armenian border despite his Azerbaijani
ethnicity indicated in his passport.
Reasons for denying entry:
• Visit to Nagorno-Karabakh Republic through the territory of Armenia;[a]
• Visit to Armenia;
• Armenian origin, existence of Armenian relatives or friends, expressing feelings of
sympathy towards Armenia or Armenian people;
• Incapacity to secure the safety of Armenians visiting Azerbaijan;
• Suspicions of a terrorist threat;
• Existence of a law to that effect;
• Names that arouse suspicions because they sound Armenian, or an alleged relation
• Persons whose relatives or acquaintances have committed insulting or outrageous
acts from the Azerbaijani perspective (a concert by a popular singer Philip Kirkorov
was canceled in Baku because at the time his father was helping an Armenian
Sufian Zhemukhov:: The secret of my name was revealed during my visit to an
international workshop in Baku, to where I flew from Istanbul. At customs, a goodlooking
Azerbaijani lady checked my passport. < …> In fact, that lady called an officer of
Azerbaijani special services and handed him my passport. The officer joined his colleague
at the other end of the hall where they long conferred together and even made some
telephone calls. After that, they beckoned me and asked: "This name of yours, what
is it?" < …> Then they asked me bluntly: "So, this means it's not an Armenian name?"
Then, it all dawned on me. These cloaked Turkish officers and their simple-minded
Azerbaijani colleagues took me for a crafty Armenian trying to sneak into their country!
<... > "No, no, Sufian is not an Armenian name", reassured them I. And I breathed a
mixed sigh of relief and anguish. It seemed that the problem was not my name but
their anti-Armenian complexes. < …> Later, An American told me that he, too, had
had problems at the Azerbaijani customs because his passport had an Armenian
visa. Although as it is, it appears that they should never stop bowing, if they take
an American passport into their hands. This put my mind in rest about my red-skin
passport. Of course, I have heard that Armenians and Azerbaijanis dislike each other,
but I never knew that it was that serious.
Zurab Dvali: The first hassles started when we measured the height of the wall once
and then began to build the same scene for the shooting."But you have already
measured the wall, why are you doing it all over again?" asked a cheerless party
official sporting a golden signature of H. Aliyev pinned on his lapel. <…>
<...> "Oh, no,"
groaned the vigilant party leader Abbasov. "You are deceiving us; you have come
here to shoot something else!" And precisely at that moment he noticed a book
in Georgian that a member of our expedition, geographer Kakhi Jelia was holding
in his hands. "What is this?" he asked. "A book on ancient Georgian architecture".
< … > The book published back in 1979 and authored by a famous scientist Ilia
Adamia was a bombshell for Abbasov. All of a sudden, he started calling someone
and went off into a loud discussion accompanied by an intensive body language.
Then, seeing our bewilderment, he finally uttered: "The Armenian finger!" We all
exchanged bewildered glances without understanding the meaning of it. Only later
did we find out that the party bigwig somehow thought that the last name 'Adamia'
was an Armenian one. Another ten plain-clothes officers rushed to his ear-piercing
scream. We were surrounded, but refused to hand over the book. But our work had
to be done, and amid this disapproving buzz of the local populace, we started the
shooting. Our every step, our every move around the village was supervised from three cars that accompanied us.
< …> We had no other choice but to give everything up and head for the border.
As we were leaving Balakan, we were intercepted by a state security car cutting
in front of us and were escorted to the Office of Islam Rzayev, the Chairman of the
Executive Committee of Balakan region. The indefatigable party leader kept pointing
his finger at our book and finally asked: "Who is Adamia?" "A Georgian scientist", we
replied. He looked at Abbasov. "Georgian? Not Armenian?" asked Rzayev again with
a dubious voice. "ADAMIA is a Mingrelian last name", we all admitted in unison.
The first point is more or less clear; yet, in the remaining cases, a question stands: is it about the law or security??
Thus, Diana Markosyan, a photo correspondent of Bloomberg agency, a national of the
United States and Russian Federation, was deported from Baku to Istanbul on the ground
of her Armenian origin in June 2011. The press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of Azerbaijan confirmed the deportation of the Bloomberg photo correspondent because
of her Armenian descent:
"Markosyan's stay in Azerbaijan will raise issues related to securing her safety because of
her Armenian origin". It is hard to guess why an accredited journalist, a national of the
United States and the Russian Federation may face the need to ensure her protection and
security on the territory of a civilized and tolerant state. However, Ali Hasanov, the Head
of the Department of Public and Political Issues of the Administration of the President of
Azerbaijan, refers to violating a law, which does not exist: "This media company had sufficient
other options and they could have sent another photo correspondent. Yet, insisting on the
arrival of this specific correspondent is an affront to the laws of the country and is insulting
to us. We cannot put up with this".
After the scandal with the Russian citizen Sergey Gyurjian[b] the Azerbaijani newspaper Yeni
Musavat made an attempt to figure out whether the entry ban for Armenian citizens and
nationals of other countries with Armenian lineage was official, or the arrangement was
In October 2011, the representatives of Azerbaijani airlines (AZAL) at Domodedovo
Airport prevented the representative of AVTOVAZ OJSC, Sergey Gyurjian, a Russian
national, and his colleague Demitri Schuhmacher, an Israeli national and director of
LADA International Limited company, from boarding the plane from Moscow to Baku
where they went as a part of the delegation to strike a deal for shipment of LADA cars
to Azerbaijan. An officer of the airline company who handled the registration of
boarding documents asked a question about his ethnicity: "What is your ethnicity? Armenian?" To that, Gyurjian replied that he was a citizen of the Russian Federation,
and his ethnicity had no bearing on the flight registration. However, Elgar Aliyev, the
representative of AZAL Company, refused to proceed with the registration referring
to an instruction from his management: "Not to register passengers with Armenian
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan skirted
around a blunt question from the newspapers, and the head of the AZAL press service,
Mehriban Safarli stated that their company "only dealt with passenger transportation
and not their citizenship". In her turn, Svetlana Rodionova, the representative of the
Domodedovo Airport, stated that "the management of the airport prohibits the registration
of Russian citizens of Armenian origin for flights to Baku"
Unlike the management of AZAL, the head of the press service of the Azerbaijani Railways,
Nadir Azmamedov stated that "the entry of Armenian citizens and ethnic Armenians who
are nationals of other countries is officially prohibited"
В связи с нашумевшей историей Сергея Гюрджияна представитель авиакомпании Магеррам Сафарли заявил: «Как известно, 20 процентовIn relation to the notorious incident with Sergey Gyurjian, a representative of the airline
company, Magerram Safarli stated: "It is known that 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territories[c] are occupied by Armenia. Therefore, a trip to Azerbaijan is considered undesirable for
ethnic Armenians. For this reason, they can visit the country only as part of international
events", added Safarli.
Nevertheless, international events, too, are far from hassle-free. Thus, the Director of
the Regional Studies Center Richard Giragosian was denied an Azerbaijani entry visa in
March 2012 for participation in an international conference in Baku on the ground that the
nomination of an Armenian expert was "unacceptable".
The same lot was reserved for
a citizen of Turkey, who had come to Baku as part of a Turkish delegation and a citizen of
Latvia who had arrived to Baku as part of the delegation of the Latvian President.
< …> a few days ago, a Turkish singer Sertab Erener arrived in Baku. A musician
named Burak Bedikyan, who came with the delegation of the Turkish singer and
was a Turkish national of Armenian origin, was denied entry to Azerbaijan and had
to return to where he came from. Upon his return to Turkey, Bedikyan made up his
mind to give the local press a detailed tearjerker account of his stay at the airport
of Baku. He insists that his denied entry to Azerbaijan related to his Armenian roots.
Incidentally, this is not the first case when citizens of different countries who are
ethnic Armenians are unable to gain entry into our country. On every such occasion,
however, it is emphasized in Baku that they see no reason to give any clarification
whatsoever as "authorizing or denying entry" is the right of every sovereign state.
< …> Another such incident happened during the visit of the Latvian President to Azerbaijan. Similarly, this time the Latvian delegation included an Armenian citizen
of Latvia. "Despite the fact that he had arrived with the Latvian President, he was
not allowed entry to our country and had to turn back.
In his commentary on the incident related to Mr. Bedikyan, who was a citizen of the "fraternal
Turkey", a department head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, T. Tagizadeh clarified: "He can
even be a citizen of Vatican! Only we can decide who gets the visa and who doesn't".
The absence of a regulated line of conduct can lead to the fact that entry into the country
may be barred at three different levels:
- By the attending staff level of airports, airlines, railways or hotels. They may claim
to do so at the behest of their superiors;
- By the staff of consular services, embassies and visa departments of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
- By the staff of the border guard service.
Forms of denying entry:
- Straightforward communication;
- Procrastination in issuing an entry visa;
- Issuing an entry visa and canceling it upon arrival in Azerbaijan;
- Entering the person's name into blacklists before arrival or after departure.
A few years ago, the practice of blacklisting was introduced in Azerbaijan. This practice is quite
common worldwide and concerns, as a rule, terrorists, internationally wanted criminals,
drug lords, persons who have repeatedly violated visa procedures and recently has come
to include corrupted public officials (Magnitsky List). This practice involves procedures,
parameters, techniques and legislative instruments that have long been elaborated and are
perfectly intelligible. Azerbaijan, however, has such a list, but it lacks a principle for entering
and removing names.
In the beginning, such blacklist targeted persons who had ever visited Nagorno-Karabakh.
Further, such lists were extended to include persons of Armenian lineage (Svetlana
Loboda, Avraam Russo).
The impulsive and chaotic practice of blacklisting signals a lack of consistency, where people
in identical situations may be penalized selectively.
В некоторых случаях пресс-служба МИД Азербайджана грозится «разобраться» и «держать в центре внимания» вопрос посещения многочисленными международными делегациями Нагорно-Карабахской Республики. Но часто результаты этих расследований азербайджанским внешнеполитическим ведомством не публикуются и остается только гадать, по каким стандартам тот или иной политический деятель или журналист попадает в список, а другой нет.On certain occasions, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan issues
threats to "investigate" and "keep in focus" numerous visits of international delegations to
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Frequently, the results of these investigations by the Azerbaijani
foreign office never surface, thereby making the selection criteria for blacklisting a specific political figure or journalist completely unfathomable.
For instance, Joseph Simitian, the American Senator of Armenian origin, visited Baku as part
of the Parliamentary Commission of the U.S. Senate. His Armenian descent was no secret
in Baku, still, no issues occurred in relation to "securing his safety" or "flouting the law" as
was the case with the representative of a leading Russian automaker Sergey Gyurjian or the
reporter of the Bloomberg network Diana Markosyan. Moreover, as reported by Musavat
newspaper, the spiritual leader of Azerbaijan, Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshükür Pashazadeh,
addressed to the Armenian Simitian a request to assist him with obtaining an entry visa for
another trip to the United States.
After the Senator's departure from Baku and his visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, he was
immediately blacklisted, while other people who had been to Karabakh on numerous visits
were spared this sanction.
In 2011, in the wake of a scandal over the visit to Karabakh by a journalist Sergey Buntman
and his subsequent blacklisting, a fellow journalist from Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow)
radio station was invited to Baku; it was the first deputy of the editor-in-chief Vladimir
Varfolomeyev who had also been to Nagorno-Karabakh Republic back in 2003. Two years
later, in 2013, after his visits to Stepanakert and Baku, Varfolomeyev too saw his name in
The astronauts Charles Duke (USA) and Claude Nicollier (Switzerland), who set foot on
Moon and in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, were also included in the blacklist of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan. In case of the Washington Post reporter Will Englund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan announced that it was well aware of his visit to
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and had no objection. Nevertheless, despite the assurances of
E. Abdullayev that "foreign nationals who seek official authorization from the Azerbaijani
side to visit occupied territories of the country will not be included in the list", the awareness
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan failed to save Englund's name from appearing
in the blacklist. Will Englund, in his turn, stated that in his coverage of Nagorno-Karabakh,
he gave an impartial commentary on the issue and a truthful account of what he personally
saw, and the capital city of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic for decades has borne the name of
Stepanakert and not Khankendi, as claimed by the Azerbaijanis[d]
In May 2013, a Georgian journalist Margarita Akhvlediani was detained at the airport of
Baku and not allowed to enter the country, while the citizens of Great Britain who were
accompanying her were allowed to gain free entry into Azerbaijan.
"Indeed, yesterday I arrived in Baku by plane at the invitation of Avaz Hasanov,
Head of Society for Humanitarian Research, to hold trainings among refugees and
internally displaced persons. However, I could not make it through the passport control as I was simply not allowed to pass. I had to spend almost 24 hours at the
airport of Baku, without hearing any explanation. Only later did I find out that I
was denied entry to Azerbaijan because of my visit to Nagorno-Karabakh. Yet, my
passport contains no stamps or seals attesting my visit to Karabakh. I'm a journalist
and may visit any country in my professional capacity. Interestingly, British nationals
who accompanied me and had also paid a visit to Karabakh faced absolutely no
claims. I studied the legislation of Azerbaijan, and unlike Georgian legislation, it does
not provide for any penalty or sanction for visiting Nagorno-Karabakh. This incident
is currently handled by the Embassy of Azerbaijan to Georgia, and I am also waiting
for explanations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan", concluded M.
Akhvlediani in her interview.
The journalists from Euronews TV channel who visited Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and
produced some footage covering the real daily life of the local population could also avoid
blacklisting. To be fair, they were required to make amends and shoot a similar film from
the Azerbaijani perspective. Peter Barabas who is the chief editor of the TV channel agreed
to prepare an equivalent report from Azerbaijan but "on the same terms which we solicited
from the Armenian Government, i.e. the report will be based exclusively on our editorial
policy and guiding principles", stated P. Barabas.
It is possible to be blacklisted for a single use of the word Karabakh. A popular Daghestani
singer Timur Temirov was blacklisted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan after
he recorded a song named Our dear Caucasus, in which he confessed his love for Armenia
and sang of its sights, including Artsakh. In his interview to Vesti.az, Timur Temirov stated
that after the airing of the music video, he was denied entry to Azerbaijan: "Last year, they
turned me back, and I don't want that it happening again".
There have been recorded cases of removing a name from the blacklist. The removal
procedure is also quite obscure and opaque; yet, past experience indicates that it takes
showing some remorse and asking for forgiveness, although in certain cases, it is enough to
admit verbally that the person in question visited Karabakh unknowingly or was tricked into
going there ("they didn't say where they were taking us"). However, it does not always work
with everyone. Or you can hail Azerbaijan preferably by showing your dislike of Armenia;
however, this requirement may be dispensed with.
After the Russian singer Katya Lel gave a concert in Karabakh and was subsequently
blacklisted, she gave an interview to the Azerbaijani information agency AzerTAc where
she expressed a wish to have her name off the blacklist of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Azerbaijan; she was allowed to give a free concert in Baku. A famed French actor Gerard
Depardieu and Head of the Georgian Writers Union Makvala Gonashvili had their names
removed from the blacklist after they publicly repented.
Journalists from Zerkalo newspaper set a goal of finding out what are Azerbaijan's requirements for removing a name from the blacklist. To believe the press secretary of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs E. Polukhov, there are absolutely no requirements. He clarified
that placing a person's name on the list of undesirables was not the Ministry's responsibility:
"Once we receive information that a specific person has visited Nagorno-Karabakh, the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs forwards this information to the appropriate public bodies which
are authorized to ban entry to the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The border guard
service which is responsible for defending the country's frontier has such a list".
This being said, it is still unclear who makes the decision on removing a specific name from
the list. E. Polukhov suggested that journalists might seek clarification on issues of their
interest at law enforcement authorities, i.e. Azerbaijan's Ministry of National Security and
the State Border Service.
Following Polukhov's advice, the journalists turned to the Ministry of National Security of
Azerbaijan for an elucidation. However, the Ministry's Head of Public Relations, Arif Babayev
stated that this matter was beyond the scope of their Ministry. Next, the journalists asked
the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Azerbaijan to comment on the issue. According to the
Ministry's press service represented by Orhan Mansurzadeh, their Ministry did not handle
the placement or removal of names on the list of undesirables. The State Border Service
of Azerbaijan communicated through the officer of its press service, Jabrail Aliyev that the
name of a person was removed from the list of undesirables by the same organization which
had placed the name on the list.
It must be noted that despite Azerbaijan's threats of blacklisting those who visit Karabakh,
the number of official and artistic visitors grows year by year which cannot go unnoticed by
the Azerbaijani side.
They can see that draconian measures not only fail to discourage visits to Karabakh but also
increase in inverse proportion the number of names on the list which means that these
people will refrain from visiting Azerbaijan.
Abulfaz Garayev, Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture and Tourism, claims to see
through this devious scheme: ''Armenians are implementing a willful policy trying to rob
Azerbaijan of famed artistic figures and take various singers to Karabakh by deception".
Reporters without borders, which is an international organization defending the freedom of
the press has voiced its concern over the situation where the Azerbaijani authorities restrict
the work of journalists who cover the Karabakh conflict. "In doing their work, journalists
must enjoy freedom and unimpeded movement without having to obtain the permission
of any party. Blacklisting journalists is inadmissible and inefficient," says the press release
of the organization.
Using visits to Armenia as a pretext to deny entry to persons who constitute a threat for the country's political regime is yet another peculiarity of the blacklist. It was the case in the
situation with a journalist Milrad Fatullayev who was an ethnic Lezgin.
A working visit turned sour for Milrad Fatullayev with his less-than-pleasant stay at
the airport of Baku where he had to spend a whole day locked up by the border guards.
No intelligible explanation was given as to the reasons of Fatullayev's detention. <...
> "Absence of any justification is the most interesting justification. Because I came
here, to the Baku airport, at 3 o'clock in the morning, my passport was taken from
me for control and I never got it back. In addition, I was given no explanation; here
I am sitting and waiting. < …> I remember a similar case when I was checked in the
same way in Baku after I had been to Armenia, but that was a year and half or two
years ago. < …> At that time, I could go through the controls and returned to Moscow
after visiting Azerbaijan. So, I thought that now it was about the same thing. I kept
waiting, but by 5 o'clock I made up my mind to figure out what the matter was. < …>
I introduced myself as a journalist of Nezavissimaya Gazeta newspaper to an officer
who tried to expose me as a person who was breaking the law. Well, I stood there
trying to explain to him that I came there to a specific person for a specific reason.<
…> As I could learn, I was denied entry to Azerbaijan because of taking part in a
conference held in Yerevan and initiated by Mr. Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan. Another
Dagestani journalist, Marko Shahbanov, the leader of Avar National and Cultural
Autonomy, had earlier faced problems attempting to gain entry to Azerbaijan.<
…> While crossing the border, he also underwent a verification procedure, but was
allowed to go through in the end. Last year, I also had my documents checked, but
they finally let me go through. Now again, there are Azerbaijanis coming up to me
and asking: "What is it? Have you been to Karabakh?" No, I haven't been there".
Alexander Lapshin (Puerrttо), a traveler well-known in the blogosphere for visiting various
countries and crossing countless borders, describes how to bluff your way past customs
officers at the Georgian-Azerbaijani border:
"Things were quick and easy on the Georgian side. Next, I walked over a border
bridge and set foot in Azerbaijan. There, everything was very different from Georgia.
The setting epitomized an unmistakable Soviet spirit. Georgian policemen wearing
smiles and nice uniforms were replaced by gloomy tommy gunners wearing soviet
military fur hats with earflaps, while numerous signs reading ''Bribery is punishable
by 7 years of imprisonment" were replaced by ubiquitous portraits of the Aliyevs:
both father and son. A very cold and standoffish man in plain clothes demanded:
"Passport". I handed my passport over to him. He examined it for a long time
scrutinizing every page. For some reason, he tried to scratch my Georgian visa with
his fingernail <...>. Next, he said something to me in the Azerbaijani language. I
replied that, regretfully, I didn't speak Azerbaijani and asked in my turn: "Do you
speak English?" in case the man did not speak Russian. He smirked at me and
said in an immaculate Russian: "In fact, I asked you in Armenian". Wow, can it be possible that an Armenian works in the Azerbaijani State Security Service? That was
incredible. So I asked him: "I beg your pardon, are you Armenian?" His eyes popped
out in shock. "What?? What makes you think that I am Armenian? I am Azerbaijani.
Then, I asked him why on earth had he spoken to me in Armenian? He cut me short:
"That's it, enough talking, if I ask, I do it for a reason".
Another minute went by as he examined my passport for the fifth time. Then, all
of a sudden, he shot a question at me: "Have you been to Armenia?" I answered
in the affirmative sensing that I was up for a tough conversation. Then the officer
went off with his next question: "And you must have been to Karabakh too, right?" I
replied that these were only his assumptions and unfounded at that. He looked up:
"So you must be a lawyer then?" I let the remark go unanswered. He tapped me
on the shoulder and said: "Welcome to Azerbaijan!" So, I got another stamp in my
On August 2, 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan published a list consisting
of 335 names placed on the blacklist. Despite the assurances of the official representative
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Elman Abdullayev to the effect that "illegal
visits to the occupied territories of the Republic" were the underlying reasons for that,
over 50 persons were blacklisted without any reason specified.
previous _____________________________________________________ next
[a] It is impossible to cross the border from the territory of Azerbaijan since the passage is mined, and Azerbaijan neither controls the territory of the selfproclaimed
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, nor recognizes it considering it a part of its own lands.
[b] A citizen of Russian Federation, Sergey Gyurjian, was prevented from boarding a plane of the Azerbaijani airlines at Domodedovo Airport. He was given to
understand that he was refused boarding because of his Armenian surname.
[c] Widespread rounding practice in Azerbaijan
[d] The denial of the toponym Khankendi in favor of Stepanakert gives in itself sufficient grounds for blacklisting.