The vulnerable situation that has arisen in the city of Ganja requires even a greater unity of society around the state, Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov wrote on Facebook.
"Answering a BBC correspondent’s question regarding the armed assault on Head of the Ganja City Executive Authority Elmar Valiyev on July 3, I stated based on preliminary information that ‘it was a criminal act committed against the mayor, there’s been an armed attack, the mayor and his bodyguard have been wounded, the perpetrator has been captured, and law enforcement authorities are taking necessary measures.’ It would not be right to give more detailed information without the consent of the relevant authorities with regard to such grave offenses. As a state official I just tried to let the public know that the government was in control of the situation,” Hasanov wrote.
A joint statement issued by the Prosecutor General's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service on July 6 said that the crime was a terrorist attack and committed by the foreign citizen Yusif Safarov, who had taken part in combat operations unauthorized by the Azerbaijani state, the top official said.
“It then turned out that the assailant was not driven by a personal issue or revenge and ‘social injustice’ as claimed by his wife in videos disseminated in local as well as foreign media. Rather it became clear that his act was aimed at establishing a Shariah-ruled state in Azerbaijan for the sake of his ‘ideals’ for which he had fought in Syria. Yunis is a foreign citizen raised in an affluent family and he can’t have thought of a leftist revolution in Azerbaijan for social justice. As he himself admitted, he had been prepared to carry out the attack for years, waiting for an opportunity to arise. It appears that the accident that occurred in Mingachevir has been created a good opportunity for him,” he said.
In his post, Hasanov recalled that the efforts of some foreign media outlets and Facebook pages to paint an Islamophobic and anti-Shiite picture of Ganja’s city mayor had already caused much discussion in early 2017.
“Since early this year, there has been an increase in the number of articles about Elma Valiyev’s alleged rude conduct. It seems there was a need to make him look responsible for social oppression since the country’s population is not that sensitive about religion. Following the incident, radical religious pages and media outlets connected with separatists accused of treason started praising Yunis Safarov as a new “Ganjabasar avenger” and “hero.” Again, they received support from “domestic opposition” in Europe and the internet channels they direct, as well as from anti-national elements like Leyla Yunus. Ismayil Shabanov, nicknamed “Talysh separatist”, Alakram Humbatov, who lives with the same status in the Nertherlands, created a committee to defend the criminal and appealed to foreign officials. During the April events, another traitor wearing Armenian military uniform dedicated a poem to him insulting Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani soldiers. It is no coincidence that some foreign religious sites carrying out systematic ideological provocations against the state of Azerbaijan and its independent policy are more active these days. The YouTube channel of Ru-clip.ru, whose owner is not known, shared 5 videos calling for rebellion, made by Seda HD company,” the top official wrote.
“Thus, we are faced with the facts of synchronized ideological provocation of separatists against our statehood, as well as religious radicals, “domestic opposition”, working only for money and well-being,” Hasanov noted.
He went on to say that it is possible to understand such abusive intentions of foreign anti-Azerbaijani forces, but it is impossible to understand the treacherous zeal of those who support them from inside, try to justify the brutal crime against police officer, and those who fled abroad and turned into hostages of Armenian financing.
The top official emphasized that the vulnerable situation that has arisen in the city of Ganja requires even a greater unity of society around the state.
“Especially, those who have the ability to influence public opinion – MPs, intellectuals, prominent public figures, political activists, media and NGO representatives – should act more delicately in such cases,” he added.
Hasanov recalled that when Vera Zasulich committed the first act in Russia in the 19th century, some Russian intellectuals sought to present her as a hero and partly achieved this.
“The events that began with the approval of this terrorist act have led in the subsequent period to three revolutions in Russia, the death of millions of people in a civil war. Speaking of ideological provocation, I would like to recall one more moment,” he wrote. “The first terrorist act committed by a foreign citizen of Azerbaijani origin during our recent history is an armed attack on the Azerbaijani State Oil Academy. However, this terror did not reach its goal. The terrorist act, its perpetrator and masterminds were unequivocally condemned by the Azerbaijani society. This time, the terrorist act was also committed by a foreign citizen of Azerbaijani origin. But as I mentioned, a long-term work has been carried out to bring it justify him. Calls on some social pages, requiring to “rise, repeat this in other cities” can be evaluated as calls for a new wave of terrorism as these campaigns aim to ensure the mass participation of Azerbaijani citizens in protests.”
In his post, Hasanov quoted former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel’s famous phrase.
“When the leftists and the rightists in Turkey started to resolve the tension between them by force of weapons and coup (in fact, terrorism), Suleyman Demirel stated that ‘the hands of those who shoot the police of the Republic must be cut off.’ Of course, this did not mean direct application of the strict penalty that was imposed in the Ottoman Empire in modern Turkey, but pointed out the importance of strict punishment of those who committed terror against civil servant. I can say with certainty that those who want to create confrontation and chaos in Azerbaijan will face the severity of the law and will be punished in the strictest way. At the same time, I urge everyone who has become a participant in this act against their will accidentally or because the event is of public interest, to refrain from taking these wrong steps. The Azerbaijani state, statehood and our national interests must never be the topic of discussion and if there is a threat to these values, every citizen, every Azerbaijani must show his firm position and demonstrate his national will. Therefore, intellectuals, prominent public figures, civil society representatives should properly understand strict steps taken by the Azerbaijani state against terrorism and calls for terrorism, and should give right messages to broad masses. Attempts to justify or find an excuse to terrorism by any reason are inadmissible, active members of social media and media representatives should not forget about the requirements of the relevant legislation and state interests in their posts, opinions and commentaries, and should approach the events more professionally and objectively,” he added.