Reports from the Azerbaijani capital quoted Ali Ahmedov, executive secrteary of President Ilham Aliyev’s Yeni Azerbaycan Party, as saying that local opposition groups are spreading a “hostile ideology directed against the national interests of the Azerbaijani people.”
“Because of their personal hostility, these opposition people are serving the interests of Azerbaijan’s enemy: Armenia,” Ahmedov declared at a session of the Azerbaijani parliament.
“The radical opposition is a tool in the hands of those foreign parliamentarians that cater for the Armenians,” Ahmedov’s deputy Mubariz Gurbanli told the parliament, according to the 1news.az news service.
Another pro-government lawmaker, Asef Hajiyev, likewise accused the domestic opposition of having ties with “the Armenian lobby” and trying to destabilize the political situation in the country. “The Azerbaijani state and people will do everything necessary for thwarting these attempts,” the Russian Regnum news agency quoted him as saying.
One of Hajiyev’s colleagues, Fazil Mustafa, went further, branding the opposition leaders foreign spies.
The accusations were apparently directed at the main opposition Musavat and Popular Front parties that failed to win any parliament seats in last year’s disputed elections criticized by the West. The leaders of these parties have voiced support for hundreds of Azerbaijanis who tried this month to demonstrate in Baku against Aliyev’s authoritarian government.
The Azerbaijani police used force to break up those protests. They also detained scores of opposition activists and other protesters.
Pro-government members of Azerbaijan’s parliament also denounced Baku-based Western diplomats and representatives of international organizations for meeting with opposition leaders and civic activists at the Musavat headquarters on April 8. They claimed that this testifies to the diplomats’ pro-Armenian bias.
“We are ready to buy tickets for representatives of each of the 20 embassies [in Baku] and send them to Yerevan,” Mustafa, said, according to 1news.az. “Let them promote the return of the occupied Azerbaijani territories there.”