Azerbaijan–Greece relations

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Azerbaijani-Greek relations
Map indicating locations of Azerbaijan and Greece



In the 9th century BC, the seminomadic Scythians settled in areas of present day Azerbaijan. A century later, the Medes, who were related ethnically to the Persians, established an empire that included present day southernmost Azerbaijan. The Archaemenid Persians, under Cyrus the Great, took over the western part of Azerbaijan when they subdued the Assyrian Empire to the west. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great absorbed the entire Archaemenid Empire into his holdings, leaving Persian satraps to govern as they advanced eastward.[1] During the 6th century the Byzantine Empire established relations with Caucasian Albania.[2]

Uzun Hassan was married with Greek princess Desphina and he have defended Empire of Trebizond against to Ottoman army. Hassan's grandson Ismail I was the founder of Safavid dynasty and remains as a national hero of Azerbaijan. During Russian rule of Azerbaijan and Ottoman rule of Greece relations between these two were totally stopped. Azerbaijan got established a democratic republic in 1918 [3][4][5] but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920.[6] Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991 which was recognized by Greece in December 31, 1991. Diplomatic relations established in 1992. The Greek embassy in Baku was opened in the spring of 1993. The embassy of Azerbaijan in Athens was opened in August 2004.

Both countries are full members of Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). Greece was the first European Union member country that wanted directly import gas from Azerbaijan.[7] Both countries enjoyed recently developed close relations in trade, culture, and economy.[8] Greek diaspora in Azerbaijan is concentrated in Baku and numbers about 250-300 people, most of them are descendants of the Black Sea Greeks of Asia Minor who in the late 19th and early 20th centuries migrated to Azerbaijan.[9]

Political and commercial relations[edit]

Foreign Minister of Greece Dimitris Avramopoulos (right) meeting with the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan Abulfas Garayev in April 2013

The nations of Azerbaijan and Greece each maintain bi-lateral, diplomatic relations. Each state maintains a full embassy, Azerbaijan in Athens and Greece in Baku. Recently in February 2009, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Greece in order to boost bilateral relations.[10] The leader met with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, as well as the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.[10] At the meeting between the officials, the two nations agreed that they must work more closely to get Azeri gas into Greece to help ease recent security issues.[11][12]

In the past the two nations have made many deals related to the oil industry. In 2007 Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas signed a "memorandum of cooperation" in the sectors of natural gas and oil while in Baku.[13][14] Sioufas referred to this memorandum as a "new page in economic and energy relations of the two countries."[14]

Cooporation on Human rights[edit]

Greek MP Elsa Papadimitriou as Member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, visited Azerbaijan to her collaborator Oqtay Asadov the Chairman of Azeri Parliament and Justice Minister Fikrat Mammadov and head of the department for law enforcement egancy Fuad Alasgarov.[15] Finally she attended a seminar with the Chairman of the State Committee for Religious Organizations Hidayat Orujov.[16]


In a meeting in New York Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed his interest to Elmar Mammadyarov in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan in the tourism sector.[17] Azeri tourists to Greece rapidly grow, exceeding 225000 in 2011 with the most popular destination being Santorini.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Azerbaijan: Early History: Persian and Greek Influences". U.S. Library of Congres. Retrieved June 7, 2006. 
  2. ^ Darmesteter, James (trans., ed.). "Vendidad." Zend Avesta I (SBE 4). Oxford University Press, 1880. p. 3, p. 5 n.2,3.
  3. ^ "93 years pass since establishment of first democratic republic in the east – Azerbaijan Democratic Republic". Azerbaijan Press Agency. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ Kazemzadeh, Firuz (1951). The Struggle for Transcaucasia: 1917–1921. The New York Philosophical Library. pp. 124, 222, 229, 269–270. ISBN 0-8305-0076-6. 
  5. ^ Swietochowski, Tadeusz (2004). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905–1920: The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge University Press. p. 129. ISBN 0-521-52245-5. 
  6. ^ Pipes, Richard (1997). The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism 1917–1923 (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 218–220, 229. ISBN 978-0-674-30951-7. 
  7. ^ Greece "wants to be first" EU member to directly import Azeri gas
  8. ^ General look on Greece-Azerbaijan foreign relations
  9. ^ Greece in the World
  10. ^ a b "Azerbaijan, Greece aim to boost relations". Southeast Europe Times. February 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  11. ^ "Greece, Azerbaijan to work closer on energy security". EUbusiness. February 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  12. ^ "Azerbaijan plans to export gas to Europe via Greece: Azerbaijani president". Trend Capital. 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  13. ^ "Greece, Azerbaijan sign energy cooperation memorandum". Athens News Agency. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  14. ^ a b "Greece and Azerbaijan sign energy cooperation agreement". Journal of Turkish Weekly (JTW). August 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
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External links[edit]