List of people declared personae non gratae in Azerbaijan

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Unless a visa or an official warrant is issued by Azerbaijani authorities, the government of Azerbaijan condemns any visit by foreign citizens to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh (the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), its surrounding territories and the Azerbaijani enclaves of Karki, Yuxarı Əskipara, Barxudarlı and Sofulu which are de jure part of Azerbaijan under Armenian control. Azerbaijan considers entering these territories through Armenia (as it is usually the case) a violation of its visa and migration policy. Foreign citizens who enter these territories will be permanently banned from entering Azerbaijan and will be included on the list of people who are personae non gratae by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.[1]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan has explained the matter thus:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan would like to remind all nationals of foreign countries wishing to travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied regions of Azerbaijan that due to continuing occupation by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, these areas are temporarily out of control of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Any visit without the consent of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the above-mentioned territories, which are internationally recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan is considered as a violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and as a breach of national legislation, as well as relevant norms and principles of international law.
Accordingly, the Ministry calls all foreign nationals to refrain themselves from travelling to the occupied territories in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The Ministry would like to remind that those who traveled to the occupied territories without prior permission of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be denied the entry to the Republic of Azerbaijan.[2]

As of August 2013, the list of people declared persona non grata included 331 people.[3]

List[edit]

Date unknown[edit]

2005[edit]

  • Argentina Marcelo Cantelmi, Argentinian journalist

2006[edit]

  • Austria Mark Dietzen, Executive Director of Americans for Artsakh

2007[edit]

  • Serbia Mila Alečković Nikolić, Serbian professor and member of the Writers Union[4]
  • Russia Sergey Markedonov, Russian political scientist[4]
  • Ukraine Sergei Valentinovich Pughacyov, Ukrainian city council member[4]

2008[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

Removed from the list[edit]

The names of certain people initially declared personae non gratae were taken out of the list following formal requests on their part.

  • Turkey Nagehan Alçı, Turkish journalist of Akşam, was blacklisted in 2009 after a two-day visit to Nagorno-Karabakh for research purposes.[31] Armenian media claimed Alçı publicly stated that Nagorno-Karabakh was "historically Armenian land". Alçı denied making such a statement, saying she had never mentioned the history of the region at all.[32] In 2013, she sent a request to the Azerbaijani government asking to exclude her from the "black list" and reaffirming her support of the territorial integrity of "brotherly Azerbaijan". Her request was granted in December 2013.[33]
  • Russia Aleksey Mitrofanov, Russian politician, was blacklisted in 2011 for attending the opening ceremony of a banquet hall in Stepanakert.[34] In a letter to the Azerbaijani foreign ministry, he expressed "sincere regret" for having visited Nagorno-Karabakh. The ban on his entry to Azerbaijan was lifted in September 2013.[35]
  • Italy Al Bano, Italian singer, was declared persona non grata in 2010, after giving a concert in Nagorno-Karabakh.[36] In November 2013, the ban was lifted, after a letter was sent by Al Bano to the Azerbaijani foreign ministry in which stated he had had no information about the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh at the time of his visit.[37] In December 2013, Al Bano visited Azerbaijan together with other Italian pop stars of the 1970s and performed at a joint concert.
  • Germany Jürgen Klimke, member of the German Parliament, was on the list since September 2013, after holding a meeting with members of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh in Stepanakert. In his letter to the Azerbaijani government, Klimke said his visit had been unplanned and he had no idea of its repercussions. He voiced his support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and expressed regret with regard to his visit. His name did not appear on the list as of 17 March 2014.[38]
  • Moldova Constantin Moscovici, Moldovan singer,[29] was excluded from the list in February 2014, after he stated in a letter that his visit to Nagorno-Karabakh was not deliberate and that his position on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan coincided with that of his country.[39]

Reaction[edit]

Azerbaijan[edit]

Official

Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan spokesman Elman Abdullayev said the list is incomplete due to an ongoing investigation of more potential entry violations.[40] Abdullayev also claimed that "if the person who visited the occupied territories of Azerbaijan without the permission of the Azerbaijani side, regrets his actions, aware of the illegality of his visit and will appeal to the relevant authorities of Azerbaijan with an explanation, the Azerbaijani side is willing to consider this appeal on the exclusion of that person from the list."[41]

Non-official

Investigative journalist and radio reporter Khadija Ismayilova, known for her anti-government publications, has noted that some of the people whose names appear on the list, especially those for whom no reason for the ban has been listed, are in fact journalists and human rights activists who apparently were barred from entering Azerbaijan for criticising the Azerbaijani government in their articles, as it is not evident if they have ever visited Nagorno-Karabakh.[42]

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh[edit]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has criticised the Azerbaijan stance, stating:

Azerbaijan replaces the conflict settlement process with attempts to transfer the issue to the auspice of the UN, Council of Europe, European Parliament, and other international organizations. Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani party's requirement for the international organizations, states, and political figures to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan grows into a political farce and its declaration of the citizens visiting the NKR "persona non grata" – into a comedy. The position of Azerbaijan is fully deprived of even hints of readiness for any compromise or concessions. This reconfirms the fact that official Baku doesn't want to resolve the Karabakh issue, trying to shift the blame for the failure onto Armenia.[43]

International[edit]

Official

Following Azerbaijan's protests, governments of some countries whose citizens visited the occupied territory, as well as establishments that they were affiliated with at the time of the visit, described these visits as "personal decisions" of the said individuals and stated that those visits did not represent their official position.[44][45][46][47][48]

The US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs website states that "traveling to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding occupied areas via Armenia without the consent of the Government of Azerbaijan could make you ineligible to travel to Azerbaijan in the future."[49]

Non-official

François Rochebloine, Member of the French National Assembly and the head of the France-Armenia Friendship Group, commented on the Azerbaijani decision to ban his entrance to Azerbaijan, stating that it is an "honor" for him to be declared persona non grata in Azerbaijan.[50]

Ueli Leuenberger, a Swiss Member of Parliament, has stated that he is "grateful" for being blacklisted from Azerbaijan.[25]

The Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé visited the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on 4 June 2013. She met the primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, in Shushi's Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. She also visited Gandzasar and Stepanakert, the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, where she met with President Bako Sahakyan. On 6 June 2013, the Azerbaijani government declared Caballé persona non grata.[51][52][53][54] On 9 June 2013, the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, awarded Caballé the Armenian Medal of Honor.[55]

According to Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin, who is included in the list, "Azerbaijani position towards Armenians is too complicated and Azerbaijanis themselves can not explain the approach of their government."[8]

Wayne Merry, an retired American diplomat and the senior fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council, condemned the Azerbaijani government and said that "this step first of all harms the Azerbaijani authorities" and it is a "striking example of self-isolation and simple policy."[56]

Nicholas Wondra, an expert on Caucasus, was found himself in the Azerbaijani "black list" despite the fact that he has never been in Karabakh. He added that "as far as I have been included in the list, now I must visit Karabakh as an expert on Caucasus."[56]

Zafer Zoyan, an ethnic Turkish arm-wrestler, was barred from entering Azerbaijan because his last name resembled that of an Armenian.[57]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj "Arzuolunmaz Şəxslərin Siyahısı [List of Undesirable People]". Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
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  39. ^ Moldovan Singer's Name Excluded from the Blacklist. ANS Press. 11 February 2014.
  40. ^ Список расширится?. Zerkalo. 5 August 2013.
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