From Baku with ‘Blacklists’: For the Love of Azerbaijan, Just Shut Up Already, Mr. Hajiyev

Hikmet Hajiyev is on a roll these days.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s latest victim? None other than American food and television icon Anthony Bourdain, who was recently in Armenia and Artsakh to produce a segment on the region for his CNN television show, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”

Bourdain was recently in Armenia and Artsakh to produce a segment on the region for his CNN television show

Speaking to Russia’s RIA Novosti, Hajiyev confirmed that Bourdain would be put on the now-infamous (and ever-growing) Azerbaijani “blacklist” for “illegally visiting the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”

In 2013, Hajiyev’s Foreign Ministry issued a list, which disclosed the names of more than 300 individuals from more than 40 countries, who had visited the Republic of Artsakh “without Baku’s permission.”

They were listed as “persona non grata”—unacceptable and unwelcome in Azerbaijan. Today, that list—published right on Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry’s website—has ballooned to nearly 700.

Parliamentarians, scientists, academics, artists, journalists, entertainers (the list goes on)—all of them accused of undermining “the national sovereignty and territorial unity” of Azerbaijan.

Late last week, Hajiyev tried something new and personally attacked—and threatened—Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian in a series of tweets, accusing him of being a terrorist, racist, and a “mafia boss.”

“The Foreign Affairs [Ministry] is ‘punching down’ when it punches a lobby,” Hamparian said about Hajiyev’s latest move.

And it’s true, Mr. Hajiyev. The attack on Hamparian and the Armenian lobby is a tactical mistake on your part. By doing so, you only build up the ANCA, and your fallacious tweets only become a PR tool for the Armenian lobby.

People are not as stupid or ignorant as you may think. It doesn’t really take that much research to see how drastically your government’s record on freedom of expression, assembly, and association has continued to deteriorate over the years.

From election violations and politically motivated prosecutions to blatant nepotism and notorious press suppression, Azerbaijan is clearly one of the worst violators of human rights in the world.

Your ever-expanding “blacklist” and your baseless, unfounded attacks on the ANCA will only hurt your nation—and prove to all what most the world already knows about your country.

So, Mr. Hajiyev, if not for the love of truth, then at least for the love of Azerbaijan… just shut up already.

Rupen Janbazian

Rupen Janbazian

Rupen Janbazian is the editor of Torontohye Monthly. He is the former editor of The Armenian Weekly and the former director of public relations of the Tufenkian Foundation. Born and raised in Toronto, he is currently based in Yerevan.
Rupen Janbazian

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  1. Recently Azerbaijan has become an ideal place to get reach quickly for some of these lobbyists, I bet so called “illegal visiting’ idea was sold for millions to these idiots by some opportunist lobbyist.

  2. Singling out and “Black listing” Anthony Bourdain as a violator is like picking on the Pilsbury Doughboy. Who’s next, Bart Simpson?

  3. Respecting International Law he should not travel to Occupied Azerbaijani lands without Azerbaijan Government consent.
    But of course for Armenia, there is no International Laws as such.

    • There is NO “occupied” Azerbaijani land but LIBERATED ancient Armenian land under the occupation of the artificial Azerbaijan, a gas station disguised as a country, invented for the first time in history by Soviet and Turkish criminals in 1918 on Armenian and Persian lands.

      The only occupied land today is the ancient Armenian province of NAKH-IJEVAN (naxchivan) illegally occupied by invented Azerbaijan-SSR for seven decades and still under the occupation of “independent” artificial Azerbaijan after the planned and deliberate depopulation of the Armenian population. This land will soon to be liberated as well.

      Both ancient Armenian provinces of ARTSAKH, falsely known by its Turkified name of Karabakh, and NAKH-IJEVAN were illegally annexed to artificial Azerbaijan-SSR in 1921 by criminal Soviets under Soviet Union. Today, and since 1991, neither exists the Soviet Union nor artificial Azerbaijan-SSR AND these ancient Armenian territories have never been part of the so-called “independent” Azerbaijan either. When Soviet Union came to an end, so did the illegal occupation of Armenian territories!

    • I don’t think you or the Azerbaijani govt. is in any position to lecture anyone regarding “international law” after the pogrom axe attacks, cease fire violations, oppression and institutional hatred shown to Armenians.
      Just google “Human rights violations + Azerbaijan” to educate yourself.

  4. I am sure Anthony Bourdain does not care if Azerbajan black lists him or not. Bourdain can go wherever he wants including Arttsakh without having to ask permission from Baku. He is probably laughing at them and saying. Fools!

  5. Sounds to me that Mr. Bourdain knows his history and was interested to find out more about the Armenian region :) Thank you Mr. Bourdain

  6. Anthony Bourdain could care less if his banned, go read his book and you will know, what an amazing person he is and what he went through his whole life. Azerbaijan Government is just jealous!

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