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Ilham Aliyev

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Ilham Aliyev

İlham Əliyev
4th President of Azerbaijan
Incumbent
Assumed office
31 October 2003
Prime Minister Artur Rasizade
Preceded by Heydar Aliyev
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
In office
4 August 2003 – 4 November 2003
President Heydar Aliyev
Preceded by Artur Rasizade
Succeeded by Artur Rasizade
2nd Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
31 October 2003
Preceded by Heydar Aliyev
Personal details
Born Ilham Heydar oğlu Aliyev
(1961-12-24) 24 December 1961
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
Political party New Azerbaijan Party
Spouse(s) Mehriban Aliyeva (née Pashayeva) (m. 1983)
Children Leyla
Arzu
Heydar
Alma mater Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Religion Shia Islam
Signature

Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev (Azerbaijani: İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev; born 24 December 1961) is the fourth and current President of Azerbaijan, since 2003. He also functions as the Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party and the head of the National Olympic Committee. Apart from his native Azerbaijani, he speaks English, French, Russian, and Turkish.[1] Ilham Aliyev is the son of Heydar Aliyev, who was Azerbaijan's president from 1993 to 2003.

Early life

Aliyev was born in Baku. In 1967, Aliyev entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-MSIIR) and in 1982 continued his education as a postgraduate.[1] In 1985 he received a PhD degree in history.[1] From 1985–1990 Aliyev lectured at MSUIR.[1]

Political career

Early years

In May or June 1994, Ilham Aliyev was appointed vice-president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). He participated as one of the key figures during the negotiations between Azerbaijani government and Western oil companies during the conclusion of new contracts now known as Contract of the century. The following year Aliyev was elected to the National Assembly of Azerbaijan and later became president of the National Olympic Committee (still incumbent) and head of the Azerbaijan delegation to the Council of Europe. In August 2003, two months prior to the presidential elections, he was appointed prime minister. In October, Heydar Aliyev, suffering failing health, stepped down as president.

2003 election

The official results of the October 15, 2003, elections gave victory to Ilham Aliyev, who earned 76.84% of the votes. However, the domestic opposition refused to accept the results and staged mass protests. The protests were due to alleged corruption and staging of elections.

The elections received harsh criticism from the international community, with many observers noting that they fell short of international standards and were accompanied by voter intimidation, unequal campaign opportunities for the candidates, and widespread violations of the electoral laws and process. The [3] According to Freedom House, the opposition failed to appreciate the extent of popularity to which Ilham Aliyev was entitled, in fact, anti-government parties wrongly assumed that, the negative view of Aliyev, which they were so firmly convinced of, would be shared by general public, which did prove to be the mistake.[4]

Participants of the second Caspian Summit. From left to right: Ilham Aliev, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, October 2007

Opposition members and human rights activists complain that during Aliyev's presidency the human rights situation has not improved. Opposition mass meetings remained banned or were allowed to be held in remote parts of Baku, thus aiming at demoralizing and making it difficult for supporters of opposition to reach there, and the government has continued to pressure the opposition and independent press. In March 2005 under continued pressure from the international community, especially the Council of Europe, Aliyev released from prison many prominent members of the opposition, arrested during protests against the way the October 2003 election was conducted.

In 2010, WikiLeaks uncovered a diplomatic cable dispatched by the US Embassy in the Republic of Azerbaijan, part of the cache of documents obtained by the WikiLeaks website, that explicitly compared Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to a mafia crime boss, leaving many to wonder if his government was actually democratic and whether people truthfully believed that Azerbaijan does not repress minority populations.[5] A number of groups have also complained to the Commission on Human Rights for the purpose of adopting a resolution, which urges Azerbaijan to guarantee the preservation of the cultural, religious and national identity of the Talysh people in light of repeated claims of repression.[6]

Aliyev with the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, 3 July 2008

On March 26, 2005, Aliyev was officially elected as the ruling New Azerbaijan Party chairman. The opposition denounced this as a violation of state laws, because according to the law on political parties, the president should have no party affiliation.

In April 2006, President Aliyev made a state visit to Washington, D.C. It was a remarkably successful trip, at least in terms of image. Speaking at a public forum sponsored by the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Aliyev discussed oil, economic development, and democracy with an audience of reporters and others. The visit was capped with a private meeting in the White House with President George W. Bush, who told reporters that their discussion was "really interesting", although he also said the meeting was "candid" – sometimes a code word for "tense". Opposition groups said that an official meeting with President Bush sent an inappropriate signal that the violence and intimidation of the 2005 parliamentary election was now a closed matter.[7]


2008 election

Ilham Aliyev was re-elected in 2008 with 87% of the polls, while opposition parties boycotted the elections. In a constitutional referendum in 2009, term limits for the presidency were abolished and freedom of the press was restricted.

In 2009, following his reelection as president, Aliyev passed a referendum which removed the presidential consecutive term limit, thereby allowing him to run for president as many times as he wishes. Opposition claimed this to be a violation of the Azerbaijani constitution and the European convention on human rights.[8]

The 2010 parliamentary elections produced a Parliament completely loyal to Aliyev: for the first time in Azerbaijani history, not a single candidate from the main opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front or Musavat parties was elected. The Economist subsequently scored Azerbaijan as an authoritarian regime, at 140th place out of 167, in its 2011[9] Democracy Index.

Repeated protests were staged against Aliyev's rule in 2011, calling for more democracy and the ouster of the government. Aliyev has responded by ordering a security crackdown, using force to crush attempts at revolt in Baku. Officials loyal to the president have dismissed protesters' comparison of Azerbaijan to other countries considered to be part of the same revolutionary wave that has rocked North Africa and Western Asia since December 2010, and Aliyev has rejected the precedent set by leaders in Armenia, Oman, Jordan, and other affected states by refusing to make concessions. Well over 400 Azerbaijanis have been arrested since protests began in March 2011.[10] Opposition leaders, including Musavat's Isa Gambar, have vowed to continue demonstrating, although police have encountered little difficulty in stopping protests almost as soon as they begin.[11] As president, Aliyev earns a salary of close to $230,000 a year. Amnesty International in its Media Briefing of 2012 reported that the "crackdown on the free speech has intensified in recent years". The report highlighted that "In Azerbaijan, people who exercise this fundamental right [freedom of speech] to criticise President Ilham Aliyev, his family or government, risk being threatened, attacked or imprisoned – whether they do so on- or off-line".[12]

2013 election

The presidential elections were held on October 9, 2013. Aliyev won with 85 percent of the vote, securing a third five-year term.[13] Most of the international observes found the elections mainly free and fair, but a day before voting began, a smartphone application run by the Central Election Commission showed Aliyev winning the election with 72.76 percent of the vote, suggesting that the election results were prefabricated. Azerbaijani officials claimed the results were those of the 2008 election, yet the candidates listed were from the 2013 ballot.[14] Aliyev's main rivals in the election were Jamil Hasanli and Igbal Agazade.

In 2013, Ilham Aliyev faced criticism from the United States and Amnesty International for election 'irregularities' along with crackdowns against journalists and opposition activists, including the jailing of election monitors.[15]

Ilham Aliyev's image remains largely controversial. He has been criticized for his authoritarian rule[16][17][18] and sometimes described as the head of corruption in Europe by analysts and political commentators.[19][20][21][22][23][24] Aliyev's government has been listed as one of the most corrupt in Europe by Transparency International.[25][26]

Controversies

Ramil Safarov repatriation

In 2012, Aliyev convinced the government of Hungary to transfer convicted murderer Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan to complete the rest of his prison term. While attending a NATO-sponsored English-language course in Hungary, Safarov had murdered an Armenian lieutenant who was also taking the course, Gurgen Margaryan, while Margaryan was asleep. Safarov had been tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary. However, after being extradited to Azerbaijan, Safarov received a hero's welcome; he was promoted to the rank of major, and given an apartment and over eight years of back pay, covering the time he had spent in jail.[27][28]

Statements about Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh

Aliyev has been cited as calling all Armenian people in the world as the enemies of Azerbaijan,[29][30][31] and as regularly threatening to take over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the entire Armenian Republic through military force.[32][33][34]

In 2008, Aliyev declared that “Nagorno Karabakh will never be independent; the position is backed by international mediators as well; Armenia has to accept the reality" and that "in 1918, Yerevan was granted to the Armenians. It was a great mistake. The khanate of Iravan was the Azeri territory, the Armenians were guests there."[35]

Corruption

Aliyev with his wife during their visit to Poland.

In 2012 the [36] According to ICIJ latest report, Aliyev's family has been a shareholder of big offshore companies.[37] As reported by The Washington Post and Mail Online, Aliyev's two daughters share a property portfolio of about £50 million – across Dubai, Paris and London and Aliyev's 11-year-old son in Dubai owns "nine waterfront mansions" with a total price of "about $44 million – or roughly 10,000 years' worth of salary for the average citizen of Azerbaijan".[38][39][40][41]

Personal life

Ilham Aliyev married Mehriban Aliyeva in Baku on 22 December 1983. They have three children: Leyla, Arzu and Heydar.

Public image

  • On 21 November 2009, Aliyev was included in the book 500 Most Influential Muslims of World.[43][44]
  • On 22 February 2012, American television channel CNBC aired the documentary Filthy Rich, which explored Aliyev’s family's real estate holdings abroad.[45][46][47]

Honours and medals

National honours and medals

Ilham Aliyev with insignia of the Order of Merit during a visit to Poland

Foreign honours

International Organizations
  •  CIS Medal For Distinction in Protection of CIS State Borders and Badge for Strengthening of Border Cooperation (2008) ° [51]
Others

Honorary Degrees

The mark ° shows honours mention on his official website [1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "President Biography". Government of Azerbaijan. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Report". 
  3. ^ "Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper". 
  4. ^ Freedom House. Nations in Transit 2004: Democratisation in East Central Europe. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, INC. 
  5. ^ "Azerbaijan: WikiLeaks Cable Compares Ilham Aliyev to Movie Mafia Bosses". EurasiaNet.org. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  6. ^ "Talysh: WS on the Case of the Talysh People". UNPO. 2006-03-12. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  7. ^ "ISN Security Watch - Mr Aliyev goes to Washington". isn.ethz.ch. 
  8. ^  
  9. ^ http://www.sida.se/Global/About%20Sida/S%C3%A5%20arbetar%20vi/EIU_Democracy_Index_Dec2011.pdf
  10. ^ McGuinness, Damien (24 April 2011). "Azerbaijan cracks down hard on protests". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Schwirtz, Michael (4 April 2011). "Opposition in Azerbaijan Vows to Step Up Protests". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  12. ^ AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL MEDIA BRIEFING. AZERBAIJAN: HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES PLACED UNDER THE E-SPOTLIGHT. 29 October 2012
  13. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/09/us-azerbaijan-election-idUSBRE99812Z20131009
  14. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/09/oops-azerbaijan-released-election-results-before-voting-had-even-started
  15. ^ "Azerbaijan detains election watchdog chief". Reuters. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Azerbaijan’s president to run for third term".  
  17. ^ Vincent, Rebecca (19 May 2013). "When the music dies: Azerbaijan one year after Eurovision".  
  18. ^ McGuinness, Damien (28 May 2013). "Cracking down on dissent in Ilham Aliyev's Azerbaijan". BBC News. Retrieved 10 June 2013. But according to human rights groups, the charges are trumped up - an authoritarian government's attempt to stamp out any Arab Spring-style uprising, they say. 
  19. ^  
  20. ^  
  21. ^ Neukirch, Ralf (4 January 2012). "A Dictator's Dream: Azerbaijan Seeks to Burnish Image Ahead of Eurovision".  
  22. ^ Martin, Daniel (9 March 2011). "Now Prince Andrew comes under fire for links to ruler of second corrupt former Soviet state".  
  23. ^ Harris, Mike (7 November 2012). "Why is a crucial conference on internet freedom taking place in a dictatorship?".  
  24. ^ Peck, Tom (1 November 2012). "The Prince, the brutal dictator and a friendship he just won't give up".  
  25. ^ Corruption index 2012 from Transparency InternationalThe Guardian.
  26. ^ Azerbaijan out of Tune?Transparency International.
  27. ^ "Ax Killer Pardon Reignites Caucasus War Fears in Oil-rich Region". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "Azerbaijan Pardons and Frees Convicted Killer". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  29. ^ Adams, William Lee (11 March 2012). "How Armenia and Azerbaijan Wage War Through Eurovision".  
  30. ^ "Armenia pulls out of Azerbaijan-hosted Eurovision show". BBC News. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  31. ^ Marshall, Sung In (10 April 2012). "Of Guns and Glamour, Snipers and Sequins: Eurovision 2012 proves to be more than just song and dance".  
  32. ^ "Armenian fascism must receive due assessment – Ilham Aliyev". News.az. 
  33. ^ "Aliyev Lays Claim to Yerevan, Praises Safarov".  
  34. ^ "ANCA Calls on White House to Condemn Aliyev’s Anti-Armenian Tirade". The Armenian Weekly. 
  35. ^ "Azerbaijani president: Armenians are guests in Yerevan".  
  36. ^ OCCRP Names Aliyev "Person Of The Year". December 2012
  37. ^ Offshore companies provide link between corporate mogul and Azerbaijan’s presidentThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
  38. ^ Pricey real estate deals in Dubai raise questions about Azerbaijan's presidentWashington Post.
  39. ^ Filthy rich: Britain's favourite dictatorship had so much oil its heiresses bathe in it... but beneath the fabulous wealth of Azerbaijan lurks very murky secretsMailOnline.
  40. ^ http://azerireport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3777&Itemid=42
  41. ^ Azerbaijani President's Daughters Tied To Fast-Rising Telecoms FirmRadio Liberty
  42. ^ "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan". 
  43. ^ "Azerbaijani president included in 500 most influential Muslims of world book". 
  44. ^ Президент Азербайджана вошел в книгу 500 самых влиятельных мусульман мира (in Russian). 
  45. ^ Filthy Rich about Aliyev. Full video
  46. ^ "Azerbaijan: In Solidarity with Khadija Ismayilova". Human Rights House Foundation. March 16, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  47. ^ Cohn, Scott. "The Filthy Rich". CNBC. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  48. ^ Указ Президента України № 458/2008 від 19 травня 2008 року «Про нагородження І. Алієва орденом князя Ярослава Мудрого»(Ukrainian)
  49. ^ "Official State visit of Azerbaijan (Photo)".  
  50. ^ Указ Президента України № 639/2013 від 18 листопада 2013 року «Про нагородження І.Алієва орденом Свободи»(Ukrainian)
  51. ^ Ильхам Алиев награжден высшими наградами Совета командующих пограничными войсками СНГ (in Русский). Regionplus.az. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  52. ^ a b c "ПРЕЗИДЕНТ АЗЕРБАЙДЖАНА". Посольство Азербайджанской Республики в Республике Беларусь. 
  53. ^ "Ильхаму Алиеву присвоено звание почетного профессора Белорусского госуниверситета". The First News. 12 November 2009. 
  54. ^ "Студенты ФГП приняли участие во встрече с Президентом Азербайджана И.Г. Алиевым". Факультет глобальных процессов МГУ имени М.В. Ломоносова. 2008-02-22. 
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i Алиев Ильхам Президент Республики Азербайджан. broken link

External links

  • Official Azerbaijan president website
  • Official YouTube channel of the President of Azerbaijan
  • BBC profile: Ilham Aliyev
  • Political portrait of Ilham Aliyev
  • Speeches, statements, interviews, declarations of the Azerbaijan Republic President Ilham Aliyev
  • Ilham Aliyev and oil diplomacy of Azerbaijan
Political offices
Preceded by
Artur Rasizade
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
2003
Succeeded by
Artur Rasizade
Preceded by
Heydar Aliyev
President of Azerbaijan
2003–present
Incumbent
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