On December 31 in Azerbaijan, and in other countries where Azerbaijani diasporas exist, World Azerbaijanis’ Solidarity Day is celebrated(Azerbaijan’s Dünya azərbaycanlılarının həmrəyliyi günü). Love for the Motherland, aspiration by all forces, abilities and opportunities to serve its interests – this is the foundation of Azerbaijanism – the ideology of the Azerbaijani people. Historically, it has become an integral part of self-consciousness, this ideology contributes to the unification and strengthening of Azerbaijanis of the world under the aegis of devotion to the principles and ideals of the Fatherland This day was first announced by the national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev on December 16, 1991, after which this date in 1993 became a national holiday of the entire Azerbaijani people. The main idea of the Day of National Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis, as President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev noted in his address to compatriots, is “the unity and solidarity of the Azerbaijanis of the world, the statehood of Azerbaijan, respect for the national and spiritual values of our people, feelings and ideas related to belonging to the Azerbaijani people, attachment to a historical homeland”. Characterizing the initial stages of the development of the Azerbaijani diaspora, the event that served as the reason for the announcement of this day took place on December 31, 1989, when the first World Congress of Azerbaijanis opened in Istanbul. And with the formation of the independent Azerbaijan Republic, the public status of the diaspora has changed, it has stepped up its diverse activities for the benefit of the Azerbaijani people. In order to increase the effectiveness of the activities of the Azerbaijani diaspora, the State Committee for Work with Azerbaijanis Living Abroad (now called the State Committee for Work with the Diaspora) was established in 2002. As a result, the process of formation and formation of diaspora organizations has become more widespread. Since 2002 and now the Chairman of the Committee is Nazim Ibrahimov. At the first stage, the Committee tries to unite Azerbaijanis living in different countries in communities and associations, and subsequently to involve these communities and associations in a single organization. 462 Azerbaijani diaspora organizations operate abroad with the leadership of Nazim Ibrahimov. The main functions of the committee are to help azerbaijanis living abroad to preserve and develop their national identity, study and popularize their native language, create favorable conditions for azerbaijanis living abroad to create and develop close ties with state bodies and NGOs in Azerbaijan. Involvement of ethnic Azerbaijanis to contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to promote the preservation of the national idea and national and cultural values, to ensure the worldwide solidarity of azerbaijanis throughout the world. Invest and attract investments in Azerbaijan, hold events of great importance for the Azerbaijani nation, such as the Khojaly Massacre, Black January and the day of genocide of azerbaijanis. The interpretation of the concept of “Azerbaijani Diaspora” is reflected in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On State Policy towards azerbaijanis Living Abroad“. At the beginning of the 20th century, the flow of azerbaijanis abroad became widespread. The anti-Muslim and anti-Turk policy of tsarist Russia in the Caucasus was aimed at a deliberate weakening of the dominant position of the Azerbaijani population in the region. The policy of genocide, ethnic cleansing carried out by the Armenians in 1905-1906, 1918 was the result of such insidious strategic intentions. Despite a significant reduction in the flow of people leaving the Republic after the formation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic in 1918, the fall of the Democratic Republic created a completely different situation. Builders and supporters of the Democratic Republic were subjected to intense pressure and persecution by the Bolsheviks, which forced them to leave the country. It is no coincidence that this period is one of the stages of the most mass flow of Azerbaijanis abroad. The relevance of the topic of the Azerbaijani Diaspora keeps on the agenda the issue connected with clarifying the geography of distribution and clarifying the number of Azerbaijanis. State Committee for Work with the Diaspora of the Republic of Azerbaijan reports that over 50 million Azerbaijanis live in the world today. The main part of Azerbaijanis in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the majority of the population of Southern Azerbaijan (Islamic Republic of Iran). B Southern Azerbaijan, the total number of Azerbaijanis is more than 30 million, 42% of the population of Iran. Azerbaijanis live not only in their homeland, but also in Turkey, CIS countries, Germany, France, Great Britain, Scandinavian countries, the United States and the countries of the Middle East. A large Azerbaijani Diaspora, about 2 million people live in Russia, 3 million in Turkey. Most of the Azerbaijanis who settled in the American continent moved from Iran. The flow of Azerbaijanis from Turkey, which began in 1970 and from Azerbaijan – since 1991, influenced the composition of the Diaspora in this continent and its social and economic activities. At the same time, the US, Germany and Ukraine are the leaders of the majority of Azerbaijanis. According to the statistics of the State Committee for Work with the Diaspora of the Republic of Azerbaijan, there are 450,000 people in the United States, about 200,000 people in Germany and 280,000 in Ukraine. In Iraq, there are 800,000 people, 500,000 in Georgia, 170,000 in Latvia, 90,000 in Kazakhstan, 70,000 in France, 68,000 in Uzbekistan, 48,000 in Turkmenistan, 75,000 in Israel, 30,000 in Switzerland, 20,000 in the Netherland, 17,000 in Great Britain, 45,000 in Syria,20,000 in Kyrgyzstan. More than 8,000 Azerbaijanis live in Australia, 3,000 in Austria, 3,000 in Bélchika, 7,000 in Belarus, 30,000 in China, 6,000 in Denmark, 3,000 in Finland, 1,800 in Estonia, 4,000 in Switzerland, 5 000 in Spain, 2000 in Italy, 4,000 in Latvia, 1,500 in Lithuania, 3,000 in Norway, 2,000 in Poland, 2,000 in Romania, 5,800 in Tajikistan, in the Northern Cyprus 1000, in Japan 10 000 and 2 000 Azerbaijanis in New Zealand. It should be emphasized that in recent years the state has done a lot of work in the development and maturation of the Azerbaijani diaspora. The work in Azerbaijan with diaspora organizations led to a completely new situation. Today in Azerbaijan, it is possible to hold any event in different parts of the world, to acquaint the world community with the realities of Azerbaijan more thoroughly. Noting the importance of the historical, social and political mission of the Azerbaijani diaspora, it is important to note those engaged in economics and business, urging them to actively involve foreign compatriots in many representative events. Important progress has been made in this direction in recent years. Azerbaijan is an open state for all, where any businessman can safely invest and develop business, for that in the country today there are social and political stability and favorable legislation. A special role in the development of this sector belongs to the Azerbaijani diaspora, an important area of activity is the economy, business environment. The leaders and representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora are called upon to spare no efforts for the wide dissemination of objective information about Azerbaijan, which has embarked on the path of accelerated development and has become the leading state in the region; more to inform the foreign public about the successes of Azerbaijan in building a democratic society based on civil solidarity. Today, members of the diaspora have an urgent task, without distorting the need to convey the truth about the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the world community, to denounce the myth of the “great Armenia,” to show and prove that the territorial claims of Armenia are not only interested in the interests of Azerbaijan, and other states. Against this background, the Azerbaijani diaspora plays an increasingly important role in creating a true image of Azerbaijan, forming objective knowledge about the true causes of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict amongst foreign citizens, about the original tolerance and patriotism of the Azerbaijani people, defending the honor of their homeland, its right to territorial integrity and state sovereignty. At the newest historical stage, confidently integrating into the world space and simultaneously realizing its own historical, cultural, religious and other values deeper and larger, the Azerbaijani society actively consolidates under the aegis of the idea of Azerbaijanism, which is uniform for the whole population of the country, capable of leading the country to real progress and prosperity. It is obvious that Azerbaijan, which is gaining strength and pace of development, has the brightest prospects in the development of the diaspora. This is a far-sighted and purposeful strategy of the Diaspora leadership aimed at maximizing the patriotic opportunities and abilities of the best representatives of the Azerbaijani society, no matter where in the world they live. And today the Azerbaijani diaspora is not just compatriots who for one reason or another have found themselves and are living abroad, it is a powerful social and political force capable of doing a lot in the places of residence. This, so to speak, is an outpost in the defense of national interests.
Focus by Domenico Coco, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Italy, Sicily, member of Research Institute of Economics and Politics(IREPI ), Domenico Letizia, Analyst Research Institute of Economics and Politics(IREPI ) and Leyla Rashid, Researcher of Baku State University, member of Research Institute of Economics and Politics(IREPI )