AZERBAIJAN AND ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION
After regaining its independence, Azerbaijan first appealed to the OIC from the former Soviet republics to become a member of the OIC, and on December 1991, 8, it was accepted as a full member of the OIC at the 5th Conference of heads of state and government held in Dakar. It should be noted that on June 28-30, 2011, the name of the Organization of the Islamic Conference was replaced by the name of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation during the 38th session of the Council of Ministers of foreign affairs of the OIC held in Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
In September 1992, during the next session of the UN General Assembly, the relevant article “on the Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict” was introduced in the final document of the traditional coordination meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs of OIC member states. The resolution “conflict Armenia and Azerbaijan” was adopted at XXI conference of Ministers of foreign affairs of OIC member countries held in Karachi in April, 1993.
Since May, 1994, following the relevant decree of national leader Heydar Aliyev, the ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was given Permanent Representative powers under the OIC General Secretariat and through our Embassy in Riyadh efficient work was started with the OIC General Secretariat and its various agencies, including the Islamic Development Bank, headquartered in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The visit of the national leader Heydar Aliyev to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in July 1994, along the creating the basis for the further development of cooperation between AR and ICT, his Umrah visit to the Holy Kaaba and fruitful meetings increased the interest and attention of all Islamic states to our country.
In December 1994, at the VII summit of heads of states and government of OIC member states in Casablanca, an important resolution was adopted on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The resolution called for the provision of economic and humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan, which is home to about one million citizens displaced as a result of Armenian aggression. The resolution also called for the implementation of 4 UN resolutions and “immediate and unconditional” withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan lands. In addition, at the 1996 24th Conference of the ministers of foreign affairs of the OIC member states in Jakarta, the remaining of the resolution “Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan” was a great success for Azerbaijan.
Resolution adopted by OIC heads of state and government in Tehran in 1997, in Doha in 2000, in Butracaya in 2003 and at VIII, IX and X summits in Dakar in 2008 are also called “aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan”. These resolutions, played an important role in bringing Azerbaijan’s position to the world community.
In December 2005, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev took part in the third OIC Extraordinary Summit held in Mecca and the next XXXIII conference of OIC foreign ministers was held in Baku on June 2006, 19-21 at the initiative of the head of state.
Various organizations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – ICESCO, Islamic Development Bank, Islamic Conference Parliamentary Union, Islamic Conference Youth Forum, etc. works closely with. From this point of view, the activities of Azerbaijan’s first lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva are especially commendable. As a result of this activity, on November 23, 2006, ICESCO Director General Abdulaziz ibn Othman Altwaijri presented a diploma on awarding the title of goodwill ambassador of ICESCO to Azerbaijan’s first lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev FoundationMehriban Aliyeva for her large-scale and selfless activity in various fields, including dialogue between civilizations, attention to in need of care, and a great support provided in the Islamic world, titles of ICESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Also, participating in the International Forum “expanding the role of women in Cross-Culture Dialogue” held in Baku in June 2008, OIC secretary general E.Ihsanoglu presentred a diploma on the status of “Special Envoy of OIC for humanitarian issues” to Azerbaijan’s first lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva for her activities in the humanitarian sphere. It is remarkable that the first woman to be awarded these high names by the Organization of Islamic countries is the first lady of Azerbaijan.
In addition, the Islamic Conference Youth Forum (now called Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum), its Eurasian Regional Center (IGF ARM) and OIC Labor Centre were established on the initiative of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Eurasian Regional Centre of OGF was established in 2010 and operates in Baku.
The active activity of Leyla aliyeva, the general coordinator of the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum on intercultural and inter-civilizational dialogue issues, should be emphasized. Launched in 2009 on her initiative, the international awareness campaign “Justice for Khojaly” is being implemented in more than 50 countries of the world. In the final resolution adopted in May 2009 at the 36th conference of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC in Damascus, the ministers fully supported the campaign “justice for Khojaly-freedom to Karabakh” and urged member states to take an active part in this campaign. In 2011, the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States called the “justice for Khojaly!” adopted a resolution supporting the International Campaign. Also, the Parliamentary Union called on the parliaments of all OIC member states to recognize the massacers committed by the Armenian Armed Forces as genocide and crime against humanity in 2012. After some time later, a number of countries have passed, including Pakistan, Jordan, Sudan, Mexico, Colombia, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, about 20 USA states and other legislative bodies adopted resolutions condemning the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, recognizing the Khojaly tragedy as genocide, calling for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and on the basis of respect for their internationally recognized borders.
2011, on November 22-23, the founding congress of the “OIC GİASH” network of OIC countries -Young Businessmen” was held in Baku with joint organizational support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for dialogue and cooperation (ICGF) and the government of Azerbaijan.
Paragraph 61 of the final communique adopted in February 2013 at the OIC summit in Cairo expressed the unanimous and unambigous position of the OIC in connection with the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, and paragraph 117 for the first time reflected support for the international propaganda campaign “Justice for Khojaly” and reflected information about mass killings committed in February in 1992, in Khojaly, his tragedy was recognized as an “act of genocide” and a “crime against humanity.”
During the chairmanship of Azerbaijan to the UN SC in 2011-2013, on the initiative of Azerbaijan in 2013 on October 28, for the first time in the history of the UN, a high-level meeting was held on the theme of “strengthening partnership relations between the UN and the OIC”. The purpose of the meeting was to review the current state of cooperation between UN and the OIC, the world’s second largest intergovernmental organization by number of member states, on maintaining international peace and security and to discuss joint action to further strenghten partnership relations.
İn addition to broad political support, the OIC has helped Azerbaijan to intergrate into various economic structures of the Islamic world. İn 1992, he was elected a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) of Azerbaijan and has been working closely with this international economic organization since then. First of all, the IDB provided financial and humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced Azerbaijanis due to the Karabakh conflict. As the relations developed, Azerbaijan continued its cooperation with IDB to finance projects in the fields of agriculture, infrastucture, oil and gas, water supply, industry and various social spheres.
Currently, the Republic of Azerbaijan is one of the most active and influental members of the OIC. Azerbaijan has hosted several OIC conferences in recent years. For example, at the conference of Ministers of labour of OIC member states held in Baku in 2013, the Baku Declaration on the creation of new opportunities among member states, cooperation in the field of Labour, Employment and social protection was adopted. İn 2014, the V ministerial conference on “the role of women in the development of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation” was held. It should be noted that in return, the OIC (via ICESCO) expressed its confidence in Baku completely as a cultural bridge between the Islamic world and European organizations participating in the dialogue between civilizations. In this context, the government of Azerbaijan held numerous events related to intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue in Azerbaijan and abroad within the framework of the project “Baku-the capital of the Islamic world-2009”. The most important initiative, which embodies the role of Baku as a bridge of mutual understanding between European organizations and OIC, is the project called “Baku process”. The distinctive feature of the “Baku process” is that it combines the project of intercultural dialogue on the basis of values and activities of the Council of Europe and ICESCO. The Baku Process project is included in the international program on inter-civilizational dialogue adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2001, on the preservation and promotion of Diversity of Cultural Self-determination (2005), the Islamic Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted by ICESCO in 2004, the Declaration and Action Program of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and It is based on the” White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” adopted in May 2008.
In April 2016, a delegation led by the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev attended the 13th Islamic Summit held in Istanbul under the slogan “unity and solidarity for justice and peace”. The final communique of the event included detailed paragraphs (paragraph 16 and 17) on Armenia’s aggression against our country, deliberate escalation of tension by the occupying country in early April 2016, as well as the establishment of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Contract Group includes 8 countries (the Republic of Turkiye, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Gambia, the Republic of Djibouti, the Republic of Somalia). In a short period of time, this contract group played an active role in speeding up the settlement of the conflict and drawing the attention of major states to this problem. For example, within the 71st permanent session of the UN General Assembly, the first meeting of this contract group on Nagorno-Karabakh was held. The OIC also attracted the attention of the world community to the Khojaly genocide, which resulted in the killing of 106 civilians, including 83 women and 613 children by Armenian military forces.
In 2017, our country was declared the “Year of Islamic Solidarity” and a number of events were held within the framework of this year. In May 2017, a grandiose sporting event of the OIC-the IV Islamic Solidarity Games – was held in Baku. Representatives of 24 states on 54 sports were involved in the competitions.
By organizing this major sports competition at a time when the Islamic world was dominated by conflicts and contradictions, Azerbaijan provided serious support to the OIC and its idea of unity and solidarity.
In July 2017, at the 44th meeting of the OIC foreign ministry Council held in the Abijan city of Côte d'Ivoire, a resolution entitled “solidarity with the victims of the Kholajy massacre of 1992 “was adopted for the first time, and the Khojaly massacre was recognized as “war crimes”, “crime against humanity” and “genocide” and strongly condemned.
Cooperation with another OIC body Parliamentary Union (Islamic Conference Parliamentary Union) in the direction of recognition of Khojaly genocide takes an important place. Thus, since 2010, the organization adopted resolutions "on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan" and "commemoration of the victims of the Khojaly genocide of 1992" presented by the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 2018, the city of Nakhchivan, which has a 5 thousand-year old history, was elected the capital of Islamic culture by ICESCO. In April 2018, the 4th session of the Conference of Ministers of Youth and support of the organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held in Baku. The meeting was attended by youth and sports ministers of more than 40 OIC member countries, chairmen of agencies and committees, as well as representatives of leading international organizations.
In October 2018, among the measures taken within the framework of cooperation with the OIC, an event dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was held at the OIC headquarters.
On September 2019, 19, a statement titled “OIC Secretary General Expresses Deep Concern over the Recent Statement of Armenian Prime Minister on Nagorno-Karabakh” was published on the official website of the OIC secretary general on behalf of the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s illegal visit to the occupied territories and provocative statements made there.
On March 2020, 13, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued a statement titled (“OIC rejects the holding of Elections in the Occupied Nagorno-Karabakh” in connection with the so-called “elections”) held in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
On July 14, 2020, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a statement titled “OIC General Secretariat Condemns Armenia’s attack on the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan”.
On September 28, 2020, OIC issued a statement titled “Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemns the provocative and numerous attacks by the Armenian armed forces against the Republic of Azerbaijan”.
On October 14, 2020, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued a statement titled “OIC reaffirms its solidarity with the Republic of Azerbaijan” in connection with the missile fire of Ganja by the Armenia Armed Forces.
On October 21, 2020, the OIC issued a statement entitled “The General Secretariat calls for the immediate cessation of the attacks of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan”. In this statement, the OIC once again expressed its solidarity with the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On November 16, 2020. OIC issued a statement titled “OIC General Secretariat welcomes the cessation of hostilities between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia”.
On February 25, 2021, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a statement titled “OIC General Secretariat Commemorates the 29th Anniversary of Khojaly genocide”. The statement referred to as “genocide” along with the naming of actions against the civilian Azerbaijani population in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as was crimes against humanity.
On April 8, 2021, president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yusif bin Ahmad Al-Useymin. During the meeting Secretary General was awarded with “Dostlug” order for his services in strengthening friendship and cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
ICESCO Director General Salim bin Mohammed Al-Malik attended the opening of a two-day international conference on “the development of the post-conflict humanitarian agenda: sustainable development through the revitalization of the cultural environment” in Shusha on May 19, 2022.
On May 20, 2022, President Ilham aliyev received ICESCO director general Salim Bin Mohammed Al-Maliki.