“Who was behind the coup attempt in 2003 and the Orange Revolution in 2005? Who tried to divide the ruling class and consolidate its dissatisfied (bribed) part with the revolutionary masses raised in Western NGOs? Collective West.”
This is stated in the article of journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, published on the website virtualaz.org, entitled "Americans are raising a new "fifth column" against Azerbaijan".
The author points out protests against the results of the 2003 and 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Fakt Yoxla examined whether the claims were true.
The 15 October 2003 presidential election was the most "massive" in terms of the number of candidates and the most competitive in terms of composition. Against Heydar Aliyev's successor, 42-year-old Ilham Aliyev, there were candidates with considerable influence in the political spectrum:
Isa Gambar - former Speaker of Parliament;
Lala-Shovkat Hajiyeva - former Secretary of State;
Etibar Mammadov - one of the leaders of the Popular Movement;
Ilyas Ismayilov - former Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice;
Sabir Rustamkhanli - Minister of Press and Information in 1992-1995;
Hafiz Hajiyev - Chairman of the Modern Musavat Party.
According to the official results of the elections, Ilham Aliyev was elected president with 76.84%.
Opposition activists began to gather in front of the Musavat Party headquarters, claiming that Isa Gambar had won more votes.
After the preliminary results were announced, the number of people gathered increased, resulting in clashes with police. The next day, October 16, opposition activists claiming that the votes had been falsified gathered in Freedom Square (Azadlıq Meydanı). Law enforcement agencies strongly intervened in protesters, hundreds of people were arrested, as many were injured, and one was killed.
Arif Hajili, Sardar Jalaloglu, Panah Huseyn, Rauf Arifoglu, and Igbal Aghazade were pardoned in March 2005. A number of opposition activists considering these arrests unfounded appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which upheld the appeals of four opposition members.
An OSCE report released on November 12, 2003, states that the 15 October 2003 presidential election failed to meet OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections. The overall process reflected a lack of sufficient political commitment to implement a genuine election process.
The document also states that there were widespread intimidation in the pre-election period and unequal conditions for the candidates. The counting and tabulation of election results were seriously flawed.
The report notes that post-election violence resulting in the widespread detentions of election officials and opposition activists further marred the election process. International observers were not allowed to monitor the post-election activities at the CEC in the crucial days before the announcement of the final results. There were severe restrictions on public rallies and limitations placed on observation by domestic civic organizations.
On January 22, 2004, Human Rights Watch, an international human rights organization, published a report on the 2003 presidential election. The document says that in the pre-election period, police violence and arbitrary arrests served to intimidate the population and opposition supporters.
The report notes that on voting day, the government carried out a well-organized campaign of fraud throughout the country to ensure a victory for Ilham Aliev, right in front of the largest international election monitoring team ever deployed in the country. When post-election violence erupted, the government responded with brutal and excessive force, unleashing its security forces to beat hundreds of demonstrators unconscious, and killing at least one protester.
Furthermore, many relevant articles have criticized the election.
Former deputy chairman of the Committee for Combating Election Fraud and Repression, Saftar Nahmatov, said that despite the persistent appeals of international organizations, the Azerbaijani government has not taken any real initiatives to investigate the cases of torture.
According to the official results of the November 2005 parliamentary elections, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party won 61 seats. The Azadlig bloc, formed by opposition parties before the election for union, won the right to be represented by 6 members. However, the bloc did not officially recognize these results, saying that the elections were rigged. As a result, protests were held from 9 to 26 November. The massive protest took place on November 26.
More than 500 protesters were injured by harsh police intervention. These events were sharply criticized by diplomatic missions in Baku. A statement from the US Embassy said: "We condemn the use of force against citizens who exercise their right to freedom of assembly. We call on the authorities to investigate these cases, punish those responsible for them, as well as all Azerbaijani citizens to exercise restraint and control their emotions during this tense post-election period."
An OSCE report published on 1 February 2006 states that a wide range of serious violations was observed during the vote count at the polling stations and during the tabulation of results at constituency election commissions (ConECs). The document also states that overall, the 6 November 2005 parliamentary elections did not meet a number of OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections.
As can be seen, contrary to Eynulla Fatullayev's claim, the protests after the 2003 and 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections took place due to election fraud. The facts of election fraud were also reflected in the reports of international observers.
Fakt Yoxla concludes that Eynulla Fatullayev's claim is Anti-Western Propaganda.