The battle between Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the leader of Islamic movement Hizmet (Nurs) has spilled over into Azerbaijan and became the main reason of the dismissal of the head of Political analysis and Information Provision department of Presidential Administration Elnur Aslanov, it is stated in the article published on the website of Institute of war and peace reporting(IWPR).
However, the analysts believe that there has long been a struggle for the influence between the head of Political and Social department of Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov and the dismissed head of Political analysis and Information Provision department of Presidential Administration Elnur Aslanov. A suspicion of Aslanov’s involvement in the sect of Nur movement was a pretext to get rid of him.
According to the article, Ali Hasanov while commenting on the influence the Nur movement has in Azerbaijan called for vigilance.
“The representatives of those trends should know that attempts to adapt the state policy to their interests will fail,” Hasanov told a religious affairs conference in Baku on March 7. On March 17 Elnur Aslanov was dismissed.
Arastun Orujlu, director of the Baku-based East-West Research Centre, told IWPR that this is the way the battle between senior government officials manifests itself and that there will be plenty more signs of this kind of dispute in future. ““The Hizmet movement was just used to raise the issue and shape public opinion,” he believes.
“The Hizmet movement has been in Azerbaijan for years now. If it really was a threat, the government would have taken serious steps years ago,” he added.
According to the article, the problem is so controversial that many political analysts shun discussing it openly. One of Azerbaijani experts, who requested anonymity, said that perhaps Aslanov has no relation to Gulen.
“The Hizmet movement and its activities in Azerbaijan can be very easily exploited in a domestic power-struggle,” he said.
The article reads that the Hizmet movement was one of the first foreign organizations to move into Azerbaijan after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Heydar Aliyev, the late president supported the emergence of Turkish schools in the country. Hizmet currently runs 11 high schools, 13 primary schools and one University in Azerbaijan. According to an anonymous expert they can be closed as a consequence of recent events.
Note that the newspaper “Yeni Musavat” referring to the source in social networks has disseminated information that the official circles of Turkey have provided the Azerbaijani government with a list of high-ranking officials of Azerbaijan in the administration of President Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani government, which include or are related with such religious direction, as Nursizm.
The list of officials recruited by the sect of Fethullah Gülen include, the head of Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Elnur Aslanov, SOCAR vice president Khalig Mammadov, chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Elshad Isgandarov, his deputy Gunduz Ismailov, Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Intigam Babayev, MP Jeyhun Osmanli, CSR Director under the Presidential Administration Farhad Mammadov, Chairman of the Youth Foundation Farhad Hajiyev. Already on March 17 Elnur Aslanov was dismissed from his position as a head of the department of Political Analysis and Information Provision of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan.