Azerbaijani President Aliyev threatens ‘fifth column’ with state of emergency
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev believes that the opposition is stirring up panic surrounding the coronavirus, and that if necessary, he will declare a state of emergency and isolate these people from the general populace.
Below is part of the president’s speech which he gave on March 19 for the upcoming spring holiday of Novruz:
“At the same time, we see open provocations. Where do these provocations come from? From the very fifth column, from the enemies who are among us, the elements calling themselves opposition, the traitors who receive money from abroad. Their main goal is to destroy Azerbaijan. The worse for Azerbaijan, the better for them. Look at their addresses on social networks, they are full of hatred and provocation. They seem to want riots to happen. They want turmoil. They want panic. And then they claim that they care about the Azerbaijani people. They are our enemies, and we must openly state this. It is not known what this disease will lead to. Therefore, during the existence of the disease, the rules of completely new relationships will apply. Let everyone know this. It is possible that a state of emergency may be declared at some point. In this case, the isolation of representatives of the fifth column will become a historical necessity. The Azerbaijani people have long thrown them into the dustbin of history, and they have been there for almost 30 years now. But we cannot allow the anti-Azerbaijani forces, the fifth column and national traitors to take advantage of this situation to commit various provocations. Let everyone know it. Our policy is unequivocal and we have a strong will. We, as always, are solving and will continue to solve the problems of the Azerbaijani people.”
In particular, Aliyev considers the part of the opposition that refuses to enter into a dialogue with authorities to be “traitors” and a “fifth column.”
The president says that the government proposed starting a dialogue with the opposition for the following reasons:
“Today, the government of Azerbaijan is stronger than ever before. We believe that the strong must take the first step, put forward the first proposal and lead the way for those who, if I may say so, have gone astray.”
From the opposition, the Musavat party and the unregistered Republican Alternative party have so far expressed their willingness to open a dialogue.
Currently, 44 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in Azerbaijan. Ten of those infected have already recovered, one person has died.