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Exposure of Nurchular

Political March in Azerbaijan highlighted the theme of Nurchular, the so-called Turkish religious order of political and economic sense. The media published revelations of a number of high-ranking officials in the presidential administration, the government, state-owned companies suspected of realization of the interests of Nurchular in Azerbaijan.

Among the officials were mentioned the names of Farhad Mammadov, the Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Rovnag Abdullayev President of SOCAR; Elnur Aslanov, the Head of the Department of Political Analysis and Information Support of the Presidential Administration. Only Elnur Aslanov, one of the persons mentioned in the list, was dismissed on March 17, and on April 2, immediately after the victory of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, the head of the Party of Justice and Development (AKP) in the municipal elections, Aslanov was appointed the head of the Department of scientific capacity and investments of the Ministry of Communications and High Technology.

Relationship between acute political struggle in Turkey and revelation of Nurchular in Azerbaijan is not accidental. In recent years, the relationship between the pro-Islamic AKP and Islamic religious movement "Nurchular" headed by Fethullah Gulen were too confrontational, especially in light of the corruption revelations of in the AKP, which shaken the position of Erdogan. Therefore, Erdogan had to take preventive measures to weaken the position of Nurchular not only in Turkey, but also in other countries, including Azerbaijan.

In this context, the media reported about some revelatory list of high officials-Nurchular in Azerbaijan, submitted the official Baku by Erdogan, who considers Nurchular unfriendly against the AKP government, and are also dangerous for Aliyev.

Nurchular, known as members of the religious community of "soft" Islam avoid political activity, and practice moderate religious views. Community actively works through educational network, paying special attention to gifted children, from elite, giving them a decent education. Graduates of these schools are characterized by high mutual support. Through educational and other programs Nurchular actively establish relations in different countries with the representatives of the authorities, leaders of national public organizations, using the capacity of parents of children studying in high schools.

This Movement became popular in Azerbaijan after the country gained independence in 1992, when high schools, universities, media affiliates, head structures of which operate in Turkey, opened in Baku.

Criticism of Nurchular, which was represented in the media as a threat to the national security of Azerbaijan, because of their increased influence on decision-making in political and economic sphere, produced a stunning effect. A number of persons representing Turkish organizations in Azerbaijan, as well as official agencies, were forced to conceal their belonging to the Nurchular Movement. This in turn will cause restraint in the dynamics of the Community, and increase of its influence.

Official Baku, particularly President Aliyev, like Erdogan, was also interested in criticizing Nurchular. Upper echelons of power do not like excessive external interference in both domestic and foreign policy. If we follow the relations of Nurchular with officials, it is possible to conclude that their range is much wider than was reported in media. Nurchular used Azerbaijani officials to promote their one-sided interests. It should be admitted that the love was mutual, and at a high level, these ties were used to promote the interests of Baku through an international network of influence of the Nurchular Movement.

Taking into account these two factors of mutual interests, we should expect that the exchanges and cooperation will continue, but in a more cautious manner, with a great consideration of the interests of the ruling group in Azerbaijan. The border of interests is already clear, and the parties will have to avoid going beyond them.


Turan Analytical Service


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