When Azerbaijan was admitted to the Council of Europe, despite well documented democratic failings, it was with the idea that Council of Europe membership would gradually transform Azerbaijan. Sadly, the reverse has occurred. The outcome is a tragedy for the citizens of Azerbaijan, particularly those brave pro-democracy activists who languish in jail as political prisoners. But it is also a tragedy for Europe, whose values have been trampled. And it is certainly a tragedy for the Council of Europe itself, which urgently needs to recover the values its founders entrusted it with if it is to justify its continued existence.
Azerbaijan is the focus of a public debate in New York on "Fixing the Democracy Discourse: How Autocratic Regimes Undermine Democratic Institutions in the West", organised by the Open Society Foundations on 28 June.
- Gerald Knaus, Director, European Stability Initiative, Istanbul
- Khadija Ismayilova, Investigative Journalist, Baku
- Ken Silverstein, Author and Open Society Fellow, Washington, DC
- Lincoln Mitchell, Associate Research Scholar, Columbia University, New York (moderator)
Please find out more about the event on OSI's website.
ESI report: Caviar Diplomacy. How Azerbaijan silenced the Council of Europe (24 May 2012)