CHAPTER 24 THE FATE OF ISLAMIC ETHNIC MINORITIES IN AZERBAIJAN

“Azerbaijan and Daghestan represent an economical entirety. The Northern borders of Azerbaijan must be strategically defended by lands corresponding its natural borders. The border of the river Samur is not sufficient considering the natural conditions. This border of Azerbaijani Republic must be changed according to the ethnical principle towards Daghestan and it must start above the city Derbent from the Caspian coast”.9

The First Secretary of Daghestan Regional Communist Party committee Abdurakhman Daniliarov described in his “memoirs” the talks concerning the issue of attaching Daghestan to Azerbaijan with Bagirov in 1943.

“Once, it was after the 1943 Tehran Conference, Bagirov told me about his talk with Stalin. Telling Stalin about the hardships that Daghestan was suffering, he expressed his idea of attaching Daghestan to Azerbaijan. Stalin had asked; “What will be the answer of Daghestan to such an offer?” Bagirov told me that he had said to Stalin that the answer wouldn’t be negative. I told Bagirov that I needed the counsel of my friends. In my talk with Aziz Aliev I dropped this subject. In contrary to my expectations, he rejected the idea sharply and explained his attitude to the issue;

“In case of any problem, for the present we apply straight to the Central Committee, if we are attached to Azerbaijan, we must submit to the Azerbaijani Communist Party Central Committee. Besides, Kuliev will never give us more money than the “Sovnarkom” of the Russian Federation does”.

After that once I went to Bagirov accompanied by A. Aliev and Takhtarov late in the evening. He had invited us himself. He looked very happy and said; “I have just had dinner with Stalin in his summer house. The question of attachment of Daghestan to Azerbaijan is principally solved. Write a note to Stalin about that”. We looked at each other. Aliev answered; “We’ll discuss the matter and inform you the results”. We have decided that we weren’t authorised to write such a note at least without discusssing the matter in the regional plenary meeting. After this incident Bagirov didn’t conceal his hatred towards me, Aliev and Daghestan”.10

The numerous representatives of national minorities who had given in and agreed to be identified as “Azerbaijanis” suddenly, with the coming of Popular Front to power, understood that they had fallen into a trap. The newly elected President Abulfaz Elchibei declared that the “Azerbaijani” language was in fact the Turkish and consequently the Azerbaijanis were Turks.11

In an interview to the Popular Front newspaper “Azadlig” A. Elchibei, enthusiastic about his first declaration, mode the second step, saying;

“Some ethnic groups in Azerbaijan, as the Tats, originated from the intermixture of the Turks and the Persians, and the Talishis the same”.

After humiliating these people in this way, he made a new declaration; “Derbent is the historical Motherland of the Turks”.12

Thus the Azerbaijani propaganda entered into a new phase of inventing theories about the name “Azerbaijani” declaring themselves Turks at the same time trying to irritate the ethnic minorities, who had unfortunately agreed to be called “Azerbaijani” but not “Turk”.

The candidate of philology Edalet Tahirzade expressed his viewpoint concerning the above matter in the newpaper “Azerbaijan”;

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