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Spotlight Article

Azerbaijan's International Citizens

Azerbaijan America Alliance
December 29, 2014

At the first congress of World Azerbaijani in 2001 National Leader Heydar Aliyev expressed his hope for unity among the dispersed Azerbaijani people:

“Irrespective of place of residence, everyone should think of the homeland. This is independent Azerbaijan. Therefore, irrespective of where you are, in what country you live, you should always think of Azerbaijan, about the independence of Azerbaijan, its territorial integrity, the present and the future of the Azerbaijani nation.”

Azerbaijan’s long and complex history has resulted in Azerbaijanis being dispersed throughout the Caucasus region, Europe, and more recently the Americas.  The largest Azerbaijani diasporas are in Russia and Iran followed closely by populations in Turkey and Georgia. However Azerbaijani populations have reached much further than neighboring countries; Germany has the fifth largest Azerbaijani diaspora and the United States has the tenth.

 

Azerbaijan Center in Houston, Texas

Source: azerbaijancenter.com

Azerbaijani’s have left Azerbaijan over the centuries for every cause one might imagine. Citizens left due to military conflicts, social and political reasons, occupation and education. However the largest historical migration of Azerbaijanis occurred in the Middle Ages between the 6th and 7th centuries. Azerbaijanis traveled and settled in Central Asia and the Middle East alongside the Turkic migration, in which the Turks from central Asia through Europe and the Middle East.

International Solidarity Day will be celebrated this week in Azerbaijan on December 31st. The holiday was declared in 1991 by National Leader Heydar Aliyev and celebrates the unity between the dispersed Azerbaijani populations. December 31 marks the day that the nationalist popular front of Azerbaijan, having been inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, removed the borders between Soviet Azerbaijan and Iran in 1989. On this day Azerbaijanis living in Iran were united with their friends and family living in Soviet Azerbaijan for the first time in several decades.

The solidarity of distinct Azerbaijani populations is uniquely important to Azerbaijan because the number of Azerbaijanis living outside the territory of Azerbaijan is far larger then the number who population outside Azerbaijan is larger then the population within it. This incredible external population stays connected to Azerbaijan through the State Committee of Azerbaijan Republic on Work with Diaspora, which actively works to promote a connection of diaspora with Azerbaijan. International Solidarity Day is therefore not only a symbolic recognition, but a commemoration of the unity of discrete 

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