How many idiosyncrasies?

April 26, 2009

Not long ago, in 1920, Mammed Amin Rasul-zadeh wrote that Azerbaijan was born from a Turkic father and Iranian mother. I would like to add that Azerbaijan had Russian stepparents.

Once I wrote to a person in the other side of the Atlantic and not mentioned my country, for I thought that why an ordinary American was obliged to know anything about Azerbaijan? I just wrote that "I am a student of IR in a tiny country near to Middle East and I was seeking… […]". And surprise! Look what response I have received:

I’m guessing from your last name– Islamic, with Russian ending to Surname– and the "turk" in your email address, that you are Azeri.

And now, here is what UAE’s The National writes:

Where the tectonic plates of the old Russian, Persian and Ottoman empires collided, there was bound to be some residual volatility. That restlessness is seen throughout the Caucasus, but perhaps nowhere better than in modern-day Azerbaijan.

Last week in the Azeri capital, Baku, those cultures were standing in sharp contrast. The city has been designated the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2009, and ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Conferences gathered in one of the bigger hotels to discuss OIC matters.

An Emirati delegation were being briefed on Azeri affairs by their hosts, who explained, in English, that the country had a booming oil industry, that it was almost bilingual in Russian and the Turkic native language, and that it was a rare Shia Muslim state, but secular on the Turkish model. The men in dishdashas nodded at the information, but seemed puzzled – how many such idiosyncrasies could one country, population 9 million, combine?