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Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan (Emerging Trends and Tensions)

Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan (Emerging Trends and Tensions)

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Published by Gültekin ÖNCÜ

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Published by: Gültekin ÖNCÜ on Jan 01, 2013
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01/01/2013

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Office in Baku
ISLAMIC AND ETHNIC IDENTITIES IN AZERBAIJAN:EMERGING TRENDS AND TENSIONS
 A Discussion Paper 
Hema Kotecha
 Development Researcher - Anthropologist 
 
 
 
Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan:Emerging trends and tensions
 A Discussion Paper 
Hema KotechaDevelopment Researcher - AnthropologistJuly 2006
 
FOREWORD
With the fulfilment of Azerbaijan's aspirations for economic viability into the future,through the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil conduit, it is understandable thatother primary factors in maintaining its stability may have been relegated to a level of peripheral concern.The county's geographical location, at the meeting point of the political and cultural blocsof Asia, Europe and the Middle East continues to impact heavily as it emerges from itsrecent Soviet past to redefine its identity. Cultural groups, hitherto largely subsumed intothe single Soviet identity, can once again proclaim themselves; political diversity can befostered.However, this historically volatile region is burdened by unresolved conflicts whichrender it vulnerable to wider global issues of security and the potential for Azerbaijan toagain fall victim to others’ desire for political influence remains as great now as it hasever been. Moreover, its stability, borne of mineral wealth, may become an irresistiblelure to the burgeoning ranks of global terrorism and it is this latter concern which hasprompted the OSCE Office to seek to discover the nature of possible vulnerabilities inthe community.The researcher, Hema Kotecha, has sought to do no more than to present her findingslogically, in the context in which they were recorded, providing explanations to aid thereader where appropriate, but allowing the reader the freedom to draw conclusions. Itshould be emphasised that the work reflects the views and perceptions of people inAzerbaijan and these may not always align with reality or historical fact. Nonetheless,they do represent firm reality to those holding them and, as such, provide both a valuableinsight into the huge cultural diversity which is Azerbaijan and suggest areas which maybe vulnerable to exploitation.The Office is grateful for the considerable time and dedication the author has devoted tothis project and trust it will be of both interest and value to those who will read and makeuse of it.OSCE Office in BakuJuly 2006

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