Azerbaijani writer target of attacks due to novel content

Azerbaijani writer target of attacks due to novel content

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Azerbaijani writer target of attacks due to novel content

‘Those, who discuss my identity that I have no Armenian origin,’ says Azerbaijani novelist Akram Aylisli as for attackers against his identity because of his novel.

Famed Azerbaijani novelist Akram Aylisli has become the target of attacks both from the state and the public after the release of his latest novel, “Stone Dreams,” which depicts Azerbaijani-Armenian friendship through its protagonists. A symbolic DNA test will be made today in Baku to prove if Aylisli is Armenian or not.

A group of angry people gathered in front of the 76-year-old writer’s house, painted a cross on Aylisli’s photos and burned them, shouting slogans such as, “Traitor, shame on you!”

Aylisli was the recipient of many national and international awards, and was also declared “Azerbaijani National Writer” in 1987, but President İlham Aliyev stripped him of all his national honors yesterday -- a first in the Caspian country’s history. Aylisli also now faces denaturalization.

Speaking to Hürriyet Daily News through e-mail regarding the events, Aylisli said that he saw similar attacks in the Soviet era. “But I have never seen anything like this. All these things are one of the worst forms of the Soviet Union ideology. They are carrying out a spiritual terror campaign against me. They even attack my family.” “Those, who discuss my identity know that I have no Armenian origin,” Aylisli said of the DNA test. “I once again say that this is a spiritual terror campaign. Nobody can speak about my spirituality and morals.” When asked about human rights and freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, he said, “In a country where a famous artist gets into that much trouble, it doesn’t make sense to speak about human rights. They try to silence people of opposing views and enjoy it while doing it.”

“The main goal of the novel is to call for Armenians and Turks to live together,” Aylisli said, adding that his novels had nothing to do with politics.

‘A route for peace should be sought’

According to Aylisli, the novel begins with an incident. “Ten to 15 young Azerbaijanis exiled from Armenia reach Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, where they encounter an old Armenian man, take of his clothes and beat and throw him into a pool. A famous Azerbaijani artist sees the incident and tries to help the old man. The young Azerbaijani men also start to beat him up. The incidents after this event take place in the inner world of the artist,” he said.

The book explores the artist’s village, where he grew up, his childhood and personal life.

The novel takes place in 1919 and discusses the Armenian massacre and incidents of 1915 and the resultant suffering, Aylisli said, adding that once upon a time Azerbaijanis and Armenians lived happily and in peace, and that they should endeavor to live in peace again.

According to Aylisli, the hatred should end between the two nations and the Montenegro agreements can also be solved peacefully.

“The representatives should search for ways to make the two nations live in harmony. My book is just a message. It is a message from a writer and an intellectual,” Aylisli said.

Born in1937 in an Azerbaijani village in Ordubad’s Yukhari, Aylisli went on to write novels that have been translated into a variety of languages and published in several countries. In the meantime, Aylisli’s son Necef Naibov, who is working for the Ministry of Customs, and his library director wife Galina Aleksandrovna, were fired from their jobs. A summer house, which was gifted to the famous writer by the state, was also taken from him.