Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublika [ˈɑzæɾbɑjdʒɑn ɾespublikasɯ]), is a country located in the Caucasus, the intersection of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Azerbaijan, the country with the largest surface area in the South Caucasus, is bordered by the Caspian Sea in the east, Russia in the north, Georgia in the northwest, Armenia in the west and Iran in the south. Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is subordinate to it, is surrounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and has a 17 km border with Turkey.
Azerbaijan has a rich cultural heritage. It has the distinction of being the first country to host performing arts such as opera and theater among the countries with a majority of Muslims.
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918, but two years later, on April 26, 1920, the Red Army crossed the border and entered Azerbaijan. On April 28, 1920, the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic was established and then joined the territory of the Soviet Union. The country regained its independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In September 1991, the Armenian majority in the conflict region Nagorno-Karabakh wanted to leave the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, which started during the dissolution of the USSR, ended in 1994. While Nagorno-Karabakh and the 7 regions surrounding it were considered to be dependent on Azerbaijan in the international arena, after the war, the region was considered as de facto independent as a result of negotiations under the leadership of the OSCE. Although the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has been de facto independent since the end of the war, it is not diplomatically recognized by any state and is considered a de jure region of Azerbaijan. As a matter of fact, after the conflict that took place in 2020, Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 regions came under Azerbaijani rule again.
Azerbaijan is a unitary constitutional republic. It is an active member of the Organization of Turkish States and TURKSOY. It has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and membership in 38 international organizations. GUAM is one of the founding members of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1992, and was elected as a member of the Human Rights Council established by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 May 2006 It is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, and cooperates with NATO in the Partnership for Peace project.
There is no official religion in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and all the main political forces in the country are secular nationalists, but the majority of the people and some opposition forces believe in Shia Islam. Compared to other Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States countries, Azerbaijan has reached high levels in terms of social and economic development and literacy. Unemployment and suicide rates are also low.
However, the New Azerbaijan Party, which has been in power since 1993, has been accused of making authoritarian policies such as limiting individual rights, political repression, and censorship of the press, and violating human rights. As of January 1, 2012, Azerbaijan started a two-year non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council.
Further information: Atropatena and Albania
In Steingass’s Persian dictionary, āẕar-ābād, آذر آبادگان āẕar-ābādgān is recorded as the old name of Tabriz. “Āzar” (Persian: آذر) Fire, baycan or originally known as “Pāyegān” (Persian: پایگان) means Guardian/Protector (Āzar Pāyegān = “Guardians of Fire”) (Persian: آذر پایگان). The origin of the names is based on the Persians (Iran) of the Zoroastrian era. After the Muslim conquest of Persia, many Persian words began to be written in Arabic and lost their original pronunciation; For example, the sounds “G / P / ZH / CH” did not find any equivalent in Arabic. Thus “Azar Paigān” came to be known as Azerbaijan.
According to a different view, the name Azerbaijan is derived from Atropat, who was the ruler of the Satrap of Midya in the Achaemenid Empire and continued his duties after the conquest of the empire by Alexander the Great Persia This name is thought to be of Zoroastrian religious origin. Atropat ruled over the Atropatena region (present-day Iranian Azerbaijan). According to another view, it originates from the name of the Khazars (Kazar, Kuzar, Xazar), who established a great state in that region and gave the Caspian Sea its name.
Main article: History of Azerbaijan
The findings, which were found to have been created in Kobustan ten thousand years ago, have been included in the World Heritage list prepared by UNESCO.
The oldest human settlements in Azerbaijan date back to the Stone Age, the findings of this settlement were found in the Azykh Cave and are known as the Kuruçay culture. Remains related to the Old Stone Age and Bronze Age were reached in the caves located in the settlements named Tağılar, Damcılı, Zar, Bed-yeri, and in the Leylatepe and Saraytepe necropolises.
In the ninth century BC, the first Scythian-Saka settlements began in Azerbaijan. After the Scythians, the Manna State (IX BC), then the Iranian Medes (Persians), dominated the region south of the Aras River (III BC). The Medes established a great empire between 900-700 BC, but they were destroyed in 549 BC and their lands were taken over by the Achaemenid Empire. After the Achaemenids took over the Azerbaijani lands, Zoroastrianism began to spread there. Later, the empire of Alexander the Great dominated Azerbaijan, later it was connected to the Seleucid Empire. Romans also settled here during the Roman Empire. The Albanians, the original inhabitants of the region, established an empire in the fourth century BC. In this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the geography of Atropatena and the Caucasus.
Main article: Albania
Maiden’s Tower in Baku, 11-12. It was built in the centuries and has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Albania became a vassal region of the Sassanid Empire in 252, and King Urnayr adopted Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century. The state continued to exist in the region until the ninth century, despite numerous Sassanid and Byzantine conquests. He was able to maintain his own monarchy while obeying the Sassanids. The King of Albania, though overlord, had only symbolic authority. Civil religious and military authority was in the hands of the Sassanid military government. In the first half of the 7th century, as a result of the conquests made by the Muslims in the region, Albania also came under the umbrella of the Muslim administration. The Umayyad caliph succeeded in expelling both the Sassanids and the Romans from Transcaucasia, and in 667, after suppressing the Christian revolt led by King Javashir, he annexed Albania.
In the authority vacuum created by the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate, many local states such as Musafiris, Sâci, Şeddadis and Buwayhids dominated the region. At the beginning of the 11th century, the Oghuz Turks, advancing west from Central Asia, captured Azerbaijan;
The first Turkish state to enter the region was the Seljuks in 1067. Before the settlement of the Turks, languages belonging to the Indo-European language family and Caucasian language family such as Armenian, Persian and Old Azerbaijani were spoken here. Of these, Old Azerbaijani merged with Turkish over time and formed the first form of today’s Azerbaijani. Some linguists say that the Tat dialects spoken in this region are also derived from Old Azerbaijani. Later, the Ildeniz people, who dominated the region, established their own administration, although they were regionally dependent on the Seljuk Empire. Nizami Ganjavi, who lived under the Seljuk authority, pioneered the development of Persian in today’s Azerbaijan.
After the Shirvanshahs, one of the regional dynasties, became a state under the roof of the Timurid Empire, they helped the Timurids in the war against Toktamış, the Golden Horde State. After Timur’s death, two independent and rival states emerged in the region, namely the Karakoyunlu and the Akkoyunlu state. The Shirvanshahs became independent again in this process.
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