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We need international solidarity to stop the sale of Azerbaijani oil to Israel and its role in the genocide in Gaza!

On May 31, 2024, a protest action was held in front of SOCAR's (State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan) office in Istanbul by the "Filistin İçün Bin Genç" group (Thousands Youth For Palestine), and paint symbolizing blood was poured on the building. The protesters opposed the sale of Azerbaijani oil to Israel via the Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan pipeline through Turkey and thus directly fueling the arms that commit the genocide in Gaza. Today,in the early morning, the police raided the houses of 16 protest participants and detained them.


Photo Credit:  "Filistin İçün Bin Genç" (Thousands Youth For Palestine) group


Israel imported 65% of its oil from Azerbaijan in 2021, which remains it's main supplier today. In exchange, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, more than 60% of Azerbaijan's arms purchases for 2017-2020 were from Israel. Azerbaijan imported not only weapons from Israel, but also the Pegasus spy program to monitor and persecute politically active citizens.This mutual energy and military security cooperation has not only been extremely profitable for both sides, but it has also made their brutal wars possible. On the one hand, it ensured the victory of Azerbaijan in the war it started against Armenia in 2020, and allowed to control and suppress civil society, including ones opposing the war. On the other hand, it has provided active material support to Israel for months to bomb Gaza and carry out genocide against Palestinians.


Azerbaijani oil and global capitalism


Azerbaijan is a dictatorship with a strong dependency on a global capital. Natural resources such as oil and gas do not belong to the people and are beyond their control. These resources are not even entirely under the control of Azerbaijan's local authorities. Colonial institutions like BP remain the primary beneficiaries of oilfields exploitation. For instance, in 2023, SOCAR received a license to exploit Israel's Leviathan field and conduct oil and gas exploration. However, the extent of SOCAR's ownership of this license is questionable. There are several reasons for these doubts. First, SOCAR participated in the tender together with BP, which holds the major shares (30.37%, the biggest shareholder) in Azerbaijani oil industry. Second, the overall management of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector, which operates under neoliberal and new extractivist capitalist principles, fuels these the scepticism towards SOCAR's independent actions. According to the new extractivism, global capital finds it more convenient and superior to negotiate directly with the the nation states representatives without such obstacles as opposition, civil society, environmentalists and other activists. As a result, global capital not only accepts the existence but is interested in prolongation of an authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan. Since 1990s, when Production Sharing Agreement between SOCAR, BP and other foreign oil companies was signed for 30 years and in 2017 extended until mid-century Azerbaijan's oil and gas economic sector is entirely governed by neoliberal rules. Not only foreign investors have unlimited access to this segment of the economy, contracts in this sector have higher legal force that any laws and even the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The ordinary citizen of Azerbaijan does not see much benefit from this production, Azerbaijan ranks far below the world average in terms of social inequality indicators. Not fossils-related areas of the economy are completely monopolized by the ones,tied with local dictator Aliyev's family.


A call for international solidarity 

 

Political protests are barely possible in Azerbaijan itself. Recent years were crucial for the the destruction of the remnants of civil society in Azerbaijan. By benefiting from Azerbaijan's oil, Western institutions turn a blind eye to authoritarian politics, repressions and warmongering, and help whitewash Azerbaijan by holding events such as COP29. We are currently appealing to every activist group in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia who are protesting and trying to stop the genocide. Azerbaijan's oil is what makes Israel's military superiority possible. We need to stop it's flow together!  


Azerbaijan's authoritarianism has gone beyond oppressing the people inside and has become part of global violence. It can be prevented only through international solidarity and grassroots organizing!


Unite for Gaza!

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