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What does the Azerbaijan Community of Nagorno-Karabakh mean?

As an institution the Azerbaijan Community of Nagorno-Karabakh (ACNK) was officially recognized in accordance with Article 9 in the document, which was adopted during the Helsinki Additional Meeting of the CSCE Council on March 24, 1992. The document states that ACNK was recognized as one of the “interested” parties in the conflict, together with the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians.[1] Hence, from 1992 onwards the Community took part in several meetings sponsored by the OSCE for regulating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and represented the interest of the Azerbaijani community in Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiation process, together with the Republic of Azerbaijan.[2]

The head of the Shusha district executive power, who is currently in exile, holds the status of leader of the ACNK.[3] In 2006, the Community was registered as a public union by the Ministry of Justice of the Azerbaijan Republic and became known as “The Public Union of the Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno Karabakh”. As a result of the restructuring of the public union that was decided on at the I Congress of the Community, which was held in 2009, the name of the organization was changed to the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Region of the Azerbaijan Republic.

The public union is a non-profit organization based on voluntary membership. The community, with its 65,000 members, represents not only the Azerbaijani community of the former NKAO but also all IDPs from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Its activity covers the country’s whole territory. The main organizational and administrative bodies in the union structure are the Congress of the Community, the Administrative Board, and the Coordinating Council. The main aims of the Community are to contribute to restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the return of internally displaced people to their lands, and to protect the cultural heritage and rights of IDPs. Additionally, the responsibilities of the Community include organizing various events, meetings, and other activities relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh issues in order to encourage members of the Community to be active.[4]

While reinforces the activity of ACNK, the government of Azerbaijan does not support participation of the Community in the negotiation process due to its position in the resolution of the conflict. Azerbaijan believes that involvement of the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities in the talks at this stage will disrupt the existing format of the settlement process. However, Azerbaijan does not rule out the possibility of both communities of Nagorno-Karabakh participating in the later stages of the peace building process, particularly after agreement is reached on the “Basic Principles”.[5]

[1] “Final Document of the Additional Meeting of the CSCE Council”, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, March 24, 1992, Article 9; https://www.osce.org/mc/29121. Accessed on October 4, 2020.

[2] Huseynbala, A., “Leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Azerbaijani community meets with OSCE chairman”, Trend, July 2, 2009, https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/karabakh/1497604.html. Accessed on October 4, 2020.

[3] Huseynbala, “Leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Azerbaijani community meets with OSCE chairman”.

[4] “Article 2, 6”, The Charter of Public Union of the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Azerbaijan Republic.

[5] Pashayeva, Gulshan and Göksel, Nigar, “The Interplay of the approaches of Turkey, Russia and the United States to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh”, SAM review, 2011, p. 23.