So far, I have seen nothing to suggest that the vast majority of Azerbaijani society wouldn't be entirely comfortable with this state of affairs. Please prove me wrong.
I've asked Azerbaijanis, including colleagues and friends, why Armenians in Karabakh should believe Baku's assurances that they will be safe under Azerbaijani rule. And why they think there is so little good faith and so much scepticism towards these boilerplate assurances.
One common response seems to be to blame "Armenian propaganda" for these fears. Was the fêting of Ramil Safarov Armenian propaganda? Why was that necessary? Why does the other side have all the agency in this?
Another is to simply suggest, as Aliyev did, that "Armenians are our citizens". But the unspoken half of this sentence seems to be "so to live with us is their destiny, why should we ask them what they want?"
A third, by far the most common, is to ask "well why shouldn't Azerbaijani IDPs be safe". Why not indeed? But in the context of a discussion about what Baku has to offer Armenians living under its rule, that's deflecting and it's whataboutism.
Even if you accept the terms of the Azerbaijani narrative of the conflict, a refusal to take these questions seriously would suggest that Baku doesn't want to be better than Armenia. This is entirely about a tit-for-tat desire for a monoethnic Karabakh.
And I'm sorry for this scenario, but there is a virtue to candour. An Azerbaijani soldier in Stepanakert who lost his brother, let's say, gets drunk and murders an Armenian civilian. Assuming that Baku even acknowledged this happened, would he ever be prosecuted?
Although I'm not so convinced by the attempts to apply democratic peace theory to this conflict (by Armenian side), this is a scenario where transparency and autocracy really do matter for future guarantees of equal treatment before the law. And it's not an implausible one.
Finally, Azerbaijan already has one autonomous republic: Nakhchivan. If this is the framework for future autonomies or self-government within Azerbaijan, it leaves little for Armenians to desire. Particularly after the destruction of the Julfa Cemetery.
You can follow @MaximEdwards.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: