Azeris Modern Identity

Monday, November 28, 2005

Was Babak Khoramdin an Azeri?

Azeris Claim that Babak Khoramdin was an Azeri. Here is a text from Wikepedia.

Wikepedia Text:

In recent years, there has been debate on ethnic origin of Babak, even so trying to fit an anciant figure to this or that nationality goes against any objectiveness. Some Turkish nationalists claim that Bâbak was an Azeri-Turk. On the other hand, Persian nationalists retain the established opinion that he was Persian and that at the time of Bâbak, the Turks had not yet migrated to Azerbaijan.

From the Turkish point of view, it is said that Babak's name can not be shown as a proof of his alleged Persian roots, because it was not his real name. Names of some of his lieutenat's such as Tarkhan who was a Turk and Azrak who was an Arab, show that the movement was a mixed ethnicity, broad regional freedom movement against the Caliphate rule. Existence of Muslims among Bâbak's supporters also reinforces this assertion.

According to the Persian point of view, however Babak's (more correctly Pâpag) name, is purely from Persian (Iranian) origins. Turkic peoples migrated to Azarbayjan several centuries later. Bâbak was a follower of Zoroastrian Persians and Abu Muslim of Khurassan. There are no proofs for a Turkish background. As mentioned in the main entry, the claim that he was Turk is recent and propagated mostly by Pan-Turkists. In early history books, there is no mention that he was Turk. He has always been known as a patriot Iranian and Zoroastrian. Even the name of the province, Azarbayjan is Arabicized form of persian word Azarpadgan meaning the Place of Guardians of Holy Fire (Azar=fire, pad=guard, gan=prefix of place). Ancient Arab historian Ibn Hazm in the book "Religion and People" and ancient Armenian historian Vardan in his "World History" clearly and explicity mentioned Babak as being Persian. There is no sources that claim otherwise. The name of Babak's father was Mardas, his mother in sources has been called Mah-roo. Both names are Persian. The mentor of Babak was Javidanpoor Shahrak, which is another Persian name. Also the two most important commanders of Babak, Adhin and Rostam, were ethnic Persians. Finally the name Tarkhan is also mentioned as "Tarhan" (which is an Arabic word) in some sources. Besides this, the name also occurs in the Shahnameh and some sources mention that the Soghdian rulers of Samarghand went by this name. So this was a general military title. Finally it should be mentioned that there is no trace of Turkish in Azarbaijan before the Ilkhanid era on paper, rock, leather, inscription, etc and all sources at that time mention that Azarbaijan spoke Azar-Pahlavi (the local dialect of middle Persian) as it continues today in Talyshi, Kurdish, Tati and other NW Iranian languages. Due to the invasion of Oghuz tribes, Seljuqs, Mongols, Ilkhanid, Teymurid, Black Sheep Turkomens and finally the Turcophone Safavid dynasty who imported Turkomens from Anatolia, this region became predominately Turkic speaking. But all this was after the time of Babak.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Azeri Modern Identity

"Modern identities: We are the Azerbaijanis, We are the Turks of Azerbaijan......We are the Azerbaijani Turks

Part 1

by: Gelecek Bizim Dir

(Jibrael Savalan)

After reading the paper written by Dr. Alireza Asgharzadeh entitled "Current Azerbaijani Situation and the Problematic of Diaspora: Methods and Strategies for Building Alliances" ( I thought I would analyze and express my own opinion, an opinion shared by many of my fellow Azerbaijanis who identify themseleves according to the beliefs that I hold.

First of all, I should mention that I am a great admirer of Dr. Alireza Asgharzadeh and his different works. To me, people such as Dr. Asgharzadeh represent one of the few great writers of our generation that are members of the Azerbaijani diaspora. People with artistic talents, a high level of education and tremendous passion and love for their homeland. Not many Azerbaijanis who live outside of the Republic of Azerbaijan and South Azerbaijan (mostly in North America) who write about different subjects relating to the land of Azerbaijan write in the elaborate and exquisite style which is used by Dr. Asgharzadeh- a man I have tremendous respect for and a man I have learned from while reading his work.

However, I believe that in the "Problematic of Diaspora" paper, Dr. Asgharzadeh makes some points that should be analyzed and elaborated on by different Azerbaijanis who feel a need to fix the gap between their "divided" identity and their international identity as the people of Azerbaijan. The purpose of this article is not to attack Dr. Asgharzadeh or his views, but to make points which I think many Azerbaijanis, as well as Dr. Asgharzadeh himself might agree with.

The identity of Azerbaijanis is an issue that must be resolved in the Republic of Azerbaijan, south Azerbaijan, and abroad. It takes different opinions from different Azerbaijanis who must step up and define themseleves and their ethnic/linguistic/national character and officialize/mobilize what it stands for and legitimize it's significance both internationally and domestically. I believe that the opinions expressed in this paper are that of a great proportion of Azerbaijanis worldwide.

Azeri, Turk, Azerbaijani, or Azerbaijani Turk?

So what should the world call the people of Azerbaijan? What should we call ourselves domestically and abroad? There are different terms and designations, all of which I will analyze and comment on. Like Dr. Asgharzadeh mentions, the people of Azerbaijan are a people that have been colonized, brainwashed, subjugated and more than a few have been entirely assimilated in Iran. However, despite all the conditions that have been beset on Azerbaijanis, our identity has not been taken away from the majority of our people and our pride is still alive. The problem with the present situation of Azerbaijanis is the penetration of our identity in today's world.


With respect to Dr. Asgharzadeh, I believe that the word "Azeri" does not serve our needs, and though it doesn't do us any "serious" harm, it does not give us any benefits either.

The usage of the word "Azeri" is an issue that must be discussed carefully. It is a word we often read and a word that is often used by others and by the Azerbaijanis themseleves in official transcripts, books, magazines, on the internet and other sectors of communication in the Republic of Azerbaijan, south Azerbaijan & across Iran, and in the Republic of Turkey, yet not often used in the western televised media when mentioning the Azerbaijanis. However, some westerners have picked up the word and seldom use it, yet the principal and seemingly official designation of the Azerbaijanis in the west is, well, Azerbaijani. It seems that Azerbaijani is also the official designation of our nation in the east.

Some neighbours of Azerbaijan, such as Russians, never use the term Azeri and reffer to the Azerbaijanis as "Azerbaizhanski." Arabs, although they gave birth to the word "Azeri" in the 13th century (they took out the "baijan" which is also part of our national name) and used the word in some of their historical records as a nickname for the Azerbaijanis, nowadays reffer to the Azerbaijanis as "Al-Azerbaijani." Persians usually reffer to the Azerbaijanis as "Turk" and some use the term Azerbaijani, but a great portion of the Persian population and "Iran-lovers" use the term Azeri for manipulation and "divide and conquer purposes" which Azerbaijanis in south Azerbaijan are aware of. Armenians also don't mind manipulating this term, and often misuse it. Kurds most of the time use the term Azeri when they want to reffer to us Azerbaijanis.

As mentioned by Dr. Asgharzadeh, the term "Azeri" comes from the "Azer" or "Az-Erler" Turks who lived in Azerbaijan in ancient times (Agasioglu, 2003). Assyrians reffered to these Turks as "Az-Er" or the Turkish term "Azerler" which is the root of the present day nickname of the Azerbaijani Turks which is in English pronounced as "Azeri." In Sumerian (ancient Turkish/Ural-Altaic language) the word "Az-Er" meant "Peerless man." The word "AzEr" in Turkish also means "high" or "elevated" and combined with "Baijan" it means "high/elevated & a place for the wealthy and exalted."

The Arabs used the term "Al-AzEriye" (deriving the word from it's full version) which was written in Ottoman and Persian (Fars) history books as "Azeri" (of Az-Er) after the 13th century, and the Azerbaijanis also use the term "AzEr Xalgi" or the "AzEr nation" (the nation of the high/elevated) often, as is used by professor Agasioglu.

The clear fact that the word Azeri and it's Turkish ethnic/linguistic affiliation and it's true symbolic and historical meaning was used up until the 1920's (in south Azerbaijan and across Iran) signifies that this nickname for the people of Azerbaijan, which is a nickname given to us by the Arabs & Assyrians which is derived from AzEr Turks, is a part of our history in both north and south Azerbaijan and is similar to other historical/cultural words in Azerbaijani identity such as "Oghuz" and "Xezer" which are words that are part of our ancient heritage. However, the word "Azer" is only technically half of the word "Azerbaijan" which makes up the full name of our nation and the term "Azeri" overshadows the name "Azerbaijani" and complicates (divides) our national name and does not represent our full modern identity as Azerbaijanis (the people of the land of Azerbaijan).

The word "Aussie" is often used as a nickname for the Australians, which is part of their culture and a term which is not harmful yet cannot be considered official. If some people want to reffer to us Azerbaijanis (as the Arabs did) as "Azeri" and do not wish to manipulate and use the word with malicious intents, then so be it. In that context, I, an Azerbaijani, would be an "Azeri" just like an Australian is an "Aussie." But in reality, these words do not represent the modern and official designations of Azerbaijanis and Australians. Those who use the word Azeri in the Republic of Azerbaijan signify it's existance with the ancient Turkish identity and have not been exposed to the "divide and conquer" tactic used by the Persian chauvinists on Azerbaijanis in Iran which occured during the reign of the Pahlavi fascists. Those who wish to use the word "Azeri" should know it's historical roots and it's designation of a Turkish peoples in ancient Azerbaijan and not an imaginary "Aryan" peoples who were digged up from Persian chauvinist fantasies and from the history books of Pahlavi fascists. Their pan-Iranist and "Aryan" version of history destroyed this word and brainwashed many into thinking that their statement is correct. It is very interesting since the word "Azeri" was used in books to describe a Turkish nation of Az/Azer in the land of AZERbaijan hundreds and hundreds of years before there was even Aryans in present-day Iran.

In the United Nations report on south Azerbaijan written in 2002 by Professor Copithorne, it is written:

"It is asserted that the Azeris have lived on the Iranian plateau for thousands of years and that they predate the entry of Persian tribes to the area"

As Dr. Asgharzadeh explains, the person who came up with the "Aryan-Azeri" theory, Ahmad Kasravi (a man deported from south Azerbaijan during the reign of Sheykh Muhammad Khiabani), forgot to mention that before expressing his political/ideological theories regarding the the Turkish term "Azeri," he himself states in the journal Al-Irfan in 1922 that:

"The Turkish speakers among the "Iranian" population who were spread through every region of Iran were not Persians (in his mind meaning Aryan) who were forced to abandon their original language and forgot it and learned Turkish. No one spoke Turkish as a result of being vanquished by the Turkish conquerors over their lands, as was the opinion spread throughout Iran."

(Kasravi 1922, al'irfan, pp. 121-123)

We should keep in mind that the words America and India have the terms "Amerie" and "Indie" which are often used in books, but like the term "Azeri" do not make up the full designation of Americans and Indians. If an American was to reffer to himself/herself as an "Amerie" or if an Indian was to reffer to himself/herself as an "Indie" that would not be accurate (although a partial root of the words America and India do come from Amerie and Indie) and would not be a positive thing for the American and Indian people. An American is an American, an Indian is an Indian, an Azerbaijani is an Azerbaijani. Amerie/Indie/Azer(i) are just cultural/historic aspects of these names that have evolved.

Many in the Republic of Azerbaijan use the word Azeri. Many in South Azerbaijan and across Iran also use this word, however the poision which was injected by the Persian chauvinists (and their servants) over the usage and meaning of this word creates a barrier between Azerbaijanis and produces misconceptions. In this day and age, when the word "Azerbaijan" has evolved into the full name of our land, and especially since we know the damage this word has done in respects to the formation of our collective identity as Azerbaijanis and as ethnic Turks in South Azerbaijan and across Iran, it is not a word that we should use to designate our nation.

Dr. Asgharzadeh states that: "To this group (Turkish extremists), the term ‘Azeri’ has become a negative ‘dirty’ word, unworthy of being used by a “real Turk”! This camp is eager to get rid of ‘Azeri’ in the hopes that it may be replaced with Turkish". I believe that this analyzation is wrong, and that the word "Azeri" is a cultural word, it is a historical word and up to a certain extent a nickname. It was also a term that was publicized by the Arabs, and not by the Azerbaijanis themseleves. The term should be used when historical information about Azerbaijan's past is mentioned and not considered "dirty" or "unworthy of being used bye a real Turk" but rather considered as an ancient root word and cultural word instead of a modern designation of us Azerbaijanis. It, as well as many other words and terms, is instilled in our heritage, yet it should not be the official name of our nation and our language.


Azerbaijan's Turkishness, the "Turkish World," and it's historic/modern affiliation with the land and nation

The Turks, under different names (in ancient times: Elamites, Sumerians, Turukus, Gutis, Lulubis, Azerlers, and in the pre-Christian and post-Islamic period: Oghuz, Barsil, Saragur, Hun, Khazar, Salars, Sabirs, Kurtugurs, Gokturks, Massagets, Scythians, Alans, to cite a few) have lived in Azerbaijan since antiquity. The language, culture, history, and essence of Azerbaijan comes from the Turks, and the Azerbaijanis (both in north & south Azerbaijan) domestically reffer to themseleves as "Turk" and their language as "Turki" or "Turkish. Professor Mohammad Tagi Zehtabi’s bok "The Ancient History of Turks" was published in two volumes in Tabriz between 1998 and 2000. Professor Zehtabi, an elderly man from south Azerbaijan was murdered in his home in the year 2000 by Persian chauvinist nationalists of Iran after he had given a speech in Europe about the Turks and their presence in Azerbaijan and across Iran in ancient times.

As Dr. Asgharzadeh mentions, during the Soviet and Pahlavi eras, the system of the Soviet Union and the system of Iran tried to efface the Turkish identity of Azerbaijanis by using different tactics. These tactics are still being used by Persian chauvinist and "Iran-lovers" who even after the "Islamic" revolution in Iran in 1979 have kept their Persian chauvinist policies of lying and distorting the true identity of the Azerbaijanis by digging up false information from "Iran's pre-Islamic" period and are still holding on to their fantasy "2,500 year history" (a 2,500 year history which is composed mainly of Turkish and Arab history and Turkish and Arab kings and peoples who ruled over the Persians) which is their tool for erasing the identity of Azerbaijanis inside Iran and brainwashing them against their identity and against their existance as Turks.

Some historians believe that Azerbaijan and the region south of Azerbaijan and the Zagrus mountains in present-day "Iran" is where the Turks originate from. Others say that since antiquity, Turks originated in central Asia and have throughout history been the natives/majority population of Azerbaijan (Caucaus region and south Azerbaijan) as well as areas in the vicinity of the Azerbaijan/Central Asia region. Sumerians, considered the most ancient of Turks and Ural-Altaic speakers, have been mentioned as natives of the west Asian region, while some have linked their original position east of the Caspian Sea, and have said that in ancient times, the Sumerians moved to west Asia and state that the Sumerians and their later offsprings such as the Azeris (Azerler), Gutis, Lulubis, Kasis and Elamites were the natives of western "Iran" and the land of Azerbaijan thousands of years ago. The Ural-Altaic peoples such as the Azerbaijanis and their ethnic/linguistic composition in the present-day region of west Asia predates the emergence of non Ural-Altaics, such as the Indo-Europeans. The Turks have in ancient, pre-Christian and post-Islamic period been natives of west/central Asia.

Presently, there are an estimated 250 million Turks that live in the world. The modern Turkish peoples of Asia & Europe are divided into different branches (mainly Oghuz, Kipchak, Karluk, Sibirya, Guvash and Saha) and there are different sub-branches, tribes and nations that have emerged from those 5 principal branches and have formed the identities of Turkish peoples such as the Azerbaijanis.

Ancient Turks/Ural-Altaic speakers such as Sumerians and Elamites and their offsprings who in ancient times included Guttis, Lulubis and Kasis who lived in the region of Azerbaijan and parts of present-day "Iran" thousands of years ago are considered by many historians to be the root of the present day Turks (the main branches and all the sub-branches, tribes and nations that have evolved from the greater Turkish family tree).

The Oghuz Turk (western branch) which the Azerbaijanis belong to spans over parts of Europe and west Asia and also includes: Turks of Turkey, Qashqayis, Turkmens, Khalaj Turks, Balkan Turks, Khamse, and Gauguz Christian Turks in Moldova. Out of these different Turkish groups various tribes have emerged (for example the Azerbaijanis/Qashqayis/Turkmens who are Oghuz Turks that live in north and south Azerbaijan, across Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, have different tribes such as Ilsevan, Afshar, Qaraqozlu, Qarapapaq, Tiymurtash, Khorasani Turks, Qarays, Baharlu, Qizilbash, Inanlu, Pichaqchis and Nafars, to cite a few).

Turkish civilizations and dynasties/confederations throughout the history of the world such as Huns, Khazars, Ottomans, Safavis, Qajars, Afshars, Seljuks, Uygurs, Massagets, Gokturks, Qaznevi, Avar, Alan, Karakhan, Khwarizmshahs and Ilkhanids have played a key role in the ethnic/linguistic/national identity of the millions of various Turks (including the Azerbaijanis) in Asia and Europe.

There are currently 6 independent Turkish (Turkic) republics in the world: the Republic of Azerbaijan (north Azerbaijan) the Republic of Turkey (Turkiye) the Republic of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Kazakstan and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. There are also various Turkish republics within the federal units of countries such as Russia, China, Moldova and of course in Cyprus.

There are also millions of other Turks (under different national/tribal names) who are remnants of the various Turkish empires or migrants of later centuries that are scattered across other parts of Europe and Asia who compose both tribal and settled populations. In central and eastern Europe, millions of Oghuz and non-Oghuz Turks live in the Balkans (Yugoslavia & Bosnia) Greece, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and other regions.

Compared to the Arabs who live in various parts of the world stretching from the Arabian Gulf until the Atlantic Ocean, the Turks do not have the same unity and have not been able to showcase their Turkish identity worldwide. It seems that only Turks from Turkey have took the official designation as Turks, although the majority of Turks live outside the borders of Turkey. Turks do not have a "Turkish league" like the Arabs who have the "Arab league," they do not have a common lingua-franca (the Arabs have a standard dialect that they reffer to as fuzha) and Turks don't have official names like "the Turkish republic of Uzbekistan" or "Azerbaijan Turkish republic" like the Arabs who have the "Syrian Arab republic" or the "Arab republic of Yemen."

There seems to be some cultural groups that promote cultural unity amongst Turks, however their activities are limited.

Should we reffer to ourseleves only as "Turks?"


In both north & south Azerbaijan, we call ourseleves Turks and our language "Turki" or "Turkish." Domestically, the term "Turk" is synanomous with the term "Azerbaijani" both in terms of ethnicity and language. Inside Azerbaijan (both north & south Azerbaijan) seldom do we reffer to ourseleves only as "Azerbaijani" yet view ourseleves as distinct from other Turks in terms of specific national identity and national conciousness. We do not view ourseleves as Uzbeks or Turks of Turkey in terms of specific national identity, for the Turks of Uzbekistan and Turks of Turkey have built nations called Turkiye and Uzbekistan, and we have built a nation called Azerbaijan. Yet we are related to them by blood and language, which makes us a seperate branch yet part of the same banner (same tree, different branch).

Much like Arabs who might have a distinct identity such as Lebanese, Syrian, Yemeni or Saudi, we have an identity as Azerbaijanis, and at the same time we are Turks. The common heritage between Azerbaijanis and other Turks is evident in language, literature, history, garnments and clothing, musical instruments and an overal sense of kinship which is shared by all Turks and is common in Turkish countries and regions. There is nothing about Azerbaijan that is not Turkish in root or in essence.

Our identity inside Azerbaijan is "Azerbaijani Turk" meaning a Turk that originates and is indegenous to Azerbaijan, speaks Turkish with the Azerbaijani accent, takes pride in the Azerbaijan's heroes and national figures, wears Turkish garnments (Azerbaijan's national garnments) plays musical instruments that are Turkish, plays/listens to music that is Turkish, reads from Turkish epics and literature, and is Turk by blood, in spirit, pride and heritage and an Azerbaijani by distinctive national consciousness. Inside Azerbaijan, when we call ourseleves Turks, we mean a Turk from Azerbaijan, with a specific Azerbaijani identity which is regional and national, and when we use the term Azerbaijani, we mean "someone from the land of Azerbaijan" which is a land that is ethnically, linguistically and culturally Turkish. So at home, when we call ourseleves Turks, we mean Azerbaijanis, and when we call ourseleves Azerbaijanis, we mean Turks.

There is no such thing as an "ethnic Syrian" or an "ethnic Azerbaijani" for the Syrians are ethnically Arabs and Azerbaijanis are ethnically Turks. However, there exists a seperate Syrian regional/national identity, and there exists a seperate Azerbaijani regional/national identity which seperates Syrians from other Arabs and seperates Azerbaijanis from other Turks.

An Azerbaijani is a Turk by blood, language and culture and is an Azerbaijani by distinct nationality. This formula works perfectly at home, but not outside Azerbaijan.


Internationally, we can't reffer to ourseleves simply as "Turk." This would damage our identity more than improving it. For by simply calling ourseleves "Turks" we are not emphasizing on our point of origin and our land: Azerbaijan.

The term "Turk" by itself can be confusing, for if a Turk from Azerbaijan was to only reffer to himself/herself as a "Turk" in the international scene, that would not express geograhpical and national origin. Turks, like Arabs, Hispanics, Germans, Frenchmen and others belonging to an ethnic/linguistic identity which is spread over different countries (Germans in Germany-Austria-Switzerland, Frenchmen in France-Belgium-Switzerland-Canada, "Latino(a)s" or Hispanics in Mexico-Panama-Ecuador..., Arabs in Saudi Arabia-Lebanon-Syria...) can be from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Central Asia, eastern Europe or elsewhere, but the specific geographical identity of the Azerbaijanis is different than that of other Turks.

Those who are educated worldwide know that the Turkish (Turkic) peoples live not just in Turkey and that Arabs don't live just in Saudi Arabia or the "Arabian peninsula" and that Frenchmen don't live only in France but in several countries and that different nations and countries in the world are ethnically/linguistically/culturally Arab, Turkish and French. However, since the pattern of "Turkism" emerged with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, anyone outside of of Turkish countries who reffers to himself/herself only as "Turk" or "Turkish" would seem to be reffering to his/her point of origin as Turkey.

This would not be the case in Russia or Iran or other countries/empires that have a significant amount of Turkish inhabitants. In "Iran" when someone reffers to himself as a Turk, a non-Turk would automatically calculate the meaning of such a statement and would equate the term "Turk" with Azerbaijan or indegenous Turkish-dominated territories within Iran (such as Qashqayi land or Turkmen Sahra) and would not equate the term "Turk" with the Republic of Turkey. Same thing in Russia where a Tatar could call himself a Turk and a Russian would know that he is reffering to a certain Turkish Republic within Russia's system (such as Tatristan or Bashkortostan) or a certain Turkish-inhabited region of Russia and not the Republic of Turkey. In Russia and Iran, the terms "Turk" and "Turkish" (ethnicity and language) are locally understood.

However, an Azerbaijani or a Tatar or Qashqayi in North America (and up to a certain degree in Europe where the words "Turk" and "Turkish" are also equated with the Republic of Turkey by some) could not simply reffer to himself/herself as a Turk, for that would be an inacurate description of nationality and overal identity.


The term "Azerbaijani" is used commonly by the Turks of Azerbaijan, for it is a designation of their identity and the indication of our nationality. It is used most often in the east and the west, and is an appropriate designation of our identity.

However, the terms "Azerbaijani" or "Saudi" do not indicate the full identity of the Turks and Arabs who originate and make up the "Azerbaijani" or "Saudi" identities. A "Saudi Arab" or a "Syrian Arab" can either reffer to himself/herself as a Saudi (nationality and country) or be more specific and more accurate about his/her identity by using the word "Arab" to be precise about ethnicity and language. In the same context, the Azerbaijani Turk, who calls himself a Turk and his nation Azerbaijan, can do the same thing.

For official purposes, the term Azerbaijani is used and will continue to be used to identify the people of Azerbaijan. It does not, however, identify our ethnicity, language and overal identity.


Out of the different words mentioned to identify the people of Azerbaijan, or someone who is a descendant of one originating from Azerbaijan, "Azerbaijani Turk" is perhaps the most appropriate.

The term "Azerbaijani Turk" explains both the geographical origin and nationality (Azerbaijani) and the ethnic/linguistic background of the people of Azerbaijan, which is Turkish. In her 2002 book "Borders and Brethren" American author Brenda Shaffer states that the term "Azerbaijani Turk" is an expression of identity by "highly educated and very politically conscious Azerbaijanis."

Dr. Asgharzadeh mentions that it would sound too weird to say "I'm an Azerbaijani-Turkish-Canadian" which is understandable. However, if an Arab from Lebanon who is living in America wants to describe his/her nationality, he or she would say "I'm Lebanese-American" or I'm an "Arab-American" because both the Lebanese/Arab components of his identity are dear to him. In the same way, an Azerbaijani living in America can call himself an "Azerbaijani-American" or "Turkish-American." For Turks outside of Turkey and outside of their countries who want to reffer to themseleves only as Turks, there must be greater involvement of the Turkish world in penetrating Turkish identity so that people outside of Turkish countries and especially in the west know about the greater Turkish identity, and not just recognize the Turks of Turkey as "Turks." For now, for the Azerbaijanis living in the United States or Canada, the terms "Azerbaijani-American" or "Azerbaijani-Canadian" seems right.


There is not a Lebanese, Belgian, Austrian, Mexican, Egyptian, Anatolian or Azerbaijani language, however there are different dialects of Arabic that are spoken in Lebanon and Egypt, and different dialects of Turkish spoken in Anatolia and Azerbaijan, different dialects of Spanish and French spoken in Belgium and Mexico and a different German dialect spoken in Austria.

We often see the terms "Brazillian Portugese" or "Portugese (Brazil)" or "Egyptian Arabic" or "Arabic (Egypt)" or "Irish Gaelic" and "Scottish Gaelic" to designate both language and the geography of it's specific dialect. I think that the terms "Azerbaijani Turkish" or "Turkish (Azerbaijan)" can also be used as a designation of our language. During President Elchibey's time in north Azerbaijan (early 1990's) the language of Azerbaijan was officially reffered to as "Turk dili" or "Turkish language." The term "Turkish" is used by the native speakers in Azerbaijan.

Dr. Asgharzadeh states that we should call our language Azeri, I must ask him, when was the last time he saw 2 Azerbaijanis from Tabriz or Baku in areas outside of their hometown who met each other and said "San Azeri bilirsen?" or "San Azerbaycanca bilirsen?" instead of "San Turki bilirsen?" (do you speak Turkish?)


In conclusion, we must carefully take these points into consideration:

1) The outside world should reffer to the people of Azerbaijan as Azerbaijanis, and often as Azerbaijani Turks to be specific about our overal identity

2) The name of our nation should be Azerbaijani Turks/Azerbaijani Turkish

3) The name of our language should be Azerbaijani Turkish or in a different way: Turkish (Azerbaijan) or Turkish (Azerbaijani)

We are the Azerbaijanis, we are the Turks of Azerbaijan, we are the Azerbaijani Turks. We speak Turkish with the Azerbaijani dialect, we speak Azerbaijani Turkish. The terms Azerbaijani & Azerbaijani Turk will be useful for us in the outside world and emphasize our roots, our language, our dialect, our culture, our nationality, our ethnicity and showcases our true identity.

More to come............